We’ve limited prophesy down to future predictions which are valued based on weather or not the prophesy “comes true.” This is dangerous because not all prophesy in the Bible actually came true (and usually we explain that by saying that it’s still yet to come true). So by these standards, some prophesies within the canon of scripture aren’t good prophesies at all… they’re bad predictions. Look at Jonah for example. Remember Jonah? Yes, he was the one who got swallowed up by a giant fish and spit back up on the land but he was also a prophet. God called Jonah to prophesy to the people of
Just like the rest of biblical prophesy the hope behind Jonah’s prophesy was that it wouldn’t come true. It wasn’t important to God to let the Ninevites know that he was about to destroy them no matter what. It was important to God that they change their ways. And this is how it is whenever God tells
So what does this mean for us? It means we should rethink how we read prophesy and we should rethink how we ourselves give prophesy whatever our role may be. I worry that in reading prophesy the way we do we’ve actually ignored it. If we read the prophesies within scripture merely to find out how and when Jesus is coming back we’re missing and indeed ignoring the point which is to repent—change the way we live, change how we engage the world, how we serve those around us. If we don’t come away from reading prophetic literature with a strong sense that world issues such as poverty and oppression are our responsibility then we’ve missed the point all together and indeed judgment may be coming. Throughout history, apathy for the suffering of others has come before the fall of enormous world powers. When people become disinterested in others and obsessed with their own freedom and comfort bad things happen not only to the people around them but to them as well. Prophesy has been given to salvage us from our indifference to the suffering and brokenness of the world. And just as much as we should be convicted by prophesy we should step up to the microphone ourselves. Biblical prophesy reveals the heart of God—a heart that breaks over evil in the world and angers against His people’s indifference. If we are not a voice of prophesy—if the Church doesn’t call the world to social reform—then we’re not truly reflecting the heart of God and we may be missing the point all together.