Reconciling Prophecy

Note: this post was originally written in response to a harsh prophecy of judgment against America. The post has been generalized since then, but some of that original focus remains.

I wrote a post called “Reconciling Scripture” in which I discussed that God’s will for us is to wrestle and struggle to reconcile seemingly contradictory verses in the Bible until they all flow smoothly as one. The post was widely read and got some people thinking. During the past week, I’ve had a desire to take the reconcile topic one more step. I want to talk about reconciling prophecy.

When hearing a prophecy, several questions need to come up:

  1. What about other prophecies that declare the opposite?
  2. Do I understand the terminology God is using?
  3. Is this for certain or can we doing something for this word to change?
  4. When is this word for?
  5. Who does this effect?

These are all things that have to be reconciled. So let’s talk about them one by one.

What about other prophecies that declare the opposite?

My friend and I were talking last night about people who are extreme, people who are black and white to a fault. These are people who hear one thing and don’t wait to hear the balancing of the issue. They hear God saying “I hate homosexuality”. They then take what they heard  and judge, curse and show hate towards the homosexual community. If they would have prayed into that word they heard from God, they would have heard God say the balancing point of “I desire for them all to be saved”. That balancing word refocuses the people hearing. Instead of becoming arrogant towards the homosexual community for “angering God”, they become broken before the homosexual community because these Christians heard how much God desires them but how sin (the spirit of homosexuality) is keeping them away from God’s loving ways and plans for them.

Like this example, there have been prophecies that God will revive America. That America will be re-awakened to its former glory (like Azusa Street and such) and the wells of revival will be re-dug.

Is God not sure about what He is going to do?

Not at all.

We must reconcile our thoughts regarding the words we hear. We can hear a judgment prophecy and think God will never pour His Spirit out on this nation again. That is not what God is saying at all.

Do I understand the “terminology” God is using?

In the homosexuality example, it is important to understand that God said “I hate homosexuality”, not the homosexual. In that example, we know that God hates the spirit and the sin that is keeping the people He longs for away from Him. He burns with jealousy against it, completely out of love!

Just as terminology was a key to understanding the homosexuality example, understanding keywords in prophecy is a must. One of the greatest setbacks in prophecy is when people assume they know what God is talking about but find out later that God was talking about something else altogether.

Is this for certain or can we do something for this word to change?

In 1 Kings 21 we read about King Ahab, the most wicked king in Israel up to that time. The Lord send Elijah the prophet to give him a word of judgment, but then Ahab, the most wicked king, humbled himself. This is what God told Elijah:

And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”

God didn’t cancel judgment, but because of humility, brokenness and repentance, God showed mercy to him! He held judgment back for a time (a season, a generation). In regards to judgment against America, it cannot be cancelled but it can be postponed and it can be shortened. When there is no hope for a nation, the call of Joel 2 goes out: national fasting and weeping. I believe that we are currently living when judgment was originally scheduled to hit but because of groups like the Promise Keepers, TheCall and prayer centers across America, God has granted us mercy for a time. There will be a day though when it can no longer be pushed back.

When is the word for?

I think this question and the terminology question are the two top questions that have to be asked. We must understand that God is abundantly patient and long-suffering. When He declares something, He gives people a long time to repent. Jeremiah prophesied against Israel his whole life (as did other prophets) and it wasn’t for decades later that the prophecies came true. We must get on God’s timeline when it comes to prophecy.

When it comes to the prophecies regarding America’s pending judgment, maybe there are two seasons and the prophecy is talking about the latter one. This is all just speculation but maybe God wants to revive pockets of this nation through signs and wonders, favor and blessings but one day He will awaken the nation through suffering. That thought (whether it is right or wrong) does reconcile both sides of the prophecies about America. Getting clarity and revelation of the fullness of what God is speaking about America comes with much time and much prayer. It is God’s job to explain what exactly will happen. It is our job to make sure we hear the balanced word of God by being patient until He shows us the whole picture.

Remember, many of the prophets died without seeing what they spoke come to pass (James 5:10)

Who will this word effect?

This is another important question we must ask when we hear a prophecy regarding anything whether person, business, church, city, nation, world. God declares that He “will do nothing without first telling His prophets” (Amos 3:7). Therefore prophets can hear things that doesn’t involve them individually, but will involve another people group. So it is important to ask “who is God speaking to regarding this prophecy?” Many times in the Old Testament, God would speak a word against Israel, but not against the remnant of Israel and vice-versa. Sometimes He would speak of blessing the remnant but that did not mean He was going to bless the entire backslidden nation. God is really good at focused blessing/judgment.

I hope that this has helped some of you who hear conflicting prophecies and you know that both of them are from God, but you don’t get how they complement each other.

I say again, God longs for us to wrestle with this and pray for Him to show us how these things reconcile themselves together. Remember, “God is not a man that He would lie”. We can trust that when we hear a prophecy (that lines up to His Word) that He will faithfully do it.  I also believe David had it right when he said:

“One thing You have spoken, but two things I have heard: that You oh Lord are loving and that You are just.” (Psalm 62:11-12)

God spoke once to David, but he heard two contrasting things. David reconciled what he heard. I pray that we would do the same.

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