Men & Women in Prophecy

The word prophecy conjures up all kinds of weird visions of the future, and scary destruction from the past, since the Bible’s prophets forewarned the Jews about Jerusalem’s destruction, and to this day it is in turmoil. But the word prophecy itself is quite simple. In the Hebrew there are four words used for prophecy.

1. Nebaw (prophet – a speaker via God)
2. Nebooaw (speaking as God’s mouthpiece)
3. Nawbee (making a prediction)
4. Raah (a Seer as in receiving & explaining visions from God)

Abraham is the first person God titles as prophet, Gen. 20:7. But of course the simplest meaning of the word is seen in Enoch & Noah, who lived before Abraham. Enoch (Gen. 5:22-24) walked so closely with God that God took him up into Heaven without experiencing death just to be closer to Him. Enoch’s life was full of God’s will, his family and friends around him would have been blessed to see & hear what God’s nature & will and word was for them. (Jude v13-15) Enoch spoke & lived for God so much, that Jude the Lord’s brother accepted his words were two fold in purpose. The fact of double prophecy in one prophetic occasion is obvious sometimes. For example, see Isaiah 22:22, where he is clearly pointing to Eliakim son of Hilkiah, but it is also used by John to point to Jesus in Revelation 3:7. This happens quite often from the Old Testament into the New. Enoch’s prophetic words of judgment pointed towards the death of sinners in the flood and also the eternal punishment of sinners in our future. Which is a fine introduction to what a Christian should be, walking with God closer and closer in our daily life, 2nd Corinthians 6:16, warning people that Jesus is coming again.

Noah was certainly a prophet in the task of building the Ark. His life’s work foretold the coming destruction, that is certainly a form of prophecy. His work is exemplified in Peter’s teaching for Christians. 1st Peter 3:20-21. The Ark representing the body of Christ, and the flood-waters representing the faithful act of baptism is making Noah a predictive preacher in his work of prophesying how God would save the world in the future. A time is coming, when only faithful children of God in the body of Christ (Ark) will be saved from the coming destructive judgment.

Abraham’s work of prophecy is rooted in the news God gave Abimelech. When we read Genesis 20, it is comforting to see how Abraham’s prayer is part of God’s work to help Abimelech restore the ability of his family to have babies, giving life. Prophets spoke for God, and they were also very effective with their prayers as seen in Abraham, Elijah and also Jeremiah, see how Jeremiah clarifies this in Jer. 27:18. Samuel the prophet even goes as far as to say that it was a sin for him to neglect to pray for people, 1st Sam. 12:19-23. Today, Christians are mandated by the High Priestly job of Christ to intercede for the world, we are prophetically royal priests, 1st Peter 2:9. So from the beginning to the end of the Bible, prophets are used by God in their prayers. Do you believe that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy and that you as a Christian are an active part of God’s work? Read Revelation 19:10. Never forget that God called Miriam the sister of Moses a prophetess, Exodus 15:20-21, in the context of her song for what God had done, not will do.

The Need List

Many people call the traditional titled prayer in Matthew 6, The Lord’s Prayer, but the fact is, Jesus never actually prayed this prayer, he said the prayer. Praying and talking are two different things. When Jesus said the words of Mt. 6:9-13, he was teaching us how to ask God for what we need, not what we want. The peculiar fact about this model prayer for us, is that no where does it contain a single word of thanksgiving. There is not a word of gratitude in it, because it is all about what we need to ask for, or should I say, beg for! It is kind of like God’s list for His agenda when we need to have a meeting with Him, this is what He wants us to make supplications and requests for. Jesus says we must address Him, the God of the Universe as “Father”, more precisely, a holy and righteous father, see how Jesus does this in John 17:11 & 25. Here is my numbered explanation of the 5 items on God’s agenda for us.

1. “May Your Name be Honored”, we really need to express our desire for God’s authoritative name to be respected in our life and in the world. Or else, (Rom 1:28) just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done.

2. May, “Your Kingdom Come…” Express your desire for God’s reign over your heart to be shown, and that God’s reign over the hearts of people yet to believe and obey his reign, will take place. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7. The rule of God is the Kingdom, and Christ’s rule came & was established in Jerusalem by the Apostles, Col. 1:13. However, the Kingdom did not come into the hearts of the worldly people that persecuted Christians letting Christ rule over their hearts.

3. “Give us our daily…”, Express our dependence upon Him for our daily needs, not next weeks desires. If your supervisor wants next week’s work schedule finished and submitted to him by a certain deadline, do it & do it right, as best as  you can, but don’t worry about your supervisor rejecting it. Mat 6:34 So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.

4. Please, “Forgive us…” We must ask God for the ability to be forgiving of others who have sinned against us, so that we ourselves can be forgiven when we sin against God. Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

5. “Deliver us…”, Ask for mercy from testing trials (NRSV & BBE), and that God will help us stay away from the Devil himself. Many versions of the Bible use the word “temptation” but the original Greek word in most manuscripts of the original text actually uses a word for temptation that really is precisely meaning a “test or trial under duress”, The fact is God tempts no one,  James 1:13. But yes He can lead us into situations that are very painful, if we are not aware of His desire to stay on the straight & narrow path of righteousness in this life. Jesus himself was led into the desert to be tested and tried to see if the Devil could make him do what was wrong and it was painful, Mat. 4:1-10. But Jesus does not want us, to be led into that kind of deliberate test of our ability to do what is right. He knows God loves us and will protect us from ignorantly entering into bad situations, so ask the Father to keep you on the straight & narrow, and when it feels like your life is out of control and the Devil meets you on the straight and narrow to beat you up and throw you in the ditch half dead, make sure your asking God to deliver you from the Evil One. He answers these kinds of prayers! Do you believe this?