One of the really tough things to face today is that there are people within the body of Christ who are called to be a prophet, and the word you hear from one appears to be in conflict with the prophetic word that comes from another. It can seem that either God doesn’t know what He’s doing or that God’s servants aren’t really hearing from God. What are God’s people to do when this occurs? How should the body respond in the wake of events where it appears to be this mangled mess before God’s people? Do we have to choose sides? Is there really a side to choose?
I believe that the greatest example the body of Christ has is always the scriptures that have been given to us as a means of putting things into context and even give us history as a model. With this in mind, there are a few things to consider when looking at this.
Varied Callings: Whether you look at Old Testament example of prophets or New Testament examples of the apostles who at times prophesied, there is no doubt that there is evidence that each one had a unique calling which they followed. As such, they each also had a specific and God ordained people that they were called to speak to. Much of Peter’s ministry was to the Jews, while Paul’s was to the Gentiles. Much of the prophetic word that John shared with the people of his day are still yet for generations yet to be born. That fact did not negate the words they spoke or who they spoke them to. It did not make them false prophets. It made them men who spoke what God wanted spoken at the time He had them to speak it.
The amazing thing about God is that there are enough people in the world today that there can be many levels at which God’s word must reach. One prophet today may have a calling to a local ministry, while yet another may be called to a larger region or even global calling. You can have prophets that are called to the marketplace or to a specific mountain of cultural influence. Joseph, the son of Jacob had an anointing to interpret dreams and his gift put him in a place to counsel a king. The same could be said for Nehemiah, Ezra, and Daniel. Elijah and Elisha not only spoke before kings but also ministered to people at a more grassroots level. The same can be seen today.
Prophets are Subject to Error: When some people consider that prophets are subject to error, the ide to many of them is that this makes them a false prophet. This is not the case. When prophets proclaim a word, it must be framed within the limitations of the fact that prophets are human. There are times when human flesh, human understanding, the human heart, or some other thing can become a barrier to the prophets hearing God clearly in the Spirit. If a prophet is not fully in the Spirit or even if while in the Spirit is unable to frame what has been received into a present day context, it can be communicated in such a way that is not the full revelation of what God is speaking. Paul mentions that we know in part and prophesy in part (See 1st Corinthians 13:9).
Prophecies are Subject to the Hearer: In as much as the prophet hears and may prophesy in part, the person who hears, being human, can receive or hear in part. The person hearing must have an ear to hear what God is saying. This requires that the hearer be in proper relationship with God and be willing to be open to what has been spoken. Nothing can enter a closed heart or ear.
Prophecies Must Be Tested: Another thing that must be considered is that the word spoken by the prophet must also be tested to see how it lines up with scriptures. Just like a prophets call can be to a specific people or for a specified time, determining whether that word lines up to the standard and ways in which we have seen God speak and/or operate. What precedents have been established? If there is no precedent, is there something in what has been spoken that can at least be inferred upon to say there is at least something there that is potentially valuable or can be verified through a prayer that gives peace?
Paul the apostle makes a few things abundantly clear. When he speaks to the people of Corinth, he mentions that there is one body, yet many members. When he speaks to this, he is referring to the fact that there are many gifts among the body and that not everyone is going to have the same gifts or callings. He also said that because we are one body, no one should say that one part of the body is more important or less important than another part of the body. Each part has a function and a degree of importance. So much so that those parts that are more sensitive must have greater protection.
One thing that I know for sure is that God’s love is broad for the world He created, and yet it is so specific that he can show compassion for every individual that lives. He forsakes none because love is His very nature. So when you see a prophet giving a prophetic word that seems to be at odds with another, our hearts first must be tuned to God’s own heart to perceive how this seeming contrast might yet still be valid. If we are too quick to judge the word or the prophet as being wrong, we could inadvertently curse the move of God and delay the blessing he is desiring to see fulfilled.
As the body of Christ begins to move ahead into the coming weeks and even the years ahead, humility and maturity will be key to growth and progress for the body. If the body of Christ is able to catch this and to move accordingly, there can be no doubt that there will be a great shift that takes place throughout the nations at every level of influence that we all are called to make our mark.
QUESTION: How do you navigate discerning truth when prophets and prophetic words appear to be in conflict?
- TB Joshua: Prayers of Americans ‘reversed’ my prophecy on US election (vanguardngr.com)
- These Prophetic Days and the End Times (standupforthetruth.com)