“A prophecy is defined as the foretelling of what is to come; a promise is a declaration that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen.”
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been studying prophets in the Bible… for reasons best known to God (hmmm, is God trying to tell me something?). Their lives are pretty interesting. So for each of the prophet that I studied, I had a timeline of their prophecies, the impact of those prophecies, who it was spoken to (the kings at the time), and the state of Israel at the time of these prophecies. Quite a few of the prophets sparked my interest because of how God related with them…. the most obvious of them being Hosea. If you’re not familiar with Hosea’s story, I suggest you read the whole book. He was the prophet who got married to the prostitute….. oh his story was intriguing. I can’t imagine how he must have felt watching his beloved wife struggle to get back to her former lovers. Anyways, I drift from the intent of this post, so I do hope you read that book and share your thoughts in the comment section. You could also read an abridged and fictional version of the story in Francine River’s Redeeming Love… her book brings the story to life.
Reading about these prophets got me thinking about a number of things….. the timing of prophecies, the accuracy of the prophecies, the boldness of the prophets, and the difference between prophecies and promises. I mean, most of those prophecies were about what God was set to do for His people, so why couldn’t I categorize them as promises as well. Both prophecies and promises are spoken as a message to the people…. so why not just call them all prophecies? Well, one thing I can note as a difference between both is the issue of timing. So promises do not have a time limit on them, all you have to do is believe it and you can claim it. Prophecies on the other hand have a set time when it will work.
Now it is this issue of timing that got me all interested in prophecies. One of the prophets that piqued my interest was Prophet Isaiah. Oh my, I have a lot to say about his time and how his prophecies really affected my idea of timing. I bet you already know he was the Prophet that spoke about the coming of Jesus as a Lamb. I mean, the prophecy was so accurate you would think it would happen in his time, but it happened several years later. During his time as a prophet, Israel had been divided into Israel and Judah, so he was a prophet to the King of Judah. He worked with Kings Ahaz and Hezekiah. King Ahaz was a terrible king who deserted the worship of God, but then came Hezekiah. He had all the traces of the One to come.. When he became king, he restored Israel to the worship of God and removed all forms of pagan worship. Now, how do you believe the prophet when it feels as if his prophecy is not coming to pass. In Deuteronomy 18: 21-22, you can only believe a word of prophecy when it is confirmed by God. I mean Isaiah’s prophecy came to pass, but not in his lifetime. I wonder if the people doubted him as a prophet. However, what I think is necessary to be noted is that when God gives a prophecy and it doesn’t come to pass, it’s not because God failed, it’s because we have misunderstood the prophecy. So what we need to do is go back to God and ask questions. Rather than sow a seed of doubt, we go back to the One who gave the prophecy for confirmation.
Something else we have to note about promises and prophecies is that for you to be able to enjoy the promises, you have to be obedient to His word. Prophecies sometimes comes as a result of our actions, whereas you have to key into promises to see them fulfilled. Whether you believe it or not, prophecies from God will be fulfilled. Yes, that’s right. Thing is, prophecies are usually for more than one person. So if one person refuses to believe the prophecy, it will still be fulfilled considering there are others who it will also affect. Promises on the other hand require you searching for them. God has given us so many promises in His word and all we have to do is search for them, believe them, and declare them.
Now Isaiah might have thought Jesus would come in his time. He might have looked for Jesus is kings that were coming up in his time because he wasn’t exactly told of the time of the fulfillment, but we almost cannot tell the story of Jesus without remembering that His coming was foretold by a prophet in the Old Testament. If your Bible believing prophet has said something concerning your life, I would advice that you key into that and believe them. In my church, my prophet is Bishop David Oyedepo and he has declared as he heard from God that this year, we are “More than conquerors,” that’s a prophecy I choose to believe. This doesn’t stop me from checking out God’s promises for me. In short, promises validate prophecies. When you’ve gotten a prophecy, just be sure that there are promises in God’s word that backs those promises. Like the prophets and the people in those days, key into God’s word and watch Him work things out for you. You are equipped for great things.
With all my love,