Genuine Prophecy Unfulfilled

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But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27 NKJV

I recently finished a line by line, word by word study of the Gospels and boy, was I blessed! I took Dr. E.W. Bullingers COMPANION BIBLE and went through it note by note, with all the appendices and looking up every reference that I didn’t know by heart. Bullinger is brilliant on prophecy and the subject of the integrity of scripture but, because he is a strict cessationist (it all ended in Acts 28 according to EW – but to be fair to him, he died in 1913 when Azusa was only seven years old), he’s not real good on the gifts of the Spirit. BUT…he helped me to understand some extremely difficult scripture in the gospels, like the one above.

Bullinger points out the CONDITIONAL nature of genuine prophecy. For instance, that Luke 9:27 would have been fulfilled if the conditions for its fulfillment were met, namely the repentance of the nation and the recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, which I suspect would have had to occur in the forty days after His death and resurrection, while He witnessed to Israel that He was alive. Had it occurred at that time then the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 would have been an even greater event than it came to be.

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Jonah 3:4 NKJV

The classic case of genuine prophecy unfulfilled is Jonah. The people of Nineveh responded to the declaration of this vagabond Israeli – he probably told them the whole story, with his running away from God’s assignment, the ship, the storm, the fish, his drowning and resurrection, finishing his story with the line, “Repent, or you people are TOAST!” Then he went out to await the destruction of the city, only to be foiled when it didn’t happen.

These are two cases of genuine prophecy being unfulfilled. Why does this happen? Dutch Sheets shared something about the conditional nature of prophecy when he shared that prophecy is like God saying, This is possible (the essence of that particular prophecy) if you believe Me! You have this (the prophecy) available to you from Me if you rise up, pay the price, make the sacrifices necessary to believe Me. I’ve prophesied to two guys that they could be president of their countries. I’m 0 -1, so far. The one guy, a national candidate, brushed aside my words – crazy white man! – and lost the election and the other guy…well, we will see. I believe both prophecies were genuine.

The thing to understand about the future is that it is not ‘set in stone.’ The will of God will be done. If Christ comes back today, tomorrow, next year or a hundred years from now, it will be done, and we still seek to live holy lives in light of that hope. What about prophecies of doom and gloom, prophesies of destruction like Jonah’s? Is God forced to fulfill the exact terms of every genuine prophecy spoken? Does God still use prophetic ministry to bring His people closer to Him? He obviously used Jonah’s extraordinary ministry to show mercy to the people of Nineveh, much to Jonah’s displeasure.

There’s an amazing conversation about prophetic intercession and intercessory prayer in Exodus.

And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”

Suppose at this point Moses had said, “That prophecy! That’s the will of the Lord! God is going to destroy Israel and make of me a great nation!” He could make that argument, couldn’t he? If Moses had been a selfish man, perhaps the history of the OT could have been strangely different, but he wasn’t. He was a humble man, and God was working in him all through this conversation. He even tells this story to the children of Israel later on in Deuteronomy. Moses takes this word and essentially says NO to God. “No, I WILL NOT leave You alone!”

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Ezek 22:30 NKJV

One aspect of God’s nature that we have to meditate on is that He is POWERFUL and DANGEROUS, as David Snoke points out in his book A BIBLICAL CASE FOR AN OLD EARTH (great book! He’s a physicist, and a theologian, and probably a cessationist because he’s a Presbyterian, but he is awesome on this subject – I had to reread the book after seeing some interesting things at the Ark and Creation Museum in northern Kentucky). He is powerful and dangerous, period. We also consider that mercy triumphs over judgment, to the extent that people position themselves to receive that mercy. The Lord is working with Moses, commiserating with his challenges with Israel, and drawing out his, Moses, love for the people, so that he would stand in the place of intercession for them.

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?  Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'” 

Moses reminds the Lord of His word, which is a powerful intercessory move…

So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His peopleEx 32:9-14 NKJV

We are hearing lots of prophecies about the imminent destruction of America, and for us as sons and daughters of God and as Americans, it should drive us to our knees in prayer, that the Lord should show mercy on us, as He did to Nineveh and the crazy Israelis. Worrying about whether you should change from cash to gold, or how much food you should have stocked up, is at best a secondary consideration. I believe in preparation, but the greatest preparation is to prepare our hearts before Him, to know Him who supplies our every need, our very breath, and to know His still small voice in time of trouble.

I recently heard a testimony about a woman whom the Lord told to shut herself in and pray for three months in tongues. She said that when she emerged she knew everything about everybody, that she was frightened by the power that was resting on her. She walked up to someone and told them specific details about their employer, which when the employer heard about her, he had her flown out to meet them and the whole family got saved. Dave Roberson testified essentially the same thing in his book THE WALK OF THE SPIRIT – THE WALK OF POWER. He said that he left the timber mills in Oregon to become a pastor, and he prayed in tongues according to the same schedule that he worked at the mill. When the mill whistle blew, he started praying in the spirit. When the whistle signaled the end of the work shift, he stopped. And he started to move in great power. By the way, that great promise of ‘all things work together for good’ is set in the context of praying in the spirit, speaking in tongues. It is NOT a blanket statement for every believer in every circumstance.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thess 5:19-21 NKJV

When you hear a prophecy, first go before the Lord and ask Him if it is genuine. Wait until He clearly replies. If I went to my father and said, “Dad, can I have the keys to the car?” I would stand there and wait until he replied. One major aspect of prophecies that we hear is that they are not the complete story in themselves. We prophesy in part. That ‘part’ that we hear may have an opposite side to it that balances it and presents a more complete picture. So, we test prophecies, pray about them, and continually seek the leading of the Lord. And we go play baseball with our children, instead of worrying ourselves into a frenzy! Real trust allows you to rest in the Lord. Another reality is the Lord may be making known to you the plans of the enemy, so that you stand against them and rebuke them.

…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices (NOEMA: schemes, plans, purposes, intentions). 2 Cor 2:11 NKJV

I learned this forcefully many years ago when I did a series of meetings in a little church in Lake Baringo Kenya. We saw some fantastic healings and people coming to Christ. As I prepared for the last meeting, the Lord spoke to me outside the pastor’s home, and said, “Do you want to know what the devil is thinking?” I said, “Sure!” He said, “The devil’s thinking: ‘The preachers came, they made a little noise, but tomorrow its back to business as usual’!” So, the last time I preached I shared about ‘No more business as usual,’ and that ministry grew to five churches!

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” Ps 70:4 NKJV

As you weigh prophecies, remember that history is full of stories of groups of Christians ‘running for the hills’ for one reason or another, most all of which never came to pass. If I continue to seek the Lord, love Him and love others, my God will be faithful to me and my house like He has all the days of my life. Now, that’s not to say, don’t stock up on food – things can happen, like our fires in 2020 – and maybe you should store some gold and silver. But your great source of supply, your great reservoir of strength, is in the Lord your God. Make sure of your relationship with Him and you can rejoice in anticipation of the future. Love you!

Remember dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…