The modern charismatic church by and large has gotten backwards the role of prophecy. From what I have witnessed prophecy has become a Christian version of fortune telling.
It is wrongly believed that the role of the prophet is to foretell the future. Prophecy emerged at a time before we had a completed Old Testament let alone the New Testament. During the time of the prophets before the arrival of kings, everyone did what was right in their own eyes.
- “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man [doing] whatever is right in his own eyes; – Deuteronomy 12:8 NASB
- In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. – Judges 17:6 NASB
- In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. – Judges 21:25 NASB
And even though prophecy emerged before Kings and the Cannon, the New Testament clearly endorses the need of prophecy in the modern church.
- 1 Corinthians 14:31 NASB – 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;
So in order to know how to morally live God sent prophets.
Deuteronomy 18:15-19 NASB – 15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 “This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17 “The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require [it] of him.
The purpose of prophets is to do instruct the people how to live out what God commands.
In order to confirm that a prophet had the authority to speak morally, it was confirmed by foretelling what was to come.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NASB – 20 ‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
The purpose of foretelling was to confirm the authority of the moral commands.
Today we have that process reversed. When one is in need of knowing what a decision in life will bring in the future , they seek out someone who claims to have the moral authority to do so.
Instead of instructing those in need to be able to hear God for themselves, the modern charismatic prophets have set themselves up as a mediator between God and the believer.
We are reminded in 1 Timothy 2:5 NASB – 5 For there is one God, [and] one mediator also between God and men, [the] man Christ Jesus,
Hebrews 1:2 NASB – 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
And he has sent us the Holy Spirit to be our comforter in his place.
John 14:16-21 NASB – 16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 [that is] the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, [but] you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you [will] see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
Notice how the purpose of the comforter is ultimately to keep the commandments of God. And by keeping the commands of God one reveals the love of the Father.
That is why the Holy Spirit specifically states that prophecy is for three main purposes.
1 Corinthians 14:3-4 ESV – 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.
Notice that telling people what is to come is missing in the most basic definition of prophesy. The primary purpose of prophesy even in the New Testament is confirm to the church on how to live, not on what to do. Prophesy can be as simple as taking the hand of someone who is sick in the hospital and encouraging them that God loves them and has not forgotten them during this time.
The unspoken theology is that if you are moral you get to tell people their future on behalf of God instead of teaching them to hear God for themselves.
Jesus said in John 10:27 NASB – 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; Perhaps the real problem many Christians today face is not knowing what to do in the future, but in reality they do not know how to follow the Shepperd in the present.