“Any child of God can ask assistance in weighing the message of uninspired authors while beseeching a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of the things of God has said (Ephesians 1:17; James 1:5-7). This not only comforts; it creates a sense of humility and of responsibility (James 3:1).” – Edward Fudge
That being said, I want to share my understand of “prophecy in full”, in contrast to “prophecy in part” that we read in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12. Namely, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away (1 Corinthians 13:9-10)”.
The other night I shared that I believe in the power of prophesying today. This was met with a barrage of comments, many attacking my view and mocking it. I totally understand the hurt and aggravation that comes from false prophecy, and especially the overly emotional sensation driven Pentecostalism that holds many captive, therefore I exhort my brethren with 1 Thessalonians 5:21. “Examine everything carefully…” is exactly what I endeavor to do as I look into this doctrine.
I honestly believe that 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 is speaking directly to this situation. Contrary to the historical conditioning that comes to us from ‘Church history’, Christians should be willing to listen, or eager to listen to prophecies. I am not talking about odd philosophies or new teachings as cautioned against in Scripture, but words that confirm what we already know about the character, nature, and revelation of God.
Allow me to share a personal example, and then I will explain why I believe this is in line with what God has done in times past and what that revealed in a fulfilled view.
The other day I was at a meeting with some other Christians who hold to a Pentecostal persuasion therefore express their worship in charasmatic ways. The pastor who was to share began to explain “what God has put on his heart”. He shared with us about “the Breath of God”. He turned to Malachi chapter 3, and read “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way for Me. And the Lord, who you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”
He then shared his knowledge of the historical context and how this was fulfilled in John the Baptist and the Messiah. He explained the details of Christ going to the Temple, Christ establishing the New Covenant in His blood, and Christ’s coming. I personally believe Dr. Don Preston does a great job in exegeting the understanding of this prophecy and its fulfillment (I will include a link in the Notes section). I can also see a great point made for the deity of Christ.
The simple reading of the Scripture and the truths it reminded me of, was so encouraging. However the brother went on to explain what he sees as the “heart of God” in our current day. He began to expound on the need for those of us who are the “priests and kings of God” need to contend for pure doctrine. He mentioned that we should “give head to things we have heard, lest we let them slip (Hebrews 2:1). He made a great point that many ‘teachers of the Word’ have given in to so many teachings and have not established the necessary components of the Gospel – Who God is and what He has accomplished.
Amen and Amen! He exhorted us all about the need for contending for pure doctrine (Jude 3) and be earnest in our study of the details that need to be refined.
Also, he spoke boldly to us about the need for Christians, especially leaders to step up our behavior. We have to stop “talking stuff we aren’t living.” Right there, I began to think about the true power of God that has been given to Believers. See Ephesians chapter 1. I began to examine myself. Do I truly live like I know the power of God? Am I aware of the Spiritual things as out-workings of my faith in God? Am I ‘adaptable to the Spirit’?
Finally to sum things up. The brother than exhorted us for the need to begin being ready for a ‘move of God’. Simply put, a revival throughout our society where people are coming into the ‘knowledge of God’.
I was so encouraged. We then went around the table sharing our thoughts. I explained how excited I was. Would my ‘preterist brethren’ be as excited? Do many among us even give thought to what the outworking of a fulfilled eschaton is? Does it mean retirement of the God of Wonders? I dare not say that.
So allow me to explain why I believe there can indeed be a manifestation of the power of prophecy within the current Christian body. In 1 Corinthians 13, we are dealing with the power of love over all things, even up to the last verse of the chapter. Within that text, the Apostle Paul expounds upon the ‘cessation’ of the gifts that speak to the ‘the age to Come’ – when the perfect comes. The ‘gift of prophecy’ will cease, tongues will cease, etc. Tongues was a prophecy spoken of through the prophet Joel about the ‘coming of the Lord’ therefore fulfilled and found ‘cessation’. The ‘gift of prophecy’ was ‘gifting’ given to some as we read Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others to be found throughout the New Testament – done in part concerning the comings of the Lord mentioned throughout their writings, the future Messianic age, the ‘heavens and the earth’ (both old and new), and coming judgment. This was partial, as they could just barely understand the ‘mystery’ concerning the inclusion of the Gentiles as we read in the writings of Isaiah and the book of Ephesians.
There is a lacking power of proper contextual ‘applicational theology’. As Preterism develops, I believe the contextual ‘applicational theology’ we can attain is indeed ‘fulfilled prophecy’, the power of prophesying in our day, otherwise known as ‘the healing of the nations’.
In my estimation, even as a ‘semi-cessationist’, it is against the truth of God as has been revealed to say that there is no power in prophesying God’s Word in the lives of people today.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano