According to what we know of Scripture and history, culture and context, prophesy has much more to do with “forth-telling” than “fore-telling.” Real prophesy — way back then and right now today — means applying the message from God to the current situations of our times. And I think God’s Church today desperately needs a renewed emphasis on this kind of prophesy.
A resurgence of true prophesy would cause us to take firmer stands against the evils of the world. God’s people would speak out against injustice, violence, aggression, war, unfaithfulness, and crime. We wouldn’t allow lying or back-biting or gossip or pride or greed to corrupt our congregations. We would speak more and act more in ways that indict and convict, liberate and transform.
The key to prophesy, though, is to realize that it’s always been intended for the Church. Prophesy is first to God’s people, only secondarily for the rest of the world. Study Isaiah and Jesus, Amos and John, Habakkuk and Paul — that’s the way it works. Only when God’s people are changed by prophesy can they then offer the message to the surrounding community. As we truly learn to live as members of one another, our alternative lifestyle will ultimately challenge the culture around us. But only as we become a truly Christian community with a truly biblical lifestyle will that work.
The Church needs more prophets. We need more men and women proclaiming the powerful Word of God. Even when they don’t feel like it. Even when they know that Word is going to upset some in the faith community. Even when a situation seems to be a lost cause. We need more prophets exercising their God-given graces according to their faith. Then our God, who promises his Word will never return to him empty, will bless both us and this world as we preach and teach, trust and obey.