The Book of Hebrews and today’s political prophets
Recently, the church I belong to started house groups (nothing new here but it was for us). A central activity of what we were to do when we met was to study the Book of Hebrews.
I was surprised and delighted at the decision because Hebrews is an amazing book and to get a proper understanding of its message one needs to cross refer to lots of Hebrew (OT) scriptures. For example, in the rather ambitious undertaking to do the first chapter, it was noted that there are significant references to five Psalms, at least three of which (2, 45 and 110) are overtly messianic.
Part of the discussion was how does God speak to us today? The answer is given in the text quoted above (and you can’t beat the KJV for its way with words) – “by His Son”. We also agreed that the Bible should be our first and foremost go to place when answering the question. We also got on the subject of prophets, noting “God … who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets”. While the reference was to the Hebrew prophets, the questions arose: what about today’s prophets, mindful some of the group would be regarded as theologically “cessationist”.
I related an experience going back fifty years, when Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones visited my church (long before I became a member and before the time of everyone else in attendance – I was in the sixth form at school and was encouraged to attend by an older friend who later became a leader of the then emerging charismatic movement). He preached on the text: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy” 1 Corinthians 14:1, although my recollection was that the good doctor’s understanding of prophecy was to do with inspired preaching and utterances such that “there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all” 1 Corinthians 14:24. I then related an experience I had when an older member in our group (who knew and admired the doctor) preached on the subject of idolatry and made the point that one of the last idols to go in a believer’s life was needing to feel useful – and that word was for me!
As there was a lot more to go through on this wonderful first chapter of Hebrews, and this was not the time or place to share my views on political prophets (which included most of the Hebrew prophets who often prophesied with respect to what was taking place at the time), we moved on. But I must declare an interest. The subject of Bible prophets and prophecy, as well as that of today’s prophets (false, charismatic but not political, charismatic but also political) is covered in my book: “Prophets of the Bible”. It is a controversial subject, even among good, sound Christians, including those who deem prophecy is not for today, with those who do prophesy likely false prophets, and among the charismatic prophets who believe in prophecy for individuals and in church settings, including the predictive element, but not political prophecy. Recently, I read a book titled “Prophetic Integrity” by R.T.Kendall (here is my review). RT is an expository hero of mine and yet, in the book, he made the point that those political prophets, who predicted Donald Trump would serve a second consecutive term as US President, needed to repent for prophesying falsely, and not just dear RT, for there are many who believe the gift of prophecy is for today but believe most political prophets are NOT the real deal.
Two resources I go to: Elijah Streams and Richard’s Watch, I do so in order to find out what political prophets are saying about current events. Let’s face it, things are happening at an alarming rate and it is difficult to figure out what is really going on because government, media and the elites and experts of society all lie to us, and while I do not accept all that is said by the prophets which feature, I often find what is shared helpful. One of Richard’s recent posts is titled: “On this blog’s coverage of prophecy and politics”. It begins “It’s so good that, at long last, Britain has a growing number of Christians who appreciate not only Bible prophecy but are also blessed by Holy Spirit’s gift of prophecy. However, other than for climate issues, most churchgoers are reticent to consider political issues in any depth, because they prefer to focus mainly upon Kingdom-related matters”. Richard, provides a remarkable feature to his website – he documents when prophecies he shared have been fulfilled – and many have been, which is also remarkable given even some of the predictions of the Hebrew prophets are yet to come pass over 2500 years on – yet many have been and precisely so, thus demonstrating the credibility of the Holy Bible. As for God speaking through today prophets, why shouldn’t He? But I would add the counsel the Apostle Paul gave to the church at Thessalonica:
As I say, trying to figure out what is going on in the world is a challenge, but it is one we should face. Sadly, many including among Christians have been deceived because of what people wrongly believe and this includes among Christian leaders, e.g. regarding Covid-19 and “vaccines”. One may ask: should we not focus on being faithful Christians etc? Yes and No! Going back to our Hebrews Bible study, God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” and continues to do so through His Word, to which I would add – through prayer and the mystery back in the day we called guidance. He also speaks to us through HIS today’s non political and political prophets, just as he told Joel He would, 2800 years ago!
Checking out past blogs, I found less than two months ago I blogged “What to make of modern-day “political prophets”, like Kim Clement?“, making similar points to what I have done here, and with specific examples, making me realise my forgetting I did and repeating is another “senior moment” but also the matter of prophets and prophecy for the church is an important one.