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God speaks through people the world deems insignificant. The Bible abounds with such examples. We’re going to look at one in this article. We will learn that we should not ignore people who speak prophetic words though they are unimportant by the world’s standards. The passage I would like to examine concerns an unknown man and the wonderful prophetic words he spoke to the parents of Jesus when they came to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. This is the only place in the New Testament where this man Simeon appears. He was not a renowned prophet.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel’” (Luke 2:25–32).1  

One part of this word from the Lord would have stuck out like a sore thumb, I should think:

The child was to be “A light for revelation to the Gentiles.”

If the Jewish religious leaders had heard that, they would probably have tried to kill Simeon. They believed, as all Jews did, that the Messiah would be a Jew, and He was to come for God’s chosen people alone. When later in the same book, Jesus, whom the leaders considered to be an irritating, undistinguished son of a carpenter from the disreputable city of Nazareth, said that God’s prophets Elijah and Elisha had been sent to people who weren’t Jews, they wanted to kill Him (Luke 4:25–29). 

God has not changed His strategy. He still uses people of insignificance to speak His words. Christians should listen when an unknown person speaks a word from God that makes us uncomfortable or even angry. A word of caution: We should be discerning and check such utterances against Scripture. If Scripture isn’t relevant to what was spoken, we should put the information on the back burner. (A biblical example would be the prophet Agabus prophesying about a coming famine in Acts 11:28.) We should pray and ask the Lord if it’s true. I have found that it may take some time for some prophetic utterances to be proved true. Some have taken years. This is also true of Simeon’s prophecy. It would take thirty years for his prophecy to come to fruition.

Christians, though unknown and insignificant, should not be afraid to speak the truth of what God is saying. However, let us be certain it is Him speaking, not just ourselves.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy tenor.

I have been given four prophetic utterances in my decades-long walk with Jesus. The first ended up revealing a sin, unknown to me and everyone else, that resulted in the total upheaval and dispersal of a fellowship which my wife and I were thoroughly enjoying and thankful for. The second ended up being a warning of a difficult time for two missionaries headed to Indonesia. The third was positive and concerned the assurance for a couple that they would get the two young orphans they were trying to adopt and bring to the United States. The fourth and last was a warning about God’s judgment to come about which you may have read here previously. Unlike prophets in Scripture, I have not been persecuted for these prophesies. I do not consider myself a prophet. I would never compare myself to those we read about in Scripture. It is difficult for me to imagine the experiences they had as they wrote down what the Lord was revealing to them.

The prophet Jeremiah had warned Judah repeatedly that unless they stopped worshiping idols and disobeying God, they would be destroyed. He even told them what nation would destroy them: Babylon. The people and leaders ignored him completely. When Jeremiah encouraged the inhabitants to go over to the Babylonian army in order to save their lives, they accused him of treason and threw him into a muddy well.

Prophets are sometimes rejected. Jesus prophesied, too. His prophecies were often warnings about judgments to come. One of them in particular was the last straw for the legalistic religious leaders who hated Him and wanted to kill Him. When they demanded that He tell them if He was the Christ, the Son of God, He responded,

“‘You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death’” (Matthew 26:64–66).

Prophecies are troublesome. Controversial. Messy. Despite this, Peter stood up on the Day of Pentecost and said,

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17–18).1

Since that Pentecost was in the last days as was evidenced by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and if we are still in the last days, the prophecy from Joel is still in force. No biblical evidence suggests otherwise. Those who reject prophecies should wonder why Paul would write these two following verses.

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

“Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20–21).

As troubling and controversial as prophecies can be, the Lord Himself commands them to continue. We are told how to deal with them during the gathering (1 Corinthians 14:29). I can only deduce that the Lord wants things a bit messy in His Church and is unconcerned about it. However, ignoring this, large swaths of the Church have rejected prophecies entirely. Yes, false prophets abound, but they did in the Old Testament, too. Thus, there is no excuse to reject the gift entirely. Let’s be honest and admit that it is easier and “safer” to follow the service program without interruption. Ricky ticky, ricky ticky. Everything must be nice and everyone must be happy.

What, then, shall we do with this from the prophet Amos?

“For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secrets to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:7–8).

It appears that the Church would rather leave prophets in the mud. We do so to our peril.

Lord, please continue to reveal your secrets to Your servants the prophets, as You told Amos. Please give us the discernment to know the false prophets from those that are true.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

DT1970

Prophecy is messy.

Uncomfortable.

Often hard to hear.

But good and loving.

We’ll learn about this truth in a brief account of Paul’s trip to Rome. He was going there as a prisoner to be judged for his crime: preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Over ten years ago, Laurie and I taught English in China. (We were also there for just a year in 2001.) On one very special evening, we prayed for several young ladies to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The prayer time began when I laid hands on and prayed for a young lady whom I will call Mary, in order to protect her identity. I closed my eyes, put my hand on the top of her head and—clunk—felt a bonk on my forehead. I opened my eyes and saw that Mary had collapsed onto the floor of our apartment. She began wailing loudly, like she had lost a beloved friend or relative. Since there was a Chinese guard only a few yards from our front door, this was a concern to us. Thankfully, there was no ominous knock on the door.

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