Witnessing Prophecy

“And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.””
Revelation‬ ‭19:9-10‬ ‭NLT

It is almost as though the angel tossed in a throw-away comment. A nugget of gold emerging unexpectedly in John’s vision of the wedding feast. The angel made the statement to John, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus”. What was the angel saying here? 

What is prophesy? Many people think that they can foretell the future and call their message a prophecy. Christians can get excited when a brother or sister brings a “prophetic word” in a meeting. “Prophecies” can take the form of pictures or visions, poems or songs. There is a prophetic gift of the Holy Spirit, as we read in Romans 12:6, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.” But three things must be noted. Firstly, any prophetic message must align with Biblical truth. So a “prophesy” that declares something that conflicts with Scripture, or tries to add something to it, must be viewed with suspicion, and, if necessary, discarded. Secondly, prophecies are for edification. We read in 1 Corinthians  14:3,  “But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.” Thirdly, as our verse records today, the angel reminded John that prophecies must provide “a clear witness for Jesus”. 

Ultimately, the purpose of a prophetic word must be to point the hearers back to God. It could involve the speaking out of Scripture, God’s Word. It could involve our testimonies of God’s grace and love. It may even connect a Biblical message with someone’s life and future. But in the end, it is all about God.

We must always be on the lookout for prophecies that don’t stack up, and we must beware of false prophets. The Apostle Peter warned about them, as we read in 2 Peter 2:1, “But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.” Jesus warned His disciples about false prophets, in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves”. 

We pilgrims can be assured that the angel’s words describing to John what was about to happen – the greatest and most devastating war that this planet has ever seen – were true and came directly from God. Prophetic they may have been in John’s vision, but they gave a “clear witness for Jesus”. The marriage feast and Armageddon will both happen one day. Probably sooner than we think.

Dear Lord and Father God, we thank You for Your prophetic words recorded by John. Please never let us despise prophesy. We pray that You will give us the discernment to separate the good from the false. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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