344 – Prophecy Is…

There are two types of prophecy: canonical and particular.

“Cannon” is a big, fancy word for Bible, meaning that it can always be trusted as having “authority” as God’s Word. That “authoritative” teaching power can help, guide, correct, and explain life to all people in all times in all circumstances. (Of course, God’s Word must be translated and understood for people to receive it, but that opens the separate discussion of the need to translate God’s Word out of concern for all Mankind.) “Canonical” prophecy is prophecy in the authoritative “canon”, God’s Word; it carries the power of God’s Word and is useful for all people.

“Particular” prophecy, however, might also be called “particular revelation”. It is not for all people and is not part of the Biblical “canon”; it’s prophecy outside God’s Word. This is an idea that you might have while you are praying silently, listening for God to give you an idea. It could also be a simple message that God has a friend deliver to you.

Prophecy, whether canonical or particular, can be “foretelling” (about the future) or “forthtelling” (a simple message from God).

Foretelling is a prediction of the future. God’s Word says that foretelling might be wrong, which does not make the “prophet” (the person who told the prophecy) a bad or dangerous person. God commanded ancient Israel to put to death a prophet who performed miracles while also endorsing immoral behavior. Samuel was special because all of his foretellings came true; Nathan made a simple mistake and corrected it.

Canonical prophecy is part of God’s Word, so it doesn’t need as much “wiggle room” on our part to accept it. But, when someone has a message (particular forthtelling) for us, or we get one from God directly, it is easy to misunderstand.

Particular forthtelling almost never involves directing another’s “domestic” decisions, such as personal finances, possessing a home or car, marriage, and choice of a school. God usually indicates those matters directly with us and endows us with “wisdom” to make our own decisions.

All prophecy must be interpreted through God’s Word, even prophecy in God’s Word. Always keep praying and studying God’s Word to understand any prophecy.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:15-22, 1 Samuel 3:19, 2 Samuel 7:1-17