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Prophecies: Biblical perspectives on why they fail by Leke Alder (1)  

by Church Times


By leke Alder


WHY DO PROPHECIES FAIL? It’s a very big issue. It calls into question the calling of a pastor or prophet. We’re supposed to test prophecy. The Bible says, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21.

 But how do we test prophecy? Well, the most basic test is whether it even aligns with the scriptures.

 It will be very funny if God says something that contradicts his Word. It means he’s confused and his word is not eternal, or he lied. But God cannot lie. Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2.

 There’s also the fulfillment test: “You may be wondering among yourselves, “How can we tell the difference, whether it was God who spoke or not?”

 Here’s how: If what the prophet spoke in God’s name doesn’t happen, then obviously God wasn’t behind it; the prophet made it up. Forget about him.”  Deuteronomy 18:21‭-‬22 MSG.

 But there are two provisos to this test. The first is, a prophecy may take some time before being fulfilled. A prophecy made by Agabus in Acts took some time to be fulfilled: “At that time there were prophets in the church of Jerusalem, and some of them came to Antioch.

One of them, named Agabus, stood up in one of the meetings and prophesied by the Holy Spirit that a severe famine was about to come over Israel. (This prophecy was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius Caesar.)” Acts 11:27-28

 The second is that God can change his mind about a situation based on developments or our reactions.  Take the prophecy against Ahab’s family. When Ahab showed remorse God deferred fulfillment of the prophecy. 1 Kings 21:25-29.

 Our friend Jonah had a problem with God in this regard. He was sent to prophesy against Nineveh but then the people repented and God overturned his judgement. Jonah 3:5-10

 There are therefore two types of prophecy: absolute prophecy and dynamic prophecy. An absolute prophecy will come to pass no matter what. Examples include prophecies about the Messiah.

 But a prophecy may be overturned by God based on our reaction. That is a dynamic prophecy. Dynamic prophecies tend to be about judgment. Mercy can overturn judgement.


Leke Alder, brand specialist


God functions in two capacities

 When you study the Bible you will discover God functions in two capacities – the ministerial and the sovereign. The world is used to His ministerial function – the God who is merciful forgives, heals, feeds us, clothes us, and gives us loving assurances.

 But that’s NOT the totality of God. There’s a political dimension to God. In that dimension, he governs ALL the nations of the world.

 All powers, all kings, and all spirits are subject to his authority, including his enemies. It was in this sovereign capacity he had a side meeting with Satan at that UN conference and Job came up. He is a sovereign Lord.

 A different set of rules governs this sovereign dimension. He’s an absolutist. There are no moral qualifiers. Whatever he does is right. Whatever political equation the countries throw up he accepts, but he maintains his sovereign authority.

 It is in this light we can come to understand why God sent a lying spirit to some prophets in 1 Kings 22. They prophesied victory for King Ahab in war. Only one prophet spoke otherwise and they locked him up.

Now, those prophets who prophesied propaganda functioned in their unction. They weren’t lying as far as they knew. But their prophecy was bound to fail because it was inspired by lies. The common characteristic of these prophets is that they were political contractors, like Balaam. They wanted to please the government. They love power and status.

 Their allegiance was not to God but to the king and their belly. They told the government what it wanted to hear.  Note that the context was the judgment of Ahab, a truly evil king. God needed to lure Ahab to war to destroy him. His lying prophets facilitated his demise.

 Therefore another reason prophecies fail is lying inspiration.

Without an understanding of the political and sovereign dimension of God, you will struggle with certain scriptures. Some people imagine for example that Heaven is built up of real estate like Lekki in Lagos, just because Jesus said, “In my father’s house are many mansions.” John 14:2-3.
They imagine all God does is sit on a fancy throne receiving worship all day. But God has a job. He runs a government, administering Heaven, the universe, and other dimensions we know nothing about. Earth is just a colony. Figuratively God goes to work on Mondays. John 5:17.
There is a ton of civil servants at his behest. The Bible describes Satan as an ambitious and corrupt government official. Ezekiel 28:17. There’s also a huge army, billions of which work in foreign missions abroad. They’re on Earth for example. Psalm 91:11.
The Brigade of Guards numbers over 100 million. Revelation 5:11. Hebrews 12: 22. The barracks for the army alone will swallow Earth. But the huge army typifies the unimaginable concentration of power in God. He has Secret Service too.
The spirit who volunteered to put lying propaganda in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets was probably in the Department of State Security. What he did is technically known as “statecraft” – the creation of illusion. The strategy was authorised by God. 1 Kings 22:22-23. It wasn’t Satan. He was not at the strategy meeting.
Our lack of understanding of the political operatives of God and his sovereignty is why we morally struggle with the fact God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to use him as PR material. Romans 9:17. It is also the reason we struggle to understand how God can have a side meeting with Satan at a conference. But even Russia and America were speaking to each other during the cold war. They met at UN conferences. It’s political.
We can’t create the God we want. We can’t fit God into our mold. We have to accept what God says about himself. God said he creates evil (disaster) for instance. Isiah 45:7. It doesn’t contravene the scripture that says God cannot be tempted with evil. James 1:13. Our duty is to reconcile our theology not read something else into God’s word.

 Leke Alder is a Strategy, Policy & Brand, Consultant. He is also a teacher of God’s word

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