The dictionary refers to prophecy as a “miracle of knowledge, a declaration, description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture.” In ancient days, Jewish leaders relied on prophets, people with the gift of discernment, able to see or sense future events. Men and women of God relied on a special anointing to help advise and guide kings starting with Saul, then continuing this practice throughout the Old Testament.
Then the angel whom I had seen standing on the sea and the land raised his right hand [to swear an oath] to heaven, 6 and swore [an oath] by [the name of] Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer, 7 but when it is time for the trumpet call of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God [that is, His hidden purpose and plan] is finished, as He announced the gospel to His servants the prophets, Revelation 10:5-7.
Unfortunately, modern times have revealed false prophets, schemers and teachers. These individuals have deceived vulnerable souls, in some cases extorting money from desperate and poor people hoping for a miracle. These factors have made believing in the concept of a genuine prophet today difficult. When I read passages from John the revelator, it takes time to digest what is written, especially in the passage above and below. Any curious person would want to know the mystery of God. Pursuing this hidden information might unveil God’s purpose and will for your life, but this quest will not happen over night. Rather, digesting prophecy is a lengthy process, causing one famous pastor to wait 20 years before preaching on Revelation.
Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking to me, and saying, “Go, take the book (scroll) which is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the little book. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey,” Revelation 10:8-9.
In verse 9, Christians are encouraged to read the Bible, chew and meditate upon the messages within this book. According to the revelation above, some of the teachings of the Bible won’t sit well, like a bitter taste in your mouth. Other topics will taste as sweet as honey. Thus, as you begin to digest prophecy, its not an easy process. Certain aspects will remain confusing and hidden, leaving your understanding about parts of the Bible in the dark. As a former Bible teacher, this is frustrating, especially when you have to address the unknown in class. Nonetheless, I press on, honesty confessing that there are books and issues that I am still digesting. May this blog motivate you to diligently study the Word of God so that the unclear becomes clear as people digest prophecy.
by Jay Mankus