From: The Preacher
1. Prophetic Options
Can God truly say something to one person different from what He says to another person about the same matter? Would it still be God when His prophets seem to be at variance in their declarations on the same subject? Can God be so uncertain of what to do with a nation as to leave an open door of multiple (sometimes opposite) options? Are some prophecies so *determined* that no prayers may change them, and others *variable,* so that they might be amended by human response?
Lately, on Nigeria’s national nightly online prayer platform, it was announced that, scanning the landscape of prophecies about the nation, a number of options seemed open: elections, a disruptive intervention, and interim governance. Even with the elections, prophets were not unanimous on whom the Lord could be sending. Having been praying against disruptions, however, it was stated that we could practically look in the direction of the elections, while continuing to trust ourselves to the Omniscience. That raised a few sincere concerns. Was God so confused about what to do with the nation that He would give options? Or was it we who were confused? Should everyone align with that counsel when what they were certain that God had revealed to them was different from what leadership was presenting? It was important to seek valid scriptural answers.
It is possible for God to confront a people with prophetic options any of which could become the ‘fulfilled’ word, but a ‘fulfilment’ determined by the choices of the people rather than by the omnipotence or predestination of God. In Deuteronomy 30:15, for example, God says, “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.”
That God is the speaker in that passage, is not in doubt. That options are presented, is very clear; and one does not need a university dictionary to understand the nature of the options. Altogether, the verse presents two pairs of four possibilities, some of them opposite in nature, but all emanating from the same God: life and good, death and evil, which could be explained thus:
1. Life – long life, preservation from premature death, existence.
2.Good – blessings, health and wealth. It is one thing to have ‘life,’ and another to have the ‘goods’ of life.
3. Death – a short life, with all the tragedies by means of which it can come about: wars, accidents, sicknesses and diseases, etc.
4.Evil – troubles and tribulations of life, culminating in the determined death (or deaths). Combined with Option 3, this would be a calamitous short life lived in pain and sorrow.
A group of intercessors had a consultation with a respected friend and prophet of God, Brother Isaac, who has had profound encounters with the Lord. He said to us, according as God had revealed to him, that there had been options before God on how He would address Nigeria’s case, depending on how the Church acted: a coup, natural disasters, military intervention, international intervention. However, the house should judge what he was placing before us. Commendable spiritual maturity that was. Some of the options were not good at all, so it was clear that we needed as a nation to penitently plead further with the Lord.
Can multiple options, some of an opposite nature, possibly emanate from the same God? Does God always act in that manner? Is human agency sometimes a factor in such cases?
2. Prophetic Opposites
Of the four divine options presented in two mutually opposite sets in Deuteronomy 30:15, two are positive (“life and good”) and two are negative prophecies (“death and evil”). Can opposite prophecies emanate from the same God? Does God contradict Himself? Is God so unsure of the future as to leave so wide a window open? Is He not in control of the world? Four verses later, in verse 19, the earlier list of four options is extended with the addition of four more possibilities.
• “life and death” – one set of two mutually opposite options on the one side,
• “blessing and cursing” – another set of two mutually opposite possibilities on the other side.
God said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you *life and death, blessing and cursing:* therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Two of the four options listed in the verse (life and death) had appeared in verse 15, so we actually have only two new items (blessing and cursing), but the verse is powerful as a reinforcement of the first offers, and powerful in its compelling juxtaposition of two sets of opposite individual parts: “life and death,” then “good and evil.” I think now of Jesus, described in Revelation 5:5-6 as a Lamb and a Lion – two completely opposite natures.
Notice that in each case in Deuteronomy 30:19, the positive or blessed option is first offered, before the negative possibility: “life” before “death,” and “blessing” before “cursing,” as if to warn that the second would become the inevitable consequence of rejecting the blessed first options. Accordingly, the list of divine possibilities would continue thus:
5. Blessing – the favour of God, the goodness and mercies of life, etc.
6. Cursing – divine execration, woes, tribulations and calamities, all with a divine and supernatural potency to their expression.
Is it possible for God to say to a people, “Mr A would be your President,” and declare through another credible vessel, “Mr B could be your President”? Sometimes, yes, especially when the element of obedience and righteousness, of right or wrong choice, is integral in the prophecy. In Deuteronomy 30:19, for example, God not only presents the multiple possibilities to the people, He also tells them for which of the options to vote, as well as the consequences of their choice: “therefore *CHOOSE LIFE,* that both thou and thy seed may live.”
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