From: The Preacher
3. The Human Veto to Prophetic Options
Can such negative possibilities emanate from a good God? Can opposite prophecies proceed from the same God? Does He contradict Himself? The answer is in the verses between verse 15 and verse 19, where God shows that whichever of the options becomes a possibility was going to be determined not by His omnipotence but by the lifestyle and choices of the people, whether they would obey Him or rebel. In other words, the power to ‘fulfil’ any of such prophetic options would not be divine determinism but human prerogatives. In other words, some future (not every future) is a set of undetermined possibilities any of which can be ‘created’ by the human choice. God respects the choices that earthlings make in their space (1 Samuel 8:4-7; Psalm 115:16), which explains why He once lamented thus over Israel, without interfering,
‘Conflicting’ prophecies on Nigeria: Understanding God’s voice 1
“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29).
Human choices are important in creating some ‘fulfilments.’ Everybody might not always vote a choice, but a certain critical mass can be a ‘majority’ in the prophetic parliament that passes a motion for the rest of the land. Everybody might not have turned from their sin, but we can speak of a revival when there is a prominent or reasonable righteous majority.
Except in cases of divine intervention and a heavenly veto, numbers as well as the authority of thrones and altars, of kings and priests and gatekeepers, can be a significant factor in the fate of a land (Genesis 18:32; Ezekiel 22:30). When Jesus lamented over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44, it was not because there was no righteous person in all the land; it was not because everyone had been blind to the season. At least Jesus Himself was there, as well as some of His disciples who understood the times to a certain degree (Acts 1:6-7). Nonetheless, the lamentation became inevitable, and disaster imminent, because the ‘critical mass’ was blind. When Prophet Jeremiah warned his nation, king after king, about the coming disasters as consequence of persistent national transgressions, himself was part of the land that eventually lived through the woes of which he had warned, as well as such holy younger folks like Daniel and Ezekiel, who later became mighty prophets in exile in their season (Jeremiah 19:10-13). When it is said that a land repents, it does not always mean as in Nineveh where repentance became a national decree and even infants and animals fasted; it could mean a spiritual critical mass of hearts and voices, while there still might be the drunkard somewhere battling his convictions, or the adulteress in some corner awaiting her own encounter.
Depending on what is at stake and other variables known only to the Divine, sometimes the prophetic critical mass for a land could be as low as ten righteous persons, as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:32); or more, as seems to have been the case of Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44; or much less, as when Daniel and Nehemiah raised their singular voices for their land whose time of divine visitation had come, as verily appears to be the case with the country Nigeria (Ezekiel 22:31; Nehemiah 1:5-11; Daniel 9:1-23).
4. Prophetic Parts
Apart from the fact that God could confront a people with prophetic possibilities, even opposite possibilities at times, God’s particular message could sometimes be so large that the human agent is able to see and report only a part of it. Paul acknowledged that fact when he remarked that _“we know in part, and we prophesy in part”_ (1 Corinthians 13:9). By using the collective personal pronoun “we,” Paul included himself in that handicap, lofty though he was in relation to God and spiritual matters. If the mighty Paul should say so of the class, who then considers themselves so prophetically exceptional as to exclude themselves?
No one prophet knows it all, no matter how ‘great’ the prophet. For any prophet to insist that his ‘part’ to a matter is all there is to the great mind of God on that matter, is not wisdom at all. For any person to think that until God has spoken to them, He has spoken to none on a matter, could be pride disguised as spirituality. About eight years ago, before the present government of a disaster came upon Nigeria, I was in conversation with a brother and stated that intercessors in the country seemed unanimous in their persuasion that Buhari was not God’s perfect choice for the throne. He quickly cut in and said, “I am also an intercessor. God has not told me so. Buhari is the coming Cyrus, to rid the land of corruption.” I gave up. If God had not spoken to him, then God had spoken to none? There could be nothing that God would have said to someone else which God did not say to him? Little me, I probably couldn’t understand his most intimate relationship with the Almighty God.
Another way to look at the subject of prophetic parts is from the designation of the revelation gifts of the Holy Spirit. One of them is called “the *WORD* of wisdom” – just a ‘word’ (not a sentence, not a book) but merely ‘a word’ out of the fullness of God’s wisdom; and the other is “the *WORD* of knowledge” – just a ‘word’ out of the fullness of the library of God’s mind (1 Corinthians 12:8). In other words, an entire vision that a prophet gives could be just a ‘word,’ compared to the vastness of God’s global and eternal purposes. God’s ‘whole’ is so big that mortal vision cannot comprehend all of it. Each one sees merely a part of it, even though some persons are able to see a larger ‘part’ than others, depending on their proximity to God and to the matters that they report. The problem is when any prophet insists that their part is the whole. Apart from the fact that some prophecies could be false or even fake (we shall get to the difference later), some of the apparent contradictions in prophetic parts arise from the inability or arrogant unwillingness to hear (and even judge) other parts.
Let us imagine the mind of God as a big box, as big as a house, one side painted black, and the other half painted white. If we should put a prophet at either end of the great box and ask each of them to report what they see, they will tell of that box relative to where each of them stands. If one should say, “God has placed before us a white box,” he would be correct. If the one at the other end should say, “God has placed before us a black box,” he would also be right. They would appear to have contradicted themselves, but each prophet has merely spoken their ‘part’ of a very large ‘whole.’ The contradiction is not inherent in the nature of God but in the limitations of the human vessels. The complete picture would be in the mature alignment of the parts and the interpretation thereof, which is where sometimes we also err: the wrong interpretation of a right vision. We shall also shortly get to that question of *perception* and *discernment*.
Whereas it is possible for some prophetic reporter to see only the ‘black’ side, or only their ‘white’ ‘part’ of a big matter, some Moses could stand at a privileged vantage point where he is able to see more widely than others about that matter, and be able to say, “Behold before you this day, life and death, good and evil, blessing and cursing, white and black; but please choose white, so that it will be well with you and with your children.”
Sometimes someone believing themselves to be a prophet, and determined to prophesy, when they have received no message, have bamboozle the house with noises without substance, speaking lofty words couched in King James jargons and esoteric sentences laced with Bible references. Intent to impress their hearers and readers with their prophetic eminence, they confuse all of us with their loud trumpets that give no specific message (1 Corinthians 14:8). After hearing them, you ask yourself, “So, what’s the message? What has he/she said?” Those are ‘part’ of the confusion out there. They are not any ‘part’ of the wholesome Truth. Later, we shall address how to discern and relate with them.
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