There is no doubt in my mind that the primary cause for the current ineffectiveness of biblical prophecy is the distressing lack of biblical understanding about the differences between New Covenant and Old Covenant prophecy, both inside and outside the church. There is considerable material in the Old Testament, and sufficient role models in the public arena, to propagate and reinforce a model based on the prediction of the future and the judgment of our failings. Within the church this has created a culture of commercial professionalism, bordering on entertainment, and the world finds comfort in a church model similar to its own psychics and clairvoyants.
While understandable, our operation of the gift and the ministry cannot be based on our, or others, experience but on the primary revelation as explained in our bibles. While other gifts, such as healing and miracles, and other ministries, such as pastoring and teaching, are predominantly unaffected by the change between the Covenants, this cannot be said for the gift and ministry of prophecy. The whole framework, purpose and operation of prophecy are fundamentally different as a result of the changes between the Old and New Covenants.
The core changes between the Old and New Covenant that directly impact the nature of biblical prophecy include; –
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit – John 14:17
- Salvation by Grace and not through the Law – Eph 2:8
- Unhindered, unrestricted and unlimited personal access to God – Heb 10:19
- The fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy at Pentecost – Acts 2:16
- Being born again of the spirit – John 3:3
Unlike other spiritual gifts and ministries, the framework, purpose and operation of biblical prophecy is profoundly affected by these changes. While it clearly still remains a supernatural gift, its nature has fundamentally changed between the Covenants. Clearly the whole Bible is the word of God, the truth, and the Old Testament is full of prophetic testimonies. However, in the same way that no one can to argue that the teachings of the Law in the Old Testament are as applicable today in the New Covenant, the same is true for our understanding of biblical prophecy. The way that our relationship with God has fundamentally changed between the Covenants has had a direct impact on our understanding of biblical prophecy and its operation.
The Old Covenant model of prophecy is demonstrably visible in the Church and World today. There is a predominance of rare, powerfully anointed, celebrity status, itinerant prophetic ministries. The vast majority of the church are not equipped, encouraged or empowered by the gift of prophecy in their day-to-day lives. The Internet is full of prophetic websites declaring global predictions, vitriolic judgment and promises of great favor. Church leaderships struggle in their relationships with prophetic people, over authority, accountability and accuracy. Too many people in the church and the world still patently believe prophecy is based on an Old Covenant model, predicting the future, providing guidance and proclaiming judgment.
In my next blog, “How Prophecy has changed between the Covenants” [2/5], I will examine in detail how the changes between the Covenants has changed the way biblical prophecy, the gift and the ministry, operates today.
Future blogs in this series are as follows; –
[3/5] Understanding the core elements of New Covenant Prophecy
[4/5] Obstacles to a biblical New Covenant prophetic framework in the church today
[5/5] How to build a biblical and lasting prophetic framework for the church family