” Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Luke 13:34 NRSV)
Weeks ago my heart was grieved by a letter from someone who claimed to be my best friend. His message was harsh. In no uncertain tone, my friend said: “Stop talking about prophecy because it ‘bums’ me out.” Then the attack became personal when he involved my family. (“I hope you do not tell your children these things.”) This letter was an eye-opener since this man claims to love the Lord, yet has a disdain for prophets and prophecy.
His attitude toward God’s special messengers is nothing new. Prophets in Bible times faced similar challenges. Those with darkened hearts reject God’s warnings. Those open to the light will receive it. Many want to know the truth about the last days. Believers desiring accurate teaching await the Lord’s return yet they expect future trials.
Jeremiah confronted a “hater” of prophecy and prophets in Hananiah. Earlier Judah had gone into a partial captivity in Babylon. Hananiah foolishly spoke for God promising Judah’s exiles would return in two years (Jer. 28:3).
Wisely, the Lord’s servant stood up to this charlatan. Jeremiah said that past prophets foretold times of war, famine and pestilence against countries and kingdoms. They never spoke of peace without first warning of destruction.
Hananiah was exposed. Jeremiah said this pretender would be dead within the year. In Jeremiah 28:17, God’s word was fulfilled. Hananiah died in the 7th month (Tishri, the month of God’s judgment).
As we approach the end of this age, God is raising up prophets. How will we recognize them? They will remain true to God’s word by speaking of a coming day of disaster. “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10b).”
We must be wise to follow the prophets of God as well as their prophecy. If we do not, we will be vulnerable to false prophets. Awake, oh sleeper, so the Day does not sneak up on you! EJ