Here’s yet another thing that Paula and I can agree with: Those which believe in the continuation of sign gifts never seem to take the time to vet the person claiming to be a Prophet of God. But we start to disagree at the point she talks about how man is in charge of the prophet’s education. Just as was the case with Saul, who became Paul, if God wants the prophet educated by man, He’ll be the one to make it known and that prophet (as long as they aren’t like Jonah) will seek out education by the person(s) God appoints.
But we must always be on guard to discern whether the individual is sent by God. Where having a gift to be prophetic does not mean you are a Prophet of God (as is the case with False Prophets), it also doesn’t mean that you can repurpose it for God’s purposes. Only God should be in control your gift.
Let’s take an example from my own life. Apart from my testimony of being visited by an Angel of the Lord, I received a prophetic dream.
On 22 July 2010, I had a vision of a plane crash, right after I had “attended” a wedding in the desert, and was given an exact date for plane take off: July 27th Eastern Standard. I wasn’t given an exact time, but EST was important to vision. I told my husband and a friend about it the day I had the vision, because I was a little freaked out by the whole thing. Days later, I walked into a store which was airing the news. Sure enough, there was plane crash north of Islamabad. And the time it took off? 2141EST July 27. The kicker, was that the news station mentioned there was a newly wed couple on board who were going on their honeymoon. You can read the early story below:
Now we could say that there are elements in this story which don’t match up, for example the plane didn’t crash in a traditional desert, it was in a forested area. But the interpretation of a prophecy just needs to be understood. In common military vernacular, all of the Middle East is considered “Desert”, of which Pakistan is a part of that area. Too many elements of the prophecy are right on the dot, that I can’t discount it as a legitimate prophecy….
But I don’t believe it was from God. Despite the visitation I received in May 2001, by July 2010 I still had not fully walked away from pagan things. And, the person that conveyed the time stamp (EST) in my vision, was the very woman that had been possessed the night God made His presence known to me. Now, the only argument one could make to me that this WAS from God, is if the point was to call my attention back to Him. And maybe that is the case, but frankly, I cannot rely upon that being the truth of the matter. God didn’t once make Himself known in this vision, nor did this vision do anything but cause me panic. It wasn’t a catalyst to turn me 100% towards God, that still took another 7ish years. So I until God tells me it was sent from Him, I’m going to assume it came from a different source. And that’s something worth addressing.
I could easily have become a False Prophet after that vision. I could have pursued it, tried to find out how to replicate the conditions which caused me to see it so that I could become this great prophetess. I could have even falsely claimed these visions were coming from God…just like Edgar Cayce did. My definition of “God” would have become synonymous with the agnostic word “god” or the more modern approach that all gods are the same God, as opposed to God meaning “Yahweh”- whether I intended for that to be the case or not. Remember, the Pharisees and Sadducees believe they were worshiping Yahweh, but Jesus told them they were in fact worshipping Satan. THAT could have been me.
But instead of doing this, I set it to the side. Taking the position, that if prophecy was intended to be my gift, then I would receive it without doing anything on my own. Much later, however, when I finally decided to accept Yahweh as my God, I made the foolish mistake of listening to a pastor that believed the prophetic could be cultivated if you just listened for God. But I learned, I believe by the Grace of God, that this approach was a massive mistake.
So that vision of the plane crash in Islamabad, I had to reject it. I feel that this is so important for the rest of you to hear from me: I rejected this gift because it was a false gift. I was allowed the vision as a test, and whether I failed or succeeded …well I don’t know. Only God can say, because only He knows what the parameters of the test were/are. But because I went through the test, I can say with conviction: If you have had prophetic dreams and/or visions, you need to really consider where they are coming from. And if it turns out that the truth is you are on a path to be a false or foolish prophet, then you also need to reject this gift and ask God for guidance and strength to follow Him.