A common misconception of the role of prophets is to say that they predict the future. While a prophecy can be made about the future, it is more common for prophecies to be about the now. Jesus, for example, does give us a look at times to come, but mostly he talks about what we need to be doing and thinking today.
God gave Jeremiah the unenviable task of telling the king of Judah that his sins and the sins of his people would lead them to slavery at the hands of Babylon. The prophet Hananiah opposed Jeremiah and promised victory over the invading Babylonians.
Jeremiah assured Hananiah that a prophet … can be recognised as one truly sent by Yahweh only when his word comes true. NJB That is why there is no Book of Hananiah in the Bible.
We face the same choice King Zedekiah faced, whom should we believe?
Naturally, the answer is Jesus, but, wait, there’s more. For 2,000 years people have interpreted the words of Jesus and arrived at opposing conclusions. Millions have been executed or killed in wars as a result.
The battles continue today. When a preacher says something I disagree with, I turn to someone else. Am I right to do that? Should I trust the one who has prayerfully studied the Bible to give me the proper Word of God?
The short answer is no. I have a Bible and a brain. I can prayerfully study and seek to know God’s Word, and I can compare what I find with what others find. If someone says something I think is wrong or misleading, I need to study and pray about it; look at what was said from all directions. If I still disagree, I should ask for a discussion.
Christianity is a communal religion. No one person can be right all the time. We each must be prepared to accept others critical remarks about our positions as we must be critical of theirs. All should be done in a spirit of love and tolerance.
The bottom line: be prepared to hold an unpopular belief, but still live with those who disagree with you.
See my comments on the New Testament portion of today’s scripture from July 2, 2014 here.
Be righteous and do good.