Through the chaos of the recent post-election season, we've asked it, we've read various opinions, and still, we wonder: Can good prophets get it wrong?
Author, speaker and former Fortune 500 business executive and Vineyard USA staff member Ken Fish of Orbis Ministries says the short answer to that question is yes. "Yes, they can. Of course, we know from the book of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul says, 'We know in part, and we prophesy in part.'"
Fish says it's noteworthy that Paul uses "we," so he's including himself in those who prophesy "in part." But although every bit of Scripture carries divine inspiration, prophecy does not have that same weight. "If we've got somebody who has a credible, proven prophetic ministry, they tend to be right an awful lot," Fish says. "And sometimes with that, we start to assume that ... they always will be right."
Fish says we must also remember Paul's words in his first letter to the Thessalonians, to "test everything" and "hold fast to what is good" (1 Thess. 5:21, ESV). And he says Scripture itself provides a wonderful example of this in the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus is about to go up on the Mount of Transfiguration and asks His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" (Matt. 16:13b).
The Scripture records various answers from different disciples, but Peter replies, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16), an affirmation that receives Jesus' resounding praise. This is true because Peter is "operating in revelation," Fish says. "You would not know this in the natural; there is no way you could have known this."
Yet only a few verses later, Peter misspeaks. Christ has just told the disciples what lies ahead for him, including His death and resurrection. Again, the Bible records Peter's words— this time, of rebuke: "Far be it from You, Lord! This shall not happen to You" (Matt. 16:22b).
At this point, Fish says, "Peter has moved out of that realm of revelation, where he's hearing the Father clearly, into the realm of His own desires, His own understandings, His own concepts, His own paradigms about what should be or shouldn't be what will be."
And that's the same place modern prophets get into trouble. Whether about politics or other issues, Fish says, "When people have their own opinions, their own attitudes that cloud revelation, much of the time, they're going to go off the rails."
Fish adds that the critical point lies in Jesus' rebuke to Peter: "You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of man" (Matt. 16:23b). "Peter had ideas; he had notions; he had preconceptions; he had—we might call them biases—but whatever you call them, they were in his mind," he says. "And that's what's caused him to switch from being the guy who had it right to the guy who had it wrong.
"And I think that is something that anybody who operates in prophetic ministry today can fall into from time to time, if they have strong prevailing notions about this or that," he adds.
For more wisdom from Ken Fish about how we can understand and evaluate prophetic revelation, listen to the entire episode of the Strang Report podcast here. And be sure to subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple Podcasts or at your favorite platform, like and share it with others who may need to hear Fish's Spirit-filled perspective.
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