Handling the prophetic

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1st Jul, 2019 Day 182

Acts 21:1-26

I believe the Scriptures are infallible as originally written and yet in this passage we have a clear example of a prophetic word that wasn’t 100% correct. The Spirit is giving us an example of the nature of New Covenant prophecy. We know in part and we prophesy in part (1 Cor 13:9-12). Prophecy was not open to all in the Old Covenant, but is our inheritance in the new, because Jesus said my “sheep hear my voice” and Acts shows us “all shall prophesy.” Prophetic utterances under the new covenant are not 100% God’s words and need weighing with the good taken hold off and the rest thrown out. That’s why we don’t say “The Lord says…” because it doesn’t leave room for weighing!

In v4 the disciples tell Paul “in the Spirit” to not go to Jerusalem, but he ignores them. Is he disobeying the word of the Lord?#In v11 Agabus prophecies that Jews will bind Paul and hand him over to the Gentiles and yet in v23 we read that it was the Romans who bound him. So Agabus is not 100% accurate in his foretelling.

The Spirit is showing us that under the new covenant prophecy is not infallible and needs weighing.

There is also the issue of Revelation, Interpretation and Applications – sometimes we get a revelation and then interpret it wrongly.

Perhaps the disciples in v4 rightly got the revelation that there will be trouble for Paul in Jerusalem and then spoke out the interpretation that Paul shouldn’t go,

Agabus got the main thrust right – Paul will be bound and handed over to the Gentiles, but got the detail of who would do the binding wrong.

We know in part and we prophecy in part

Deliver the revelation and allows the interpretation and application to comes as it is weighed.

Be careful with directional prophecies – they are easy to get wrong by adding what we think the interpretation and application should be.




Andy planted the Gateway Church in Sept 2007. He and Janet love to gather different nations together to grow in Christ while eating good food! He also helps to shape and serve a couple of Relational Mission's church plants in mainland Europe. Andy and Janet run regularly, largely to offset the hospitality eating! He also runs a popular WordPress plugin Church Admin