I have been reading some challenges posted online by particular well known ministries about ‘why didn’t the churches who operate in the prophetic gifting warn believers that the COVID-19 coronavirus was about to be unleashed on the world in 2020?’. The conclusion that some of these have come to is that this is proof to the church world that prophecy is a hoax and that churches who operate in this gift are false prophets and charlatan liars. I don’t think that this is an exaggeration of what is being communicated by these ministries.
We read about prophecy given in the OT and the NT in the Bible. In the OT prophecy is usually proceeded by the prophet saying something like ‘hear the Word of the Lord’. Other times prophecy in the OT scriptures is embedded within a verse or chapter of a book. An example of this is Isaiah 53 which prophecies of the work of the coming Christ. In the NT an example we have is of a prophet declaring a coming famine throughout all the world in Acts 11:27-30. In this example several prophets had come from Jerusalem to Antioch.
The main reason given for this condemnation of prophecy by these ministries is the apparent lack of notice to the church of a coming world coronavirus pandemic. When we look at prophecy examples in scripture sometimes a time declaration is made about when a prophecy will come to pass and sometimes there is no set timeline given. In the case of the famine prophesied in the book of Acts it was likely several months or even years before it occurred. Some OT prophecies took place hundreds of years after being declared by the prophet. It is impossible for online prophecy critics today to go back into years of past prophecies to try and determine if a prophecy was given at some point that would have referenced a pandemic or a world wide crisis that was to come.
It is for this reason and others that I believe that these online critics are not standing on solid ground when they declare prophecy to be a hoax. It is not possible for them to provide Biblical proof of what they are stating so boldly. Prophecy is not a current events fore-teller. It can have this purpose, but I don’t believe based on scripture that this is the main purpose of prophecy. Scripture in the NT says that these gifts are given to the church to instruct and encourage. To build up the body into the image of the fullness of Christ.
I think that these online critics are playing an out of tune flute for believers and are mostly riding hobby horses that they have had embedded deeply into their hearts and minds over a period of years. Because of this they may have become unteachable by the Holy Spirit.