A prophecy consists of divinely inspired words or writings, which a person receives through revelation from the Holy Ghost. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10). A prophecy may pertain to the past, present, or future. When a person prophesies, he speaks or writes that which God wants him to know, for his own good or the good of others. Individuals may receive prophecy or revelation for their own lives. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/prophecy-prophesy?lang=eng#p1
Patterns - A Divine Historical Fingerprint
A well-documented, revealing, and powerful Biblical pattern is evident throughout the history of God’s dealings with His children as noted in Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, save he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets".
1. Adam receives and follows God’s directions including prophesying to his posterity. <p> 2. Adam’s posterity divides, conflicts ensue, apostasy overwhelms society. <p> 3. God calls Enoch and gives him instructions and teachings to correct the apostasy. <p> 4. With time Apostasy reigns within society at large. <p> 5. God calls Noah to preach and prophesy. <p> 6. After the flood and re-establishment of society, apostasy spreads throughout society. <p> 7. God calls Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, then Joseph to preach and prophesy. <p> 8. Apostasy, then slavery, predominate throughout Israel’s society. <p> 9. God calls Moses to deliver, preach, and prophesy. <p> 10. Apostasy overwhelms Israel following, first, the death of Moses, and then Joshua. <p> 11. God calls Samuel. <p> 12. Continuation of the pattern of Apostasy, prophet, apostasy, prophets, up through the time of Jesus Christ. <p> 13. Jesus Christ establishes Peter at the head of the 12 apostles to preach, prophesy and lead the church. <p> 14. Apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3; Matt 24:5; Acts 20:29; etc.) <p> 15. God calls Joseph Smith to restore Christ’s church in modern times. (Acts 3:20-21)
How Do We Know today, if a Prophet or Prophecy is From God?
When Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount He warned of the rise of false prophets. (Matt 7:15). Some have assumed that the coming of Jesus Christ ended God’s reliance on prophets all-together. He did say, after all in Matt 11:13 “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” This is certainly logical but does not bear with the rest of the biblical record for Peter, John and others continued to prophesy as God’s called and authorized servants. In fact, God made it clear, through the prophet Isaiah that the divine capacity to know future events is a unique capacity of God through His authorized servants, even though many have and will pretend to predict. (Isa 41:22-24) Hence, Jesus warned of false prophets not all prophets. He leaves it to us to learn to distinguish between the false and true by examining their fruits (Matt 11:15-16), and asking, seeking, and knocking in faith. It is certainly logical that if God called a prophet, He would want people to be able to discern between him and the false prophets. Couldn’t we expect that God would provide, for that true prophet and those seeking God’s current revealed word, some means of recognition; good fruit discernable by the honest in heart? Joseph Smith was given such a powerful fruit by which his calling as prophet can be tested. It is called the Book of Mormon; a sacred text revealing the dealings of God on the western hemisphere that serves as another testament of the resurrected Christ.
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