There are as many nuts behind well lit pulpits as there are in dark alleys. Seeing beyond the priest collar, and the polo tie is the difference between re-emerging from the womb and entering a tomb.
Visionaries, miracle workers, prophets—they are all shrouded in mystery. We encounter one, and we wonder: Are they authentic or phony? Full of truth or fiction? What are the signs of a prophet we can trust—an Isaiah, Ezekiel, or John the Baptist? Answer: Where they came from and where they are going. Let’s look to Ezekiel as an example and then converse about all the nuts claiming to be prophets.
Ezekiel says, “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (Ezek 1:1 ESV).
Specificity is part of prophecy. Ezekiel recounts exactly when the event happened: “in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month.” A liar’s account is never this detailed. Try asking someone you suspect of lying to recount the event again. If someone is lying, it will likely be different the second time.
Where they are going. Ezekiel goes on to guide the people to call on God, and give them hope in their restoration (Ezek 34) and resurrection (Ezek 37). Ezekiel is moving towards God and is not interested in self-glorification.
These two principals hold true for prophets, as well as any spiritual leader. Ask your leader: Where did you come from, and where are you going? Then ask yourself the same questions.
You may not being seeing visions now, but just look around you at God’s creation and think about the complexity of the universe. You may not be a prophet in the sense Ezekiel was, but you can have a prophetic voice. You too can call a generation back to faith. Sometimes vision involves intuitiveness and questioning everything. Sometimes it just means putting the puzzle pieces together.
Tell the community what the Infinite God looks like in your life. Let’s converse about our visions.