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By Jeremy Lopez
First Corinthians 13 is often called the love chapter. It is sandwiched between chapter 12, which teaches on the gifts and callings of the Spirit, and chapter 14, which emphasizes the etiquette of the spoken gifts. I always looked at First Corinthians 13 as a pause to remind the Corinthians that everything is done in love.
However, Paul did not write in chapter and verse. This chapter ties into recognizing the whole body of Christ. It takes every part of every ministry gift to give us an accurate picture of the realm of the Spirit.
“Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:8-12 ESV)
Consider what Paul says in chapter 12 about the different parts of the body and what they contribute to the whole. When you look at the anointings of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, you will see that no one has everything.
No one prophet has the complete picture. Each prophet prophesies in part — the part that God showed them. That is why some prophecies seem to be contradictory. When more than one person is prophesying about the same thing, each person is given one piece of a puzzle. Until all the prophesies come together, no one has a full revelation or understanding.
Look at the prophecies concerning the Messiah and decide which one was correct.
God told Micah that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem.
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2 ESV)
Hosea prophesied that the Messiah would come out of Egypt.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hosea 11:1 ESV)
But the prophet Isaiah said the light of the Messiah would shine in Zebulun and Naphtali (Isaiah 9:1-7). Which prophet was the true prophet? They all said seemingly different things.
Looking back, we can see that Jesus fulfilled each one of these contradictory prophecies. Only in hindsight can we interpret them. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, lived temporarily in Egypt, grew up in Nazareth, and lived and ministered in Capernaum, which was in the region of Naphtali and near the land of Zebulun.
Today, we have many prophetic voices that seem to contradict each other. And many in the body of Christ have become confused because they do not realize that prophecies can contradict each other and all come to pass.
That is why prophecy and not the prophets are to be judged by the body of Christ and other prophets. When all the parts come together, you have the complete revelation of the mystery.
Paul said, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV)
When do prophecies pass away or become idle, as some Bibles translate that verse? When they are fulfilled. The prophecies about the coming Messiah were seeds sown by God’s Word spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit through the mouths of His prophets. These seeds did not return void but accomplished exactly what God intended.
A seed is sown in the ground to produce a harvest, a fulfillment of a cycle. The proof of the seed is in your physical possession. By coming to fruition, the cycle is perfect, which is what Paul said. “When the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:10 ESV)
When we are fully mature and perfect, we won’t need additional parts. We see a dim reflection now, only in parts. But when the body of Christ reaches the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ and Jesus returns, we will see clearly and in high definition!
Sometimes You can’t Figure Out Prophecies
Prophecies are fulfilled whether or not you understand them. Just don’t be left in the dust because a prophecy doesn’t fit the framework of your mind.
You can easily see how the Jewish scribes, Pharisees, and others who were taught the Torah missed the Messiah’s first coming. With seeming contradictions from the prophets, they adhered to the letter of the law and regulations and missed the Son of David, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Prophecies are born of the Spirit, received by the spirit, and understood spiritually.
The Messiah was supposed to set up His kingdom and rule and reign forever. Instead, Jesus died on a cross, not having defeated Rome or the other enemies of God’s chosen people, Israel. How could He be the Messiah?
Although the religious sector of Jesus’ day was trained in the Torah, they looked for the Messiah in the way they thought He would come. The Messiah did come. But the part they missed is that He is coming twice.
In Jesus’ first coming, He was born of a woman, preached righteousness, and healed people. His second coming will be with judgment at His appearing with “countless thousands of His saints.” (Jude 1:14 NLT) Then He will set up His kingdom on the earth and rule forever.
The Messianic prophecies had more parts to them than the religious rulers had realized. And to be truthful, I don’t think all the layers of the onion have been peeled back for our full view and understanding.
One thing is clear. Jesus is coming again! The prophecies go awry when prophets speak out of their minds, thoughts, and opinions rather than by the Spirit, or we try to interpret them by human reasoning.
Don’t Miss the End-time Move
We would be wise to heed this lesson lest we become trained in our minds about the way and manner in which God will manifest Himself to this generation. After all our churchgoing, praying, and reading the Bible, we must recognize the Holy Spirit’s moving and manifestation and not miss the latter rain outpouring.
You ask, “How could we possibly miss it?”
In the 1970s, many denominations founded on the Word and the Spirit refused to recognize or participate in the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on Catholics. Some said, “It couldn’t possibly be of God because they are Catholic.”
When my family grasped the principles of the Word of Faith which changed our lives, the church my grandparents helped launch decades before asked us to leave. They excommunicated us because we followed the “dangerous” message of faith and healing.
God can move upon whomever He chooses. He’s not obligated to start a revival in a denomination or camp just because they were the first to get it the last time. Expecting God to move in a similar way to the previous revival shows nothing but the limitations of our minds.
How will you recognize the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Jesus’ disciples followed Him because something in their hearts told them He was the Son of God. Their hearts leaped when He spoke, and their spirits were thrilled when He worked miracles.
The same will happen for you with the next move of God. Your heart will tell you, and your spirit will rejoice. You may see some things that aren’t what you expected, but your spirit will bear witness that this is God moving.