Foretelling vs. Forthtelling: Understanding Prophecy

Foretelling vs. Forthtelling – The prophetic word serves two basic purposes in the Bible: foretelling and forthtelling God’s will.

There exists a common misconception among certain individuals regarding the nature of prophets, perceiving them solely as individuals who foretell (or speak of the future). However, that is not always the case (although prophets do foretell).

Prophecy means a divine message. It can be about the future sometimes, but not always. In other words, prophecy is simply to relay a message from God (to forthtell).

In this piece, I will explain in detail the differences between foretelling and forthtelling regarding prophecy.

Prophecy delivery

Conventional Christianity and its overt emphasis on pleasure and prosperity have greatly tainted the accurate interpretation of God’s pure word.

Prophecy, as well as its true meaning, have been significantly misunderstood. Many people who claim to be prophets have reduced the gift to worldly fortune-telling rather than empowering and bringing hope to mankind through an understanding of God’s purpose.

Much of modern prophecy has deteriorated into commercialised psychic mediums focused on fortuitous predictions of fleeting delight.

Many people with true prophetic gifts may fail to recognise their power since their opinions are based on excessive exposure to doubtful prophecies.

It is critical to recognise that the role of prophets and prophecy has evolved since the Old Testament period. The prophets of ancient times were distinct from today’s prophets in that they championed the growth of God’s people.

Moreover, most of Yahweh’s plans for His children haven’t yet been revealed, if at all, in those eras; therefore, His people’s confidence was based on the message of prophecy.

Foretelling vs. Forthtelling

Prophecy has two intents: it can both “foretell” and “forthtell.”

The announcement of future events that the Almighty has revealed with a focus on God’s kingdom is known as foretelling.

To forthtell is to speak forth, disclose anything that can only be revealed through divine inspiration; proclaim the supernatural will, explain God’s plans, or publicly announce in any manner the message of God intended to influence humanity. Prophets are the only ones who can discover and explain it.

Moreover, foretelling is speaking about unforeseeable events in the future. While this feature is not lost, its importance has altered as we near the end.

The greater destiny of humanity has already been spelled out in the Bible, and there isn’t much of a “new” Kingdom plan to reveal. Furthermore, the Bible instructs us not to change or alter anything at all in the Bible as it is (2 Timothy 3:16–17 and Revelation 22:18–19).

The only entirely mysterious aspects of the future are on the other side of our complete redemption, and prophecy will have stopped throughout this period (1 Cor. 13:8–13). So, in more ways than one, prophesying that far into the future appears to misrepresent scripture grossly.

Prophecy: Foretelling vs. Forthtelling

Foretelling has been and still is a key element of prophecy. As we come to the end of this time, prophets will be called upon to fearlessly and plainly declare the spiritually clouded truths of God’s commandments and blessings across the full church.

The essential duty of prophecy today is to disclose the misinterpreted or unacknowledged realities of God’s covenant.

For all those who study their Bible and are frustrated by things they don’t comprehend, the prophetic gift of foretelling reveals the Bible author’s benevolent purposes.

Foretelling (predicting or telling something before it happens) It aims to foresee the future. It foreshadows or reveals upcoming people, events, and circumstances. Also, it focuses on current events (i.e., those occurring at the time of the Prophet), or it may look ahead to the future.

Foretelling is generally a wonderful gift from God, and those who possess it serve in the role of a prophet. Acts 21:10–11 contains an example of foretelling, in which Prophet Agabus predicts what will happen to Paul in Jerusalem.

Forthtelling is a term used to describe the act of delivering a message to others or things that are based on inspiration.

This has to do with using the gift of prophecy for your own personal enrichment, in which you declare the word of God about you and everything that concerns you under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Ezekiel 37: 4, the Prophet spoke of dry bones, which is a perfect illustration of this in the Bible.

Although not everyone is called to be a prophet, prophecies are free to all because we all have the Holy Spirit, who is the main source of prophecy, but not everyone is called to function in the office of a prophet.

Scriptural Reference:

Joel 2:28: “And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”

Definition of Prophecy

Prophéteia, which means “the gift of transmitting and enforcing revealed truth,” is the root of the English term prophecy. A prophet is someone who has that ability. He or she is responsible for faithfully proclaiming God’s Word (Jeremiah 23:18–22).

Exodus 4:16 is an excellent illustration. When Moses refused to speak in front of Pharaoh due to his own fears, God chose his brother, Aaron, to be his prophet. Similarly, God provides His Prophet with what has to be stated, but it is up to the Prophet to say it.

Last but not least, a genuine prophet who has received God’s appointment acknowledges that his words are the result of God’s revelation rather than his own.

Also see: List of Accredited Bible Colleges In Nigeria

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6 thoughts on “Foretelling vs. Forthtelling: Understanding Prophecy”

  1. What remains unclear is how the message of God is given. Is the “Inspiration” you mention from the bible, or hearing the word spiritually, or seeing the word in visions & dreams? Also, is there a time element involved? OT & NT prophets spoke of the future in terms of years up to thousands of years. Today “My people hear My voice” in terms of hours up to a few years. Do any of these conditions relate to foretelling and or forthtelling? Is the timing variant why some say that that prophecy has passed away? Prophets are more needed now for leadership of the church than ever in church history. Yet I do believe that God wants each of us to hear His voice clearly for each of our own individual direction in these dark times.

  2. Very thought provoking article. Thank you so much for the explanation of the subtleties inherent in the subject.

    It did get me thinking, though. I’m curious, if one has come to honestly believe that GOD has revealed the meaning of some imminently important passage within a prophetic text to you, how can you truly determine if it’s GOD and not your own mind that you’re hearing? I guess I’m asking how should one deal with a double-bind like this in the realm of prophecy if it is encountered?

    Shouldn’t you keep it secret in the event that you’re wrong because it could misguide people? Yet, at the same time, if it is indeed GOD speaking to you, wouldn’t it be equally wrong to not reveal it publicly? What do you think you should do if something like this happens to you?

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