ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, February 24   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Is the sexual exploitation of women an issue in your city?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Michael Gowen
 

Pharaoh’s baker – Prophecy

Compassion should always be our over-riding motivation, and we should always offer people a way out of their situation; otherwise our words are only condemnation.

FAITHFUL UNDER PRESSURE AUTHOR Michael Gowen 23 APRIL 2017 12:00 h GMT+1
Photo: Unsplash.

Do you dream a lot when you are asleep? Or are you more like me: you often wake up with a vague feeling that you have been dreaming but you have no recollection of any of the dreams?



We all dream; it’s just that some of us are able to recall more of our dreams than others. However, whether you remember your dreams or not, once in a while you will have a dream that you not only remember, but that you can’t get it out of your head; it keeps coming back to you, together with the feelings that you experienced in the dream.



You keep thinking about what it might mean. Or is it just my mind processing the garbage of the day while I am asleep?



Pharaoh’s chief baker had one of those persistent dreams one night – you can read about him in Genesis 40. He was in prison because he had done something to offend Pharaoh, so there was not much activity there to distract him from thinking about the dream.



Round and round it went in his head. Then he discovered that his fellow prisoner, Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer, had also had a powerful dream that had stayed with him. But they were both frustrated because neither of them knew how to interpret their dream.



Enter Joseph, son of Jacob, onto the stage. He too was in prison, having been placed there unjustly; but he had found such favour with the captain of the guard that he had been put in charge of all the prisoners.



When Joseph visited the baker and the cupbearer that morning he could see that they were down in the dumps, and it didn't take long for them to tell him the reason: they had both had vivid dreams, and they had nobody to interpret them.



Joseph had already had experience of dream interpretation, many years earlier, and he knew that this ability of his came from God. So he suggested they tell him what they had dreamt.



They were rather hesitant to do so, maybe fearing that the dreams held some unpleasant consequences for them. For when we do not know the one true God, anything which is supernatural or outside the real of our logic tends to be either dismissed or feared.



The cupbearer was the first to take the plunge and tell Joseph his dream; and the interpretation was very positive: within three days he would be brought into Pharaoh’s presence and get his old job back.



This gave the baker the courage to tell his dream too. But, unfortunately, for him the interpretation was quite different: within three days he too would be brought into Pharaoh’s presence, but he would be sent away for execution – and that is exactly what happened.



So, does God give still give warnings today – through dreams or any other means – of bad things that are going to happen to us? The Old Testament prophets are full of prophecies of impending judgment on Jerusalem, Israel and other nations, but usually these are warnings about the consequences of sin; and we read of no particularly bad sin that the baker had committed.



What about now, under the new covenant? I often come across statements claiming to be prophetic words and threatening various disastrous consequences on our Western societies because of particular sins. What are we to make of these?.



The New Testament is clear: The person who prophesies speaks to people strengthening, encouraging and comfort, and builds up the church (1 Corinthians 14:3-4).



Anything that does not fit this description – and that includes warnings of the dire consequences of sin for individuals or a group of people – is not prophecy in the New Testament sense of the word. Such words may be considered as warnings, even predictions, but they are not New Testament prophecy.



There are many warnings in the New Testament about the serious consequences of sin, but they are rarely addressed to defined individuals or groups. Indeed, Paul’s masterful exposition of God’s plan of salvation, the book of Romans, begins in chapter 2 with a warning to us to be much more preoccupied with our own sin than that of other people.



Nor do we Christians have a calling to judge those outside the church (1 Corinthians 5:12). Our message to them is the message of Jesus: the kingdom of God has drawn near, and you need to do something about it (Mark 1:15).



Why did God let Pharaoh’s baker know that he would be dead within three days? I don't know; we are only told a small part of his story, and any more than we read in the Bible is pure guesswork.



Undoubtedly Pharaoh’s cupbearer would have been deeply impressed by the very contrasting fates between him and the baker three days later; but that was only part of the overall picture.



There will undoubtedly be times when God calls us to warn individuals or groups of people of the negative consequences of a particular course of action, but compassion should always be our over-riding motivation, and we should always offer people a way out of their situation; otherwise our words are only condemnation.



The general rule is to only let words come out of our mouth that are helpful for building others up, according to their needs (Ephesians 4:29). If we have been given spiritual authority it is for building people up, not for tearing them down (2 Corinthians 10:8, 13:10).



If we feel that God has given us a word predicting negative or hard things, let us first ask ourselves: Is this for strengthening, encouragement or comfort; and will it build up the body of Christ?



If the answer is ‘No’, then we should seriously question whether we speak it out. If we Christians all followed these guidelines a bit more thoroughly, our churches would be in a much stronger place.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Pharaoh’s baker – Prophecy
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
A marriage story A marriage story

The  great love story for everyone.

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.