The Consequences of Prophecy-
The Prophet that Challenged the Path of an Apostle
While Great Men of God are often given impressive commissions to carry out, their paths must constantly follow the direction of The Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul would carry the Gospel to the known world, but when he tried to return to Jerusalem, he was confronted by a prophet who tried to warn him of consequences of his journey.
Little is known about the life of the Prophet Agabus, but what is written about him shows his profoundly faithful character. He was one of the early followers of Christ and is listed amongst the Seventy Disciples/Apostles whom Jesus commissioned and sent to the towns ahead of Him to declare His Message (ref. Luke 10:1-24). Coptic Orthodox Tradition also states that Agabus was amongst the Apostles who were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost who were infused with the Holy Spirit and given the Gift of Tongues.
Agabus was among a group of prophets who had come down from Jerusalem to meet with the growing congregation at the Church in Antioch. While fellowshipping with his fellow Christians, Agabus stood up and through the Holy Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world which would crush the economy during Emperor Claudius’ reign (ref. Acts 11: 27-28).
When Apostle Paul arrived at Tyre, he and his companions sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. The Holy Spirit moved through theses Brothers and Sisters in Christ who all urged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. But Paul was steadfast in his conviction that he should return to the capital city. At the end of seven days, the disciples and their wives and children accompanied Paul out of the city of Tyre and knelt on the beach to pray together before Paul and his travel companions boarded the ship (ref. Acts 21:3-6)
When they later reached Caesarea, they stayed with Philip the Evangelist, one of the Seven Deacons chosen to attend to the ministering of food in the early Church in Jerusalem. Philip had been blessed with four daughters who all prophesied. It’s unknown whether they gave Paul similar prophetic warnings concerning Jerusalem (ref. Acts 21:8-9)
While Paul was staying in Caesarea with Philip the Evangelist and his daughters, Prophet Agabus came down from Judea and confronted the Apostle and put on a prophetic performance, reminiscent of Prophet Jeremiah’s displays, for the group to fully understand what was being revealed. Prophet Agabus took Paul’s belt and tied his own hands and feet with it declaring “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.”
When the audience heard the ominous prophecy, they begged and pleaded with Paul to reconsider his plans to go to Jerusalem.
But he would not be dissuaded.
Paul responded humbly “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Recognizing that Paul was resolved to go no matter what they said, they accepted Paul’s decision and declared “The Lord’s Will be done” (ref. Acts 21: 10-14).
Paul would later be subjected to riot violence, false arrest, was nearly illegally flogged, tried before the Sanhedrin, was the target of an assassination plot, was tried before the governor, tried again by the replacement governor, and finally tried by the King of Judea Herod Agrippa before finally being released after being acquitted.
Though Paul’s path was laid out for him by the Lord, it did not mean that he would never experience any troubles. In fact, Paul was warned at least twice by his fellow Christians through their Spirit provoked pleas for him to not go to Jerusalem. If that was not enough, the prophetic performance by Prophet Agabus before Paul and his companions further drove the point that Paul’s treatment in Jerusalem would be cruel and humiliating.
But Paul’s faith stood strong and he was ready to be imprisoned and even die on behalf of his mission to continue spreading the Gospel.
Perhaps one of the hardest things to distinguish prophetically is the difference between the Spirit warning of punishments for being disobedient, differentiated from the Holy Ghost telling us that there will be pain and suffering while obeying.
At first glance, Prophet Agabus looks to be trying to turn Paul away from Jerusalem, just as his companions in Tyre had done and how the audience in Caesarea similarly reacted to Agabus’ prophecy. But it seems that through his previous experience prophesying the famine, as well as his time associating and learning from his fellow Prophets of Jerusalem, Agabus came to realize that this epic cataclysmic event damaged both believers and heathens alike. When warning Paul of his impending arrest, Agabus recognized that Christ’s Followers were not immune to trials and tribulations, even when following God’s Will. Unlike Paul’s well-meaning companions, Agabus doesn’t insert his personal feelings into what the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate; he simply prophesies what he has been told and performs exactly as he has been shown.
You will constantly hear in our recordings and read in our articles that “it is not enough just to hear God, you also need to know what He means”. Unfortunately that cannot come from simply reading the scriptures, but through an intense relationship with Him, spending time with other mature prophetic people, as well as by experience practicing the gift of prophesying.
When Agabus confronted Apostle Paul, he was not chastising him for going to Jerusalem, he was ensuring that he was mentally and spiritually prepared for the figurative and literal trials he was about to endure. Likewise, many prophesies foretelling of future troubles are not meant to stigmatize you for having been unfaithful or disobedient to God, but are blessings letting you know in advance of the things to come and how you can prepare yourself.
Just as the world has been thrust into chaos as we navigate through this pandemic, we must recognize that it is not necessarily meant as a punishment. Both Believer and Unsaved alike have been affected, just like the famine during Emperor Claudius’ reign. There will be future cataclysms and if we listen to God’s Modern Prophets, we can prepare ourselves materially, mentally, and spiritually for them and come through stronger just as Apostle Paul after his own trials.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT AdministratorFor more prophetic media groups click here