Prophetic Momentum

Jon Cressey writing mostly about church, prophets and prophecy...

Ready for 2024…

It’s nearly 2024, and over the next few days, there will be several people in the charismatic churches breaking the news of all that God has planned for us in the coming year and will no-doubt be accompanied by some evidence that certain predictions made for 2023 have come true.

Those who know me will be aware that I’m not convinced about the notion of New Year prophecies or predictions. This is partly because the Jewish New Year falls in September, which makes it appear as if God prefers the Gregorian calendar! (2 Peter 3:8)

However, I do appreciate that God speaks into culture rather than from it, and I certainly don’t want to dismiss these things entirely, especially since God often does things that are entirely unexpected. Which may be the case this year. I can appear as a New Year “Scrooge,” but my position is that some of what is said is done without a sense of diligent consideration of the Scriptures. By that, I mean that God is always revealing His great grace, mercy, blessings, and favor, so “2024 is a year of unprecedented grace, etc.,” is actually true all the time for us! (Ephesians 2:4-5)  New Year is often encouraging because it speaks of new beginnings, of hope and opportunity – but in God’s grace those things are readily available to us.

We are constantly in a place where God’s great promises for us are being unveiled. Our main problem is that we don’t always see what God is actually doing in our midst, mostly because we are not looking. (Matthew 13:16)

The opportunity is here, now, today, for us to enjoy God, worship Him, and invite others to do the same. The reason for all these heart-stirring opportunities that are already ours is the event that happened in Jerusalem.

All great stories that truly inspire us begin somewhere. Ours begins in the unforgiving, sun-blasted, arid desert of Sinai, amid the thunderous echoes of divine presence. Here, Moses stood as a conduit between God and the people of Israel. Amid fire and smoke, the Lord descended upon the mountain, and the Torah was bestowed. It was a terrifying moment, full of awe. It was more than a mere giving of laws; it was the forging of a covenant, an indelible bond between God and His chosen people. (Exodus 19:16-19)

Other nations had their god, and now, remarkably, Israel had theirs—rather, they now belonged to God. His law revealed to them what God explicitly required of them in their behaviour and devotion. This moment, etched in the annals of time, stands as the cornerstone of Israel’s identity, a testament to a divine relationship unparalleled in human history; made particularly meaningful because unlike other nations, Israel’s God was real, not hand-built out of wood and stone.

This was just the beginning of something even greater to come.

Years later, in the green fields of Bethlehem, Ruth, a woman from Moab, helped bring different people together. Her strong loyalty and belief in the God of Israel demonstrated how faith can bridge cultures. Her story, important and often discussed in Israel, showed that God’s love wasn’t just for the people of Israel. Ruth, King David’s great-grandmother and an ancestor of Jesus, was part of a family line that led to a Messiah who would surprise everyone, 31 generations later. (Ruth 1:16-17)

It would be a story that would grip the heart of Israel over the years as they took time during the feast of weeks to celebrate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (also associated with the harvest of the first fruits in ancient Israel – even to today in 5785 (2024 AD)).

Fast forward from Ruth to a world forever altered by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It had been a cataclysmic event, everywhere the Nazarene visited was accompanied by signs and wonders, healings, miracles, blind eyes and deaf ears opened, and even the dead raised; good news was preached to the poor. (Luke 4:18)

His ascension into the clouds, returning to His Father left a huge void, but also a promise — a promise of power, of presence, of a Comforter.

And then, on Pentecost, that promise materialised in a spectacle of wind and fire. The Holy Spirit descended, not in a secluded desert or to a singular prophet, but to all who gathered, transcending barriers of language, culture, and geography. (Acts 2:1-4)

The stories above are the stories of Pentecost; these are what the Jews would have been meditating on; they also help us see a bigger picture with Pentecost.

This Pentecost as we know it though was no mere echo of Sinai; it was the fulfilment, the reality to which the shadow pointed. It was the real deal. The law given to Moses was transformative, but the Spirit given at Pentecost was revolutionary. It marked the birth of a church, a community of believers empowered not just to follow a set of laws, but to live by the very power of God. The significance of this event for us today cannot be overstated. (Joel 2:28-29)

The power made available at Pentecost — the Holy Spirit — is not a relic of the past, but the living, active presence of God in the world today. He gives us power – it’s a power that transcends human limitations, breaks down barriers, and empowers individuals for service and witness in ways that defy mere human ability. (John 14:26)

The Holy Spirit, promised by Christ and delivered at Pentecost, is the seal of our inheritance, the guarantee of our redemption, and the source of our strength. In a world fraught with uncertainty and strife, this power is our assurance of God’s presence and action in our lives. It enables us to live with a boldness and purpose that mirrors the early church, to be agents of change and beacons of hope in a world that desperately needs it. (Acts 1:8)

Thus, from Sinai to Pentecost, the journey of faith is one of progression from promise to fulfilment, from shadow to reality. The Holy Spirit, given freely to all who believe, is not just a gift; it is the very empowerment of God in our lives, calling us to live out the reality of the kingdom of God here and now.

This is our heritage, our mission, and our greatest empowerment. And so, we are already prepared for all of the challenges that 2024 may bring. A prophetic word for 2024? All things are possible to the one who believes! (Mark 9:23)

Ready for 2024…
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