Prophecy as future memory

Marko Joensuu         No comments
Recently, I was in a situation where God began to minister to a person from a vision that I had seen decades ago. It was a moment of recognition.
Or, perhaps it would be more rightful to say that God began to minister to me, as this led to my heart being fully broken! It also led to a series of actions that I felt were nearly pre-programmed those decades ago, as I was compelled to obey the presence of God and direction I had received decades earlier.
What I was shocked about was that in the moment of perhaps one of the most important encounters in my life God didn't give me anything new, but He only activated the memory of the prophetic vision I had seen decades earlier. Then He waited to see what I would do with it. Would I obey? Would I disregard it? 
I could have missed it all so easily!

A similar situation led to King Saul's failure. In 1 Samuel 13 King Saul makes a sacrifice rather than waiting for the prophet Samuel to arrive.  But many years earlier God has asked through Samuel for King Saul to wait when this particular moment would arrive. This leads to the kingship to be taken away from Saul. 
Just because God's instruction has arrived years or decades earlier, it doesn't mean it has expired. In fact, God often gives the instruction early, so that we will have the confidence to act, because we know that we had no way to orchestrate or manipulate this situation into happening. We know that we aren't driven by the situation or by our current emotion. Often those emotions were exhausted years earlier. This gives us confidence because we know that we are in the perfect will of God.
In my free time I am doing doctoral research which is very much focused on time and temporality in media, and I have come across a concept called future memory which means in essence that today we live our present in expectation that the moments we live today will be our memories in future. So, for example, we take digital pictures of everything in expectation that in future these pictures will help us remember those special moments. Sometimes we take so many pictures that we actually forget to live that moment.
But God has a completely different concept of future memory. He does all that in the opposite direction! He lets us experience a moment today prophetically that will only happen decades later in reality! And I have come to realise that in many ways I have been directed by God's future memories all my life since I became the follower of Jesus.
In essence, when we receive a prophecy or a vision, we often have a very strong emotional experience at the time of revelation. We might experience deep joy or sorrow.  What happens is that we are living the joy or the sorrow of the future moment well in advance - before it even happens. But when the prophetic moment actually comes to pass, we sort of recognise the moment instinctively because we have already lived the moment prophetically in the past. This strong emotion is often linked to practical guidance that is just enough and adequate for us to make the right decision at the moment of recognition that  this is what God was talking to us about earlier.
We can see these strong prophetic emotions in the life of Jesus:
In Luke 19:41-44 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem: "Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, 'If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,  and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.'”
Much of the ministry of the Old Testament prophets consisted of weeping over the future destruction of Jerusalem and Israel. 
Psalm 139:17-18 says, "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."
Many of God's thoughts concern us personally, and many of them concern our future. Some of them concern people around us and others concern people that we are yet to meet.
Ephesians 1:4 says, "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love".
You see, God has been thinking about us before the foundation of the world, and He still keeps on thinking about us. In His imagination many things that will happen to you in future have already happened. And His imagination is really strong, unlike our imagination, which can amount to mere fantasies. So, in God's Kingdom the future memories are really God's will in future.
As God keeps on talking to us, He will inevitably talk to us about future. And His thoughts about our future - and the future of others - have an immense power that will affect our emotions. 
In the last few days I have been heartbroken about things that God has shown will happen in future. To me, these things are already etched to my mind as if they had already taken place. It might be a strange thing to cry and weep for what will happen in future. It might be a strange thing to rejoice for what will happen in distant future. 
But that's what the Old Testament prophets did. That's what Jesus did. And that's what the disciples do. After all, we rejoice for an eternal Kingdom that is yet to come. We rejoice because one day we expect to see Jesus face to face. And we can already live that joy now. 
Don't ignore your future memories, as they often reveal God's plan for you. But this demands a great sensitivity and life in the continual presence of God.
Often, a prophecy is a true future memory imagined by God.
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Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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