But as for prophecies, they will come to an end… I Cor. 13:8b
[For full text, click I Corinthians 13 above.]
Biblical prophecies weren’t magical predictions of events that no one could foresee – that’s a more cinematic understanding, like Johnny Smith getting visions of the future from a single touch (The Dead Zone). Biblical prophecies were a long look down the road to hell that current actions were paving. Dealing in bad faith with others will eventually lead to ruin, even if it brings momentary gain; armed conflict as a way of solving international disputes will bring violence home in some form; impoverishing the vast majority for the luxury of the few isn’t sustainable forever. Prophets pointed out the consequences of current practices in the hope that people would change course, would choose a different road.
Whether the prophecy caused a change of heart or not, it found its end in its fulfillment or its avoidance. Once the present became the future, the prophecy ended.
The same is true today. No matter how insightful the prediction, prophecy ends in its fulfillment or avoidance. Once its task is done – giving people the chance to change course – the prophecy ends.
But not love, according to Paul. Because love isn’t limited to a specific time line or course of action. Love is the reason for prophecy in the first place, the hope for a better, holier life. Love is seeing the value of every single life, even and especially when human blindness to that value requires prophets.