Prophecy is considered as the word of God to mankind in a written or spoken form. In the past, God spoke through some persons to people on issues concerning their lives. When the word is about upcoming happenings, it is known as prophecy.
Prophecies can be classified in two major ways: the iron-clad prophecy and the conditional prophecy.
The iron-clad prophecies are those that can never be altered or stopped by any human being or spirit no matter how they try.
The birth and death of Jesus Christ was prophesied in the past by most of the prophets such as Isaiah as he prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The prophecy is so emphatic that it is put in the present as though it has already happened. Tried as Herod did to stop the prophecy from happening, he failed because it is a sealed one.
There are many of such prophecies, such as the one on John the Baptist coming ahead of Jesus to introduce His ministry in Malachi 4:5. 5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
These are examples of prophecies that are iron-clad that took place without fail.
On the other hand, there are prophecies that are conditional, where God warns His people about negative consequences of their actions or to prepare for better things ahead.
King Hezekiah is an example of how some prophecies are conditional. He got a prophecy from God through the prophet Isaiah about him dying from his sickness. But he prayed and God reversed it. 2 Kings 20: 1-6.
Conditional prophecies are meant to warn people to act or stop acting in a way in order to receive God’s favor. It is not meant to destroy or kill, except if people remain stubborn after several warnings.
God’s intention is always to save people from difficult situations but not to destroy so His prophecies are always to build, strengthen and move people closer to God. “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.” 1 Corinthians 14:3
In all of these, one thing that is very important is the way prophecy is delivered. No matter how good a prophecy is, the prophet has a hug responsibility to deliver it in a wise way in order to make the required impact.
Samuel is one example of prophets who used wisdom in delivering messages to God’s people. When he prophesied to Saul to become king over Israel, he did it in secret so as to ward off any act from others to stop the prophecy. 1 Samuel 10.
He also prophesied to David that he would be king over Israel but he did it in secret to forestall any problem with Saul who was still on the throne as king.
On whether it is right for prophets to prophesy on issues of national dimension such as elections, I think this has to be done with a lot of caution because prophecies have to do with God and for that matter anyone who prophesies or claims to prophesy must be very sure of him/herself, else might bring curses upon themselves or ridicule Christianity.
Whatever God reveals to man concerning a nation is meant for a purpose and that purpose is what the prophet must seek, but not anything that resembles showmanship. Some prophecies are for private purposes, not public. The cases of Samuel, Saul and David are clear examples of prophecies that should be private. Failure to keep such prophecies private could result in the devil interfering and perhaps preventing them.
If two prophets speak concerning an election and give different predictions, then the people listening would have to conclude that one of them is lying because God is one and can only give one prediction on the same election.
Should that happen, then the people would begin to wonder if the prophets are of God or just prophesying to satisfy their motives.
Prophecies are from God and must not be toyed with in any way because God must always be true before men.
It would better for those predicting the elections to do so privately to the candidates God has revealed to them, rather than coming out to do so since that can create a lot of confusion if a candidate loses, as against what the prophet told him/her.
In the book of Acts 1, God chose a replacement for Judas through a lot (ballot). The disciples applied the word by choosing two followers, Barsabas and Matthias. However, choosing one over the other became a challenge so they applied the lot which fell on Matthias.
In this case, no one tried prophesying to determine the right choice of God but they all prayed and their lots fell on one.
That is supposed to be the way forward in these days when elections have been designated as the means of choosing presidents in the country. God can speak to the minds of the people to choose whom He prefers so no one needs to take that responsibility upon himself to create problems.
The spiritual councils may have their rules but as it is with religion, freedom is guaranteed and no one has the right to stop the other from exercising their God-given gifts of prophecy.
What matters most is for the prophets to consider the effects of false prophecies on their image as men of God and also the potential of creating confusion in the country in the event where a prophecy misleads someone into thinking he has been cheated or the elections were rigged.