• The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19).
  • Saturday, 9 March 2013


    First we are going to look at prophecy in general. 1 Corinthians 14: 3-4 tells us "But someone prophesying is speaking to people, edifying, encouraging and comforting them. A person speaking in a tongue does edify himself, but a person prophesying edifies the congregation." (Jewish New Testament)

    The Hebrew for prophesy is NABA (naw baw) meaning to speak or sing by inspiration. In Greek we have CHAZAH (khaw zaw) meaning to mentally perceive, to have vision of.

    By my count there are 661 verses in the Bible that deal with prophets, prophesy, or prophesying, yet we seem to know little about the subject. 1 Corinthians 12 : 1 says; "But, brothers, I do not want you to go on being ignorant about the things of the Spirit." Do not be offended by the idea of being ignorant. We are all ignorant, just about different things.

    The gift of prophecy has a threefold purpose:

    To Edify
    To Encourage
    To Comfort

    This is the New Testament pattern for prophecy. No where does the scripture teach that prophecy tells the future. Prophets are not fortune tellers. Some prophecy may deal with future events but are for "forth telling" NOT "foretelling". Prophecy is not a crystal ball to seek knowledge of the future. Prophecy is God communicating with man through man. A prophetic utterance is God inspired through a yielded servant. Paul tells us he wishes we all would prophesy ( 1 Corinthians 14:5) because it builds up or charges up the whole church (congregation).

    The first mention of a prophet is found in Genesis 20:7. Abraham is called a prophet by God. God called him a prophet, not someone else. Numbers 12:6 tells us that when a prophet of the Lord arises, God will make Himself known to the prophet in visions and dreams. Deuteronomy 13:2 warns that false prophets lead away from God.........even if their prophecies come true.

    Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God speaks to Jeremiah and tells him that before he created him in the womb, God selected him. Before he was born, God consecrated him, and appointed him a prophet concerning the nations.

    We can tell from these scriptures, that God calls the prophet, even before he is born, he has been selected by God for that service. This is concerning the "Office of a Prophet" not the simple gift of prophecy. What we are going to discuss at this time is prophecy in general.

    1 Corinthians 14 tells us that prophecy edifies, encourages or comforts. The word edify is also translated by some as "build up" or others have said it is closer to our understanding of "charge" as in charging a battery. Prophecy must either charge us up, encourage us or comfort. Very often it will not do this for the one delivering the prophecy, only the ones receiving it. Prophecy is divine inspiration and the one delivering the prophecy does not have this coming from their mind, but out of the spirit and sometimes it leaves no emotional trace in the person giving the prophecy. Some prophecies are given almost unconsciously, or off-handed. God will quicken it to the heart of the hearer.


    Edify - Building, confirmation, a structure, charge (in the sense of charging a battery).
    Exhort - Comfort, consolation, entreaty, encourage.
    Comfort - Consolation, solace.

    Next I will look at the "gift of prophecy".


    I want to start with a few quotes from Robert B. Hall in his book, "Anyone Can Prophesy".

    " Our loving heavenly father speaks to us for our guidance and when He does this directly, that’s what we call it, guidance. But when He speaks to us through another person, we call it prophecy, and it is just as important to us as direct guidance because the source of the communication is God Himself. "

    " Prophecy is introductory or conformational, but it does not stand alone. "

    " So the first testing of prophecy is that it doesn’t stand alone. Something either precedes or follows it that fits it, joins with it, completes it, and agrees with it. "

    " The second testing of prophecy is that it is in line with what we already know of God’s will. God is consistent; He is true and does not contradict Himself. "

    " The third test we would call simply the law of love....if the message is loving, it is of God; if it is not loving, it comes from another source. Thus a prophecy might steer someone away from a certain course, but if it was condemnatory, we would suspect the source. "

    This gives us some guidelines to add to the last chapter. We test the prophecy ourselves before it is given, then the ones hearing the prophecy will test it. This is how we have a check and balance system for the gifts of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:32 tells us that the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of confusion but of peace. The New American Standard version says "spirits of the prophets". The prophets own spirit, not the Holy Spirit. The prophet has the ability to speak or not, even when the Holy Spirit has directed him. The prophet does not have the ability to speak for God at his own discretion, he must wait on the Lord to provide the anointing or the unction.

    The prophecy of the Tanakh or what we call the "Old Testament" dealt with future events often. Prophets would go and announce God’s call upon someone’s life which would be fulfilled at a later time. This can be called predictive prophecy. Samuel spoke to Saul and later to David about their kingship over Israel......and it came to pass. One of the tests of prophecy is if it comes to pass.

    Today, in the times of the writings of the apostles, what we call the "New Testament times", prophecy is more " Forth Telling " than foretelling. God uses prophets to direct and remind the body, not so much to tell future events. Prophecy is not fortune telling, it is not a crystal ball that we get from God to tell us what will happen. It is witchcraft and rebellion to look for someone to look into your future for your gain or your curiosity. You do not seek prophecy, prophecy seeks you! It is all at God’s instigation. You may pray for a revelation, for a prophecy to direct and reveal to you, but it will be at God’s discretion. Our proper posture is to seek God ........ NOT gifts or power. Let me clarify that. We are to seek God and a relationship with Him. In developing that relationship we have access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the power given to us by Jesus. It is already ours, we do not need to seek it. We may want to learn what it is and how to operate withing the gifts given to us but we do not need to seek the gifts or the power. People that obsess with power or gifts or manifestations often get led into error because they forget the relationship and concentrate on the outward signs. You are far better off to seek the intimate relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and just accept the gifts given. This doesn’t mean we are to be ignorant about the gifts, quite the contrary. The Bible is very clear that we are not to be ignorant about spirituals.

    Often the gifts of Wisdom or Knowledge or Interpretation of Tongues is confused with Prophecy. They are closely related and sometimes overlap or are used in conjunction with each other.

    I will give some brief definitions to try to explain the differences.

    Wisdom - Having a word concerning a situation that does not come from your own understanding. I find this most often in counseling situations.

    Knowledge - Being aware of a specific need without being told about it. Sometimes in prayer and sometimes in conversation.

    Interpretation of Tongues - This will often have prophetic overtones but is always preceded by a message in tongues.

    Prophecy is God speaking to us through another person. Therefore the message is hindered by the speaker at times. A person will usually speak wit the limitations of his/her vocabulary. The personality of the speaker will come through with the message. The vessels God uses, (us) are imperfect and often the messages we deliver are imperfect because of human limitations. Poor speech, improper use of the language, stuttering, stammering, etc. does not mean the message is not from God ......... it means the human element is imperfect.

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