Spiritual Gifts Series Part 7- The Gift of Prophecy

Episode 63

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Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

The Gift of prophecy is the first of the three utterance gifts. Of these three gifts, prophecy is the best gift. The gift of prophecy is meant to encourage, build up or comfort the Body of Christ. It has no predictive or foretelling aspect to it. Prophecy is supernatural utterance in a known tongue. It is for the edification of the church body. Have you activated this gift in your life? Join Carl now as he shares the importance of this Gift in the church today…

Here is a complete transcript of the podcast (below)…

Let’s continue our study of the nine spiritual gifts and today we will discuss the gift of prophecy. Let’s read our key passage once more:

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Cor 12:7-11.

Now the gift of prophecy is the first of the three utterance gifts as I’ve discussed previously, with the others being divers tongues and interpretation. Of the three utterance gifts, prophecy is the best gift and I will prove it with scripture. “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues.” (1 Cor 14:5). This shows that to speak with tongues and to interpret, is equivalent to prophecy and without interpretation in a public setting; tongues can cause confusion to the people present. Therefore, prophecy is really the most important of the three gifts of inspiration or utterance in that it does not require another gift to complete it. Therefore by definition, prophecy is supernatural utterance in a known tongue. In contrast, Divers tongues which is a supernatural utterance in an unknown tongue and interpretation of tongues is a supernatural showing forth of that which has been said in an unknown tongue.

The Hebrew meaning of the phrase, “to prophesy”, is to flow forth. It also carries with it the connotation:”to bubble forth like a fountain, to let drop, to lift up, to tumble forth and to spring forth.” The Greek word that’s translated “prophesy” means to speak for another. So to prophesy can mean to speak on behalf of another i.e. God or to be His spokesman. One thing I want to make very clear today is the difference between the prophetic office and the gift of prophecy; these are two distinct things. With the simple gift of prophecy, there is no revelation. Remember to prophecy as the bible defines it, is to “comfort, exhort and edify” as it states in 1 Cor 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” and in another instance the Apostle Paul tells us that we should covet to prophesy. 1st Corinthians 14:39 says, “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.”If Paul is telling us to earnestly desire or strongly desire to prophesy then it must be important and the reason it is so important is because it is such a blessing to other people.

Note also, Paul said to forbid not speaking with tongues, so he honored this gift also within a public setting as long as it was administered correctly as to avoid confusion. Paul goes on to discuss these gifts in more detail in the same chapter, and I quote…1 Cor 14:22,  Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” Did you catch that friend? Supernatural usage of tongues or speaking in an unknown tongue can be a sign to the unbeliever that God’s working in the midst of the congregation, although he may not be edified by it, because he has no understanding with his natural mind. However, prophecy is for the believer, that’s us, because it edifies, comforts and exhorts us in a language we understand, as I’ve stated. Now the word exhort is not always obvious to us in the modern vernacular. In the Greek it actually means, “A calling near to God or an invitation.” When you are prophesied to, the fruit of it should be an invitation to draw us closer to God and provide comfort. Trouble is some of the words I’ve received down the years are more discomforting than comforting. In fact the church at Thessalonica had so misused the gift of prophesy that these folks at the church almost despised it:

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 lRejoice evermore. 17 mPray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess 5:14-21).

Therefore the simple gift of prophecy is to encourage, build up or comfort someone else. There is no foretelling or predictive aspect of the gift of prophecy. But having said that the gift of prophecy often accompanies the word of knowledge and word of wisdom as part of the revelation gifts in manifestation. In the office of the prophet however, as in OT timers especially, we very often find that revelation or foretelling does come forth, even through the vehicle of prophecy. In the NT however, we know the office of the prophet is still valid as one of the offices mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. His primary role therefore as a prophet is to encourage, exhort and comfort folk but he can also give warnings, admonitions, rebukes and corrections etc. in this office, but this isn’t his primary role. It should be noted that, the gift of prophesy can operate through anyone in the Body of Christ and you don’t have to be in the office of the prophet to do so. But if you’re going to prophecy according to the Bible you better be building people up and loving on folk, not tearing people down and fortune telling. Along these lines, someone once asked me, how come there’s all these prophets here when it’s supposed to be a “non-profit organization.” Sorry I couldn’t resist that one.

We should also bear in mind that whenever the word of prophesy is given, other prophets are supposed to judge the word given in a public setting 1st Corinthians 14:29-33 says,”Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints”

Notice it says the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophet, in other words as with all gifts, the person may be aware that God wants them to manifest the gift but ultimately the person still has the choice of whether he wants to be used by God or not, to express the gift. In my own life I have had prophetic words for other people, which I did not give them as I should have and in some cases the Lord rebuked me for holding back, but it was the fear of man that stopped me. Thankfully these instances are few and far between today. The scripture also says that God is not the author of confusion but peace, in other words, the true gift of prophecy will witness with the other prophets and they will all agree it’s from God. There will be consensus between them.

If someone is a true prophet, standing in the office, he should have all three revelation gifts in operation in his ministry on a continual basis, not just the gift of prophesy and a true prophet has the authority to correct, rebuke and admonish people in a public setting also, but this is not common. From my experience if God wants to correct us, He chooses to do so privately first. However, if we don’t listen to those corrections, God will have to take it to the next level and rebuke us publicly because of our stubbornness and lack of repentance, but once again this is NOT common and only occurs rarely because God is a gentleman. With this in mind, be very careful of those who call themselves Percival the Prophet or prophetesses Penelope. ha, what I mean is, your gift will make room for you, you don’t have go around telling people you’re a prophet or prophetess, let other people figure out what you are by your fruit and gifts in operation.

Those who go round promoting themselves usually have an agenda and are probably insecure people. And while we’re on the topic, under no circumstances, would a real prophet of God, ever take money for a ‘word from the Lord’. No sir. I remember a story that Perry Stone told a few years back at a partner meeting, he was at a service, in a church I won’t mention and a so called ‘prophet of God’ formed lines for people in the congregation. He said, if you want a word of encouragement, you stand in the $10 line and if you want a word of knowledge, you stand in the $50 line and if you want my personal phone number and word of wisdom, you stand in the $500 line. Friend this person is in very serious trouble with the Lord if not already. This is what I call, pimping the gift of God and it’s not exclusive to prophesying only, many major recording artists, who I could mention, have gone on to become famous songwriters and artists, who started out in the church and learned their craft, but later fell away from the Lord when the lure of riches came calling. I’m sure you know a few of these too; they choose not to glorify God with their gift.

May I remind you, that you don’t live your life by prophetic words; you live by faith. God’s word and the unction of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is what guides us. If you receive a squarely word from someone, just put it on the shelf and forget about it. 99% of the time the words I’ve received have bared witness in my heart with what the Lord has already told me, but not always. So be careful my friend, because not everyone who claims to be a prophet of God in the office of a prophet, always is one. Now it should also be said that one of the signs of living in the last days, prior to Christ’s return is that we may prophecy, remember what the Apostle Peter said, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts Chapter 2, verses 14 through 18:

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Friend, the widespread manifestation of the gift of prophecy is sign of Christ’s imminent return. We should never take the gifts of the Holy Spirit for granted as they’re supernatural in origin. I also believe the gifts of the Spirit are the ‘powers of the world to come’, mentioned in Hebrews 6:5 after we have tasted the heavenly gift, which is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It should also be noted that in some instances where the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was manifest some of the people began to prophesy in addition to speaking with tongues as initial evidence for that Baptism. This occurred in Acts 19:6 and there is even evidence that the gift of prophesy can be manifested through certain families more than others who have been faithful to operate in the gift. When the Apostle Paul came to Caesarea on one of his missionary journeys. He visited the house of Phillip the evangelist and a man who was with him had four daughters who could prophesy. You can read this account in Acts 21.  Friend, I hope you’re enjoying these sessions on the spiritual gifts and I’d love to hear from you. Shoot me an email or visit our website.  

Related keyword searches:

What is the Gift of Prophecy?
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Are the gift of prophecy and office of prophet the same?
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