If you watched my Vlog, What is Prophecy? this week, here is the teaching I promised. Sorry it is a little late, after the She Speaks Conference, I took a little vacation and rest time.
The word ‘Prophecy’ and ‘Prophet’ seem to be buzz words right now. Also, the word ‘prophecy,’ is one of the things, which people get really funny about. However, it doesn’t need to be that way.
Jesus lived His life in such a way that He modeled for us how we are to live our life. Jesus showed us what real relationship with the Father looks like, which is a two way conversation. He modeled listening to God the Father and then doing or speaking what God showed Him to do – this is the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy in action.
One last thing before I move on to what prophecy is…. Prophecy always has the Heart of God behind it, which is LOVE ! I Cor 13:41-7
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Below is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of my book Milk, Eggs, Prophecy: A Healthy New Take on the Radically Ordinary Nature of Prophecy which helps to explain what prophecy is.
I also have more in depth teaching on this subject including: Definitions, Old Testament vs New Testament Prophecy, plus, I outline the 4 purposes of prophecy with scriptural backing. You can get that full teaching and more in my training Manual “Releasing God’s Heart through Hearing His Voice”.
Milk, Eggs, Prophecy
Just because you can prophesy does NOT make you a prophet; it doesn’t mean you carry a mantle for the prophetic, and it doesn’t make you super special!
There is a lot of confusion about the “prophetic” stemming from the basic lack of understanding regarding the four distinct levels outlined in scriptures. Typically, when I use the word “level” there is an automatic assumption that one is more important than the other, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be at the top? I often get asked, “Is one layer (“level”) of the prophetic more important than the other?” The answer is both yes and no.
When the Holy Spirit is given room to flow, people who have never moved in the gift of prophecy are able to prophesy. A prophetic environment can take place when a prophetically anointed individual in cooperation with the Holy Spirit creates an atmosphere that allows others to step under their umbrella of anointing.
In 1 Samuel we see the power of a prophetically charged atmosphere.
So he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men and they also prophesied. Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied… So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 19:20-24).
Is Saul among the prophets? No, but when the atmosphere is charged, the Spirit of God can disburse gifts as He wills, and ordinary people such as Saul can prophesy.
Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
There are nine different spiritual gifts given solely by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is one of these gifts. They are given for the good of the church, the body of Christ. God longs for the prophetic to be understood and used by all.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
Paul tells us all that we should desire all the spiritual gifts, but especially the gift of prophecy. Why is the gift of prophecy so important? Paul tells us it is to strengthen, encourage, and edify one another.
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified (1 Corinthians 14:1-5).
The gift of prophecy is for everyone! 1 Corinthians 14 tells us to desire all the gifts, which means anyone can operate and function in any of the gifts as the need arises.
Mantle of the Prophetic
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10 NAS).
Fasten your seat belt…
God has given a specific gift of prophecy. It is an increased ability to hear Him. These individuals operate at a deeper level than those simply in a prophetic atmosphere and those using the basic spiritual gift of prophecy.
This is a supernatural prompting, an anointing given to individuals to operate at a deeper level within the spiritual gift of prophecy. This is evident by the fruit of their life.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor (Isaiah 61:1).
These prophetically gifted, anointed individuals are not prophets or prophetesses because they haven’t received that calling to the office of prophet.
The Office of Prophet
Biblically a prophet is a calling from God and fulfills the “office” of a prophet. This is a job description.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
A person who carries the mantle of prophet has the gift of prophecy for the purpose of teaching others. If you are called to the office of a prophet, you have a job to equip God’s people for the work of ministry. This is one of the God-appointed, fivefold offices.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 ESV).
A prophet has a job with the assignment to hear God and release this to “the people.” In looking at the four levels of the prophetic, the office of prophet is a position of authority, not because of who the prophet is, but because of the anointing placed on the office.
The prophet is not more important than everyone else. We all have equal value as members of the body. We need all of the parts working and functioning together.
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere (Romans 12:4-9).
In the church, we look to the person standing behind the pulpit every week as the person in charge. Do the people within the congregation look at that individual as more important than themselves? Long pause… The answer should be no. According to God, a pastor is no more important than anyone else in the congregation. Don’t confuse the responsibility or accountability God places upon a pastor with their value as a person. From the cheap seats, we view a pastor or prophet as “super special.” The Biblical truth is, their gifting does not increase their importance within the body. We should never be focused on the gifting of one person, but on the ONE who has bestowed that gift upon them, and that person is Jesus Christ.
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