I. THE GIFT OF PROPHECY
A. WHAT IT IS NOT
1. NOT FORTUNE TELLING
Several years ago a book was written about Jeanne Dixon entitled, "THE
GIFT OF PROPHECY." It claimed that her supposed ability to tell the
future was the gift of prophecy. Anyone who has followed her predictions
knows that she is more apt to be wrong than right. However, even if she
could have accurately fortold the future 100% of the time, this would still
not be any reason to follow her according to Deut.13:1-4. One of
the accusations which the Lord brought against the evil King Mannaseh was
that he used fortune tellers. 2 Ki 21:6 says concerning Mannaseh:
"...He practiced black magic and used fortune-telling, and patronized mediums
and wizards. So the Lord was very angry..." (TLB) Then there were
false prophets or supposed fortune tellers in Jeremiah's day. God
said concerning them:
2. NOT THE ABILITY TO PREACH
8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your
prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen
to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.
9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,
says the LORD," (Jer 29:8-9) (NKJ).
Pastor John MacArthur (a popular preacher on many radio stations) claims
that the gift of prophecy is merely the gift of being able to preach the
gospel. However, to preach means to proclaim, to announce, to cry
to tell. Prophecy is not simple oratorical ability. Many politicians,
lawyers, and teachers have oratorical ability even though they have never received the
Holy Spirit. There is nothing supernatural about oratorical ability.
Oratorical ability can come through education and training, but prophecy
only comes through the Holy Ghost. Prophecy is a supernatural gift,
whereas oratorical ability is a natural gift at best.
3. NOT THE ABILITY TO QUOTE SCRIPTURE
Scripture quotes may be a part of prophecy but the gift of prophecy
should not be confused with the natural ability some people have to remember
and quote Scripture. Even the devil can quote Scriptures.
4. NOT LAYING EMPTY HANDS ON EMPTY HEADS
At some charismatic prayer meetings they practice a routine of going
around laying hands on everyone and then saying whatever comes to mind.
They have been taught that this is the gift of prophecy. From what
I have seen of this, I would say it is more along the lines of empty hands
on empty heads. It is not the Holy Spirit's gift of prophecy. At one
of these meetings, a certain woman was told that her husband was running
around on her. The rest of the group was so sure about this
that they even conjectured who he was running around with. When the
angry wife went home and confronted her husband concerning this supposed
sin in his life, it almost destroyed their marriage. He was totally
innocent, but it took a great deal of prayer, counsel, and explanation
to convince his wife of his innocence. At another such meeting, a
woman was told that her mother was going to die, but she hasn't died yet.
They "prophesy" a lot of things which never come true at such meetings,
and often people are hurt emotionally and spiritually. It
is not the Biblical gift of prophecy.
5. NOT TO BE DESPISED
1Thes 5:20 "Despise not prophesyings." (KJV)
B. WHAT IT IS
Prophecy is a vocal miracle of speech in one's own language.
It is speaking under the inspiration of God for "edification, exhortation,
and comfort." The Hebrew word for "prophecy" means "to flow forth
or to spring forth." It also carries the thought of bubbling forth
like a fountain, or to tumble forth." The Greek word for "prophecy" means
to "speak for another." It means to be the spokesman for someone else.
Literally it means to speak for God or to be His mouthpiece.
Sometimes there is an element of prophecy in preaching when one is
anointed by the Spirit and is inspired to say things which come from the
spirit rather than just from the mind, but that is only one of many ways
in which prophecy is expressed. Sometimes a Spirit-filled believer
may be witnessing to someone when the Lord suddenly anoints the witness to say
things which he or she didn't plan on saying. They are inspired by the Holy Spirit
to say it, and it causes the person to break or to repent. That is
another way the gift of prophecy is applied in our Christian walk.
Prophesy always exalts Jesus as the only Savior of men (Rev 19:10).
It is for women as well as for men (1Cor 11; Acts 2:15-16). It is
to be "desired" (1Cor 14:1). It always agrees with God's Word.
1 Cor 14:3 "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification,
and exhortation, and comfort." (KJV)
prophecy is to speak for God as His mouthpiece. It is probably better to
speak in the
second or third person when one prophecies so that it can be more easily
judged by those
who are sitting by (1Cor 14:29). It is also preferable that the person
should stand up in reverance to God when he or she is prophesying.
Prophecy is for
women as well as men according to the Scriptures. It is for all spirit-filled
(1Cor 11, Acts 2:15-16, Joel 2, Luke 1, 1Cor 14:1,24,31).
C. BIBLE EXAMPLES
1. OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
Spirit of God came upon Eldad and Medad in Numbers 11 and they prophesied
25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took
of the spirit
that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to
pass, that, when
the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the
one was Eldad, and
the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they
were of them that
were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied
in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and
Medad do prophesy
in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young
and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that
all the LORD'S
people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul (who was later to become king) and he
while he was still just a farm boy. 1 Sam 10:9-11
9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel,
God gave him
another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.
10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets
met him; and
the spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
11 And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that,
prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What
is this that
is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?
was a prophet, King David was also a prophet, there were numerous prophets
in the Old Testament, there were so many that there is not room enough
here to list all
of them and their deeds. Elijah and Elisha were powerful prophets
of God who did
mighty exploits for Him. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel were
all prophets of God
who wrote the books which bear their names. Then there were also
12 minor prophets
who's writings make up the last 12 books of the O.T. from Hosea to Malachi.
2. NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
This is not an exhaustive list of New Testament examples of prophecy.
I am merely
pointing out a few which show the prevalence of this gift in the New Testament
Paul preached Jesus unto some former disciples of John the Baptist, they
water baptized. Then Paul laid hands on them and they began to speak
in tonuges and
prophesy. Acts 19:4-6
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance,
saying unto the
people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that
is, on Christ
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came
on them; and they
spake with tongues, and prophesied.
had four daughters who prophesied. Acts 21:8-9
8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came
and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of
the seven; and
abode with him.
9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
seems that none of the above mentioned prophesies were foretelling the
future, but they
all magnified the Lord and comforted the people of God.
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