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The gift of prophecy is an inspired utterance that comes from an immediate action of the Holy Spirit. It is not a premeditated teaching or preaching because they are not prophecy they are listed as different gifts. How can we see examples of prophecy? Let's look at the Biblical examples of prophecy. Luke 1 has Mary prophesying on Elizabeth and Zechariah. In each case it was a spontaneous inspired utterance and as they were filled with the Holy Spirit it bubbled out of them like water from a fountain. This is prophecy. It is clearly explained by Jesus when the disciples were to be challenged in the courts of wicked men. Mat 10:19...But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. Mat 10:20...For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. This is what prophecy is in a nutshell. The reason why the gift of Prophecy continues to operate to this present day is because there are many things that the Church needs to be encouraged of that have nothing to do with Bible revelation. For example, Act 11:27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. Act 11:28...And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Act 11:29...Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Act 11:30...Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. God deigned to use this prophetic utterance to provide the needs of saints in Judea and it had nothing to do with revelation to add to the completion of the Bible except it reveals God's common care for His saints. Similar things have happened with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit whenever and wherever it transpires. There are testimonies that are very numerous and you can find them in most Christian bookshops. Mother's who have lost children in the war had a prophet encourage them that the child is indeed safe and well and later to find the utterance to be true. We need to note this gift is supernatural and it only manifests as the Spirit wills as do all the gifts. I have heard utterances in prophecy that have been glorious and anointed encouragements to worship and as the Scripture says when a true prophecy is uttered the presence of God is revealed and those unbelievers and unlearned will fall on their face with great conviction and say "God of a truth is in you"! So Paul urges the Church to seek to prophesy above every other gift because it edifies the Church. When the great promise of the outpouring was given and revealed through Peter, this is what was promised. Act 2:39...For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Children of those who experience this outpouring will prophesy, as many as God shall call the gift is available. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Disciples in Acts 19, they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Prophecy is an awesome gift that I have seen operate in congregations powerfully and those that have the genuine gift are easy to discern because of the degree of unction that comes with it. God's prophetic word is like a hammer that breaks the rock and like a fire that consumes the stubble. May God continue to release this gift till the Perfect Shall Come, that is to say when Christ returns when there will be no need of knowledge or prophecy or tongues, but we shall be promoted into our eternal home in His presence forever. Yet now we need His prophetic encouragement and comfort especially as the days become so spiritually dark and the wickedness is so thick in the atmosphere. God will use inspired prophetic utterances to rally his spiritual army to prepare for spiritual warfare.
The gift of prophecy is supernaturally declaring the mind of God, under the authority of God, by agency of the Holy Spirit. (II Pet 1:21-22, Deut 18:17-22). Sometimes this entails foretelling an event or judgement that will come to pass (Matt 12:38-42, Matt 24:1-2, Matt 2:16-18, Jer 39:16, Amos 1:9-10); other times it is a call to repentance or change (Rev 2:5, Luke 13:5), to encourage and comfort the church (1 Cor 14:3, 1 Kings 8:56,), a command to be prepared for a given situation (Acts 11:28), a message about the future ministry of another, (Matt 3:1-3, I Tim 4:14), a reproof to the wicked (Jer 35:15-17), asserting the mind of God (Num 24:1-7, Zech 1:6), revealing information as a sign or testament (John 4:13-20), or confirming the fulfillment of a prior promise or prophecy (Luke 2:25-32, Luke 2:36-37). The final purpose of prophecy is for believers and that unbelievers might be convicted by the truth of the prophesies (1 Cor 14:25, Jonah 3:3-5). Sometimes a prophet may repeat a message many times, other times he may be given a message to reveal to the people later. Fulfilled prophecy is a testament to God (Matt 13:14, Jer 28:6, A true prophet will never give a false prediction. What he says will take place -must- take place or come true, or else he is not speaking a message of the LORD (Deut 18:22). He must also bear good fruit (Matt 7:15-20). There has been and will be many false prophets who even give false signs in an attempt to deceive believers. (Mark 13:22, Deut 13:1-3, John 11:51) The greek word for prophet is prophétés, it is a combination of pró (before) and phēmí (make clear, asserting one idea over another). Prophecy derives from the word prophet. Prophecy, then, is what is clarified beforehand. This clarification is not by the prophet's own guess or analysis of what will come to pass, but only by the agency of the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:19-21). Not all prophecies were spoken directly to their intended targets; some were sealed up for later revelation. (Dan 12:8-9). This clarification may be of an event thousands of years in the future, or it may be simply telling someone their sin before it has been made known. Not every utterance by agency of the Holy Spirit is automatically prophecy. (I Cor 2:1-16) Preaching and evangelism are also only done by revelation of the Spirit, and the spirit gives us the words to say in defense of our faith (Luke 12:11-12) Prophecy is no longer used to declare the coming of Christ, as we now learn directly directly from His Son. (Heb 1:1-4) The mystery hidden through the ages has now been revealed (Rom 16:25-27). As such, there will be no more prophecies about Christ coming to earth to save mankind; there will be no more prophecies about the Gentiles becoming part of the Kingdom of God. There will be no "added revelation" to the eternal plan of God through prophecy (Rev 22:18). We no longer learn of salvation through the prophets, but have the light of the word implanted in us (James 1:21). Prophecy of the past did not automatically become scripture; and no present day prophecy will add to scripture. [Be wary of any false prophets claiming to have new revealed scripture, or to have 'analyzed' new secret messages in scripture according to their own understanding. Also, prophecy is not 'feeling' an impression that you should tell someone something. Many false 'words from God' are passed out in churches these days. The gift of prophecy is from God and confirmed by truth]. Prophecy is still used as a spiritual gift for the edification of the church, however. (1 Cor 2:10, 1 Tim 4:14, 1 Cor 14:1, 1 Cor 14:22-25, Acts 21:8-11, etc). The gift of prophecy will not cease until Christ returns and we see Him face to face (1 Cor 13:8-12) **** "We have heard of many of the brethren who have foreknowledge of the future, visions, and prophetic utterances; others, by laying-on of hands, heal the sick and restore them to health" Iranaeus (ad 120-200) 'Against Heresies' 2:32,4 ] ****
The gift of prophesy is to preach. This is very dangerous territory! A distinction needs to be made between "Fore-telling" and "Forth-telling". Revelation 22:18 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book" Revelation 22:19 "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Promoting "gifts" rather than the giver is actually operating contrary to the Holy Spirit. Christ told his disciples concerning the Spirit's ministry: John 15:26 "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:" John 16:7-11 " Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
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