Who can still prophesy?

Who can still prophesy?

Who can still prophesy?

Prophecy is sometimes despised because of ignorance and fear. However, ignorance evaporates  in front of God's promises about prophecy. The biblical framework for a healthy prophetic culture helps protect us from the discredit and fear generated by unbalanced behavior. I want to help you realize that you can prophesy and become a source of encouragement to those around you.

Prophesying Today

God is a god who speaks! He spoke to his prophets in the Old Testament and he granted the gift of prophecy to the church through the Holy Spirit.

Who can still prophesy? 

This question does not arise in the Bible, rather it is addressed in today’s Christian world because the enemy looks for every means possible to discredit or cover up  important spiritual realities.

"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away." (1 Corinthians 13:8)

The only verse that speaks about the end of prophecies is 1 Cor 13:8 and it  is in the context of eternal life with God. Actually, in heaven, we will no longer need encouragement because we will see God face to face. We will no longer need to heal the sick nor cast out demons because there will be no more sickness and demons will be in the lake of fire for all eternity (Rev 21:3-4 )

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”" (Revelation 21:3-4)

Jesus warns us against false prophets. That means there are true prophets, otherwise He would have said, "Beware of prophets! ".

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15)

There are several levels of prophecy in the Bible: some are about Jesus, others about the nations. Not everyone is called to prophesy to the nations, but every child of God can bring a word of encouragement to his neighbor from God. It was the prayer of the prophet Isaiah: 

"The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed." (Isaiah 50:4)

The prophets of the old Covenant were the only ones who could hear God. But under the new Covenant, through the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, every child of God can now have direct fellowship with Him. If apostle Paul invites us to desire the gift of prophecy, it is because it is available to every believer!

"Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues." (1 Corinthians 14:39)

Actually, prophecy is very valuable for the body of Christ. 

"So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church." (1 Corinthians 14:12)

Paul even tells Timothy that he must fight on the basis of the prophecies he received earlier. This shows its importance in fulfilling your mission for God.

"Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well" (1 Timothy 1:18)

Prophecy does not replace the Bible and does not have the same value, but yes, even today,  God's people need to be able to rely on what God says to fight the battle of faith. To prophesy under the New Covenant is to encourage, comfort and build faith. 

"But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church." (1 Corinthians 14:3-4)

These are characteristics of the Holy Spirit, it is normal because he is the author of the prophecy! (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

Everyone needs encouragement. Everyone will at some point need to be comforted or boosted in their faith. Everyone therefore still needs, even today, to receive prophecies. 

 WHO can prophesy?

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers" (Ephesians 4:11) 

In the New Covenant, God has given gifts to the church, including the prophets. The role of the prophet is to prophesy but above all, it is to train the people of God in prophecy. The call of the prophet is something specific, and it's not the subject of this plan.  However, remember that, just because someone prophesies it doesn't mean that they are necessarily a prophet. In fact, every Holy Ghost-filled child of God can prophesy. 

Since the Holy Spirit lives within every child of God, they have the opportunity to prophesy, that is, to encourage, comfort, or strengthen the faith of those they meet, inspired by the Holy Spirit. All Christians, therefore, have the potential to prophesy. 

"For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged." (1 Corinthians 14:31)

The gift of prophecy is a spiritual gift distributed by the Holy Spirit. He who has the gift of prophecy will prophesy more frequently than a Christian who does not. (1Cor 12:4-11)

"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy." (1 Corinthians 14:1)

We must aspire to the gift of prophecy because of its so important role in the building up of the Church. So you can pray to receive the gift of prophecy and practice prophecy by developing your sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." (Acts 2:17)

On the day of Pentecost, God poured out his Spirit upon all flesh. Regardless of age, men and women can prophesy. We see in the Epistle to the Corinthians that spiritual gifts are not a guarantee of spiritual maturity or holiness. Therefore, you should never consider the gift or the accuracy of prophecy that a person communicates as a sign of God's approval of his or her life. A prophet is judged by his/her fruits, not by the accuracy of his/her prophecies.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

In the same way, we need to look at the fruit of the Spirit more than the gifts. A person's fruit is related to the transformation of his character by the Holy Spirit, while his gifts reveal the giving God.

"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Humility and love should be the mark of those who prophesy by the Holy Spirit. Humility means remembering that we are only earthen vessels that carry treasure.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Humility is remembering that to prophesy is to be God's factor. The value of the letter carrier does not change according to the content of the mail distributed.

Humility is that memory that I can be wrong, that my interpretation can be wrong, and that I am learning. That is why introducing prophecy with "This is what I have received in prayer" is preferable to "Thus says the Lord! ".

"Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good," (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)

Love manifests itself when we ask ourselves these questions before we prophesy:

  • Does what I say do any good?
  • Is this encouraging?
  • Do I communicate a good image of God?
  • Would I be encouraged if I was told the same thing?

"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 do not have love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2)

 How to prophesy?

 We have seen the purpose and importance of prophecy. I have shown you that you too can prophesy. The question of the day is: Can we learn to prophesy? Here is a simple definition of prophecy: To prophesy is to communicate what God is saying to someone.

I truly believe that it is necessary to learn to hear God's voice for oneself before wanting to hear it for others. The image we have of God and our relationship with Him will affect the message we communicate. It's a little bit like receiving a text message but without knowing the tone of voice of the sender or his emotions. An exclamation mark can be seen as an exclamation of joy or anger. Knowing the sender will allow us to faithfully convey their message and their heart.

A simple way to learn to prophesy is to first learn to listen to God's voice for yourself. Then you can ask the Lord Jesus: "What do you want to tell this person? »

Take time to write down what you receive and then examine whether it is biblical and whether it resembles the nature of God. You can then humbly share the fruit of your prayer and it will certainly be a great source of blessing. 

It often happens that encouragement is not at all of the same value to the giver as it is to the receiver. That is why it is necessary to prophesy by faith, that is, to dare to share what we receive with love and humility.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith" (Romans 12:6)

There are three stages to prophecy: what we receive from the Lord, how we interpret it, and how we communicate it to the recipient. For each of these steps, there are good and bad ways of doing things and one can progress and develop. 

In the time of Elisha, there were schools of prophets (2 Kings 6). Although we cannot learn how to make prophecy, we can learn to interpret what God tells us and to correctly communicate what we have received. He who keeps a humble heart is teachable; he does not take offense at criticism but seeks to progress and excel.

"The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice." (Proverbs 12:15)

Paul admonishes us not to despise prophecy because sometimes the human "wrapping" does not accurately reflect the heart of God contained in the message. So don't expect only perfect people to prophesy; you will miss God's encouragement. Don't wait until you're an expert to open your mouth. God wants to use you, just as He used His imperfect disciples.

Staying balanced = a healthy prophetic culture

The purpose of prophecy is the edification of the body of Christ. It is a manifestation of God's love, one of his languages of love. If Children of God are reluctant or opposed to prophecy, it is often because of wounds or abuses they have seen or experienced. 

As a pastor, I ask your forgiveness for the lack of love and balance that you may have been exposed to in some circles. If you have rejected prophecy because of bad experiences or disappointments, remember that the Apostle Paul invites you to hold on to what is good without falling into contempt.

"Do not treat prophecies with contempt  but test them all; hold on to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)

It's like when you eat fish, you don't throw your plate away because you fell on a bone. Wherever there are humans, it is necessary to ensure balance. Paul wrote the epistle to the Corinthians to restore order in this church that was experimenting with all the gifts but with much disorder. But do not confuse order with the absence of life.

I have spoken to you of the importance of love, grace and humility which must be the fragrance of prophecy. I also want to denounce what is not acceptable. The problems come when people feed on prophecies without ever listening to God on their own. No prophet or Christian who has the gift of prophecy should have the place of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Remember, no matter who the messenger is, always examine the prophecies. Prophecy is one of the ways God speaks, but you should seek confirmation through your Bible reading, your time with God, and not be guided by prophecy alone. 

There is a saying that counselors are not the payers. Similarly, it is you who will be responsible for your choices, not the one who prophesies.

Our knowledge is partial, so is our prophesying , and no one can claim to know all of God's thought.

"For we know in part and we prophesy in part" (1 Corinthians 13:9)

Prophecy should not be directive and should not be used to manipulate people. Those who prophesy are not infallible, no matter what their title or the exactness of what they say. 

Prophecy is for the body of Christ. We are really safe when we listen to God with others. The more prophetic culture is developed within a church, the more it protects its members. It is when prophecies are scarce and one cannot practice examining things that the risk is greatest. So don't let the fear of being hurt make you more vulnerable! When everyone hears God, there is no longer a spiritual elite, but a people who walk to the sound of God's voice, growing stronger and stronger. The men and women who are used by Him are not put on a pedestal, but the Holy Spirit is honored.

This meditation is taken from my book Listening to God, a practical and biblical guide for learning to recognize God's voice. I invite you to discover the first 100 pages here.

David Théry

Practical teachings to experience God

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