Guest Writer | Kevin McCall
Greetings in Christ!
In Acts 2:17-28 we read the prophecy of Joel, "It will come to pass in the last days, God says, that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon ALL flesh. Your sons and your daughters SHALL PROPHESY, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and THEY SHALL PROPHESY." According to Peter, the outpouring of Holy Spirit on Pentecost brought Joel's prophecy to fruition. It fulfilled Moses' desire from Numbers 11:29, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them all!" In 1 Cor 14:1 Paul says, " Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy." He goes on to say in verse 5, "Now I should like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy." Notice the word ALL in each of these scriptures. Through baptism we are anointed PROPHET, priest, and king.
So, what does it mean to prophesy? Merriam Webster's dictionary gives the following definitions:
1: to speak as if divinely inspired
2: to give instruction in religious matters : PREACH
3: to make a prediction
Revelation 19:10 tells us, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." The authentic gift of prophecy will always point someone to Jesus! Basic prophecy should encourage, build/strengthen the Church, confirm something the Lord has already been speaking, present an awareness of something that might happen in the future, call an individual to deeper conversion/holiness. Paul says this of ones who hear genuine prophecies, "As they listen, their secret thoughts will be laid bare, and they will fall down on their knees and worship God, declaring, 'God is really here among you."' God is real. God knows you deeply, intimately, personally; surrender to Him and follow Him. Prophecy is to help people understand these truths.
There is no limit to the ways the Holy Spirit delivers prophetic messages to His people, but here are some of the more common ones found in the bible:
A) Dreams and visions.
B) Interior voice/thought (locution).
C) Interior picture/image
F) Other people
G) Physical sensations
H) Signs in nature
I) Audible voice of God
J) Angelic messengers
I saved scripture for last because it is important to be rooted in the WORD to appropriately discern prophetic words. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 says, "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil." The Lord will not contradict Himself. Authentic prophecies will always align with biblical principles. Here are some other factors to consider in testing a word the Lord is giving you or someone else. Does it resonate with you? Does it bring you comfort, peace, or hope? Does it conflict with Church teaching or the law? Does it point you to Jesus? Does it call you to holiness? Finally, does it actually happen?
Prayer, praise, and intimacy with Jesus are key components for growing in the gift of prophecy. Faith, courage, and practice are also essential. Believe that God does speak to you and wants to speak through you! Ask, seek, and knock. Be aware of those little nudges that come from seemingly nowhere and see what happens if you follow through. This tiny overview is just some food for prayer and a launch pad for a much more. In John chapter 6:45 we're told, "They shall all be taught by God." Grab onto that promise dear students of the Spirit! He is your greatest teacher!!!
Peace and blessings to you.