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What is the spiritual gift of prophecy?
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Is the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy Still Relevant Today?
The essence of the gift of prophecy is the foundation of using every gift of the Spirit. To heal or do other miraculous things, I must first be able to hear from God.
I grew up at a time when even my high school Christian peers would argue over theology and cling to different denominational positions on different topics, whether doctrine or practice.
For many, religious terms still evoke a background of arguments and preconceived notions. Because of that baggage, modern churches have shied away from terms and names of things, even the word “Christian,” trying to distance themselves from those arguments and divisions.
The spiritual gift of prophecy is one of those terms. While a biblical term, it sounds religious to the modern ear and could cause us to camp on whatever side of “ Pentecostal ” or “charismatic” we land on.
We would all agree that the Bible talks about it. But what is the spiritual gift of prophecy? And is it still relevant today?
What Is the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy?
In the Old Testament, a prophet was a type of seer, a person who would tell the future and bring God’s messages to the people. These were specific individuals given a role by God to deal with the kings or nations. The test of a prophet was two-fold—one, whether or not the oracle came true, and second, whether the oracle drew people to worship God alone ( Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ).
The Law detailed that a person claiming to be a prophet should be killed if they failed either one of those tests.
There is an interesting narrative during the time of Moses where a couple of men chosen as elders didn’t show up to the right meeting but still went through the camp prophesying. Joshua wanted Moses to rebuke the men, but Moses said, “How I wish everyone in Israel would prophesy!” God’s heart, therefore, like the intent that Israel be a “nation of priests,” was that the descendants of Abraham also be a people of prophecy ( Numbers 11:29 ).
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God instituted a New Covenant which expresses the Father’s heart. There are many aspects of that reality (reconciliation, redemption, relationship, purpose, mission, etc.), and a part of that life is God giving spiritual, supernatural gifts to men and women to express the unseen Kingdom of God to the world.
The spiritual gift of prophecy is one of those gifts. The Bible gives a definition when the angel spoke to John in Revelation 19:10 : “The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” (NLT).
All spiritual gifts reveal the supernatural, heavenly reality. We are empowered to do something we could not do apart from God’s power. As gifts, inherently, we can’t earn them (or else it would be about our ability, not God’s). They are given.
Prophecy is hearing from God and repeating what He said. It’s that simple. Every spiritual gift has a role, but only prophecy is tied to the specific purpose to give the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That seems important.
What Does the Bible Say About the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy?
The Bible consistently lists prophecy as one of the gifts of the Spirit. A prophet is listed as part of what people call the “five-fold” ministry of leadership in the church—pastors, teachers, evangelists, apostles, and prophets. ( Ephesians 4:11-13 )
Other scriptures highlight this gift. Peter’s first letter talks about God’s gifts being used to serve others. He mentions speaking as a gift of God, and if one has that gift, they should use it by speaking the “oracles of God.” ( 1 Peter 4:11 ) The NLT translates it, “speak as if God Himself were speaking through you.” It is a loving service to speak to others as if God were doing it, and Peter includes that as a supernatural ability, something God has to empower us to do.
Paul describes in 1 Corinthians how to operate during a time when the church gathers for worship. Beginning in chapter 12, he discusses the gifts of the Spirit, and in verse 3, he writes, “No one can say that Jesus is Lord, except by the Spirit.” That is a pretty definitive statement. To say Jesus is Lord can ONLY happen by the Spirit of God.
The people in Corinth were abusing the spiritual gifts, and Paul makes sure to instruct them that God’s love must be the motivation for how His power should operate. That results in the famous “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13 . After that supremely important teaching, he returns to the discussion on how they should behave when they gather to worship. The first verse of chapter 14 tells the church (and us) that “you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy.”
What does that mean? In the context of what we’ve already talked about, prophecy is speaking “as if God Himself were speaking through you” that leads to the witness of Jesus. God’s love is paramount. The ultimate expression of God’s love to the world, to all people, is that the Father sent the Son so those who would believe wouldn’t perish but have eternal life ( John 3:16 ). The one gift that loves people the most would be the ability to give people God’s words that are a witness of Jesus. Therefore, if we want to love people, we should want that gift more than any other.
The rest of chapter 14 has this theme. Paul contrasts the gift of “tongues” apart from the interpretation and the gift of prophecy, from the perspective of an unbeliever. If no one understands what’s being said, what good is it? Five words of God’s message is better than a million in a language no one understands when other people are around. And when the people of God are sharing God’s words, His truth, by the Spirit, then even an unbeliever will recognize that God is among the church (i.e., the witness of Jesus).
The gift of prophecy is for everyone. Yes, some are “prophets” as a role, but that role is to teach others how to use the gift of prophecy The “five-fold” ministry isn’t to be specialists or hired guns in something that no one else can do. But they are to teach the church how to do the work of the ministry. In other words, an “evangelist” teaches the whole Body of Christ how to work in the gift of evangelism. And so forth ( Ephesians 4 ).
As further confirmation of the universal element of the gift of prophecy, back to 1 Corinthians 14 , Paul tells us that two to three prophets should speak, at the most, giving longer messages. These are like sermons. And you thought your church service was too long. Consider what it would be like to have three sermons! After these prophets speak, Paul teaches that the whole congregation then judges by the Spirit whether those prophets spoke from the Spirit.
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The test in the New Testament, therefore, isn’t external—we don’t kill prophets for being wrong anymore. In the Old Testament, the whole congregation didn’t have the Spirit of God living within them. We do. And we should all be trained to hear the voice of God from the Spirit within us.
Therefore, the test is the congregation discerning the words of a message by the Spirit within them. Was the message from God? If it was, then we must take it seriously.
Finally, the Bible exists because people heard from God and wrote down what He said. We believe the scriptures have authority because the source is the Spirit of God, that the scriptures are God-breathed ( 2 Tim 3:16 ). In our hearing from God and speaking His words, our message will line up with the scriptures. Or at least will not contradict them. Hearing from God today doesn’t usurp the writings of the Old or New Testament, a phenomenally consistent and cohesive testimony of Jesus.
At the same time, the existence of the Bible doesn’t take away from God’s continued supernatural move in the lives of believers today to bring His message in personal and relational ways.
Are Miraculous Gifts Still Happening in the Church Today?
A community of faith should include stories of miraculous interventions by God. Our very salvations are stories of God’s supernatural intervention.
Within my own life, I’ve seen physical healing happen on a missions trip after we laid hands on the person, healings happen in the hospital after we prayed and the doctor had no explanation for full recovery after a death sentence minutes before, money appeared in our bank account after obeying God and giving it all away. A woman in our current community was physically unable to have a child based on the lack of certain interior biological parts. After she and her husband adopted a daughter a few years ago, she had a baby.
These are just a few that I’ve witnessed. When I was a teen, an elder in my church told me how a Japanese man came to their church once and didn’t know English. Convicted, the Japanese man came to the altar, crying. The pastor and others took him aside to minister to him and started speaking Japanese, a language they didn’t know, and shared the Gospel. The man got saved.
None of these I’ve mentioned happened in “charismatic” or “Pentecostal” settings, however, they may sound. I’ve dreamed dreams that were from God, my wife has seen visions, and more over the years. God is pretty creative. He can communicate in a myriad of different ways.
God has even revealed things to me that I shouldn’t know, that when I shared with people, they were shocked. Those events became an opportunity to express God’s love to that person.
Miraculous gifts are available to all, but again, the only one that the Bible says is universal is the gift of prophecy, that we should all earnestly desire to speak the words of God. The gift of healing may not be for everyone, but prophecy is.
Why Should Christians Know about This Gift?
Let’s recap the gift of prophecy. It is hearing from God and speaking His words. It is the witness of Jesus, the center of the Gospel. It reveals that God is real. If we believe that God is love, then it is the ultimate act of love to tell people what He wants them to know.
With this simple idea of prophecy—hearing from God and speaking His words—then we can’t be disciples of Jesus apart from this gift. This is why it’s universal. We must have the ability to hear from God to walk with Him and obey Him.
The essence of the gift of prophecy is the foundation of using every gift of the Spirit. To heal or do other miraculous things, I must first be able to hear from God. Otherwise, I’m doing it in my own ability or apart from God. Which is bad ( Matthew 7:21-23 ).
Jesus gave a discourse on the Holy Spirit before His death and said the Spirit has a message to the world—sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come ( John 16:8 ). But that’s the world, unbelievers. To the disciple, the Spirit is responsible for revealing the words of Jesus and lead the believer into all truth ( John 16:3 ).
Remember, faith comes by hearing the word ( Romans 10:17 ). Jesus is the word of God ( John 1 ). We are the ones, through evangelism or teaching, that speak these messages to the world, revealing who Jesus is through the foolishness of preaching (1 Cori 1:21).
Every disciple is meant to be a witness of Jesus. That’s what the term Christian means, “little Christ.” Jesus said when people saw Him, they see the Father. When the world sees the Body of Christ, they should see Jesus. We must all learn to hear and speak God’s words in our everyday lives and be disciples of the universal spiritual gift of prophecy to be a living testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For further reading:
Is There a Spiritual Gifts List?
What Are Prophets in the Bible? Do Prophets Still Exist Today?
What Does the Bible Warn about False Prophets?
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The Gift of Prophecy
The body of Christ needs prophets to speak truth and point the church in the right direction.
November 13, 2020
Spiritual gifts are a tremendous blessing from God. They are given to enable believers to serve for the good of the church, which is the body of Christ. But we are warned not to think more highly of ourselves if we happen to have one of the more “impressive” gifts. In other words, it’s important to remember these abilities were bestowed on us for the benefit of others, so we are never to get puffed up.
One of the more visible gifts is prophecy, which today can be defined as the ability to speak forth the truth of God’s Word. Believers with this gift typically have a strong biblical perspective and an ability to accurately handle Scripture. They are able to discern false doctrines and warn God’s people about deception. Their desire is to promote obedience to the Word and address heart issues that could lead people into sin.
Since the gift of prophecy is so influential, it’s essential for those who have it to be humble and motivated by love for God and His people. But this is also true for other spiritual gifts. Whether it is prophecy or something else, your gift must be exercised with godly character. After all, Paul says, “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
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Don Stewart :: What Is the Gift of Prophecy?
What Is the Gift of Prophecy?
The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Question 9
One of the gifts that God has given to the church is the gift of prophecy. Paul wrote about this gift in his letter to the Romans. He said.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith ( Romans 12:6 NRSV).
According to Paul, there is a certain spiritual gift known as the gift of prophecy.
The Gift of Prophecy Defined
The gift of prophecy is a special ability to speak forth the message of God. A prophet is basically a spokesman for God. He or she delivers the Word of God to people by means of direct revelation. Prophetic utterances can deal with certain individuals, the church, or a larger context. It does not always refer to the future. The word is used far more to proclaim the Word of God rather than to predict the future. There are a number of observations that we can make about this gift.
Prophecy Is Mentioned More Often than the Other Gifts
This gift is mentioned more than any of the other spiritual gifts. We find it referred to in Romans 12:6 , 1 Corinthians 12:28 , 29 ; 13:1-3 , 8 ; 14:6 , and in Ephesians 4:11 .
While the New Testament does not necessarily list the spiritual gifts in order of importance, we usually find the gift of prophecy near the top each time it is listed. For example, we read the following in the Book of First Corinthians..
And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues ( 1 Corinthians 12:28 NKJV ).
In this instance we find prophets listed right behind the apostles.
In Ephesians, we again read of the prophets immediately after the apostles.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers ( Ephesians 4:11 ESV ).
Obviously the prophet was an important person in the early church.
The Gift of Prophecy Was Highly Regarded
This importance is confirmed by Apostle Paul who put a special emphasis on this gift. He said to the Corinthians.
Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy ( 1 Corinthians 14:1 NRSV).
Notice that Paul said that it was important to strive to prophesy. He also said that we are to be eager to prophesy. He wrote.
So, dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues ( 1 Corinthians 14:39 NLT ).
This further indicates the importance of the gift.
The Apostle Paul also spoke of the apostles and prophets as God’s gift to the church. He put it this way in his letter to the Ephesians.
Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,... And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers ( Ephesians 2:20 ; 4:11 NASB ).
Therefore, the evidence leads us to believe that the gift of prophecy was a very important gift in the early church.
A Prophet Is Distinct from a Teacher
In a general sense, a preacher who proclaims the Word of God acts in a prophetic role. He is speaking for God. But New Testament prophecy is not the same thing as preaching. Prophecy may involve foretelling something that will happen in the future. This, of course, must come by divine revelation since nobody, apart from God, knows what will take place in the future.
Prophets Were Active from the Beginning
When the New Testament church was born on the Day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter let it be known that prophecy was going to be a reality for believers in this age. He quoted the prophet Joel as follows.
No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams ( Acts 2:16 , 17 NRSV).
From the beginning of the New Testament church, God gave His prophets to proclaim His truth.
There Are a Number of Prophets Mentioned
The New Testament mentions a number of people who possessed the gift of prophecy. They include Agabus who predicted a coming famine. He also warned Paul of his sufferings. Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen and Paul were mentioned among prophets and teachers at Antioch.
The church at Antioch had several prophets and teachers. They were Barnabas, Simeon, also called Niger, Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen, who was Herod’s close friend, and Saul ( Acts 13:1 CEV).
There seem to be many who possessed this gift in the apostolic age. While not specifically stated, it is likely that all the apostles had the gift of prophecy.
Both Men and Women Exercised the Gift of Prophecy
The Bible speaks of both men and women exercising the gift of prophecy. Scripture speaks of the four daughters of Philip that had the gift. We read of this in the Book of Acts.
Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied ( Acts 21:9 NKJV ).
The gift was given to both men and women.
The Prophets Were Not Necessarily in Leadership
Those who were given this gift were not necessarily in leadership in the church. In the Book of Acts, Judas and Silas were called prophets. Scripture says.
Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke extensively to the Christians, encouraging and strengthening their faith ( Acts 15:32 NLT ).
However, these two men are not described as church leaders. The Bible further says that the people in the local assemblies were to judge the prophecies. Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
Let two or three prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said ( 1 Corinthians 14:29 NLT )
This seems to shows that a person could exercise the gift without being the leader in one of the churches.
There Is a New Testament Example of a Prophet Predicting the Future
We have an example in the New Testament of a prophet predicting the future. This is found in the Book of Acts with a man named Agabus. The Bible says.
One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius ( Acts 11:28 NASB ).
This is an example of predictive prophecy.
Prophets Instructed and Encouraged the People
However, the basic ministry of the prophet was to instruct and encourage the people in the local congregation. Paul wrote.
For you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and everyone may be encouraged ( 1 Corinthians 14:31 HCSB).
God gave the prophets and their prophetic words to instruct and encourage the people.
The New Testament Prophet Was Similar to the Old Testament Prophet
There are similarities between prophets of the Old Testament and the New Testament prophets. Both spoke the Word of God to the people, they both warned of judgment, both spoke on current issues and both could predict future events.
However, the Old Testament prophet was different in a number of senses. To begin with, the Old Testament prophet usually delivered their message to the nation Israel while the New Testament prophet gave a universal message. The Old Testament prophet often had the characteristics of a leader in the nation of Israel. The New Testament prophets had no such position in any nation.
While the Old Testament prophet usually gave a message that dealt with an entire nation, the New Testament prophet delivered personal messages to individuals.
These facts sum up what the New Testament has to say about the gift of prophecy which God gave to His church.
Summary – Question 9 What Is the Gift of Prophecy?
The New Testament prophet had a unique gift to speak God’s message to the people. This was done by means of direct revelation. From the Scripture, we learn a number of things about this gift.
First, prophecy is most often mentioned among the spiritual gifts. Furthermore, it is also at the top of the list of spiritual gifts. It was highly regarded by the believers.
However, it must be distinguished from the gift of teaching. Prophecy was the result of direct revelation while the teacher explained divine revelation.
This gift was active from the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church. Indeed, Simon Peter spoke the prophetic word on that very day. There are a number of New Testament prophets who are mentioned by name. We also find that both men and women had the gift of prophecy.
We find that the prophets were not always the leaders in the church. Indeed, there were believers in the congregation of Corinth who had this gift while not being in leadership.
If necessary, the New Testament prophet could foretell the future. However, the main reason for the gift was the instruction and encouragement of the church.
Finally, we discover that the New Testament prophets were in some senses similar and in other senses different, from the Old Testament prophets.
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The 9 Power Gifts of the Spirit: The Gift of Prophecy
Do you want God’s best for you in every way, including in the spiritual gifts? Do you want everything He says you can have? Then you want the gift of prophecy.
In today’s blog post, I’m going to share things that will help you gain a foundational understanding of the gift of prophecy.
However, please understand that there’s no way one blog post could teach everything there is to learn about the gift of prophecy. Prophecy is a huge subject! However, I do want to do several things:
1) Dismantle any hesitations about prophecy you may have, because those hesitations come from the enemy’s lies, when he tries to tell you you aren’t good enough. We’re doing to dismantle those lies that tell you that you can’t operate in this gift;
2) Show you how the Bible says YOU can both HAVE the gift of prophecy AND operate in it, even if you’ve never used this gift before;
3) Caution you about some of the traps the enemy likes to set by lying about this gift. Ephesians 6:12 says: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” … and
4) Show you in video format about how prophecy comes in handy in everyday life and relationships. 🙂
Related : Here are some additional posts I’ve written about prophecy:
- The Difference Between the Jezebel Spirit and True Prophecy and
- How to Pray Against the Jezebel Spirit and WIN.
And here are a few examples of prophetic words the Lord has given me for you in the past that are encouraging, equipping, and comforting, as I discuss below:
- Prophetic Word & Prayer: The Limiting Spirit Is Off
- 4 Prophetic, Encouraging Words About the Father’s Heart for You
- 5 Encouraging, Prophetic Words About Rest
(And just because those were published in the past doesn’t mean they don’t still apply. The Word of the Lord stands forever. So if the Lord speaks to you out of one of them, it’s really Him, and it’s really for you.) 🙂
Side note: I’ve been studying and learning the prophetic ministry for over 15 years. There’s always more to learn. I truly believe it’s one of the most important things that we need to see released in the Body of Christ in order to see souls won to Jesus and believers living victoriously, the way Jesus died for us to live. Therefore, I pray that you would fully embrace this gift; that you would ask the Holy Spirit for it every day, from now on; and that you would begin to study it diligently from reliable teachers. I recommend studying the books/materials/YouTube videos, etc released by John Paul Jackson , Kris Vallotton , Doug Addison , Ray Hughes , Graham Cooke , and others, if you want to learn more about prophecy for every believer.
First, we’re going to talk about the two myths most people believe that make them hesitate when we talk about the gift of prophecy.
Those myths are based on lies of the enemy.
Myth #1 about the gift of prophecy:
Sometimes people think prophecy is some kind of mystical, spacey, pie-in-the-sky gift that God gives to people that we imagine to be the spiritually-elite, who look like super-Christians–like Dutch Sheets, John Paul Jackson, James Goll, and the late Bob Jones, who regularly had heavenly beings show up in his room and talk with him.
Truth #1 about the gift of prophecy:
Prophecy is not reserved for people that we think of as the spiritual elite. Prophecy is for every believer. It’s a spiritual gift, not a reward.
What’s the difference between a gift and a reward?
A GIFT is given free of charge at the discretion of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit gives you a gift, you don’t have to work for it. You don’t have to pay for it. All you have to do is receive it.
A REWARD, on the other hand, is an affirmation you receive for good behavior or faithful service. The Bible is full of rewards, and we need to believe God for rewards. But rewards are for you to enjoy, and gifts are for you to use. God gives gifts to equip and empower you. He gives gifts to build you up and help you.
I thank God that so many of His best things are GIFTS, not rewards! Just like salvation, which is a free gift—Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” The spiritual gifts are given to us by grace, by God’s sovereign choice. They are not rewards for good behavior, but are rather gifts that He gives us just because He wants to be good to us. He’s a good, good Father!
Because prophecy is a GIFT, not a reward, we should all want it!
1 Corinthians 14:1 states: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
Prophecy is not mystical or mysterious. It’s not only for people who have fasted and prayed ten times a year for the last four decades. Those people get rewards; absolutely. But the gift of prophecy is not one of them. Prophecy is a GIFT. It’s one of many, but it is one of the most important ones, so it’s something we’re all instructed to pursue.
Myth #2 about the gift of prophecy:
Sometimes people think that prophecy is hard to do, mysterious, or difficult to understand … and nothing could be further from the truth.
Truth #2 about the gift of prophecy:
Having and using the gift of prophecy does NOT require you to speak from a national platform or make national predictions. You don’t have to talk about what’s going to happen at the next blood moon, foretell the future in any way, or become an expert on the beasts and trumpets in the Book of Revelation.
So what is the gift of prophecy?
Prophecy is hearing God and saying what He says. Period. And that’s ALL prophecy is.
Everyone can prophesy because everyone can hear God’s voice. Jesus said in John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Does God talk to different people about different things? Yes, so everybody’s prophecies will be different.
Those people who are called to disciple and speak to nations WILL sometimes have God speak to them about things that apply to larger people groups—like nations or governments. God will give prophetic words to people according to their ability to steward them. Having a national platform often results in God giving prophetic words for the nations!
If you were to take all the prophecy that God is downloading in the world today and put it in a bucket, those national prophecies, words of warning, and forth-tellings of the future would be only a few drops in the bucket. Very few people are called to prophesy like that, but ALL of us are called to prophesy.
So if the President and members of Congress haven’t called you lately to ask for a prophetic word, why should you desire the gift of prophecy–and for what will you use it after you receive it?
1. We should want the gift because Scripture says that we should desire to prophesy.
So, if we’re going to obey God’s Word, that means we should desire this gift for simply the reason that God said so.
2. Prophecy is hearing God and saying what He says… and THAT is what Jesus did, all the time.
In John 12:44-50, Jesus is teaching one day, and He tells us a key about intimacy with Him. This passage says:
Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak ” (emphasis mine).
This passage tells us that Jesus only spoke whatever He first heard the Father speak. And John 5:19 tells us that Jesus also only DID what He first saw the Father doing:
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19).
We know from Scripture that our ultimate calling is to become like Jesus. Romans 8:29 says:
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
There are other verses that all tell us that God’s ultimate will for our lives is for us to become like Him. So if our ultimate destiny—that thing that is God’s highest and most perfect will for our lives—is not to be rich, or famous, or happy, but rather to become like Jesus— then it follows that we should want to be exactly like Jesus in our words and actions; that we would hear what Father says and say only that, and see what Father does and do only that.
That is the second reason we should earnestly desire the gift of prophecy: because using that gift of hearing what God says and repeating what God says—will help us become more like Jesus.
3. We should desire the gift of prophecy because the purpose of prophecy is to edify, exhort, and comfort, and we should all want to encourage and build up others.
1 Corinthians 14:1-5 says:
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.”
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, “edify” means: “to teach (someone) in a way that improves the mind or character.” The Greek meaning of the word is to build people up, like a building.
“Exhort” means “to try to influence (someone) by words or advice: to strongly urge (someone) to do something” and exhortation means “language intended to incite and encourage.” The Greek meaning of this word is to implore, to comfort, to console, and to entreat.
“Comfort” means exactly that. Comfort. 🙂
So … if you want to build people up, encourage them when they’re at their lowest point, speak life and hope into dark situations, and inspire them to follow Jesus …
… then you want the gift of prophecy—because that’s what prophecy is for. It’s to encourage, build up, inspire, and comfort.
4. Reason #4 we should all desire the gift of prophecy is so that the lost would be saved. God gives prophecy in the Church to save lost people.
First Corinthians 14:20-25 says:
Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.”
So what is prophecy? Prophecy is hearing God and saying what He says. Period. And we should all prophesy for four reasons:
1) Out of obedience to God; 2) To emulate Jesus; 3) To edify, comfort, and encourage others; and 4) To see people give their lives to Jesus.
Recommended resource: If you want to learn more about prophecy and how to operate in it in the Body of Christ, I encourage you to get Kris Vallotton’s book Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry . He has another book called School of the Prophets: Advanced Training for the Prophetic Ministry too, which is excellent. But start with basic. :)(Amazon affiliate links; you can read my disclosure here .)
Now, there is a difference between the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet in the church.
Just because we operate in the gift of prophecy doesn’t mean we go around calling ourselves prophets. It’s two different things.
Here are the two primary differences:
1. The gift of prophecy is for every believer. Office of prophet is only for those called to that office in the five-fold ministry in the Body of Christ.
Anyone can operate in the gift. But people are generally COMMISSIONED into the office, after the call that is on them becomes evident and is developed through much time and practice.
2. With the gift of prophecy, the anointing to prophesy is the gift. But with the office of prophet, the PROPHET–the person themselves–is the gift to the Body.
Ephesians 4:11-16 says:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Now let’s look at what prophecy looks like.
The Word of God tells us that specific things ARE from the Lord, and specific things are not. And unfortunately, the enemy has an unholy perversion of every holy thing that he would just love to offer us. But if we know what the Word of God says about any subject—prophecy included—we will be immune to the tricks of the devil!
So what does prophecy look like? It looks like Jesus in action.
Revelation 19:10 says:
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. If you need the prophetic word to come forth, you just start testifying about Jesus, and it will.
So prophecy looks like Jesus, and let’s examine God’s Word to see how that looks in practical terms, ok?
1. Prophecy will always line up with the written Word of God, because Jesus is the Word of God.
Isaiah 8:20 says: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Period. End of conversation. If something doesn’t line up with God’s Word in every facet, it’s not from the Lord and it’s NOT prophecy or prophetic.
2. Truly prophetic people and true prophetic words will bear godly fruit.
Matthew 7:15-23 says:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
As I taught about in Kingdom Authority 101, trying to operate in power without being intimate with the SOURCE of that power is called lawlessness. And people who don’t bear godly fruit are NOT intimate with Jesus, so stay away from them. If they claim to be prophets, don’t believe them!
3. True prophecy will always be Christ-centered, Christ-glorifying, and Christ-magnifying.
Prophecy will draw attention to Christ, not to a person.
4. True prophecy will be completely dependent on the Holy Spirit.
It comes from the Holy Spirit, is confirmed by the Holy Spirit, is burned into your heart by the Holy Spirit, and requires the power and will of the Holy Spirit to carry it out. If someone tells you that you can do XYZ supernatural-sounding thing on your own, of your own free will, without the help of the Holy Spirit, THAT’S THE OCCULT, NOT PROPHECY.
NO one has ever been able to prophesy without being moved by the Holy Spirit. Second Peter 1:16-21 says:
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
Remember what prophecy is in the first place: hearing God and saying what He says, and that’s ALL prophecy is. 🙂
5. True prophecy will never manipulate or control.
Prophecy will teach and impart freedom, but ONLY freedom that lines up with the written Word of God. (See point #1.)
6. Prophecy should always be released decently and in order.
In 1 Corinthians 14:29-33, where the apostle Paul is talking about maintaining order in the church, he wrote:
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
7. True prophecy and those who operate in it in the church should always submit to authority.
You can only have authority if you’re under authority, and to the degree that you’re under authority. Anything else is called lawlessness.
Like I said above, from Matthew 7:15-23. You can work the gift and do wonders in the name of Christ, but if you’re not aligned with Him in intimate relationship, He calls that lawlessness. Trying to operate in power without submitting to the source of that power is LAWLESSNESS. And why should we submit to authority? For a lot of reasons, but the most important one is because the Bible says so.
Romans 13:1 says:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” And Hebrews 13:17 says: “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
Prophetic people always have to be under something. And honestly, that’s where they function most efficiently; because so often, their role is to come up under people who are hurting:
- to strengthen the weak;
- to defend the helpless;
- to push and pioneer from behind;
… and God, who uses the foolish things to confound the wise, somehow in His wisdom sees fit to use these people who choose to place themselves under, to make themselves the lowest of the low, to actually pave the way for the others.
But, uh … doesn’t that thing about being low and under sound familiar? How about from Philippians 2:5-11:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Again… the purpose of the prophetic is to be like Jesus. The purpose of the prophetic is to make oneself a servant, so that Christ may be exalted.
And when you come up under someone like that, watching their back and defending their weak spots, you never get in the way of someone’s unobstructed view of Jesus.
That’s why the office of the prophet is the SECOND office in the church, not the first. Prophets weren’t made to be first. They’re made to come alongside, to come up under. That doesn’t make them unimportant; they are like the walls that hold the roof up. It simply means they have to be under authority in order to fulfill their call.
8. Operating skillfully in the true gift of prophecy takes time.
It’s like riding a bicycle. You receive the bicycle and it works perfectly well, but you have to learn how to ride it. You have to learn not only how to stay on that bicycle, but where it drives well and where it doesn’t. You have to learn how to take care of it, how to fix it when it breaks, and how to keep it safe. It takes time to train yourself and become an adept cyclist.
All the spiritual gifts work the same way. Prophecy is a gift, but it comes to you in raw form. You have to assemble it, learn how it works, and learn how to apply it in daily life.
You have to learn how to take care of it and how to fix things if you mess up–because we all mess up sometimes. We’re all learning; so when we’re learning, we simply couch things in soft terms and say, “I felt like the Lord wanted me to say XYZ to you… does that mean anything to you?” … and if we mess up, we simply admit that we’re learning, admit our own humanness, and apologize.
As long as what you said was encouraging–which you should never say anything under the guise of prophecy that was not to upbuild, comfort, or encourage–the Lord isn’t going to be mad at you because you tried to bless someone, and you’re not going to do any damage.
By the way: how is it that we can say that we’re learning? I’ve heard some people say that they shy away from prophecy because the Old Testament prophets were stoned if they were wrong. And it’s true; the Law stated that should happen.
However, here’s why Old Testament prophets were stoned if they were wrong, but WE can learn and occasionally make mistakes:
WE are under grace. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit had NOT been poured out upon all of God’s people in general. The Holy Spirit sat on people with a prophetic word or in order to do a task.
You read this all the time when the Scriptures say, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon me and …” The Old Testament believers, therefore, were completely dependent on the prophets. They had refused to hear the voice of the Lord for themselves.
But in the New Testament, it’s totally different. In the New Testament, after Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit was poured out on ALL believers. John 7:37-39 says:
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
AFTER Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit was given to abide with us and remain—to dwell in our hearts. And since we ALL now have the Holy Spirit, that’s why the Apostle Paul wrote (in 1 Corinthians 14:29-33, see above) that we should “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.”
BEFORE Christ was glorified, other believers were not equipped to judge. But after Christ was glorified, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers, and now we can all judge between truth and error because the Holy Spirit of Truth leads us into all truth.
John 16:13 says:
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
9. True prophecy will always operate in Christ-like unity.
Since prophecy is hearing what God says and saying that, and since God is One and Jesus prayed for His followers to be one, prophecy will always point toward oneness with the Body and oneness with the things God cares about—namely, God’s church and His leaders.
Let me make this clear: If ANYTHING or ANYONE tries to divide you away from godly leaders and the godly Body of believers at your local church, it’s demonic—not prophetic.
The key word there is GODLY. Always examine everything based on the Word of God. If something you’re seeing doesn’t line up with the Word of God, you definitely should NOT be in agreement with
But most of the time, when you’re discerning between the demonic and prophecy, the issue you will see is that the true prophetic will remain with your leaders and point toward your leaders and the local church. However, the demonic will try to divide you away from your leaders and away from the local church; and if that doesn’t work, they’ll occasionally leave themselves.
Beloved, I can’t say this enough: BEWARE OF THE FRUIT! WATCH THE FRUIT! LOOK AT THE FRUIT!
10. True prophecy will encourage you and build you up—but it will not flatter you.
Oxford Dictionary defines “flattery” as: “Excessive and insincere praise, especially that given to further one’s own interests.”
Flattery happens by inspiration of an unholy, familiar spirit who knows where your weak spots are and it sows strategic praise into you right in the areas of those weak spots—using them as openings into your life so that it can win favor, influence, and ultimately CONTROL over you FOR ITSELF. The demonic flatters you to further its own interests.
Encouragement, on the other hand, is defined as “The action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” When you’re dis-couraged, you lack courage. Someone or something has robbed or stripped you of your courage. But when someone en-courages you, by the Spirit of God they help you get your courage back.
Real encouragement will cause you to feel the love of Father God. Real encouragement happens when the Lion of Judah roars over you and breathes life back into your spirit, soul, and body. Real encouragement will lift your chin and help you look up—not into the eyes of the person who is encouraging you, but rather right into the eyes of Abba Father. Real encouragement will pull you closer to God, not to a person.
11. True prophecy will set you free and help you stand on your own two feet.
The true prophetic will help you walk on your own. With accountability and under authority, yes; but still standing on your own. The demonic, on the other hand, will try to make you codependent on the false prophet so they can control you.
But remember the Word of God, which says:
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). And John 8:36: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
People who are operating in the gift of prophecy will build you up and launch you out into your destiny. They will give you wings.
12. Prophecy will resonate in your spirit because the Holy Spirit in you will bear witness to the prophetic word. The prophetic word will burn inside your heart and your heart will burn for Jesus.
The best example of this that I know of is found in Luke 24:13-32, when Jesus met the two disciples on the Emmaus Road after He rose from the dead. This passage says:
Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (emphasis mine).
While these two disciples were walking on the Emmaus Road, they had an encounter with Christ, the Word of God; and Jesus Himself chastised them for not believing “all that the prophets have spoken;” then “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
And what was the disciples’ reaction when they finally realized who they had been talking to? They said, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
Prophecy will always affect you like that. The Holy Spirit will take His Word and burn His prophetic words into your heart. And you will see Jesus, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Prophecy will always reveal Jesus to you.
13. Prophecy must always be given in love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 says:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
If you’re out there giving national prophecies and hitting it dead-on every time, but you don’t operate in love, your prophecy is useless. Nobody will listen to you, and your ministry is ineffective. The #2 goal of prophecy–after hearing God and saying what He says–is to LOVE PEOPLE.
So, in summary, real prophecy, prophets, and the true prophetic will resound with the testimony of Jesus and with the fruit Jesus commands us to bear in our lives.
So what’s the application? How do you use the gift of prophecy in daily life?
It would take many more blog posts to teach that in detail, so I’ll just give you some quick snapshots:
When someone comes up to you and tells you how discouraged they are, and you feel the Lord inspiring you to speak His words of comfort, encouragement, and love into their hearts—and you see their tears fall as the light comes back into their eyes—that’s prophecy.
When you speak to someone who’s down in the dumps or walking in a life of evil, but you see them with God’s eyes and call forth the greatness in them—that’s prophecy.
Prophecy speaks light and life into dark places. It looks to see what the will and purpose of Jesus is in any situation and for every person, and it speaks that will into existence.
Prophecy is love acted out. It’s the voice of Jesus speaking life into a person or situation.
Beloved, people are hurting and dying all around you right now. The people you work with; the people you Facebook with; the people who sit next to you in church, right now, are:
- Facing terrible depression and have lost their will to live;
- Dealing with broken marriages and broken hearts; or are
- Drowning in sin, desperately desiring to get free but not sure how.
But beloved, here is the function of the prophets. I saw the video below awhile ago, and it preached to me. In this video, 30 dolphins beached themselves on the sand. They were going to die.
But you know what? People saw them. At first they just stared, but then they took action. They started grabbing each dolphin by the tail and pulling it back into the ocean, where it was deep enough for them to swim to freedom.
Here’s the video if you want to watch it. Start about 45 seconds in:
And all around you and me right now are people who have beached themselves on the sands of sin. They’ve beached themselves on the sands of hurt, hopelessness, and despair. And the reason we all need the gift of prophecy is so we can grab them by the tail, speak life into their heart, soul, and spirit, and tow them back into the ocean of Father’s love.
God’s heart is to encourage hurting people.
Papa wants to put hope back into their eyes. The Lion of Judah wants to roar over their hearts and spirits and breathe new life into them, so they can swim into the deep waters of His love and purity.
But He needs you to do it.
He needs you to be His hands and feet and voice. He needs you to listen with His ears, love with His heart, and speak His words to others.
Will you do it? Will you get alone with God and ask Him to give you the gift of prophecy?
Will you then invest the time in learning how to use it properly?
Holy Spirit is eager to give you this gift. His Word says so. All you have to do is ask.
What questions do you have about the gift of prophecy? Leave your comments below, and I’ll try to answer them as best I can!
Read all posts in this series about the power gifts!
- Diverse Tongues (Speaking in Tongues)
- What Is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (and How To Receive It)
- My Story: How I Received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
- Words of Knowledge
How I Learned to Use My Prayer Language
- The Gift of Prophecy
- Discernment of Spirits
- How Words of Wisdom Accomplish the Impossible
- How Interpretation of Tongues Helps You Know Father’s Heart
- Miracles that Bear Witness for Jesus
- Easy Faith for the Impossible
- Healings That Change the World
Partner update: I need 1,000 partners to share in this Gospel work in the amount of $8 per month. Is God calling you to partner with me in this ministry? If so, please click here to read the details. And partners: THANK YOU. I am more thankful for you than words could ever express, and I pray for you daily.
Jamie Rohrbaugh is an author and speaker who teaches people to manifest victory in every facet of life. She believes that you have a God-given destiny of righteousness, peace, power, wealth, and joy in God, and that these things are freely available to you through personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jamie's work has been featured on YouVersion, The Elijah List, Charisma Magazine, Intercessors for America, iBelieve.com, Spirit Fuel, Crosswalk.com, and other outlets. Her podcast, Take Your Territory with Jamie Rohrbaugh, is available on iTunes and Spotify.
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What I Got For Being Transparent
How To Tame Your Tongue
Jamie, thank you so much for this post I have a heart for the hurting and the lonely and the outcast I feel for people like that. I want to build up and Encourage I do believe that’s one of my gifts that The Lord has given me with by his wonderful grace towards me and I don’t deserve it but he does it for me anyways what a wonderful good Father he is to us:-). I don’t want to speak my words that can end up in flattery I want my words to be God’s not my own because my words of no benefit only God’s I want to bring people close to God not away I need God’s Words period there is nothing good in me only Him. Jamie could you be in prayer for me on the behalf of this gift and also discernment because I really need that gift as well. Thanks Jamie for these resources
Jamie, what a mammoth, splendid teaching on prophecy! The only thing I would add is that a prophetic word — the hearing God part — sometimes may be first and foremost for the prophet, the one who has developed sensitive awareness to God’s voice. By protecting, leading, and preparing the prophet with those prophetic Words the entire community benefits.
Great stuff to learn or review. I know people who confuse the tongues for unbelievers verse and don’t see it as a gift for others, and I know those who don’t understand the prophetic at all. I saw it work once atthe hospital for me, I asked a lady coming out of a room if she felt better, she said yes and I said you’ll be okay, I never prayed for her or even mentioned Jesus but He was there because her face literally lit up. She received and that is important as well. Keep up the good work, God bless.
Maybe it’s off-topic, but I woke this morning and something strong inside me told me that I had to give some money to my mother to help her. Was it the Holy Spirit?
Also, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. ” This is a scripture that foretells the arrival of the false prophet Muhammad of islam. People are afraid of facing the truth and the reality, but islam has done NO good on humanity since its inception. Havoc, pain, war, murder, rapes, and so on. We can see it with the Islamic State. You should write on the danger that represent islam and the muslim immigration to the Christian West.
How can I learn how to use the gift of prophesy and hear God speak?
Great questions, Honey! Here’s a free blog series I wrote called 21 Days to the Manifest Presence of God that has some very helpful information and exercises and tips about how to hear God speak to you personally: https://www.fromhispresence.com/21-days-to-the-manifest-presence-of-god-table-of-contents/
And my Intro to Prophetic Ministry 101 recorded webinar will help you learn how to use the gift of prophecy. You can download that instantly, here on my Gumroad store: https://gumroad.com/fromhispresence Hope these things help! Thank you for reading my blog, and happy New Year!
I’ve been reading God’s word every day and spending 2 hours in prayer with God every morning. I’ve been wanting to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit but haven’t received yet. I started doing this study today and feel like I’m starting to get an understanding of what the gifts of the Holy Spirit truly mean.
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The spiritual gift of prophecy – What is it?
The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
It's about more than predicting the future
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Many people think the spiritual gift of prophecy is just predicting the future, but it is far more than that. Those who are bestowed this gift receive messages from God that can be about anything from warnings to guidance to kind words in tough times. What makes this gift different from wisdom or knowledge is that it is a direct message from God that is not always conscious to the one with the gift. Yet the one with the gift feels compelled to share the truth revealed by God to others.
Prophecy can come as speaking in tongues so that the person with the gift has to seek out the message, but not always. At other times it's just a strong feeling about something. Often those with this gift have to go back to the Bible and spiritual leaders to be sure what they think is a message from God by closely looking at it from a scriptural perspective. This gift can be a blessing and it can be dangerous. The Bible warns us not to follow false prophets. This is a rare gift that carries a lot of responsibility. It is also a rare gift, and as those listening to prophecy, we must use our discernment.
There are some, though, that believe the gift of prophecy no longer exists. Some take the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 to mean that Revelations completes the canon os scripture. Therefore, if the scripture is complete, there is no need for Prophets. Instead, those that believe that the gift is no longer given the state that teachers with gifts of wisdom, teaching, and knowledge are far more important to the church.
Spiritual Gift of Prophecy in Scripture:
1 Corinthians 12:10 - "He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said." NLT
Romans 12:5 - "If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith”" NIV
1 Corinthians 13:2 - "If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing." NLT
Acts 11:27-28 - " During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)" NLT
1 John 4:1 - "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." NLT
1 Corinthians 14:37 - "If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command." NIV
1 Corinthians 14:29-33 - "Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets . For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people." NIV
Is the Gift of Prophecy My Spiritual Gift?
Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer "yes" to many of them, then you may have the spiritual gift of prophecy:
- Do you feel something so strongly in your heart that you can speak with biblical authority to show people the way and how to live as God describes?
- Are the solutions to problems on your heart working, even though people think the solutions won't work?
- Do you "just know" that there is nothing God can't do?
- Have you ever experienced brokenness and redemption?
- Do you regularly examine your life to see what needs to be improved in God's eyes, and do you encourage others to do the same without judgment?
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What is the “Gift of Prophecy” Spiritual Gift? Discover Its Purpose and How to Activate It
August 16, 2023 by Curt Landry Ministries
Why You Need to Understand the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
The gifts of the spirit in 1 corinthians 12, what is the gift of prophecy.
- An Example of the Gift of Prophecy in the Bible
What is the Purpose of the Gift of Prophecy?
Does the gift of prophecy work with other gifts of the spirit, ways to activate the gift of prophecy, the takeaway.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit… to another prophecy …” —1 Corinthians 12:7-10 (emphasis added)
The Bible says to “pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophecy” ( 1 Corinthians 14:1 ). If you are a born-again Believer, you have access to the spiritual gift of prophecy. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit given to plant and sow God’s Word of truth in you and others. Because the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence within you, He has the right to release the spiritual gift of prophecy as He wills.
Discover the gift of prophecy, where it comes from, and the purpose it serves Believers and the Body of Christ.
The gift of prophecy is always rooted in Jesus Christ and the Word. Prophetic words point to God, His character, His power and glorify Him in some way. They either encourage or redirect humanity to continue following or repent and turn to God.
Prophetic words never contradict the Word of God. Understanding the spiritual gift of prophecy is critical because as we enter the last days of the end times, we will need God’s Word to help us persevere and live by faith and cancel the assignment of fear the enemy has unleashed on the earth.
Prophesying God’s Word over your family, friends, businesses, jobs, homes, and self sends out God’s angels to keep you and those you are connected with in accordance with God’s will in His ways so that you don’t “dash your foot against a stone” (see Psalm 91:11:12).
Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians encourages us to hold on to the hope of Jesus’ return and our future resurrection with Him and comfort one another with these words (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Say–or prophecy–these words to yourself and others often.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul also tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil, be wise, filled with the Holy Spirit, and speak–or prophesy–to ourselves in psalms, hymns, spiritual song, making melody in our hearts (see Ephesians 5:16-19). Continuously speak after the Holy Spirit rather than the flesh.
It is important to understand the gift of prophecy because as the days grow dark, the light of God will need to penetrate every facet of our minds, wills, and emotions, and this spiritual gift helps us do that.
First Corinthians 12:7-10 lists nine gifts of the Spirit . It is important to remember that the Holy Spirit imparts gifts to Believers as He wills.
- “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. ” —1 Corinthians 12:11 (emphasis added)
The Holy Spirit, our Advocate, Counselor, Teacher, and Guide, is the distributor of the gift of prophecy. It is not given to you because you earned it. You can activate it, and God wants you to steward it well, speaking after the covenant in love and truth . The Holy Spirit permanently resides within you, meaning you have spiritual gifts that God intends to use to unlock your Kingdom destiny.
Specifically, the gift of prophecy is when a Believer has a supernatural ability to discern, reveal, and proclaim the truth in God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to understand that the gift of prophecy is not “foretelling of the future,” as many think. Instead, the gift of prophecy is an encouraging word and is meant to bring clarity to its recipients or a return to the Father’s heart ( repentance ).
This gift is also not exclusively reserved for those with the title of a prophet in a church setting or ministry. Believers have the power to operate in the gift of prophecy. However, many do not recognize this supernatural power within them.
An Example of the Gift of Prophecy in the Bible
A biblical example of a manifestation of the gift of prophecy is in the book of Acts. The apostle Peter discerns the dishonesty of Ananias. Peter then reveals it and proclaims God’s truth surrounding the situation.
- “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’” —Acts 5:1-4
Peter was able to discern and then remind Ananias of the truth of his situation. This word was given to steer him into righteousness.
The purpose of the gift of prophecy is to bring glory to God by building up and edifying of Believers.
- “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. ” —1 Corinthians 14:12 (emphasis added)
This is done by revealing God’s holy character through the truths revealed to those operating in the gift of prophecy. Though the gift of prophecy often comes with redirection, it will always bring comfort and healing to those it is intended for.
Are you one of God’s chosen with the gift of prophecy, illuminating His truth? If so, know He is faithful to equip you with all the spiritual tools necessary to carry out your spiritual assignment.
Yes. Quite often, when someone is operating in the gift of prophecy, that gift is working in unison with other gifts of the Spirit, such as a word of wisdom or knowledge. However, the gift of prophecy can also stand alone to do the important work of proclaiming God’s character to the world.
To carry out the prophetic work of the Holy Spirit, you must be willing to set aside your ideas and mindsets and align with God’s truth. In other words, you cannot come into agreement with doubt, fear, or unbelief and expect the gift of prophecy to manifest. Speaking truth requires bold confidence. It also requires a commitment to study God’s Word and allow it to flow in and through you to others.
Are you ready to be the king and priest God has called you to be at this hour?
Carefully and prayerfully ask the Spirit to expose any obstacles that may be standing in the way of the gift of prophecy manifesting in your life. Then A.C.T.—apply, change, and transform.
- A- Apply: Apply the truths that are being revealed to you. Faithfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and discern His wisdom through time spent in His presence. Finally, repent for anything that feels unresolved.
- C- Change: Make the necessary changes in your life that will allow your spiritual gift of prophecy to manifest. Ask God to reveal what, if anything, is standing in the way of your ability to operate in the gift of prophecy and be obedient to His instruction.
- T- Transform: Allow the Holy Spirit to nudge you into action that will transform your mind, will, and emotions.
The gift of prophecy is when a Believer is given the ability to supernaturally discern, reveal, and proclaim God’s truth to other Believers. This gift is meant to build up others and does not operate with the intent of condemnation but rather a conviction that brings about change and a transformation within an individual to reflect more of Jesus in their lives.
The gift of prophecy can work in unison with other gifts, such as word or wisdom and knowledge, but can also operate individually. The primary purpose of the gift of prophecy is to act as a trumpet declaring God’s truth and aligning Believers with His righteousness.
Curt Landry was born and raised in Los Angeles, C.A. in a secular home…
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The mission of The One New Man Network is to be a bridge of unity and restoration between Israel and the Church, releasing God’s fullness throughout the earth. Our vision is to bring revival to Israel, the Church, and the nations through a deeper understanding and revelation of the power of covenant. Our purpose is to facilitate covenant restoration through the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles coming together as the One New Man.
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Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
The spiritual gift of prophecy is an extraordinary and unique gift. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to “ Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” This gift is a blessing to the church and should not be quenched or despised (1 Thessalonians 5:20). Those who have the gift of prophecy differ from the Old Testament Prophets who spoke the authoritative Word of God directly. Their words were recorded as Scripture as they proclaimed, “Thus says The Lord,” whereas the messages from those with the spiritual gift of prophecy must be tested (1 Corinthians 14:29-33; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; 1 John 4:1-3). In the New Testament the Apostles, not the prophets, took over the role of Scriptural proclamation from the Old Testament Prophets.
The Greek word for the gift of prophecy is propheteia which is the ability to receive a divinely inspired message and deliver it to others in the church. These messages can take the form of exhortation, correction, disclosure of secret sins, prediction of future events, comfort, inspiration, or other revelations given to equip and edify the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3-4, 24-25). Again, they do not constitute the authoritative Word of God, but are the human interpretation of the revelation that was received. They are spoken in human words through a human mind which is why they must be tested against the Scriptures (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21).
The Holy Spirit gives the gift of prophecy to some believers to make God’s heart known and to edify the church. This gift is for the benefit of both believers and unbelievers and is a sign that God is truly among His church (1 Corinthians 14:22-25). Those with this gift are sensitive to both the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the church body. They should be humble and continually study the Scriptures in order to test these revelations before speaking them. When they do speak, they should allow and even expect others to weigh what is said against the Scriptures and interpret the message accordingly. In this way the church may be continually built up together in unity (1 Corinthians 14:4, 26). See also Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:1-5, Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Peter 4:10-11.
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About the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
Home » Prophecy
Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
The spiritual gift of prophecy is a special ability given by the Holy Spirit to individuals within the church. Those with this gift have the capacity to receive and proclaim messages from God, bringing forth divine revelations, exhortations, and insights for the edification and guidance of believers.
Individuals with the gift of prophecy are not fortune-tellers or psychics but serve as mouthpieces of God, speaking His truth in love and humility. They share God’s heart, wisdom, and direction with boldness and accuracy, bringing clarity to situations and pointing others towards God’s will.
Example from Scripture:
In 1 Corinthians 14:1-3, Paul encourages believers to eagerly desire the gift of prophecy as it builds up the church, brings encouragement, and helps others grow in their faith.
When the Gift is Present in the Church:
When the gift of prophecy is present in the church, it serves as a powerful means of communication from God to His people. Prophecies can provide guidance, confirmation, and encouragement, leading believers to deeper spiritual understanding and intimacy with God.
When the Gift is Absent in the Church:
In the absence of the gift of prophecy, the church may struggle with discerning God’s specific direction and may rely more on human wisdom, potentially missing out on divine insights and guidance.
What It Looked Like in the Life of Jesus:
Jesus’ life and ministry were prophetic in nature. He spoke with divine authority, revealing God’s character, purpose, and plan. Jesus foretold future events, and His teachings brought spiritual truths and understanding to His followers.
Practical Ways to Implement and Develop the Spiritual Gift:
- Seek Intimacy with God: Cultivate a deep relationship with God through prayer, worship, and studying His Word, allowing yourself to be receptive to His voice.
- Test and Confirm: When receiving a prophetic message, seek discernment and confirmation through prayer and seeking counsel from mature believers.
- Edify and Encourage: Use the gift of prophecy to build up and encourage others in their faith, always speaking in love and humility.
Examples from Church History:
- Agabus (1st century AD): Mentioned in the New Testament book of Acts, Agabus was a prophet who accurately predicted a famine i n the region.
- St. Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582): A Carmelite nun, mystic, and Doctor of the Church, remembered for her profound spiritual writings and mystical experiences that were considered prophetic.
- Is the gift of prophecy limited to predicting the future? – No, while prophecy can involve foretelling, its primary purpose is to edify, exhort, and bring understanding to God’s will and character.
- How can we discern if a prophecy is truly from God? – Prophecies should align with the truths of Scripture and bear witness with the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers.
Ways to Grow in the Gift:
- Stay Grounded in Scripture: Let God’s Word be the foundation for all prophetic messages, ensuring alignment with biblical truths.
- Submit to Accountability: Seek guidance and feedback from mature spiritual leaders to grow in the accuracy and maturity of prophetic ministry.
- Pray for Boldness and Sensitivity: Ask God for courage to share His messages boldly and sensitivity to deliver them with love and humility.
The spiritual gift of prophecy is a precious and transformative ministry within the church. As individuals faithfully exercise this gift, they become channels through which God communicates His heart and will, bringing revelation, encouragement, and alignment with His divine purposes.
Other Spiritual Gifts
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Interpretation of Tongues
Spiritual Gift – Interpretation of Tongues Definition: The gift of interpreting tongues is a special
Spiritual Gift of Tongues Definition: The spiritual gift of tongues is a special ability given
Word of Wisdom
Spiritual Gift of Wisdom Definition: The spiritual gift of wisdom is a special ability given
Spiritual Gift of Teaching Definition: The spiritual gift of teaching is a special ability given
Spiritual Gift of Speaking Definition of Spiritual Gift of Speaking: The spiritual gift of speaking
Spiritual Gift of Service Definition: The spiritual gift of service (also known as the gift
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Promptings of the Spirit
By Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest spiritual gifts Latter-day Saints enjoy.
Recently, the eyes of the sporting world focused on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosted by Australia and New Zealand. World-class athletes narrowed from more than 200 national teams from around the globe demonstrated their grit, dedication, talent, and athleticism as they competed for the soccer world’s highest honor.
We marvel at performers in numerous sports and other disciplines who achieve the highest level of their art. We speak of their God-given talents or gifts. This includes those gifted in dance, gymnastics, music, art, drama, mathematics, science, and more. Each such person demonstrates God-given gifts that are then refined and honed by a lifetime of hard work, study, and practice. God-given gifts make gifted people.
Exercising Spiritual Gifts
Looking through a gospel lens, God endows His children with many spiritual gifts, making them spiritually gifted people. Covenant-keeping members of the Church are bestowed with gifts of the Spirit, which include the gift of a testimony of Jesus Christ as our Savior, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the gift of faith to heal and be healed, the gift of discernment, the gift of receiving miracles, and the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. 1 The Lord invites us to earnestly seek the best gifts, even spiritual gifts. He gives spiritual gifts to bless us and to use in blessing others. 2
Returning to our analogy of gifted performers, it is important to remember that a gift alone does not a master make. Extraordinary natural talent notwithstanding, it is through painstaking and laborious practice and effort that performers refine and hone their craft to reach their highest level of artistry. Even those gifts received and unwrapped are often accompanied by the dreaded language “some assembly required.”
Likewise, I have observed a learning curve associated with spiritual gifts. Exercising spiritual gifts requires spiritual exercise. “Having the guidance of the Holy Ghost in your life requires spiritual work. This work includes fervent prayer and consistent scripture study. It also includes keeping your covenants and God’s commandments. … It includes worthily partaking of the sacrament each week.” 3
What are the fruits of exercising spiritual gifts? They include promptings from the Spirit that help us face our daily needs and show us what to do and say and blessings of peace and comfort. As we listen and act on spiritual promptings, the Holy Ghost magnifies our abilities and capacities to far exceed what we can do on our own. These precious spiritual gifts will help us in every aspect of our lives. 4
How important is this gift? President Russell M. Nelson answered this question categorically when he stated that “in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” 5
How to Invite and Recognize the Promptings of the Spirit
Over the course of my ministry, I have found a universal longing by everyone to know how to invite and recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Promptings of the Spirit are very personal and come in different ways. We are, however, blessed to have words of prophets, both ancient and modern, give us valuable insights about how to receive direction from the Spirit.
Let me offer four guiding principles that may be of assistance to you in inviting and recognizing the promptings of the Spirit.
Stand in Holy Places
The first is to stand in holy places. 6 I recently participated in the Tokyo Japan Temple open house. The response to formal invitations sent to both media and VIP guests far exceeded expectations. Hundreds joined in these guided temple tours. Guests were deeply touched by the beauty of the temple, including patterns and motifs with deep, traditional Japanese connections. More poignant yet was the reverent and respectful reaction elicited from guests as ancestral ordinances were described in rooms where they would occur. But most heartwarming were stirrings of the Spirit.
One such moment with a prominent government official remains etched in my mind. Following a moment of meditative silence in the celestial room, emotional and deeply touched he whispered in my ear, “Even the air that I breathe in this room feels different.” I recognized he was trying to describe the presence of the Holy Spirit, which, indeed, dwells in sacred spaces. If you hope to feel the Spirit, be in a place where the Spirit can easily dwell.
Our temples and homes are the most sacred of these dedicated spaces. In them we more easily invite and recognize the Spirit. Other holy places include meetinghouses, seminary buildings and institutes, and Church history sites and visitors’ centers. Stand in holy places.
Stand with Holy People
Second, stand with holy people. I’ll describe the second guiding principle with another memory.
I will never forget participating in a devotional held in a popular sports arena. Usually, this arena was filled with raucous fans cheering their home team and perhaps even jeering their opponent. But on this night, the atmosphere was quite different. The arena was filled with thousands of young people assembled to honor and commemorate the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Their reverent, quiet tone; gratitude; and prayerful hearts filled the arena with the presence of the Holy Spirit. I could literally see it in their faces. It was the gift of the Holy Ghost in action, affirming the testimonies being borne of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel.
The Spirit cannot be restrained from attending a gathering of holy people. If you hope to feel the Spirit, be with people with whom the Spirit can easily dwell. The Savior said it this way: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” 7 For young people, consider your gatherings of holy people: quorums and classes, FSY and seminary, ward and stake activities—even ward choirs. Choose to be with people and go to places where righteousness is found. Find your strength in numbers. Find good friends. Be good friends. Support one another wherever you are. Stand with holy people.
Testify of Holy Truths
Third, testify of holy truths as often as you can. The Comforter always shares His voice when we testify with our voice. The Spirit bears witness to the speaker and listener alike.
I remember once taking a 45-minute taxi ride in New York City. Having had a warm gospel conversation with the driver for the duration of my ride to the airport, I paid her and prepared to exit the taxi. Then I realized I had not offered a testimony of what I had shared. Pausing, I shared a simple, short testimony, inviting the Spirit and bringing tears to both our eyes.
As you seek and take opportunities to share your testimony with others, you will create moments to recognize the Spirit for yourself.
Listen to the Holy Spirit
The final principle is to listen to the Holy Spirit. He can be our constant companion, but He speaks in subtle, quiet tones. The prophet Elijah found that the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire but was “a still small voice.” 8 It is “not a voice of thunder” but rather “a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,” and yet it can “pierce even to the very soul.” 9
President Boyd K. Packer stated: “The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all.” 10 I have observed that sometimes His voice is so subtle, or I am so preoccupied, that a loved one captures it for me. Many have been the times when promptings of the Holy Ghost have come to me through my wife, Lesa. Righteous parents or leaders may also receive inspired guidance for you.
The noise, clamor, and contention prevalent in the world may overpower still, quiet impressions of the Holy Spirit. Find a quiet place, a holy space where you can seek to receive direction from the Spirit.
Some Words of Caution
As you consider these principles to invite and recognize the Spirit, consider the following words of cautionary guidance. 11
Confirm your spiritual impressions. For example, impressions from the Spirit will align with the scriptures and the teachings of the living prophets.
Be certain that the feelings you receive are consistent with your assignment. Unless you are called by proper authority, impressions from the Spirit are not given for you to counsel or correct others.
Spiritual matters cannot be forced. You can cultivate an attitude and an environment that invite the Spirit, and you can prepare yourself, but you cannot dictate how or when inspiration comes. Be patient and trust that you will receive what you need when the time is right.
Use your own best judgment. Sometimes we want to be led by the Spirit in all things. However, often the Lord wants us to use our God-given intelligence and act in ways that are consistent with our best understanding. President Dallin H. Oaks taught:
“A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. … Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. …
“We should study things out in our minds. … Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it. … If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment.” 12
Conclusion with an Invitation
In conclusion, Latter-day Saints should be gifted, covenant-keeping people. Nonetheless, it remains for each of us to seek to exercise our spiritual gifts and then to invite and learn to recognize promptings of the Spirit. Four guiding principles to assist us in this crucial spiritual endeavor are:
Stand in holy places.
Stand with holy people.
Testify of holy truths.
Listen to the Holy Spirit.
Your ability to invite and recognize the promptings of the Spirit will develop a step at a time. “Becoming more attuned to the language of the Spirit is like learning another language. It is a gradual process that requires diligent, patient effort.” 13
Returning to where we began, please remember that as Latter-day Saints you are gifted. Picture this familiar fast Sunday scene, recently described to me. A young child, standing on a stool, was barely visible over the pulpit. Her father stood next to her, offering encouragement and assisting with soft whispers to her ear as she proudly shared, “I am a child of God.”
The next testimony that followed came from a young adult who began with a nervous quip: “I wish I had someone whispering in my ear like that.” Then she had a flash of inspiration and testified, “I do have someone whispering in my ear like that—the Holy Ghost!”
I close with an invitation especially for all youth! Many of you start your day by standing in front of a mirror. Tomorrow, this week, this year, always, pause as you look at yourself in the mirror. Think to yourself, or say aloud if you like, “Wow, look at me! I am awesome! I am a child of God! He knows me! He loves me! I am gifted—gifted with the Holy Ghost as my constant companion!”
I add my testimony to you, gifted Latter-day Saints, of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, who bears testimony of Them. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Analysis: What You Need to Know About the Israel-Hamas Violence
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What You Need to Know About the Israel-Hamas Violence
The situation is chaotic, and the fighting is ongoing. but several observations already stand out..
On the morning of Oct. 7, the Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out a massive attack on Israel that was nearly unprecedented in its scale and scope. Hamas fired rockets from Gaza and infiltrated its operatives across the border, where they engaged in firefights at seven different locations in southern Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). At least 250 Israelis have been killed, and that number is expected to rise, with over 1,400 more wounded, including at least 18 injured critically and 267 in serious condition. Hamas has also reportedly taken dozens of Israelis hostage , releasing video to support its claims.
Initial information suggests that the attack has no precedent in recent Israeli history. The IDF said approximately 2,200 rockets were launched in the initial barrages, making it the largest rocket attack against Israel since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 . The number of rockets launched was an order of magnitude larger than the attacks at the beginning of the 2014 and 2021 crises. Hamas also appears to have been quite innovative, using paragliders among other means to enter Israel by surprise. The infiltration is particularly devastating for Israel due to the lives lost and the hostages taken.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared , “We are at war,” and launched Operation Iron Swords , conducting airstrikes in Gaza and calling up reservists. Al Jazeera reports that the Israeli response has already claimed 232 lives in Gaza, with many more deaths sure to come.
The situation is chaotic, and the fighting is ongoing—the ultimate numbers of dead, wounded, and hostages may be far greater than initial reports. Undoubtedly, early information is incomplete, exaggerated in some areas and understated in others, and in some cases plain wrong. But several observations stand out.
1. Hamas was at a dead end.
Hamas has governed Gaza since seizing power there in 2007, and it has always wrestled with the inherent tension between governing the area and maintaining its bona fides as the leader of the anti-Israel resistance camp among Palestinians. Hamas has done so in the face of Israeli and international opposition; tremendous economic pressure that Israel increases or eases to incentivize peace behavior from Hamas; and bitter efforts by its rival, the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas.
For much of the last 16 years, Hamas’s leaders have tried to appeal to Palestinians by showing that they, not the PA, can better govern. And in some ways, they succeeded. Despite international economic isolation, Hamas provides services such as trash collection and law enforcement far more effectively than its PA predecessors in Gaza. Hamas also presented itself as less corrupt than PA leaders , not a difficult argument to make.
Yet Hamas sees itself as a resistance organization and needs to be one politically. Part of this is because its record of governance of Gaza is spotty. Gazans lead difficult lives, with high unemployment and poverty abounding . Hamas’s ability to claim leadership based on the quality of ordinary Palestinians’ lives is limited.
At the same time, Hamas’s leaders see Israel as illegitimate and hostile. They believe that attacking Israel is justified and that, in the end, they can gain politically from doing so. They know that ordinary Gazans will pay a terrible price from the Israeli response, but they hope that the eventual political settlement will be in their favor.
Even if it is simply some variation of the status quo, they aim to gain political points (and by implication discredit the PA) by showing that they, not the PA, are standing up to Israel. They can also shore up support among more extreme elements of their own organization and potential rivals such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad , which have chafed at what they see as the inaction of Hamas’s leadership.
2. The PA is caught in a Catch-22.
The PA is caught in a political trap, wanting to see Hamas fail but unable to openly cheer for Israel. The PA claims to represent all Palestinians , a stance that is incompatible with Hamas’s independent power in Gaza. Abbas and other PA leaders have implicitly supported the isolation of Gaza, and its security forces have worked closely with Israel to crush Hamas in the West Bank, often acting brutally in the process. (Hamas has returned the favor, targeting PA supporters in Gaza .)
Today, the PA suffers from a legitimacy crisis. With the collapse of the peace process, the PA has no way to tell ordinary Palestinians that they have a path to an independent state. The unchecked growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, pogroms by Israeli settlers , and the open contempt many members of Netanyahu’s coalition have for Palestinians all increase the PA’s humiliation. Abbas himself is 87 years old and inspires little love among Palestinians. When he finally moves on, chaos may engulf the PA, with Hamas further increasing its influence.
For ordinary Palestinians, especially those who are not in the line of fire, Hamas’s attack may come with some sense of satisfaction, showing that Israelis will pay a price if they ignore Palestinian rights. Skepticism of peace talks and of Israeli intentions was high among Palestinians before the latest fighting. As a result, the PA, in public, will continue to criticize Israel, especially as large numbers of Palestinians die in the Israeli response, even though it hopes that Israel will crush Hamas and that the organization will be even weaker.
Israel Rocked by Unprecedented Hamas Surprise Attack
Israel-Palestine sees its bloodiest day of fighting in decades as Netanyahu declares war.
Why the Oslo Peace Process Failed
And what it means for future negotiators.
The New Palestinian Resistance
Young militants are ditching old-style factionalism to fight Israel’s occupation.
3. The attack represents a massive Israeli intelligence failure.
Although tensions had been high for some time, with warnings of a Third Intifada common, the scale of this attack caught Israel, as well as outside observers, by surprise. Israeli officials are already saying this was a massive intelligence failure.
Tactically, Israel was not prepared for Hamas’s ability to infiltrate fighters across the border and otherwise conduct a large-scale operation under Israel’s nose. The attack was also a surprise strategically, with Israel not prepared for such a dramatic escalation in fighting. And the timing of the attack will only compound the embarrassment, as it occurred almost to the day of the 50th anniversary of the surprise attack that began the 1973 Arab-Israeli War—perhaps the biggest intelligence failure in Israel’s history.
Undoubtedly, investigations into this intelligence failure will seek answers as to why Israel’s famously skilled security services were caught by surprise. One reason may be a degree of complacency on the part of Israeli leaders. The Palestinian issue seemed to be successfully managed for many years, with Israel’s strong response to any flare-ups ensuring that Hamas quickly sought negotiations. Iron Dome and other systems seem to effectively protect Israelis from rockets and mortars from Gaza, while the barrier along the border with Gaza meant infiltration was seemingly impossible.
Israelis may also have underestimated Hamas’s counterintelligence, believing that the group would not learn from its past failures. Yet observers have long warned that the Palestinian situation was boiling over and that an unrepentant Hamas was seeking to turn the tables on Israel.
The attack—with its high number of dead and wounded as well as numerous hostages—also represents a major failure for the Netanyahu government. This is a particular problem in the Israeli political context, as Netanyahu has sold himself as a politician who can lead the fight against terrorism, force the Palestinians to bend to his will, and be tough on security.
The fighting comes at a time when Netanyahu is facing other significant challenges. His efforts to greatly weaken the power of Israel’s Supreme Court led to mass protests , and he himself has been indicted for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. He has a core of supporters, but he cannot afford damage to his security credentials. In addition, he relies on an extreme right-wing government, with several openly racist ministers who have long called for tougher treatment of the Palestinians, especially when violence occurs.
4. The hostage drama will dramatically complicate the situation.
In addition to the high death toll, one of the hardest things for Israel to handle will be the hostages whom Hamas has taken. In the past, Israel had bargained for years to return its people—and even their dead bodies —in the possession of its enemies. In 2011, for example, the Netanyahu government exchanged more than 1,000 prisoners for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in 2006.
The hostages Hamas has taken will be powerful bargaining chips, as they give Hamas the option to respond to Israeli military action by threatening to harm or actually harming or killing the hostages. The hostages’ presence in Gaza also puts countervailing pressures on Israeli political and military leaders. The attack has already triggered a large-scale military response, but retrieving the hostages alive will be more likely with smaller-scale actions such as negotiations or special forces operations .
5. Expect a tough Israeli response.
Israel’s initial response has involved targeting Hamas rocket and missile facilities in Gaza as well as trying to round up Hamas infiltrators and prevent additional militants from entering Israel—a daunting set of tasks.
Israel will try to restore shreds of deterrence by showing Hamas that it will pay a heavy price for its actions. For now, the attack on Israel will be seen by many Israelis and Palestinians as a win for Hamas. Because the Palestinian group is so much weaker than Israel, its ability to strike—and with such deadly effect—is impressive, even if the Israeli response in the end is far more devastating. Israel prioritizes deterrence , not only to stop Hamas from attacking but also to counter Hezbollah, Iran, and other adversaries, as its leaders believe that weakness on one front spreads to other areas.
When Israel fought Hezbollah in 2006, Hezbollah’s continued attacks and killing of more than 100 Israelis sent the message that the group could inflict serious harm on Israel, even if in the end Hezbollah and Lebanon suffered far more. Israel has struggled for years to restore deterrence against Hamas and continues to worry —with good reason—that it is falling short.
In addition to punishing airstrikes, the Israeli response may involve significant actions on the ground in Gaza. In the past, Israel has rightly regarded ground operations with caution despite calls by some Israeli leaders to deal with the Hamas problem once and for all. In the past, the more limited nature of the conflict allowed cautious leaders such as Netanyahu to stick to economic pressure and air attacks, minimizing the risk to Israeli soldiers.
The scale of Hamas’s latest attack, however, creates enormous pressure for Israel to try to root out the organization from Gaza—an almost impossible task given Hamas’s deep economic, religious, and social base there. At the very least, Israeli leaders will feel pressure to show successes, such as the deaths or arrests of senior Hamas leaders, as well as other visible, and visceral, signs that Israel is striking back. Hamas will be hit hard in the end, and ordinary Gazans will surely pay a heavy price.
Daniel Byman is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. His latest book is Spreading Hate: The Global Rise of White Supremacist Terrorism . Twitter: @dbyman
Alexander Palmer is a research associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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