Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Is Prophecy for Everyone?
John Mark Pool:
Prophecy—It's for Everyone!
God created us in His image and breathed into humanity in the first prophetic breath in order for us to have eternal communion with Himself. He has never stopped speaking to His creation. God made us to have fellowship with Him, to multiply and fill the earth and take dominion of His Kingdom in the earth as it is in Heaven.
In furthering the Kingdom of God, God gave gifts to mankind and speaks to His creation. In speaking to us, God chose the channel known as prophecy for that communication of His secrets unto all His creation, which begins with mankind, into all the elements of the earth. Keep in mind, people were created to have communion with God. Communication, at its basic format, is speaking in any form of a language exchanged with one another. In that process, God begins with His highest order of communion—mankind—because we are the ones charged with "taking dominion and multiplying" God's Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. Prophecy is a major channel of God's messages to His creation.
Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.—Amos 3:7 NASB
We do not have to be a "prophet" to hear God or to prophesy His words. Yes, there is an "office" of the prophet, which is a function of a leadership position in the administrative five-fold office gifts for the benefit of the whole Church. But, not everyone should want to be in that office or in any other leadership office. Keep in mind the more responsibility in your calling, the more a leader is held to higher standards. Bearing a "title" does not equip a person for the accompanying liability that God assures we will be held to. Consider that when you desire the leadership titles! Hopefully however, if we train the younger ones truthfully, helping all to prophesy, and not to acquire a title or position, then they will fit where God places them. We must seek the Lord in every part of our calling, but especially when we begin to understand the meaning "that all should prophesy" (see 1 Corinthians 14).
Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.—1 Corinthians 14:39 NASB, emphasis added
There is indeed an office of the prophet, but attaining to that "office" or "title" is not our goal in this adventure of our Kingdom assignments. We cannot make anyone a prophet; that is God's choice. But we can train as many as "desire to prophesy." Think of a sports team, like football. They have a few coaches, but games have more players on the fields than coaches on the sidelines. When a game is played, it is with both coaches and players. Prophesying is always a "team" event that should be furthering the Kingdom of God—not one individual, nor a "few select superstars."
The goal is that all may hear and discern God's voice, and be equipped to do the work of the ministry in order to fulfill their individual calling. As this is accomplished, we must focus on the "big picture" of everyone in the Lord's family coming into the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may build upon His Church and not our gifts. Truly, we must desire, get trained, and prophesy Jesus to a desperate world. We must each truly become God's word to the hurting world!
In this "adventure in the prophetic" journey, it is important to understand some prophetic terminology and how each should be applied according to each individual (don't forget how unique God made everyone), small group, fellowship of Believers and the entire Kingdom of God. As each of us matures in the prophetic, each person should become familiar with the prophetic vocabulary and how it will apply in everyday functions of life—not just in a church service.
Clarity on Basic Prophetic Terms
Prophecy is God-directed communication to His people. Also, prophecy is one of God's supernatural communication channels. Prophecy, as the Lord's language from Heaven to earth, becomes foretelling to mankind when God speaks through His prophets before the earthly events of interest occur. That is why it is called prophecy—it is decreeing facts before the events occur. Interestingly as it seems, however, prophecy is not simply predicting the future of earthly events; it is God's answer to events He already intended for good.
We may contend with the prophetic word, once released, to bring about God's plan that otherwise could occur differently if left alone. That is why faith in God is essential in the prophetic, as well as a clear understanding of our vital role as God's children.
A Prophetic Myth Busted
A "myth" that needs to be exposed in prophecy is the saying, "I will put the prophetic word on the 'shelf,' and if it is from God it will come to pass, but if not, it was not from God." That has not one ounce of truth to it concerning the meaning of prophecy from God, nor does it have any Biblical foundation.
We are to know the giver of the prophecy, understand the "spirit of truth" surrounding the person's word as an accountably delivered word, and then, if it is from the right spirit—the Spirit of God—and not carnally nor demonically influenced, we begin to intercede and pray to bring this word into existence as God intended. That means that all prophetic words are in effect "conditional" to the level of our participation in God's level of expectancy. Prophecy is very inclusive of God's Word, His heart, and His messengers and family members. Always compare the message with the one found in the book of Jonah for the heart of God with prophecy. Rescuing the lost creation is God's desire!
Psychics are FALSE Prophets
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.—1 John 4:1 NLT, emphasis added
The world system, apart from the family of God, views psychics as "prophets," but psychics are not prophets of God; they are psychic—whose words are no more than demonic, spiritually-induced fortunes. Psychics enjoy being labeled prophets, yet truthfully, they must be correctly termed—false prophets.
How Psychics are Different from Prophets
Psychics "rob God's truth" as if it were from psychic powers, and then distort and reveal these words as if they were psychics' prophecies. God for sure knows the intentions of their hearts, as psychics ultimately hope to deceive many away from the Kingdom of God! This is why prophecy must be tried for the "spirit" that is propagating the Word. God judges motives and intentions of the heart. We cannot be ignorant concerning spiritual gifts!
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because [of] many false prophets are gone out into the world.—1 John 4:1 KJV, emphases added
A true prophet is one of the five-fold office gifts from Christ. When Jesus ascended to His throne, He released these headship, administrative spokespeople for God upon earth (see Ephesians 4:7-12). The "office" of prophet is not a Holy Spirit gift, but a gift through Christ's ascension. The Hebrew word is Nabi, derived from Naba (pronounced naw-baw). A nabi is to tell God's messages to mankind as a prophet or prophetess. Also, Hebrew uses Chozeh/Hozeh, but those terms are particularly for the Seer Prophet.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I (God) have appointed you a prophet to the nations...Do not say, "I am a youth," because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.—Jeremiah 1:5, 7 NASB, emphasis added
In the New Testament, the original Greek word is prophayteuw—to foretell, tell forth, to prophesy; one who speaks for God, a prophetes (pronounced pro-fay'-tace).
A seer is one who sees into the spirit realm and prophesies what is seen into God's Kingdom upon earth. Prophet Samuel, our first major prophet, was also termed "seer" early in his ministry.
Later, the standard term for a prophet, nabi, was used to separate it from its official functions in respect to those of the classic seer prophet's (hozeh/chozeh) characteristics. (In the Old Testament, Gad, Iddo and Asaph were all seers).
All real seers are prophets of God, but not all prophets are seers. Also, because a person may see in the spirit realm as an intercessor or psalmist does not establish them as a seer or prophet. People who passionately reside in the spirit realm of God often become inappropriately termed as seers and prophets, even though they do hear, see, and declare what God has shown.
Gift of Prophecy
There is also a gift of prophecy from the Holy Spirit, as compared above to the office of prophet given as "Christ's ascension gifts" (see Ephesians 4:7-12). One of the gifts from Holy Spirit is the gift of prophecy. This Holy Spirit gift is a "body-wide" functioning endowment. "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's (or woman's) gift is prophesying, let them use it in proportion to his (or her) faith" (Romans 12:6 NIV). Interestingly enough, of all the Holy Spirit's gifts (such as healing, tongues, miracles, etc.), this is the only gift God specifically says to "covet" or desire earnestly. That means it is very important, and God sincerely wants all His family to prophesy.
Since God is always speaking, then it would be beneficial to acquire and learn properly the usage of the gifts of God for communicating His will and way to others in our sphere of influence. Because God is love, how much better could it get than to prophesy God's Kingdom purposes into the people the Lord places in our paths! Our goal is always to extract out of a person's heart—God's greatness to be fulfilled for Father God's plan in their life. When God uses a messenger—anointed by the Holy Spirit—to reveal His heart into another's life, that is indeed "proclaiming" a person to become free of the enemy's grip into God's eternal "life-changing plan!"
Keep Obeying and Saying!
By obeying the "still, small voice of the Lord" we can allow the Holy Spirit's gift to effectively add to God's Kingdom a life for eternity—anytime, anywhere, for anybody! It can happen on an airplane, in a shopping mall, coffee shop or just about anywhere! This is the "fun stuff" to me, and I know it will be to you, too. You are always allowed to speak prophetic fulfillment of edification, exhortation, and comfort (see 1 Corinthians 14:3) to those whom the Lord places you around! Don't sweat the mistakes, and just continue to get some good, accountable training in this exciting prophetic adventure—and by all means know that God wants us to desire earnestly the prophetic gift so we can increase His Kingdom—one person at a time—so that "all may prophesy!"
Prophesy-Prophesy-Prophesy! Just Do it, OK?
Like foreign language studies on the mission field, if we've heard this once, we've heard it a hundred times, "Use it or lose it!"
That is so true in the prophetic gifts of God. So, grow in your pursuit, get all the accountable training you can, but by all means, do not wait on perfection to prophesy eternal life into a hurting person! We may be the last person to speak that word into their soul!
People always ask for an example, and this is what we mean by obeying the "stirring of our heart" by the Holy Spirit. Here is a true story, a kind that happens more than you probably hear:
A Voice told me one day to "not go home right now to watch the Super Bowl game," but go to the hospital and "prophesy a man's life into God's eternal family." I reluctantly obeyed (because I did not know the man in the hospital). The nurses helped me to find the room of the elderly man, near the point of death, weak from surgery, and as he looked into my eyes, I asked if I could "speak eternal life" into him in the form of prayer. He said in a hoarse whisper, "Yes." I held his weak hand and we prayed a very brief prayer that included salvation. Tears ran down his face as it changed with that eternal glow only God can express from a transformed heart. I went home joyful, caught the end of the game, and received a call a few hours later that the gentleman I had seen just passed into eternity!
Does hearing from God and obeying His commands to prophesy matter? Yes! I received a call from the son of the deceased elder saint, who was so very grateful that the Lord directed someone by his father's room, to know he is now living in Heaven forever!
We have so much to gain from being better equipped with God's awesome, prophetic "tool kit"! The idea is to never be concerned about making a mistake in view of lives desperately needing hope for eternity! Just do it!
Yes, prophesy Jesus into darkness and watch the illumination of the Lord's love light up their lives! Be warned—it is very contagious, and others will be changed for God's best, and as they do, you will be energized to prophesy regularly! Indeed, our goal is to prophesy God's plan into as many "whosoevers" as we can, so that all may prophesy!
Always a voice for God,
John Mark Pool
Word to the World Ministries