Prophets and Prophesy
There is a distinction between the gift of prophesy and a word of encouragement. There is also a difference between the gift of prophesy and the grace of the office of a prophet. In this short blog we take a quick look at the differences and why it matters.
Some people are appointed to be prophets. The gift of prophesy is available for all who eagerly desire it. The appointment comes from God evidenced by the commissioning grace upon a person’s life. The gift belongs to the Holy Spirit and given as the Holy Spirit sees fit. Both the grace office and the gift are for the benefit of others. But they are not the same thing.
Character and use develop both the grace and the gift. The grace and gift are deeply needed in this hour.
Are contemporary practices of the grace office and the gift in keeping with their design and intended practice as revealed to the Apostles in the early church? Is our desire to hear from prophets instead of developing intimacy with God placing an unreasonable expectation on them?
I am always curious how some “prophets” receive a "specific" word, that is general in nature and that relates to the world and reads like a horoscope to promote their name and ministry. These are words of encouragement that mean well and indeed encourage us but may be ineffective as prophesy.
Unfortunately these “prophets” feel they must be continually publishing words to hold to the gift or grace office. They must continually be "seen" and "known" to receive their next speaking invitation. The pressure placed on them must be unbearable. Yet this seems a trend that is not likely to diminish soon.
Friends it is time for the body of Christ to be discerning, to distinguish between words of encouragement and what is a genuine prophetic word to be received, weighed and through a witness of the internal Holy Spirit, acted upon. It is so important to keep the integrity of these grace offices and gifts.
We all need encouragement. However we should not confuse between the two.
Why is this so important? If we identify prophesy as what we want to hear instead of what God wants to reveal we will be at risk of embracing the counterfeit and rejecting the authentic.
We are just as capable of having people prophesy out of their "own imagination" in the New Testament as in the Old Testament. We notice that when a prophet brought a word to the King that was pleasing to him but in error and actually from the prophet's own imagination in the Old Testament, God sent an authentic prophet to correct the word to the King and declare what God was saying. My strong sense is God is going to do that again for the sake of the integrity of the grace offices and the gift.
This is why prophets should work together as other Ephesians 4:11 graces and learn how to be relationally accountable to ensure the integrity of the office grace and the words spoken. Because we are in an age of increasing spiritual awareness as Paul prophesied we are more inclined to accept what is pleasant than what God is actually saying to prepare us for our combined future and to fulfil the mandates given to us. This will take courage on everyone's part.
The graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit are valuable and will be fundamental to how Jesus and His Kingdom authority is declared and revealed is the days ahead. We should carry them and develop them with great respect and reverence to God. They are given. They are not earned. We are trustees not owners. Those who have been given a trust must prove themselves faithful as Paul the apostle observed.
Things are about to be brought into the light. Intuitively I sense Jesus is developing a new company of governmental prophets. More gifted people than myself tend to agree. Most of their work will be in worship and prayer, intercession and declaration. They will be more unseen than seen but you will see the effect of their hidden work. Platforms are about to change as well as models of ministry that are not moving with what the Holy Spirit is establishing.
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