In the Old Testament, God continually spoke to his people through the prophets. Prophets were revered and respected throughout the Old Testament. A prophet’s presence signifies the presence of God and gives the Israelites confidence. An example is the case of Balak and Deborah (Judges 4:8)
In this article
- 1 What is prophecy?
- 2 What is the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy?
- 3 Function of Prophets
- 4 Types of prophets
- 5 Ways Prophecy Is received
- 6 Examples of prophecy in the bible
- 7 Purpose of Prophecy
- 8 Prophecy in the New Testament Church
- 9 How to Activate the Gift of Prophecy
- 10 Does the Gift of prophecy still exist?
What is prophecy?
Prophecy is the ability to deliver a spirit-led message to the congregation of believers or a specific person according to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is not only predicting future events; it includes delivering the intent of God to a person or a community.
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.1 Corinthians 12:10
What is the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy?
The spiritual Gift of prophecy is one of the nine gifts of the Spirit given to an individual by the Holy Spirit to improve the church. The Gift of prophecy is unique because the Holy Spirit is the only one who can give it. It’s God’s way of communicating with humankind. The one with the Gift of prophecy can continually receive from God and deliver to the congregation.
Surely the Lord GOD does nothing Without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] To His servants the prophets.Amos 3:7
Function of Prophets
Prophets have many functions in the church, but here are their unique functions.
- Prophets act as intercessors
- They speak on God’s behalf.
- Call the attention of people to sin.
Types of prophets
There are two types of prophet which are:
- True Prophets
- False Prophets
True prophets are prophets who speak the mind of God and live according to the dictates of God.
Characteristics Of True Prophecy/Prophet
- It agrees with the bible. True prophecy is never the opposite of what the bible preaches; rather, it upholds the dictates of the scripture.
- True prophets live a holy and righteous life. Their lifestyle shows the fruit of the Spirit.
- They are not money driven but God-driven. True prophets always want to please God and not enrich their pockets.
- True prophecy points to Christ and glorifies God.
- God purely inspires true prophecy. It is not conceived by man
- Their prophecy comes to pass as they have prophesied.
False prophets are prophets who prophesy for selfish reasons or to please people.
Characteristics of False Prophets
- Their prophecy comes through human imagination and selfish desires.
- Some false prophets prophesy through demonic spirits. Their prophecy may sometimes come to pass, but it doesn’t glorify God. (1kings 22:19-23)
- False prophets are after monetary gain; therefore, they follow the trend.
- Their predictions do not come to pass. (1 Kings 22:28)
- They follow other gods in their hearts (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
Ways Prophecy Is received
- Through dreams and visions (Genesis 41)
- Through trance (Acts 10:9-23): the Apostle John received the prophetic revelation of the book of John through trance. He documented his experience in the book of Revelations.
- The voice of God (1 Samuel 3): God speaks to us, and he can reveal his secrets by talking to his prophets.
- Prophecy can be inspired through music, like the case of Elisha (2 Kings 3:15-27).
Examples of prophecy in the bible
Prophets and prophecy are mentioned in the bible severally. Some of the prophecies written in the bible were fulfilled in the bible. We will explore some prophecies in the bible and where the predictions were fulfilled
Foretold captivity of the Jews
Prophecy: Deuteronomy 28:36
Fulfilment: Luke 21:24
There was a prophecy that the Jews would be captured and face a lot of humiliation in captivity because of their disobedience. The prediction happened as it was foretold.
End of Famine in Samaria
Prophecy: 2kings 7:1- 2
Fulfilment: 2kings 7: 16-19
There was a great famine in besieged Samaria. It was a dire situation; mothers ate their children to stay alive. Elisha prophesied that there would be food by this time tomorrow and predicted what would happen to the king’s messenger, who didn’t believe, and the prophecy was fulfilled.
Prophesy about Christ the Messiah
Prophecy: Isiah 9:6-7
Fulfilment: Luke 2:24
The birth of Christ was foretold, and it happened as the scripture has said.
Agabus Prophesied That Paul Would Be Arrested
Prophecy: Acts 21:10-11
Fulfilment: Acts 21:27-36
Agabus was recognised as a prophet who came from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 11:27-30), he once prophesied, and it came to pass. He predicted that Paul would be arrested and bound, which happened as he had foretold.
The Triumphant Entry of Christ To Jerusalem
Prophecy: Zachchariah 9:9
Fulfilment: John 12:12-15
There was a prophecy spoken long before the birth of Christ about him entering Jerusalem like a king, with people rejoicing and praising God.
Purpose of Prophecy
On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.1 Corinthians 14:3 ESV
Like the other gifts, prophecy is given to the church for a purpose. Some of the purposes of the gift include:
- To Strengthen
- To encourage
- To comfort
- To draw men unto God
Prophecy in the New Testament Church
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the role of prophets in the New Testament church. I believe prophets and prophecies are still important and relevant to the church. Yes, we all have the Spirit of God, he speaks to us, and we can discern his leading but prophecy can help to confirm the word of God.
In my years as a believer, I have had several instances where I have received prophecies which aligned with what God has for me. God would have often spoken to me before; the prophecies confirm God’s word.
However, we must never allow prophecy to replace listening to and hearing the voice of God. A typical example is the story of the young and old prophets. The young prophet had instructions from God, and he immediately went to obey God’s instructions. He met an old prophet on the way, who gave him a false prophecy contradicting what God had told him. He obeyed the old prophet, and paid dearly with his life.
How to Activate the Gift of Prophecy
If you have the gift of prophecy given by the Holy Spirit, there are things you can do to activate it and make the gift effective and helpful.
- Be bold to prophesy as the Holy Spirit leads. Always be ready to speak the word of the lord as it has been revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.
- Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you. Don’t speak out f the flesh or to please men. Allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide and anchor at all times.
Does the Gift of prophecy still exist?
The Gift of prophecy still exists. I know a sister who is very close to me; she walks in the prophetic. God still speaks through his prophets.
29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this lawDeuteronomy 29:29 ESV
Finally, the Gift of prophecy is given to help the church and not to tear it down. We must be wary of false prophets who only prey o people’s pockets and emotions. We must be discerning and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.