Prophecy, prophetic, prophesy… these words signal a red flag in many Christian’s minds, and with good reason!
People have come in the name of Jesus claiming to be “prophets” and say things that clearly go against the Bible. They say they have “new revelation from God” and shroud themselves in mystic wisdom.
This blog post will not only strip the mysticism that surrounds prophecy but will also be a lesson about how to use these words properly in a sentence (I loathe grammar, so it will be a short lesson).
I before E except after C
Let’s start with the grammatical portion of the blog so that your brain can begin to consciously recognize how to use these words correctly in a sentence, and because I want to get the hard part over with first.
Prophecy (prof-uh-see) NOUN:
Example: The New Testament tells us that prophecy is a gift of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:9
Prophet (prof-it) NOUN:
Example: Ezekiel was a prophet while the Israelites were in captivity. Ezekiel 1:1
Prophetic (pruh-fet-tic) ADJECTIVE:prophet,
Example: When Isaiah said the Messiah would be born to a virgin, that was prophetic. Isaiah 7:14
Prophesy (prof–uh-sahy) VERB:
Example: Prophesying is to be earnestly desired by all Christians. 1 Corinthians 12:28-31 & 1 Corinthians 14:1
Ouch, all of that kind of hurt my head. The dictionary is sooooo dry! Here is a fun sentence that I hope clears it all up for you: Prophesying makes you a prophet, and the prophecies you share are prophetic words from God.
What does the Bible say about Christians and prophecy?
1 Corinthians 12 is a phenomenal section of scripture where the gifts of the Spirit are revealed and in 1 Corinthians 14, many are explained (the fruits of the Spirit are different).
Paul describes what the “body” of God should look like in 1 Corinthians 12. He uses the metaphor of the church being a physical body and describes how each part works in unity and are all necessary.
The modern church uses about a third of the gifts. From my experience, I have seen churches embrace the gift of wisdom, faith, and sometimes healing. The other 2/3, it usually condemns. Any church that claims to believe the Bible is truth should be functioning in all nine of the gifts, or at least trying.
For example, if I were talking about the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and I said that I believe in the Trinity but I don’t believe in Jesus and the Father, I would be missing 2/3 of the Trinity, which is crazy. I would be missing the entire point.
This is what the modern church is doing today with the Gifts of the Spirit. Prophecy is one of these condemned gifts.
How does the Bible define prophecy?
1 Corinthians 14:3: the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
Have you ever told someone who is weatherng a rough season that “things are going to get better“? Well, guess what, you have prophesied.
Prophecy, in the most basic form, is building someone up and encouraging him or her.
Why is this prophecy?
At the time you consoled that person, did you know the future? Did you know things were going to get better? Technically, no, you didn’t.
Perhaps you had a feeling in your gut that his or her life was about to turn a corner, or maybe you were simply trying to encourage this person who was “down on their luck”. Whatever your reason was, you prophesied at a beginner’s level.
Am I (Amanda) a prophet?
Yes and no. Everyone who prophesies for God (not falsely) does so by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). I have the Holy Spirit and therefore I have the ability but I’m not very well practiced in the gift. For example:
My girlfriend had a VERY premature baby and for a long time the baby was not gaining any weight. It came to the point that if the baby didn’t gain any weight, the baby was going to die. I “prophesied” that the baby would gain a pound in three weeks. Did the baby gain a pound? No, the baby gained a few ounces.
Was my friend encouraged when I spoke that over the baby? Yes. So, I was not accurate but I was also not entirely wrong.
Does that sound confusing? Prophecy works like a light switch, but it is a dimmer switch. Allow me to explain it this way:
An opera singer has a gifted voice. If an opera singer doesn’t practice singing, he or she isn’t going to be preforming at his or her peak level. It takes time to develop and this person has to be willing to be off-key for a while for the sake of bettering the gift.
I have to be willing to be wrong now in order to be more accurate in the future. Now, if Jesus had said the baby was going to gain a pound in three weeks, would the baby have? Yes.
Where is the disconnection happening? If I am like Jesus (1 John 4:7) why didn’t for my prophesy come true?
It is of the utmost importance to remember that I am still growing up into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13) and it is important to keep pressing on toward the prize for which God has called me (Philippians 3:14).
I know God wants me to prophesy because the Bible tells me this, so instead of letting my experience dictate how I live my life, I follow Jesus and do what the Bible tells me I should. That is what it means to be a Christian.
Could I (you) be a prophet?
Are you a born-again Christian? Do you have the Holy Spirit? Yes? Then you have all that is required to prophesy.
Remember that prophecy in the most basic form is encouraging fellow believers. So, a great place to start is by speaking uplifting words to fellow believers who are having a tough time. No one will think you are weird for saying, “You are going to pull through! I think you are just about to turn a corner.”
A SHARP Word of Warning
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use this as a license to say whatever you want. Everything you say should line up with the Bible. God does not contradict Himself. If you seriously think you have a prophetic calling on your life, talk to your pastor or an experienced prophet about it.
I also suggest that every Christian read Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit by Lester Sumrall. It will explain the gifts, teach you how to use them, and how to recognize the counterfeits. Click here to see it on amazon.
I hope the definition of prophetic is much clearer to you now given the dictionary terms and the examples I’ve provided. Please, if you have any questions, or need clarification on anything regarding prophecy, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.