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In the Bible, we see plenty of prophecies. Prophets would typically say something like, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ and give a first person message from God. We see something similar where Agabus in the New Testament, starts a prophecy with, “Thus saith the Holy Ghost.” Before Barnabas and Saul left Antioch, the Spirit had spoken, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
We see a general pattern of these ‘first person’ prophetic words. There are also prophetic things that don’t fit that general mold. We read of prophesying on musical instruments in the Old Testament. Peter quoted some statements of David in the Psalms, that on the surface, might be read as statements about himself. But Peter said that David was a prophet and that he spoke of the Christ. Not every prophecy fits the first person, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ mold.
But the general understanding of prophecy is that it fits this pattern, “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” If it happened long ago, or recently, genuine prophesying involves speaking, or communicating, as moved by the Holy Ghost. Usually, it’s speaking, prophecies can also be sung or prophesied out on musical instruments, and prophets can act out signs.
But there are some folks who would redefine what prophesying means. We have probably encountered folks who think that prophesying is just preaching and expounding upon the written word. That doesn’t fit well with the fact that prophesying and teaching are two different gifts in the Bible. Some people even argue that prophesying is just speaking in public, which doesn’t seem to fit the usage of the terms in scripture, at all.
But some Charismatic and Third Wave have also redefined what ‘prophesying’ means. Probably, the first time I heard this re-definition was one of the few times I could manage to listen to Kenneth Copeland for more than a few minutes in the early 1990s on TV. He was talking about the valley of dry bones in
Ezekiel 37. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord 5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
His point was that sometimes you have to ‘prophesy’ to a situation. It sounded like a ‘speak to the mountain’ teaching out of Mark, one of the half-dozen things that some of the WOF types talk about over and over and over again. I encountered some other WOFers who would ‘prophesy’ to situations in society that they wanted to change. It was some kind of faith declaration, but they called it ‘prophesying.’
What I took issue about with Copeland’s teaching is this… God gave Ezekiel the words to prophesy. He prophesied the ‘word of the Lord’. He said ‘Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones’. Ezekiel didn’t make something up and calling it ‘prophecy.’ He didn’t say what he wanted to happen and prophesy it. God gave Him the words to say.
Genuine prophecy comes from the Spirit of God. We don’t make it up.
I’ve also read some Third Wave author recognized as a prophet who wrote about prophesying things out of his authority as a prophet. I don’t want those kinds of prophecies, especially not if it’s going to be labeled as a ‘prophecy.’ People can bless me if they want to. That’s fine. I don’t mind. But don’t make something up and call it a prophecy.
Levi Allen Goff [10/01/2015 6:18 PM]
I strongly identify with what Isaiah said, concerning a prophecy of the Lord; “He said, ‘Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.” Isaiah 6:9
In this passage the Lord told him to say something; to speak it to them. The Bible also says that the power of life and death are in the power of the tongue. The World was created by the Word. Jesus was in the beginning with the Word.
When the prophet Jeremiah spoke the Word of the Lord he described it as “Fire shut up in his bones.” When I speak in tongues, it is as if fire is all over, and I cannot contain the utterance…
Jeremiah could not contain it! Amazing! It was as if he had no control over what he would say. When the Lord told him to speak, he had to speak. The Word of the Lord cannot return void, therefore when he wants to say something, by his name, it will be said!
That said, a false prophet would most definitely speak on his own accord. Perhaps thinking it is of the Lord when indeed it is not.
Jesus said that somebody who does not hear his Word is not a child of God, but of the Devil; the father of lies. (John 8:44)
So if somebody says it is of the Lord, which Lord is it? Who are they a child of? Do they obey the law of Moses to the best of their ability? Have they repented? Do they speak the Words of the biblical Jesus or this modern new-age jesus? What are the products of the fruits they produce? Is it of the Holy Spirit?
All qualifying indicators of a worker of iniquity can be resolved by answering those questions.
That said, I believe if one is truly filled with the Holy Ghost, they speak truth and it is evident! They cannot contain it! People probably despise them… But the fruits of their produce is like a beautiful aroma to the Lord, abounding in grace! These evident works are of anointing can only come from the Holy Ghost!
Peter A Vandever [10/01/2015 9:31 PM]
Prophesy is speak forth the heart of the Father.
Larry Isaacs [10/02/2015 12:15 AM]
Prophesying is of the holy ghost and cannot be contained. If the lord truly wishes something to be said,it comes with a higher undestanding than any mortal man has,or can keep it from being known. For we are all just men. While Jesus is the SON OF THE ONE LIVING GOD!
James Price [10/12/2015 10:53 AM]
Prophecy needs to be, if not redefined, at least to be thought of in the light of our present day understanding. To begin with we should realize that none of those O T prophets ever dreamed that people would be reading their words 3 to 5 thousand years later. That none of them ever foretold about trains and airplanes and automobiles, not to mention radio, T V and computers. Most prophecy is of gloom and doom and does not suggest that the human race will keep on struggling but in general make enormous progress over the centuries.