Always receive confirmation and/or counsel before acting on any word of prophecy. There is safety in a multitude of counselors. (Proverbs 11:4, 15:22, 24:6) Prophecy is just one of the avenues that God uses to give us guidance. Other ways God speaks to us is through Bible reading, preaching, teaching, the fivefold ministry, spiritual leaders, dreams, and visions just to name a few. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” (Deuteronomy 19:15) Do not make any decisions or take any action based on any prophetic words that you receive without confirmation and/or counsel (Proverbs 11:14).
The Bible says “we know in part and we prophesy part” (1 Corinthians 13:9). A person may make an error in prophecy. An error in understanding and/or delivery does not make a person a false prophet. Please read Jeremiah 23 and Deuteronomy 23 to see that the false prophet has a deliberate agenda of turning people away from following the one true God to lead them into following false gods. Jeremiah 23:26-27: “How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart who try to make My people forget My name…” Deuteronomy 13:2-3: “…and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you saying, Let us go after other gods which you have not known and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet.”
A person who has the gift of prophecy by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10) is not the same as a prophet who is an actual gift given by the Lord Jesus Christ to the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).One is given a gift; the other is the gift that is given. One who has the gift of prophecy and one who is a prophet are both subject to the Scriptures and the leaders in the local assembly. A prophet within an assembly, will equip others to enter in and to do the work of the ministry and will also prophesy and be receiving the mind of the Lord. Prophets will be looking for the opportunity and have the authority to bring forth God’s gifting in the saints. Prophets are able to see existing gifts in a person, as well as impart gifts. (1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6) A person may be called as a prophet, but not be recognized as such because they are still in the process of maturing and/or because the assembly of which they belong to does not understand these teachings in the Scriptures. A true prophet may recognize the calling, but will wait and allow others to confirm and establish that calling. The calling will manifest itself, and others will eventually recognize it.
PRINCIPLES Of PROPHECY
- Prophecy is always subject to the written Word of God, which is contained in the Bible. The Bible is the final authority on every subject and is what should be used to test prophecies.
- Prophecy is not adding to the Bible; it is judged by the Bible. If it does not stand the test, then it is to be discarded. 1 Corinthians 14:29: “Let the prophets speak and let the others judge.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21: “Test all things; hold fast to what is good.”
- Prophecy is not to be despised. 1 Thessalonians 5:20
- Prophecy is only partial. 1 Corinthians 13:9
- Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the Body of Christ. Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
- Prophecy is to be tested and decided on. 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:21
- Prophecy is redemptive and restorative in nature. It is not negative nor critical. It brings hope, encouragement, comfort, and exhortation. 1 Corinthians 14:3
- Prophecy may be declared by both men and women. 1 Corinthians 11:5; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 21:9
- Prophecy is a New Testament fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29.
- Prophecy is for the benefit of the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 14:31, 14:5
- True prophecy will lead us closer to Jesus, not away from Him. Revelation 19:10; Jeremiah 23; Deuteronomy 13
- Prophecy within the congregation is to be given in an orderly manner. 1 Corinthians 14:29-32,14:40
- Gifts may be given to you through the laying on of hands and the word of prophecy. 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6-7
- Prophecy requires our participation and cooperation along with God in order to see its fulfillment. 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6-7
- We prophesy according to our faith. Romans 12:6