Gift of Prophecy
By: Donna J. Kazenske

1 Cor. 12:8-10 - ...for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues.

The gift of prophecy is one of the three utterance gifts that we have studied in previous teachings. Of these three gifts, prophecy is the most important. It takes both tongues and interpretation of tongues to equal prophecy. The gift of tongues is dependent upon the gift of interpretation of tongues in order for it to be effective.

1 Cor. 14:5 - Greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues except he interpret.

The gift of prophecy is a supernatural utterance in a known tongue. It is the God-given ability to give forth, in your own language, a message direct from the heart of God.

The Hebrew word for "to prophecy" means: to flow forth. It also implies "to bubble forth like a fountain, or to spring forth".

The Greek word that is translated prophecy means: to speak for another. It means to speak for God or be His spokesman.

When someone prophesies to us, it is God speaking to us. When someone prophesies in the church on Sunday morning, it's God speaking to the church to bring edification, exhortion, and comfort.

We could say that prophecy is the merging of the divine and the human. Prophecy is God speaking through us to us.

The Holy Spirit is perfect. He never makes mistakes. However, we are human and consistantly make mistakes.

When the word of the Lord begins to flow through us, we must not allow that word to become tainted by our soulish nature or tendencies. We must stay tuned in to the Lord and not add anything to or take anything away from the word that He is bringing forth through us.

I've heard many stories and testimonies of how prophecy was used to manipulate and control those in the body of Christ. This is a misuse and abuse of this gift from the Lord. They may get by with this for a season, but judgment day is coming. The gifts of the Spirit are NOT to be used to control people. They are not to be used to manipulate people into doing what you want them to do.

1 Cor. 14:5 - I would that ye all spoke with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

The church is edified or lifted up when the prophetic word comes forth. The Lord loves to encourage His people and minister to them words of faith, hope, and love. The prophetic words given in the midst of the congregation will edify the whole body. I don't know about you, but I need a little bit of edification once in a while.

When we pray in the Spirit, we edify ourselves. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift from the Lord. I pray in tongues most of the time. It builds my faith and stirs my heart to good works. It causes me to walk in holy boldness, and it gives me power to witness. Every believer should ask the Lord to baptize them in the Holy Spirit.

Prophecy edifies the whole church body.

1 Cor. 14:31 - For ye all may prophesy, one by one, that all may learn and all may be comforted.

Those unfamiliar with the prophetic word of the Lord will find themselves paying close attention to those who prophesy in their midst. They know that it is God speaking to the body through the individual doing the speaking, and it causes a desire within them to want to prophesy too.

We must be careful not to confuse the simple gift of prophecy with the ministry office of a prophet. The fact that someone prophesies does not make him or her a prophet. Anyone can prophesy. Let me give you a good example of what I am trying to say. A rich man has money. We all have money, but that doesn't make us all rich.

A prophet will prophesy. No doubt about that. When a prophet prophesies, he will also have at least two, if not all three of the revelation gifts in operation in his life as well. The three revelation gifts are: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits. The simple gift of prophecy has no revelation involved in it. It speaks to men to edification, exhortation, and comfort.

1 Cor. 14:3 - He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, exhortation, and comfort.

We speak to men, not God, when we prophesy. God speaks through us to men.

Edify means to charge up; to build up; to strenthen.

Exhort means to encourage someone to "come up" higher.

Comfort means to console.

If prophecy doesn't lift up, build up or cheer up, it's not prophecy.

Timing is very important when bringing forth a prophecy. We must be obedient to give forth the prophecy at the proper time. This comes with much practice and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

1 Thess. 5:19-21 - Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophecies. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

If we hold back the prophetic word of the Lord and we are not obedient to bring it forth to the body, we are quenching the Spirit of God. We must not hold back the word of the Lord. We must allow Him to flow through us as He wills and whenever He wills.

Do not despise prophecies. Have you ever been in a church or ministry that does not allow people to prophesy? They are quenching the Holy Ghost! They are not allowing the people of God to obey the Holy Spirit.

The Bible tells us to covet to prophesy. That means earnestly desire it.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not necessarily a sign of character. God is still working on most of us, as far as our character is concerned. The Lord is interested in integrity and holiness. He is very much interested in how we live our lives when we are not prophesying.

I've seen people who are living in sin prophesying in church services. How can this be? The Bible says that the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. He will not take them back once He has given them. He is a merciful God.

Sometimes, prophecy is conditional. If we don't do our part, it will void the prophetic word that was spoken to us. The Lord might say to you, "John, I have called you even from your mother's womb. If you will serve Me with all of your heart and all of your soul, I will truly pour out My Spirit upon you, and you shall see My glory." This prophecy is conditional. The Lord told John "IF" you will serve Me with ALL of your heart and ALL of your soul, I will do thus and so. If John does not serve the Lord with all of his heart and soul, this prophecy will not come to pass.