Dear People Who Keep Company With God, 

The Bible tells us to not put out the Spirit’s fire and then it tells us how to not do that; do not despise prophetic utterances (1 Thess. 5:18-19). There is good reason this is in the Bible. If you are involved in a church or ministry that believes and practices the New Testament gift of prophecy there is a chance you will be disappointed, or even worse, hurt by the use or misuse of this gift.  Nevertheless, if we withdraw or hold this gift in contempt we are quenching the flow of the Holy Spirit to our own detriment.

spirit of prophesy photoThe prophetic is “a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19) and without this light burning in the church we are in danger of sinking into darkness. The gift of prophecy is the primary gift by which the Holy Spirit builds up the church (1 Cor. 14:4). One reason some churches or ministries start out well but seem to lose momentum over time is because the gift of prophecy is neglected or held at arms distance.

We see this illustrated in the Old Testament. Whenever the presence of the Lord departed from Israel, one of the tell tale signs was “there was no longer any prophet” among them (Psa.74:1&9). Israel always went downhill whenever they did not have a prophet influencing the nation, such as in the days of Eli (1 Sam. 3:1). Yet they flourished when they had a prophet, such as in the days of Samuel (1 Sam. 3:20-4:1).

It is important to understand the difference between Old Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy. Under the old covenant, prophecy was primarily meant for foretelling the future and for guiding people as to what they should do. Prophets, and occasionally a king or priest, were primarily the people who could prophesy.

In the New Covenant, prophecy is for exhortation (challenging and admonishing people), consolation (comforting and encouraging people) and edification (building up the people) (1 Cor. 14:3). There is also a foretelling dimension to New Testament prophecy (John 14:29 & 16:13). One of the greatest attributes of New Testament is that we all may prophesy (1 Cor. 14:31). That does not mean we all are Prophets (Eph. 4:11-12), but we all may prophesy in accordance with 1 Cor. 14:3.

Paul exhorted Timothy to fight the good fight by paying attention to the prophecies made concerning him (1 Tim. 1:18). Paul did not tell him this just from a theological perspective, but from life experience perspective.

In Acts 16:9-10, Paul had a prophetic dream as to what steps and direction he should take with his ministry.  He knew what doors to walk through and what doors not to walk through. He did not make decisions only because the opportunity presented itself or circumstances allowed it, but because he received prophetic revelation from the Lord as to what he should be doing. Just because we can do something does not mean we should. 

I believe we are in a time when the foretelling dimension of New Testament prophecy will become more and more vital for the church. In Acts 11:28, the Prophet Agabus prophesied a worldwide famine. Knowing this, the church was able to make strategic economic decisions that were in alignment with God’s dealing with the world systems and thus, the people were cared for during a trying time.

I believe we must “earnestly seek to prophesy” (1 Cor. 14: 1 & 5). We will never come into our full inheritance in Christ nor will we be successful in our callings and life responsibilities apart from the gift of prophecy. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).

Many Blessings, BW


Pin It on Pinterest