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Bible Study: Is Prophesy For Today?


If we are going to find out what prophesy really is (according to the Word of God) - then we need not look any farther than the Word of God!

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Despise Not Prophesying
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Probably one of the most misunderstood subjects in the body of Christ today is prophesy. Very few Christians have any scriptural understanding of:

• What is Prophesy?
• What is the Gift of Prophesy? 
• Is Prophesy for today?  
• Are there still Prophets?
• What is a Prophet? 
• Who can Prophesy?

These are the questions that so many Christians are asking? And the answer to all of these is found in Scripture.

Scripture Study:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:.... And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy" [Acts:2:17-18]

About Prophecy
Most Christians (if asked) would describe prophesy as "the ability to foretell the future". 
They would be wrong!

If we are going to find out what prophesy really is (according to the Word of God) - then we need not look any farther than the Word of God! "....he that prophesies speaks to men for edification, exhortation, and comfort." [1Cor:14:3]

Foretelling the Future:
Notice that NO mention of "foretelling the future' is even mentioned here - and while it is true that the prophets of old did in fact (at times) foretell future events by inspiration of the Holy Spirit - the MAJORITY of their ministry consisted of preaching and teaching the Word of God.

If one takes the time to examine the Word of God - we can easily discover this to be true. MOST of the messages delivered to the people by the Old Testament Prophets were NOT 'predictions of the future" - but rather messages of:
• Edification: (building up of the people by way instruction in righteousness)
• Exhortation: (Warnings and Admonishment to Obey the Lord)
• Comfort: (Encouragement to be strong and courageous and to Trust in the Lord)

Most people however believe that the job of the prophet is to "foretell the future" - yet a simple study of the old Testament prophets will show that to be only a small portion of their ministry. Yet as we see in 1 Corinthians 14:3 - prophesy today consists primarily of "speaking to men for edification, exhortation, and comfort." (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit).

Does that Mean That Prophesy Today Does NOT Allow Us to Know the Future?
Not at all! As a matter of fact, Jesus Himself told us - that when the Holy Spirit Comes (to dwell inside of us via the new birth) - that He will "Show us things to come". [John 16:13]

If you were to study this passage in the Greek you will discover that the most accurate translation of "show you things to come" would be: "announce to you in detail the future".

One cannot discount the promise of the Lord that that the Holy Spirit will - and does - show us those things that are important for us to know: Whether it be general information regarding impending events that will affect us as a nation, city, neighborhood, etc. - or whether it relates to events that will affect only us (or out family) personally (our job, business, health matters, etc).

While we do have the supernatural ability to know those things that are coming - according to scripture, the PRIMARY function of prophesy under the NEW Testament is "speaking to men for edification, exhortation, and comfort."

New Testament Prophesy:
There are many avenues through which prophesy comes (according to the Scriptures).

However - despite the many different aspects of it - Prophesy in simplest form could be described as simply: Supernatural utterance in a known tongue. (Tongues is the supernatural utterance in an unknown tongue)

What does that mean?
It means speaking by divine inspiration a Word directly from the throne of God. (What the Holy Spirit is endeavoring to impart to the listener (s):
• A Scripture designed to Edify / Encourage / Exhort / Comfort
• A Warning 
• Direction & Guidance
• Etc.

However the Holy Spirit will NEVER speak anything that is contrary to the Word of God as already revealed in the Scriptures.

There are three ways in which prophesy can come.

1] Scripture:
First and Foremost Scripture is the Word of God. We know that this is true from several passages found in the Bible itself.

"...We thank God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which ye heard of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe." [1Thes:2:13]

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" [2Tm:3:16]

Therefore, when someone speaks the Word of God (by inspiration of the Spirit) - they are in fact: Prophesying!

And that form of prophesy will do the things it is designed to do as indicated in [1Cor:14:3]:
• Edify
• Exhort
• Comfort

So again, prophesy in its simplest form is speaking the Word of God as found in the Scriptures in a known tongue - by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

2] Inner Witness:
Secondly, any one who is a born-again child of God has the Holy Spirit inside them - and ONE of His functions is to: "Guide you into all truth.... and He will show you things to come". [John 16:13]

It doesn't take a genius to realize that not every little detail of our lives is found in scripture - and although the majority of problems most Christians encounter could be easily solved if they would simply follow the instructions given us in the Word of God - there are details that are not included.

• Should I take this job or another?
• Do I marry him/her or someone else?
• Should I buy this car/house or another?
• Etc.

This is exactly why we have the Holy Spirit. 
A study of scripture will show that with the exception of the act of making us a New Creation - this is the primary reason why he was sent.

He Lives In Us:
"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you." [Jn:14:17] 

He Will Help Us to Realize What God Has Given Us In Christ:
"Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; so that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." [1Cor:2:12]

He Will Tell Us What We Need To Know: 
"However when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" [Jn:16:13]

He Will Help Us Remember What He Tells Us:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, what I have said unto you." [Jn:14:26]

He Will Show Us Our Future: (Generally & Personally)
"....and he will show you things to come." [Jn:16:13]

When one receives a "Word" from God - by the Holy Spirit - through the 'inner witness' of our spirit - that word - is a prophetic word of God. It doesn't have to come through someone else to be prophesy. It is in fact God speaking by His Spirit - to us directly - and that is another form of prophesy.

3] Through Others as They Are Moved By the Holy Spirit:
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." [2Pt:1:21]

These things are included in the Scriptures for an example to us of how God Does things. "Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." [1Cor:10:11]

Notice that when someone prophesied - it was not by 'will of men' - but rather by inspiration of the Holy Ghost (as they were moved by the Holy Ghost) - And although there are those who believe (incorrectly) that prophesy is 'not for today' - Prophesy is in fact an essential part of the church (or should be anyway).

We Know (or should anyway) the When the Holy Spirit speaks, He is actually speaking the Word of God (is He not?). Therefore when one speaks by inspiration of the Holy Spirit regarding a situation - that person in in fact: prophesying.

Error Versus Truth:
The truth is that EVERY Christian can - and should - prophesy: But only as they are moved by the Holy Spirit. "For you may ALL prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." [1Cor:14:31]

Notice that the Word of God states very clearly that ALL may prophesy. Notice also the REASON for prophesying: "that all may learn, and all may be comforted."

The reason why there is so much confusion and error about this is because too many have run off spouting nonsense out of their heads - instead of by inspiration of the Holy Ghost!

This has led to false doctrines, divisions in the church, arguments, and strife - not to mention false 'predictions' of Christ's return, erroneous 'words from God' as to what the 'so-called' prophet tells a person to do - etc! All because instead of being moved by the Holy Ghost - they blabber out of their heads!

Prophesy Today?
If the Epistles are written "To the Church" - and 1 Corinthians is an 'Epistle' - then when we are told that ALL can prophesy: Then prophesy MUST be for the Church (us) today - as well as the "Early Church". Remember also that prophesy is not just 'foretelling the future' - but rather is primarily: "speaking to men for edification, exhortation and comfort".

Notice also that the Word of God tells us clearly and plainly that in the last days (NOW) God will be pouring out His Spirit and that men, women, and children WILL prophesy!

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:.... And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy" [Acts:2:17-18]

Again: Don't let anyone deceive you into believing that prophesy has "vanished'. The Word of God states clearly that it hasn't - and it is for OUR time!

Despise Not Prophesying
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   Despise Not Prophesying
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Do you Mean Everyone Is A Prophet:
No! First of all - it is vital that everyone realize that just because someone prophesies - that does NOT make them a prophet! 

1 Corinthians 14:31 says:
"For you may all prophesy one by one..."

Yet 1 Corinthians 12:29 asks the question: 
"Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?"

We know (or should anyway that the answer to that question is: No!
All are NOT Apostles - All are NOT Prophets, etc.

Therefore just because someone (or even everyone) prophesies - that does not make them a prophet. Unfortunately space does not permit me to go into Who or What is a prophet - but we should be able to understand from the Word of God that:
• Everyone CAN prophesy (According to 1 Corinthians 14:31)
• But Not Everyone is a Prophet. (According to 1 Corinthians 12:29)

I Can Prophesy Too?
Yes! According to the Word of God - you can. [1 Corinthians 14:31]

Yet it should also be noted that although the Word of God tells us that everyone CAN prophesy - not everyone does

Why is that?
"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;... Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching;... Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness." [Romans 12: 6-8]

This Scripture tells us that we ALL have gifts that have been placed in us by the Holy Spirit including:
• Prophesy
• Ministry
• Teaching
• Exhortation
• Giving
• Governing
• Mercy

- Yet we all know some teachers that are much better teachers than others.
- We all know some ministers that are better at ministry than others.
- We all know some who are better managers (governing - leaders) than others.
- We all know some people who are much more generous in their giving than others.
- We all know some people who are much more merciful and quicker to forgive than others.

Unfortunately, we also know that there are some who are not any of these.
• They don't teach
• They don't minister
• They don't Give
• They don't forgive
• The can't manage or lead others worth a dime

Why Not?
The answer is found in that same scripture: All things are done "according to the proportion of faith"

Some people 'exercise' their faith in certain areas more than others - while others don't exercise it at all. This is why some are better at some things than others - and some don't do anything!

Everything is done "according to the proportion of faith" that the individual is willing to exercise - and the MORE one exercises their faith in any area - the better they will become at it - and those who do NOT exercise their faith will not see any of these gifts manifested.

"... for whosoever has, to him MORE shall be given; and whosoever has not, from him shall be taken even that which he seems to have." [Lk:8:18]

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." [Mt:13:12]

If I Prophesy Does that Mean Have The "Gift Of Prophesy"
Just because one prophesies - it does not mean that he has the "spiritual Gift" of prophesy - and too often a person who has not been taught the truth about this subject will come to the wrong conclusion that because they experienced a manifestation of the Spirit as described in First Corinthians 12-14 that they must have a "gift" - (gift of healing, gift of prophesy, gift of discernment (there is no gift of discernment by the way - it's discerning of spirits).

Therefore the answer is No! Again, we must go to the Scriptures to find the truth because this is where so many people get off into error - and why there is so much confusion about the subject of "Spiritual Gifts".

The Word tells us that we can ALL prophesy! [1Cor. 14:31]
The Word also tell us that we can ALL lay hands on the sick - and that they will recover! [Mark 16:17-18] - yet that does not mean that just because we lay hands on someone and they recover that we have the 'gift of healing" - (the correct term by the way is 'gifts of healing - notice that 'gifts' is plural).

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit distributes ALL of the 'spiritual gifts' as HE wills - and furthermore - He distributes it to EVERY man. "But all these (manifestations or gifts) are worked by the same Spirit, dividing to EVERY man severally as he wills." [1 Cor. 12:11]

What does that Mean?
It means that because every one of us has the Holy Spirit - and HE is the one who manifests these things as HE wills - every one us can experience the manifestation of these gifts as the Holy Spirit deems it appropriate - but that does not mean that we have a "gift". It simply means that we were used!

Too Many Lack Knowledge:
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant." [1 Cor. 12:1]

In 1 Corinthians 12 we see what are most often described by Christians today as 'Spiritual Gifts" - and we are told specifically that we are NOT to ignorant regarding this subject (lacking understanding).

Unfortunately, like most everything else that has any 'supernatural' aspect to it - most Christians today are ignorant - and have either no idea whatsoever as to what these are and how they work - or the information they do have is completely wrong (which is why there is so much confusion about this subject - and why there is little to NO actual manifestation of it in the body of Christ).

Vague Translation Bring Confusion:
First of all, as much as I love the King James Translation - in this passage the words "Spiritual Gifts" has been rendered in an extremely vague manner - causing confusion and misunderstanding. 

A more accurate rendering would be: 
"Spirituals" - meaning: 'things pertaining to and of the Spirit".

Therefore - if one reads this passage as it is rendered in the original Greek we see this:
"Now concerning spirituals, brethren, (things pertaining to and of the Spirit) - I do not want you to be ignorant."

When we read the passage as it was originally rendered we can immediately see that the subject matter is much different than what most Christians today believe.

Unfortunately space doesn't permit me to go into a complete description of all the 9 manifestations of the 'things of and pertaining to the Spirit" as listed in 1 Corinthians 12 - (gifts if you insist!) - but I want to touch on the "Word of Wisdom" - because it is this manifestation of the Spirit that deals with "Things to Come" or more specifically: The Future.

The Word of Wisdom and the Word of Knowledge:
"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;..." [1Cor:12:8]

Notice that there are TWO Different things described in this verse:
• Word of Wisdom
• Word of Knowledge

Word of Knowledge:
Note first of all that this is NOT the "gift" of knowledge: There is no such thing as far as "Spiritual Gifts" are concerned - (not in the Bible anyway!) - It is referred to in the Scripture as a "Word" of knowledge. One of the best way to avoid confusion and error is to make sure that when dealing with anything found in scriptures that we deal with it scripturally!

Neither does the Word of Knowledge apply to "Natural knowledge". This entire chapter (and the next two as well) deal specifically with things 'pertaining to and of the Spirit" - not natural knowledge or abilities.

Supernatural Revelation:
The Word of Knowledge is best described in this way: It is the supernatural WORD of revelation by the Holy Ghost of certain facts known by God pertaining to people, places, or things, circumstances and events PAST or PRESENT.

God knows everything - yet He does not reveal 'everything' to us: but rather only what we need to know: A Word - a fragmentary part of the whole - yet enough information for us to be able to act accordingly and successfully.

The Word of Knowledge may come in the form of a dream - a vision - through a prophetic word - by a supernatural revelation in the inner man - even by tongues and interpretation (just to mention a few).

However, it is given by the Spirit supernaturally primarily to enable the individual or minister to deal with an ongoing situation supernaturally (in a way that they would not be able to under 'natural circumstances').

Word of Wisdom:
Like the Word of Knowledge: It is NOT the 'gift' of wisdom - but rather the WORD of Wisdom - and whereas the Word of knowledge deals with the past or present - the Word of Wisdom ALWAYS deals with the future!

It is the supernatural revelation of the divine plans, purpose and will of Almighty God. It is this manifestation of the Spirit that is in operation when one prophesies of coming events (foretells the future).

Again: Be sure to understand that EVERY Christian has the ability to hear from the Holy Spirit regarding things to come (John 16:13) - but that does NOT make one a Prophet!

A Scriptural Warning: 
"Do Not Treat Prophesies With Contempt!" [1 Thessalonians 5:20]

The King James Version says it this way: "Despise NOT Prophesying" 

Yet despite the warning given us in the Word of God - so many Christians today not only refuse to accept the fact that Prophesy is for today - but they ignore the warning and actually scoff and sneer when prophetic Words are given by individuals as they are inspired by the Holy Ghost.

This is foretold in the Word of God: "Behold, ye scoffers, be amazed, and perish: for I will work a work in YOUR days, a work which you shall not believe, even though a man declare it unto you." [Acts 13:41]

The Word of God tells us that in these last days there will be those (Christians included) who will scoff at prophesy - NOT believing what is being prophesied - and because they won't believe it - they will perish (be destroyed) when disaster strikes. (Tidal Waves • Terrorist Attacks • Floods • Etc.) 

Everyone has heard by now of how so many people escaped the World Trade Center bombing, the 2002 Christmas Tidal Wave in Asia, Hurricane Katrina, etc.

Many people (Christians and non-Christian) have testified of how the had a 'supernatural' sense of danger and were urged by 'something inside' to evacuate. This was a manifestation of the "Word of Wisdom' in operation (supernatural revelation of the future) - though many didn't even understand this.

However, What many don't think about is all the people who died (Christians included). 

Did God Play Favorites?
No! He is not a respecter of persons. I believe that God tried to warn everyone - yet there are many who 'scoffed' (ignored) the warning by 'something inside' to flee - and as the Word states: they 'perished'.

It is important that we make sure that regardless of how ignorant we may be about this subject that we do not find ourselves in violation of the Word of God by 'despising prophesies' or 'treating them with contempt'.

Prophesy Is Alive And Well Today:
Brothers and Sisters, prophesy is alive and well today. God is pouring out His Spirit like never before - and those who will yield to Him and receive what the Spirit is saying through prophesy will find themselves in a place of supernatural victory and prosperity like never before.

I encourage each of you to seek out God on this subject:
• Study the Word of God
• Ask for Wisdom and Understanding about this subject
• Spend time in prayer
• And ask the Lord to Show you those things you need to know [John 16:13]

" have not, because you ask not." [Jms:4:2]

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In addition to his contributions to this website Reverend W. C. Slyde Moran also has a weekly television show • Online Audio Studies • and an ever-increasing outreach ministry providing free Audio teachings on CD to enable the growth and maturing of the body of Christ.








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