Question: I have also had problems with another spiritual gift. The gift of prophecy. I have heard that since Christ’s prophecy is further revealing of the current Word of God as in preaching. That there is no new future prophecy. It has all been revealed. Study reveals the Greek meaning to indicate the utterance of the Word of God with context to the future. Could you clarify this please?
Answer: Thanks for this question, and to answer it I will take you to our Romans commentary first. Let’s start in Chapter 12 and with verse 6.
There are different gifts God has given to each one of us. “Grace,” as used here as in other places, is something we didn’t deserve or merit. In the Greek it is “charis,” and it is the same root as “chara,” “joy,’ and “chairo,” “to rejoice,” unmerited favor, undeserved blessing, or a gift. God has given each and every one of us, as believers, special abilities that are above and beyond our normal abilities.
In Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4, the gifts are taught. We are given these gifts when we are saved, but these gifts may not become evident in our lives right away. At first, as so often is the case, we have to be taught about gifts, and find out what our gifts are. This is the case for children and other new converts.
Sometimes Christians that are not taught about the gifts, fail to use what has been given to them. Other times, Christians are taught against the gifts and their use. My mother-in-law was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, I’m told, but she gave up speaking in tongues because she was told that it was wrong.
Never-the-less, every Christian has a gift or gifts to be used in the body of Christ. Paul says put these into use! If your gift is “prophecy,” which mainly means preaching and teaching the Word of God, but it can also mean, “Speaking something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.”
The prophecy of Scripture is finished, but sometimes like in the case of John Huss or the two prophets of the book of Revelation, God does say something to the church or the world that is not meant to be part of Scripture.
For example, John Huss lived in a time when people were not allowed to teach and preach the truth. “Born again” Christians were often persecuted, or even worse put to death by burning.
This happened to John Huss, but before he was put to death at the stake he prophesied: “You are now going to burn a goose, (Huss signifying goose in the Bohemian language), but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.”
This quote is taken from the Fox’s Book of Martyrs, and it also has this comment about John Huss, “If he were prophetic, he must have meant Martin Luther, who shone about a hundred years after, and who had a swan for his arms.” The Roman Catholic Church tried to kill him but couldn’t.
Some teachers teach that these verses (1 Corinthians 13:8-10) are saying that the gift of prophecy is done away with. The only problem with this theory is that, “that which is perfect has come,” is not talking about when the Word of God was complete, or when Revelation, the last book was written. The context is very clearly speaking of when we are in heaven with the Lord.
If this theory is correct, how is it then that the gift is done away with, and then there are two prophets in Revelation 11 prophesying? No, all the gifts that were given to the church are still needed!
WARNING: Prophecy that is used in the church today, or in the future, is not to be added to “Scripture!” There is no more Scripture being written today, nor will there be!
We know the Bible is complete in the 66 books of the Bible because of these verses and the ones in Revelation 22:18,19. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18, 19).
Some people say, “Oh that is just talking about the book of Revelation.” And my response to that would be, “Do you want to take the chance that you will not be in heaven?!” (For more on this subject look at our article Is There Even One Mistake in the Bible?
That being said there is also seen in Scripture a gift of revelation that is not part of Scripture, but has a temporary use for people in different situations. Take for example Revelation 11 and the prophecy of the two witnesses. Also look at the example of Agabus in Acts 21:10-14, etc. Another question comes up here: “Can women be prophets?” Yes. Look at Acts 21:8-9, as well as Deborah in the Old Testament.
Let’s get back to this gift of prophecy, and how it is used in the church.
“In proportion to our faith,” or in accordance with the biblical maturity God has granted the speaker, humbly realizing God is the One who gave us the gift. Do your preaching to the best of your ability as God helps you! (The next section is taken from our Ephesians Chapter 4 study.)
So prophecy can be used by preachers preaching the Word of God under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Prophets are those who forth tell Scripture, or speak out against sin as prophets of old did. Prophecy is for edification, exhortation, and comfort. “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (1 Corinthians 14:3). (see also 1 Timothy 2:7; 4:13-14)
“PROPHET” means in the Greek: “PROPHETEUO, one who speaks forth or openly (see Prophecy, A), a proclaimer of a divine message, denoted among the Greeks an interpreter of the oracles of the gods.
In the Sept. it is the translation of the word roeh, a seer; 1 Samuel 9:9, indicating that the prophet was one who had immediate intercourse with God. It also translates the word nabhi, meaning either one in whom the message from God springs forth or one to whom anything is secretly communicated.
Therefore, in general, the prophet was one upon whom the Spirit of God rested, Numbers 11:17-20, one, to whom and through whom their messages were very largely the proclamation of the Divine purposes of salvation and glory to be accomplished in the future; the prophesying of the N.T. prophets was both a preaching of the Divine counsels of grace already accomplished and the fore-telling of the purposes of God in the future.
“2. PSEUDOPROPHETES, a false prophet, is used of such (a) in O.T. times, Luke 6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; (b) in the present period since Pentecost, Matthew 7:15; 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Acts 13:6; 1 John 4:1; (c) with reference to a false prophet destined to arise as the supporter of the “beast” at the close of this age, Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10 (himself described as ‘another beast,” 13:11).
“Prophetess” in Greek: PROPHETIS, the feminine of prophetes (see above), is used of Anna, Luke 2:36; of the self-assumed title of “the woman Jezebel” in Revelation 2:20.” (VINE’S)
Even though the gift of prophecy can be faked, as in the case of Jezebel in Revelation. There is also the real gift that is used by true believers. Today, we usually call these people ‘preachers,’ and they are very needed in the Church. Usually they are found preaching the Word of God. If they are filled with the Holy Spirit and prayed up in the Spirit, they will be preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit as Peter did on the day of Pentecost.
They will at times, if filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesy things that will happen, but this will always be in agreement with the Word of God, if it is truly from God. Caution : What they say is not to be added to Scripture as equal to Scripture. There are many prophets that will be coming in the Tribulation time as well, and these are spoken of in Revelation chapter 7 and chapter 11.
Do we need true prophets today? You better believe that we do need them. They are mentioned in the book of Joel and Acts as well. Let us look at the Acts passage: “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those day; and they shall prophesy.And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of LORD shall be saved.” (Acts 2:16-21)
It is obvious from what Peter says that this passage is being specifically fulfilled now in the Church Age, but will also have a further fulfillment in the Tribulation time as well. So both men and women can be prophets, just as it was in the Old Testament, but even more so in the Age of Grace.
Women are welcome to “preach” (which is mainly what this is, preaching the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit) as long as they are under the authority of the men of the church. (For more on this look at our commentary on I Corinthians 14, Part 4 and our Acts Study at the end of Part 10 starting at Chapter 21 verse 9 and following)
“KEITH GREEN was a struggling Hollywood nightclub singer, but at the same time he was fascinated with Jesus. A Christian friend invited Keith and his wife, Melody, to a Bible study of his Vineyard Christian Fellowship at a home in Beverly Hills. The leader spoke about how God sent his Son to earth to show the way to the Father. He explained, ‘You need to open your heart to Jesus and let him come into your life.’
“As he ended his talk, he asked those wanting to receive Jesus to raise their hands. Keith raised his hand, but Melody couldn’t get her hand to move. The leader had those who raised their hands repeat a prayer, and then they were dismissed.
“Keith had a gig that night at a bar, but during one of his breaks, he told Melody, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’ The next week seemed to go on forever for Melody. She kept thinking, I want to go back to the Vineyard. I hope he asks us to raise our hands again.
“They returned to the Bible study the next Friday night. At last the leader got to the hand-raising part. Melody raised her hand and a rush of peace greater than anything she had ever experienced filled her heart.
“Keith Green quickly became one of the most popular Christian singer-songwriters. His debut album set a record for sales in the Christian recording industry. As a result, requests for concert bookings came flooding in. Not only did God give Keith success in his music and speaking ministry, but in the next years he blessed them with three children: Josiah, Bethany, and Rebekah.
“On July 28, 1981, the Greens and their children were at the Youth With A Mission base in Cimmaron, Colorado. Melody was rejoicing because she had just learned she was pregnant again. While leading a worship time for the staff, Keith surprised Melody by announcing to the group, ‘God is going to raise my wife up! She is going to speak against abortion-but that is not all. The Lord is going to use Melody in a mighty way, and she’s going to speak about many different things in many different places.’
“After dinner the pilot who had flown their family to Colorado offered to take Keith, his children, and another family on a plane ride to see the area from the air. Keith took their two oldest children, Josiah and Bethany, with him for the plane ride. As he was leaving he called to Melody in an offhand way, ‘If I don’t come back, raise Rebekah to be a woman of God.’ Keith jumped in the car and drove to the airstrip.
“In a short while Melody received a phone call that the plane had crashed. Rushing to the crash site, she learned that there were no survivors. Keith Green was just twenty-eight.
“That night a close friend called Melody with a word she had received from the Lord for her. Melody quickly got a pencil and wrote as her friend spoke: ‘They are with me. My glory is revealed to them. They are in my arms.’
“The following winter Melody gave birth to Rachel. In the next two years Melody traveled to 110 cities and spoke to three hundred thousand people at Keith Green Memorial Concerts. She served as president of Last Days Ministries and its sister organization, Americans against Abortion.” (The One Year Book of Christian History, A daily Glimpse into God’s powerful work by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten)
I pray that this answer on ‘prophecy’ will be a blessing to you and all those who read it,
Gary T. Panell
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