What is Prophecy?

young girl answering the question of what is prophecy

The Power of Our Words & Beliefs Can Work in Either Direction: They Can Either Be Life-Affirming or Life-Denying!

What is Modern-Day Prophecy? 

A single blog cannot thoroughly answer the question as to what prophecy is. Why? Because a blog would become a book if it were to include the entire expanse of biblical meaning and context of Scripture from the Old Testament prophets, to the first church, then to you and I as modern-day believers! However, what I would like to narrow in on is what modern-day prophecy is for New Testament believers.

The Gift of Prophecy vs. A Prophet

I am going to say right out of the gate that there is a big difference between someone who is a five-fold minister and is called to the office of a prophet versus the flow of the gift of prophecy in the life of a saint who is called to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4: 11-12, NKJV). In other words, I am referring to the likes of you and me! 😉 …More on the subject of the office of the prophet at a later stage, but for now, let’s concentrate on what prophecy is as described in the New Testament for any believer.

All prophecy is spoken from the divine inspiration of God and not by man’s own knowledge, wisdom or understanding. As it says in (2 Peter 1:20-21 NKJV), 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.”

Prophecy is also described in 1 Corinthians 2:13 (NKJV), These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

E.E.C. Words – What are They?

Did you know that modern-day prophecy primarily starts with what we call E.E.C. words? Let’s take a look at this in (1 Corinthians 14:1-5 NKJV):

“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.”

This Scripture alone has so much information in it for how the modern church should operate and it’s incredible. But, let’s just look at verse 3 in context: “But he who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation and comfort to men.” So, as you can see, prophecy for today’s believers doesn’t have to be some wacky, futuristic word that is totally out in the left-field somewhere. One that even the best of outfielders can’t catch.

Prophecy is For Building Up, Not Tearing Down

Paul describes very clearly what it is supposed to be and that prophecy is to build up like-minded people and the church. Unfortunately, too many Christians these days seem to like to beat up and tear each other down verbally—but let’s save that for the topic of another conversation! 😉

Before we leave here, let’s look quickly and break down the three areas Paul was discussing in this early part of chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians.

  • Edification – In the Greek this basically means the act of building up, or the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, and holiness.
  • Exhortation – Again the Greek definition is a calling near especially for help, consolation, refreshment, encouragement, admonition, powerful hortatory discourse or basically urging someone on in a strong way.
  • Comfort – Finally in the Greek this means, a purpose of persuading, stimulating, to calm and console someone.

God’s Voice & Words Will Always Stir Up & Raise Up

Prophecy is being able to hear God’s voice by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which builds up His people and the ones in our everyday life around us. His words will always carry a message that edifies, exhorts and comforts; it will never carry a message of judgment, anger or criticism!

Even more importantly, prophecy will always carry the message God’s heart, as demonstrated by (James 3:17 NKJV): “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” This is a great Scripture to meditate on; if our words do not line up with the criteria above, then they are not prophecy based on the truth of God’s Word!

You Are A Sheep!

And just one final note: if we are believers, then we do hear His voice. If we hear His voice, then we need to esteem the Shepherd’s voice above any other message or suggestion we may hear (John 10:27, NKJV).  As you can see, if you’ve ever encouraged, comforted, or cheered someone on, then this is probably something you have done on numerous occasions already but haven’t known how it connected to Scripture.

Start Speaking Prophetic Words Today

However, if this is something you find hard to do, then maybe today pray, “Lord, show me someone who I can bless today.” Today is a good day to start speaking prophetic words over your brothers and sisters in Christ, co-workers on your job, people in the grocery store, or even at home to your own family members.

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24, KJV)

Build someone up today!


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