In our last post, I listed steps I use in meditating on Scripture. Today, I’m sharing something the Lord showed me as I meditated on a particular verse. Let’s start with the verse, John 16:13:
… When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”
The NIV renders “He shall not speak of Himself, as, “He will not speak on His own.” The NASB puts it, “He will not speak on His own initiative.”
In this verse, God has given us the Holy Spirit as our role model for how prophecy is supposed to be carried out. And should it not be that way? The Spirit is our teacher (John 14:26).
Furthermore, Jesus followed this same model while on earth. He said, “He Who sent Me is true, and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him” and, “I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught me, I speak these things” (John 8: 26, 28).
A true prophet parallels the Holy Spirit (and Jesus) by not speaking on his own initiative. He speaks only what he hears from the Lord. This is what is meant by “speaking as the oracles of God“ (1 Peter 4:11). The prophet does not get ahead of God or speak presumptuously. He does not speak what he thinks is right, and then expect God to back him up. He waits to hear God first, and then he speaks.
Unfortunately, some modern-day prophets are not following the model given to us in John 16:13. A popular teaching in prophetic circles says we can “step into” prophecy at will: merely decide to prophesy and just start speaking in faith. God then supposedly backs up the prophet by filling his mouth with the word of the Lord. As a result, we are seeing far too much presumptuous prophecy coming from natural understanding or wishful thinking. Inner anxieties, faulty theological mindsets, and a desire for personal recognition can also contribute to inaccurate prophecy.
In addition, some prophets start out with a genuine, kernel word from the Lord, but then add in their own interpretations as part of their “word” without clearly explaining to their listeners, “This part is what I heard God say, and this part is what I think He might mean by that.”
In the next verse, John 16:14, Jesus adds this about the Holy Spirit: “He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive what is Mine, and shall show it to you.” Continuing with the Spirit as our model, any true prophetic revelation must in some way glorify Jesus. If a word or vision is genuine, it will always point back to Jesus, for He is the absolute Center of all. He never gives His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8). The word might not speak of Jesus directly, but it will ultimately cause us to turn our hearts to Him in greater reverence.
I have majored on just part of what John 16:13 has for us. It also promises that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will guide us into all truth. I had been pondering this verse in response to a prophetic word I had come across. Some of the things said by the prophet troubled me, and I used this verse as my prayer to know the truth: Spirit of truth, please guide me into all truth. Is this prophet speaking rightly or not? I want to align myself with You. By the end of the day, I had my answer. The Holy Spirit enlightened me with His perspective by recalling to mind some Scriptures which refuted what was being claimed by the prophet.
John 16:13 also promises, “He will show you things to come.” The Lord is eager to share with His people what is yet ahead, so that we are not blindsided. He doesn’t tell us everything, but a good many times He desires to give us glimpses into the future, if we are willing to listen.
Such a rich verse! The Word of God brings life and strength to us. I will not be the same, since seeing these things. I hope sharing what I have learned will be a blessing to you, too.