Tag Archives: gift of prophecy

Guidelines for Good Prophecy (Part 2)

Scale -- Pixabay Public DomainIn our last post, we began talking about the practical advice for prophesying and discerning of prophecy which God has provided for us in Jeremiah 23:9-36. Let’s continue on from where we left off:

Verse 22: But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.

Prophecy sometimes is given by the Lord to turn people back into the way of life and godliness. Prophecy will never condone, minimize, or ignore  sin. It will never tell people they are all right when they aren’t.

Verse 25: I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed.”

Again, don’t say you heard from God if you didn’t, or if you aren’t sure. Inwardly, if you give it a little time, you will know whether you have a true word from the Lord. Deep down inside, your spirit knows the truth — because the Holy Spirit is there to guide it. The problem is, our mind and emotions sometimes initially get in the way. Pay attention to that sense deep within.

Also keep in mind that our dreams need to be discerned just as much as any other type of revelation. Some of them are from God, and some aren’t.

Verses 26, 27: How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who think to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams, which they tell every man to his neighbor ….

Yes, there are false prophets who do these things, usually for fame and gain. Just be sure you don’t go that route yourself.

Verse 28: The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream. And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff, [compared] to the wheat?

“What is the chaff, compared to the wheat?” There is a lot of chaff blowing around from so-called prophets these days. And when what they said would happen doesn’t, they just keep cranking out more of the same.

Chaff is of no value. It ends up being a mess in people’s mouths that they just want to spit out with disgust. Don’t do that to people! It cheapens prophecy to the point of causing people to turn away from all prophetic revelation, because they’ve been burned too many times by the fake stuff.

If you are sure you’ve got a true word, give it. That is being faithful to the Lord. But if you don’t have a sure word, don’t try to come up with something.

The quantity of your prophetic words doesn’t cut it in the long run. Quality does.

Verse 29: Is My word not like a fire? says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rocks in pieces?

A genuine word from the Lord carries impact — conviction, breakthrough, cleansing, a re-firing of someone’s spirit for the Lord.

Verse 30: Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who steal My words every one from his neighbor.

There are a lot of people out there prophesying who haven’t gotten what they are speaking from the throne room. They are only regurgitating what they heard some other prophet speaking. Some don’t even realize that they are doing this, because they have been filling themselves up constantly with reading and listening to prophetic blogs, e-mails, and videos.

If you want to really hear from God, go listen to Him directly. First-hand revelation beats repackaging someone else’s revelation every time. (Besides, claiming you have a word from the Lord which actually originated with another prophetic person is spiritual plagiarism. Ewww!)

Verses 31, 32: … I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who use their tongues, and say, “He says.” … I am against those who prophesy false dreams, … and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies, and by their lightness: yet I did not send them, nor did I command them. Therefore, they shall not profit this people at all, says the LORD.

Verse 36: … For you have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.

Tell what God said, the way He said it. Don’t embellish it, and don’t modify it to make it more palatable to your listeners. Exaggerating or adding to what God said is actually lying. So is withholding part of what He said. It is perverting His words. This is very serious in God’s eyes. Four times in Scripture, He warns not to add to or take away from His Word (Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18, 19). While we are not prophesying on the same level of infallibility that the Bible carries, we can learn from the principle.

Next time, we’ll talk about how discerning of prophecy is supposed to work among New Testament believers.

Previous — Part 1
Next — Part 3

Personal Prophecy

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy

 

 

Guidelines for Good Prophecy

In Old Testament times, the word of the Lord was heard by only a few, who then duly proclaimed it to the general congregation. But since the setting in place of the New Covenant through the shedding of Jesus’ blood on our behalf, and since the sending of the Holy Spirit to the Church, we can all hear Him speak to us. You don’t have to be a prophet to prophesy. In 1 Corinthians 14, the apostle Paul tells us,

  • Follow after charitable love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (v. 1).
  • “For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted” (v. 31).
  • “Wherefore, brethren, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues” (v. 39).

Furthermore, Jesus commented, “He who is of God hears God’s words” (John 8:47). You can hear God, and you can prophesy.

The prophet Joel said, “It shall come to pass afterward, [Peter quotes ‘afterward’ as ‘in the last days,’ in Acts 2:17] that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit” (Joel 2:28, 29).

The Bible is full of guidelines for how prophecy is supposed to happen. In this post and the next, I’m going to focus  on an anchor passage: Jeremiah 23:9-36. Although it was written in Old Testament times, it is loaded with basic, common sense advice which still applies to New Testament prophesying and discerning of prophecy. We can learn a lot from it about how to discern prophetic words and those who speak them. We can also apply a lot of this passage to ourselves, so that we do better at prophesying accurately. Let’s break it down, by focusing on some of the key points:

Verses 9-15: In these verses, God expresses through Jeremiah His heartbrokenness over the sins of many of those who called themselves prophets. Some were actually out-and-out prophets of false gods, while others were involved in deep sin, such as adultery, lying, and other unspecified forms of wickedness. In addition, he said “They strengthen also the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness” (v. 14). In other words, they condoned continuing in sin, and exalted and supported those who were evil. That sounds pretty relevant to what goes on today, doesn’t it?

Verse 16: Do not pay heed to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

Don’t speak “prophecies” which come from your own desire to flatter or please the people you are speaking to. Don’t speak what you would like to see happen, but have not actually heard God say will happen.

Speaking from one’s own heart may come from a misplaced desire to encourage. Encouragement is a major component of prophecy. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But he who prophesies speaks to men for edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” But it is important to be sure we are really hearing from the Lord, not just trying to make people feel good. “Feel good” words which do not ever materialize ultimately end up disappointing people and can cause  them to doubt the gift of prophecy altogether.

If you are not sure if it’s from God, weigh it in your spirit for a bit, and if you still aren’t sure, keep it to yourself.

Verse 17: They say to those who despise Me, “The LORD has said, ‘You shall have peace.'” And they say to everyone who walks after the imagination of his own heart, “No evil shall come upon you.”

Again, such “words” can come from a heart of people-pleasing, fear of man, and desiring of approval, whether for personal gain or not. To tell those who are in sin that they are just fine and that no consequences will come is lying. It lacks love, because it shows an utter disregard for where they will spend eternity if they do not repent.

Verse 18: For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word, and heard it?

I would answer those questions, “The one who spends plenty of time in the Lord’s Presence in intimate listening prayer, and who immerses himself in the Scriptures.” There is no shortcut to standing in God’s counsel, having His understanding, and hearing accurately from Him. It comes through spending much time with Him, both in prayer itself and in prayerful reading of His Word.

Verse 21: I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

Don’t be too hasty to release what you think you have from God. Premature telling of your revelation is often fraught with lots of adding on to / exaggerating / fleshly interpretation of what it means. Sit on what you have for a while. See if it stays with you. See if God expands your understanding. Those who are too eager to “run” to tell everyone what they are hearing often have a heart motivation of wanting to be recognized and admired. Crucify that temptation by hanging onto your word and letting God verify it and hone it within you.

To be continued …

Next — Part 2

Personal Prophecy

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy