When discussing prophecy with Christians, the first hurdle to be crossed is unbelief that prophecy is still alive and well in this digital day and age. The next notion, that all Christians can prophesy, tends to draw breaths of incredulity. Yet this is what the bible both tells us and confirms for us: All Christians can Prophesy!
As recorded in the Old Testament, there were relatively few prophets before Jesus was born, and the average Hebrew, apparently, did not normally prophesy. But even here we need to be cautious to interpret what we read as being the whole truth of Old Testament society and belief, for the “sons of prophets” or the “Guild of Prophets” of Second Kings 4:38 can be interpreted as a “school of prophets”. The understand being that prophets a) need training and b) were more numerous than those named in the Old Testament would necessarily lead us to believe.
Regarding our own time however, as Joel 2:28-32 says:
“And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.
And also I will pour out My Spirit on the slaves and on the slave women in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah. And it shall be, whoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be saved; for salvation shall be in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as Jehovah has said, and in the remnant whom Jehovah shall call.”
Here is God’s Old Testament promise for his New Testament people: “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”
For those Christians who will look no further in the Bible than the New Testament, Acts 2:16-17 confirms this Old Testament declaration as being still valid saying:
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be 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.'”
There it is, clear and succinct for all Christians: the young shall prophesy, the old see visions and dream dreams. And this refers to our present times! This does not mean that everyone in our times will become a Prophet, nor all who actively prophesy hold the Office of a Prophet, for as Romans 12:6-8 explains:
“Then having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, if prophecy, according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, in the ministry; or he who teaches, in the teaching; or he who exhorts, in the encouragement; or he who shares, in simplicity; or he who takes the lead, in diligence; or he who shows mercy, in cheerfulness.”
Yes, we are all able to prophesy, but not all are called to do so as our chief or main gifting or calling from the Lord. We are all different and God uses these differences for the advancement of His Kingdom.
And what is a Prophet? According to Isaiah 29:10, Prophets are as the “eyes” of Israel, who have the ability to see that which the Lord unveils to them:
“For Jehovah has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes; He has covered the prophets and your heads, the seers.”
Jesus Himself was a Prophet and worked in a Prophetic Ministry, in that he could see things as they really were through supernatural sight, rather than natural human sight; He could see us as God sees us and know the Truth of all things and all occasions. This was prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 11:2-3 where he says of Jesus,
“the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. And He is made to breathe in the fear of Jehovah. And He shall not judge according to the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears.”
Prophets can know the future as given to them from God, predicting future judgements and blessings. They can describe future events; from the large corporate rise and fall of nations, to the most minute of personal predictions. Jonah’s message to Nineveh was a prophetic warning of pending disaster (Jonah 1:2) but then Nineveh repented, disaster was averted (Jonah 3:10). In First Samuel 9:20 lost donkeys were found.
Through God’s prophets God will tell you and reveal to you the secrets of your own heart, such that when you and told, and God reveals His word into your heart, you will believe and will know it is from God and God alone. As in First Samuel 9:19 we read;
“And Samuel answered Saul and said, I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place. For you shall eat with me today, and tomorrow I will let you go, and will tell you all that is in your heart.”
and in First Samuel 10:1-9,
“And Samuel took a vial of oil and poured on his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because Jehovah has anointed you for a leader over His inheritance?
When you have departed from me today, then you shall find two men by Rachel’s tomb in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah. And they will say to you, The asses which you went to seek are found. And, lo, your father has quit caring for the asses and sorrows for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?
And you shall go forward from there, and you shall come to the great tree of Tabor. And there you shall meet three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall take from their hand.
After that you shall come to the hill of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is. And it will happen to you when you come there to the city, even you shall meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a harp and a tambourine and a flute and a lyre before them. And they shall prophesy.
And the spirit of Jehovah will come powerfully on you, and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man. And it will be when these signs have come to you, you will do for yourself what your hand finds; for God is with you.
And you shall go down before me to Gilgal. And, behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. You shall stay seven days until I come to you and make known to you what you shall do.
And it happened when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God changed him with another heart. And all those signs came on that day.”
Prophets can also know the present. Often that is about resolving our present sin so we can come closer to God. This is what God offered to Nineveh, a warning, or a knowing, that they were in a position of displeasure before a fearsome God. This is truly a blessing of grace and mercy which God offers His children; a chance to repent and to correctly align themselves before the Creator of all things.
As Ephesians 5:8-10 says about God and His forth telling of events and our present position in Him:
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is acceptable to the Lord.”
God can bring the future to us, awakening our spirit to that which He has ordained, yet about which we are still ignorant. It is our choice to say ‘Yes’ and accept His word and direction. Typically when we do, God’s doors and windows of opportunity open for us such that His desires for our destiny may be fulfilled according to His master plan.
Let the words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians in his first epistle, chapter 14, verse 39a be the closing words, as this man of God says to us “So then, brothers, seek to prophesy!!”
Amen and Amen!