What is Prophecy?
Easton Bible Dictionary defined Prophecy as: “Prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has been defined as a ‘miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture.'”
Prophesying is God’s giving of the word to a prophet who will tell the people about what’s going to happen in the future. It maybe about destruction, repentance, hope, etc. Anything that God wants for his people to know.
Another interesting thing about prophecy is the abuses of many religious leaders in our time. We can see many of them out there in the streets and some even exists on televisions.
But God himself warned us about them in Deuteronomy 18:18-22:
“18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. 19 Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 20 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.” 21 You may say to yourself, “How can we recognize a word that the LORD has not spoken?” 22 If a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it.
Prophecy is usually done by a prophet. The Old Testament gave us so many prophecy about the coming Messiah. We also have to note that the OT was authored by about 50% prophets of its total authors. We also have to take note that the New Testament was closed by the book of prophecy, the Revelation.
Truths About Prophesying
(Verses from main points were taken from 1Corinthians 14)
Prophesying Is to Be Desired (v.1)
We have to note here that Paul is giving emphasis on the two kinds of gifts of the Holy Spirit, prophesying and speaking in tongues. However in this passage we can see that Paul has made a point that we are to desire spiritual gifts especially the gift of prophecy because prophecy edifies the Church.
There is nothing wrong in asking God for a the gift of Holy Spirit. However, as we have learned, it is the Holy Spirit who gives it as he determines.
Desiring to have a spiritual gift means desiring to serve better inside the Church which is the body of Christ. It also means that it is very important that we have to place our hearts in the gift that God gave so that we can serve him better.
Prophesying Edifies The Church (v.4)
How does prophecy edifies the Church? Verse 3 gave us three things that prophecy can do to us; strengthening, encouragement and comfort.
Prophecy can strengthen us in times of trials. When we know what is it\\ exactly is going to happen in the future, especially if we see hope, then we are most likely be strengthened and not give up the hope.
Prophecy encourages us to continue living faithfully. When we hear or read prophecy, we feel encouraged to continue faithfully. We are encouraged to turn our backs from the world and focus our eyes on Jesus.
Prophecy comforts our souls whenever we hear encouragement. It gives peace of mind. There is no such comforting words than the words of encouragement.
The book of Revelation is a prophecy which gives us the picture of what’s it going to be in the end of times. We have seen that it already made mentioned of catastrophic events for many nations in the end. But we also see hope for those who remains faithful to the end. We see that those who hope and stayed with the Lord allow us to see a better place for those who wait for the Lord.
Prophesying Is A Sign For The Believers (v.22)
In the Bible, prophecy has been given for the believers concerning what it’s going to be in the future and in the end of times. Going back in the OT, we can see there that prophecy were given to the chosen people of God, the Israelites. Many of it were intended for their repentance. And some were intended to encourage them to be faithful to the Lord.
Paul made it clear in verse 22 that prophecy is intended for the believers to strengthen them, encourage and comfort them. And for the previous uses (in the OT) of this gift, we can also see that it is also intended to warn them.
But why is prophecy not for the unbelievers? It is because prophecy was intended to move God’s people to do something and this is for the unbelievers to believe and fall down before God. Verse 24 answers this question. It says “But if an unbleiever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exlaiming, ‘God is really among you.’
This simply means that prophecy is also used as an evidenced for the unbelievers to believe in the power of God and to fall down before the Lord.