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Gift of prophecy throughout Church history?

Discussion in 'Sign Gifts' started by TruthSeek3r, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    I'm interested in learning more about the relevance that the spiritual gifts have had for Christians over the course of history, with special emphasis on the gift of prophecy. For the apostle Paul, this was the most important gift, and it was his heart that every believer should earnestly desire the gifts of the Spirit, especially that they may prophesy:

    Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. [1 Corinthians 14:1, ESV]​

    An immediate question that arises when one looks at this matter has to do with the meaning of this gift. What does it mean to have the gift of prophecy in the first place? What kinds of spiritual experiences or abilities can a person with the gift of prophecy have, in contrast to a person who doesn't have the gift?

    My personal impression on this matter is that the gift of prophecy is quite a supernatural gift indeed, and I draw this conclusion through connecting multiple dots in Scripture:
    • 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. [1 Corinthians 14:24-25, ESV]
    • 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. [John 4:16-19, ESV]
    • 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” [John 4:39, ESV]
    • 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. [2 Peter 1:21, ESV]
    • 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. [Acts 19:6, ESV]
    • 10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. [1 Samuel 10:10, ESV]
    Which Christian groups/denominations in the history of the Church have earnestly sought and practiced the gift of prophecy? How has the gift of prophecy been understood? Has it always been seen as a miraculous gift?

    How common is the gift of prophecy among Christians today?
     
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  2. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    Luke 7:28
    For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

    Revelation 19:10
    ...For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

    Hebrews 10:16
    This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them
    ________________________________________________________________

    Prophecy is the greatest gift and it is available to all believers. Not everyone calls it prophecy, but if you have the ability to hear God's voice, which He promised to us all, then you have the ability to prophesy. That doesn't mean every believer is a prophet, that is a different thing.

    Prophecy in it's simplest form is expressing God's heart to a person or group. Prophecy is not foretelling, it is forthtelling. It is far more than prediction, it carries with it the power to bring something forth. Not just events, but it can also bring things forth like healing (emotional as well as physical), peace, joy, comfort, encouragement, protection, understanding, restoration, ect... in a way that nothing else can. That's part of what makes it the best gift... in essence it is always pushing you forward into God's plan for your life (2 Chron 20:20, prosper here = propelled). Another part of what makes it the greatest gift is that it has the power to grow both the recipient AND the minister. Every time one steps out and prophecies you have to trust God and in doing so you learn a little bit more about His heart, because prophecy is expressing His heart... it's a win-win... as long as we continue to do it with the proper motivation (Love).

    Prophecy has been very misunderstood throughout history, including within the Bible itself. Given what it is capable of doing it's no surprise the enemy would want to confuse it, villainize it, or convince people it's no longer needed. It's always been a part of the church, but after the book of Acts it nearly mostly became lost - especially in teaching and understanding. In the 80's there was a major move of God to restore the prophetic and the office of the Prophet to the church. The effects of that movement are still being felt today. It's growing. In the 80's you would never hear the term Prophet or prophecy in church. Now it is much more common. Not everywhere, but more common and growing. Given this restoration began in the 80's it is still a very young movement and because of that there have been some major growing pains, like we saw last year.

    How common it is depends greatly on the groups one is connected to.
     
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  3. Leaf473

    Leaf473 Well-Known Member

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    Great thread idea! I'm happy to contribute, but I'm concerned that we're here in the "Sign Gifts" section. Is prophecy supposed to go in the "Spiritual Gifts" section? I'm not sure.

    It's not like I'm Mr. Rules-follower, I'm just enjoying my time here on CF and I don't want to get my hand slapped :)
     
  4. spiritfilledjm

    spiritfilledjm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In the context of it continuing on after John, and the fact that it is a "sign gift", yup, I'd say it belongs here.
     
  5. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    The gift of prophesying is in the same category as tongues and interpretation. In fact, tongues with interpretation in the corporate assembly is equal to someone operating with the gift of prophesying. It is considered an inspirational gift.

    It is one of the most abused and misused gifts of The Holy Spirit. Like tongues, it can be stepped out in a person's faith and operated apart from The Holy Spirit by their own human spirit. In other words, instead of it being by utterance of The Holy Spirit, it becomes utterance by their own spirit. A lot of Christians with this gift do this and mislead many, even more so today.

    The gift of prophesying actually has a specific definition in scripture,..

    1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and encouragement, and comfort.

    It is to be operated in the assembly in front of everyone so that it can be judged by everyone there, not one on one.
    Most of your Spirit-filled denominations such as Assemblies of GOD, Foursquare, Church of GOD, as well as many Charismatic churches all operate in it to some degree.

    I consider it to be part of the beginning gifts that are imparted by The Holy Spirit at the start of a Christians new Spirit-filled life, so I don't consider it to be "miraculous" by any stretch. The harder gifts to receive (and the ones we don't see operating as a corporate ministry anymore) are the working of miracles, the gifts of healings, and the gift of faith. It seems GOD requires a greater maturity in someone before He hands those out. They are what we would consider as miraculous.
     
  6. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't very explicit in the OP, but the reason why I believe the gift of prophecy can be very miraculous is that it can sometimes involve a "word of knowledge", that is, a download of information that the prophet receives that he/she shouldn't have known. The best example I can think of is Jesus knowing everything about the past of the Samaritan woman (John 4).
     
  7. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    A person that operates in the gift of prophesying is not automatically a prophet. Any Spirit-filled Christian can have and operate in this gift, not just prophets.

    Also,.... the gift of prophesying stands on it's own. These gifts do not share attributes with other gifts.
     
  8. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    What is your take on 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (ESV) ?

    24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
    What is meant by "the secrets of his heart are disclosed"? Doesn't this mean to receive supernatural revelations about someone else's hidden secrets? Isn't this part of the gift of prophecy?
     
  9. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    I think you are misunderstanding the scenario.

    When a person truly speaks by utterance of The Holy Spirit, it bypasses their mind. They are not involved in the message, it is only The Holy Spirit speaking.

    When an unbeliever comes to a service, GOD can operate the gift of prophesying or tongues with interpretation to provide a message to that person in front of everyone. It will be a message of encouragement that identifies specifics that only that person already knew about. It normally convicts the person to the extreme as well as touches their heart.
     
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  10. Pioneer3mm

    Pioneer3mm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Good post.
    ----
    "...identifies specifics that only that person already knew about it."
    - I agree.
     
  11. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    What is the difference between (1) the gift of prophecy and (2) being a prophet?
     
  12. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    Boiled down to a single word: Authority. Prophets carry greater authority.
     
  13. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    1) The gift of prophesying is a Spiritual gift placed in us when we are subsequently filled with The Holy Spirit after our born again experience.

    2) A prophet is an office that one can receive from The Lord, which in itself is a Spiritual gift also. It is an office of power with the same capabilities found in OT scripture, second only to an apostle.

    A lot of confusion happens in bible translations....

    There is a general understanding of prophecy from when a prophet of GOD is uttering by The Holy Spirit predictive foretellings of the future, and the specific understanding of prophecy associated with the gift of "prophesying" where a person of GOD is uttering by The Holy Spirit words of "Edification, Encouragement, and Comfort" in the assembly.

    If a Christian doesn't recognize the limitations upon the gift of prophesying of Edification, Encouragement, and Comfort in scripture,... then all sorts of bad misunderstandings and practices of the gift can happen.

    Edit: corrected the specific and general identifiers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2021
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  14. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    Authority means that they are entrusted greater things by the Lord? Like greater revelations, bigger assignments, something like that?
     
  15. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    That's the very general idea, yeah, although that can vary greatly from prophet to prophet (as we see in the OT)

    A good way to say it would be greater responsibility. Just like a pastor. As Christians we are all called to look out for one another and care for one another, but a pastor has a greater responsibility to watch over his flock than the average Christian, hence the calling and ministry requirements, but what that looks like from congregation to congregation can vary greatly. Likewise, a prophet is called to greater responsibility in the prophetic, but depending on their specific calling it can vary greatly.
     
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  16. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Yes...
     
  17. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Back in the 70's a Vicar in the Anglican Church was overcome by God's presence and was prostrate on the floor. From this prone position, he prophesied and disclosed detail about the lives several church members.
    The church secretary dutifully recorded the detail and sent them letters with the information.
    The Bishop heard about it and quickly appointed him to a chaplaincy post in the military so he would be out of harms way.

    I can supply his name if anyone needs to know.
     
  18. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    This is where the confusion over this particular gift begins.

    A very specific definition is given in scripture for what this gift does, yet,......... people will wrongfully attach other attributes from other gifts to this particular gift such as aspects of the word of knowledge or the word of wisdom.

    Why???

    Because people in the body of Christ won't discipline themselves to what scripture actually says this gift does,.... Edification, Encouragement, and Comfort.

    This is why we have so many false prophets and liars running around in the body of Christ right now, and how everyone keeps getting all their so-called "predictions" wrong all the time.
     
  19. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    How do you make sure the voice you are hearing is God's?
     
  20. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    I would think by now you were seeking GOD for an answer on this since we seemingly can't give the right one to you.

    You made several posts, even a thread or 2 about this on here, I think it is time to stop asking us and ask the one above so you can finally put this to rest.
     
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