Sometimes when believers hear the word prophecy they think end times, the return of Jesus. That’s part of it, but not the full understanding of prophecy and how it should work in our lives. In this post, I’m referring to the gift of prophecy found in 1 Corinthians 14.
Prophecy is a divine revelation from the Holy Spirit that reveals the thoughts, heart, and will of God. It does not mean predicting the future though it can, but it is more about revealing God’s heart about a person or situation. The author of the prophetic word is the Holy Spirit. It is Him sharing the thoughts and intentions of God with us.
Revelations 19:10 (ESV) says “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” That means, prophecy speaks of Jesus and reveals Jesus. A prophetic word is always to point you to and connect you back to Jesus. We have received many prophetic words in our lives. Sometimes the word is just about things we were feeling and experiencing. It was God’s way of letting us know He was there and involved in the details. That brought peace and comfort to our hearts. We received the heart of God through it.
1 Corinthians 14:3 KJV shows us what the purpose of the gift of prophecy is. “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” Prophecy is for edification, exhortation, and comfort. Let’s define these words so we can know what to expect from the biblical New Testament gift of prophecy.
Edification– to build up, fortified like a castle with walls around it to protect from enemies, it gives you strength (Strongs concordance 3619).
It means, through the prophetic word God is going to give you strength. You will have the strength to stand against the enemy and have confidence in what God is doing in your life. The word will build you up. Which means you will have more than you had before. You’ll have more; joy, faith, courage, boldness, love, trust, etc. More of what you need.
Exhortation- a calling for, summons, hence: (a) exhortation, (b) entreaty, (c) encouragement, joy, gladness, (d) consolation, comfort. (Strongs concordance 3874). This means the word is going to move you to action. It energizes you. When I get encouragement from a friend, it motivates me. I see their belief in me. It causes me to believe in myself. The word will empower you to do what the word says. It’s letting you know God’s got your back. Go for it. Go pursue your God-given destiny.
Comfort– encouragement, consolation, exhortation. (Strongs concordance 3889). This means the word is coming into right where you are—to your pain, disappointment, rejection, sadness—bringing you peace. It’s come to cheer you up. It is pulling you out of any negative place. It’s like when you’re sick and someone brings your favorite food. It soothes your pain and comforts your soul.
Each one of the definitions of those words is all positive. God has positive things to say to you and through you. The enemy is the one that speaks negatively. God is full of love for us. God’s words comes to you like a life coach, cheering you on, encouraging you, motivating you. God’s heart is always to help us connect and draw closer to Him.
To learn more visit Activating the Gift of Prophecy