Amos 3:7-8 describes it this way.
“For the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who can but prophesy?”
The central goal of prophecy is to reveal the word and will of God, it is the Word of God revealed in order prepare us or embolden us to act. The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:10).
We are all prophets but not all of us have been given the gift of prophecy. 1 Corinthians 12:27-29 reads,
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.”
But in Christ, we are all called to be prophets. We are prophets, whether or not we were gifted with prophecy by The Holy Spirit. Acts 3:22-26 says,
“Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
The phrase sons of the prophets was used to denote the prophets of Elisha’s day. He was their father and they were his sons. He taught, led, and mentored the prophets and they followed his lead and became like him. Elisha was a type of Christ (a foreshadowing of Christ), raised up by The Lord, anointed by Elijah, and a mouthpiece for The Lord. Jesus was raised up by God, baptized by John the Baptist and revealed God’s Word and will to the people.
When John saw the vision of Revelation the angel of the Lord said that we are prophets. Revelation 22:8-9 reads,
“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
John’ brothers, the prophets are you and me! We are prophets, and although we may not all have the gift of prophecy, we can and are expected to prophesy. Numbers 12:6-8 describes how the Lord chooses to speak to His prophets, who are His faithful friends.
“And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?””
Under the Old Testament God chose a few men and women, poured out His Spirit on them and assigned them to be prophets. But today we are all prophets. We have the Holy Spirit in us! Joel 2:28-29 says it this way,
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”
The scriptures are the Word of God. When you share scriptures, when you use them truthfully and in the Spirit to teach, rebuke, reproof, counsel, or comfort, you are prophesying. When you listen to the voice of The Lord and obey, that is prophecy. When you share the testimony of Jesus Christ you are prophesying. We are responsible for the Word of God we receive, and as believers we all receive it. We have to know God to hear and recognize His voice (John 10:27). We have to discern what is from the Lord and what is false.1 John 4:1 says,
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
And 1 Thessalonians 5:17-21 tells us,
“pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
Why do we prophesy? Why do we tell people the Truth of Jesus Christ, The Word of God? Revelation 22:12-16 answers.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
God loves you and He loves the dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. He doesn’t want anyone to perish and go to Hell. (2 Peter 2:9). He sent Jesus so that no one would perish but so that everyone could have eternal life (John 3:16). He has called us to tell them, to snatch them from Hell and make disciples of them. Jude verses 17-25 reads,
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Prophecy has another purpose. It builds up the church. It causes the church to grow become stronger. It encourages brings confidence, and inspires action. It comforts through times of suffering and develops character in the believer. It builds up the church. It tells the world who Jesus is. 1 Corinthians 14:3-5 says,
“On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”
Not every word we receive is one we want to give or hear. Sometimes it is a rebuke or it includes bad news. But remember, the faithful have no reason to fear bad news, we trust The Lord God Almighty. Psalm 112:6-9 encourages us this way,
“For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
7 He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.”
Rebuke and discipline from The Lord means He loves you. (Proverbs 3:11-12). If God gives you a word, a revelation, or a vision and He tells you to tell someone and you do not, you are taking on a serious consequence. Ezekiel 2:7 commands,
“And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.”
Ezekiel 3:17-21 in The Message warns,
“Son of man, I’ve made you a watchman for the family of Israel. Whenever you hear me say something, warn them for me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You are going to die,’ and you don’t sound the alarm warning them that it’s a matter of life or death, they will die and it will be your fault. I’ll hold you responsible. But if you warn the wicked and they keep right on sinning anyway, they’ll most certainly die for their sin, but you won’t die. You’ll have saved your life.
“And if the righteous turn back from living righteously and take up with evil when I step in and put them in a hard place, they’ll die. If you haven’t warned them, they’ll die because of their sins, and none of the right things they’ve done will count for anything—and I’ll hold you responsible. But if you warn these righteous people not to sin and they listen to you, they’ll live because they took the warning—and again, you’ll have saved your life.”
Believer, consider the responsibility you have as a prophet of The Lord. How will you edify the church? Prophet, how will you snatch people from Hell?