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The fundamental principles of prophetic service (Prophecy part III)

by Johannes Justus — posted in Holy Spirit, Works of the Holy Spirit on October 30, 2018

The development and expression of prophecy

Since I frequently serve in prophetic ways, and teach about the works of the Holy Spirit, people like to ask me how God speaks through prophecy.
Wayne Grudem writes that prophesying means to use human words, to express what God has revealed to the human spirit. This definition confirms my own experience.
But as I stressed it in my previous two articles before, not everything that humans speak through prophetic impression, is necessary from God. My former friend Günther Karcher said that, “prophecy is the expression of God’s thoughts, broken by the prism of our language and personality.“ Therefore are prophetic impressions mingled with human impressions despite their godly nature, and need to be reproofed.

Receiving God’s message happens in different, and unspectacular ways.
The visionary way of prophecy is probably the most dominant one.
In that case, believers receive visions from the Holy Spirit, and interpret that same vision with the help of the Holy Spirit. We can read about this form of prophecy in Acts 10: 9–24.

We see throughout the entire bible that God also speaks through dreams. Dreams are a different form of visionary prophecy, and of course not every dream is from God.
But Joel 2:28 emphasizes that older people will receive prophetic dreams.
In recent years, I experience personally an increase of god given dreams.
Maybe that is happening because I grow older and more experience in years. So I take all God given impressions apart, but I can’t fight my dreams at night.

I also have to mention that not everyone who is prophetically active receives dreams from the Holy Spirit. God speaks often with an inner voice to us. We can find a prime example in the New Testament, where Jesus reveals himself to Saul on his way to Damascus (Acts 9: 3-19).

In my upcoming new book, I will talk more about the different ways of God’s communication.

However, we have to remember, that all prophetic revelations will be received by a conscious mind. During the Greek era in which the New Testament was written, Christians set a difference between mantic visions, and prophecy. Mantic visions are like being in a forced Trans without free will.  The captivated person is used as a possessed medium, and not as a free willed, conscious executioner. Prophetic messages in the New Testament are delivered by a wake person, with a clear mind. Paul cleared that up when he said in 1. Corinthians 14: 32 ” and the spirits of prophets are subjects to prophets.“ The prophet is always in self-control, and will not be forced unwillingly to speak out a message.

The purpose of prophecy

In 1. Corinthians 14: 3-4 we find multiple purposes for the gift of prophecy, which provide guidance and counseling.

“On the other hand, the one who prophecies, speaks to people for their up building and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophecies builds up the church.”

Building

This term derives from the meaning of house construction. A house is build up according to the plans of an architect, who formed a plan for a solid, and resilient structure.
In the same way does prophecy builds up encouragement for the receiver and steadies him.
Admonition

Regrettably there are still misunderstandings about the meaning of this word.
A paraklesis is a service of supplication. It is not about correcting someone, or giving a warning, but rather to show a better path. A person needs guidance, encouragement, and support on his way through life. People lose sight of track all the time, but prophecy helps to get back on the right track.

Comfort

Comfort lifts a soul’s spirit in times of pain and suffer. Each one of us knows how badly we need comforting support. When we are faced with sickness, loss, or other problems we seem too often helpless. Our Lord gave us the gift of prophecy in order to share his thoughts on us, and comfort us with those.
There are three reasons for prophecy. For prophecy is never let anyone standing helplessly in the rain. It always gives hope, a new perspective, and a gate way.

Other purposes for prophecy

The purpose of prophecy does not only offers counseling. It also reveals spiritual gifts and the potential within us (1. Timothy 1:18).  When God looks at us, he does not only see our current state, but also the target state. In prophecy we see people with the eyes of God`s heart.
Galileo Galilei once wrote, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.“ Prophecy does exactly that, it helps people to see what God has put inside them.

I meet quite a few people who do not make use of their God given potential.
If it were up to me, I would tell them what I personally think about that, but the three aspects of prophetic counseling helps me to meet them in the right way.
However, prophecy is useful in many more areas of life.
Paul points out the evangelical importents of prophecy in 1. Corinthians 13: 24.

Verse 24: “But if all prophecy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all.“

All in all does prophecy covers the past, the present, and the future.
(Acts 5: 1–4; Acts 11: 28).