There is so much confusion and danger today surrounding the third realm of the prophetic, the gift of prophecy. Proper understanding always starts in Scripture.
So let’s start with Paul’s explanation to the Corinthians.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will,” (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
The Holy Spirit always provides the gifts to His church in perfection and order. When the Holy Spirit moves, there is no confusion. The gift of prophecy is given to exhort, to edify and to comfort. The gift of prophecy is living fire. The prophetic is the flame of Pentecost. It is what activates all other gifts.
Now, the gift must be judged. You and I are not permitted to judge the one who prophesies. We are, however, permitted to judge the gift. I’ll repeat that because it is very important. God does not permit us to judge the one God uses, but we are to judge the gift flowing in the church.
Part of the confusion today is that people are judging those whom God uses. But we have no right to do that. We are to judge what they say; we are not to judge them personally. A big reason for the confusion is that people misunderstand what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:29, “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.” People read this and think, “Well then, I can judge prophets.” No. Paul is talking here about the gift in operation. Note that the word ‘judge’ in this passage does not mean to condemn; it comes from the Greek word diakrino, which means to discern, to determine, to separate thoroughly, to judge; in other words, to assess. We are to decide whether the words we are hearing line up with the Word of God. To understand Paul’s meaning, you have to look at the whole chapter. Paul is talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their operation within the church. He is not talking about judging the office of the prophet.
So when Paul says, “Let the other judge” (1 Cor. 14:29), he means you have the right to judge the words that are being spoken and say, “Does this line up with the Scripture?” Scripture is always our guaranteed guide.
The Office of Prophet
Now, let’s focus on the holy side of the prophetic we operate in as the church. Please read Jeremiah 1:1–8.
Without the prophetic it won’t happen. You have to speak it before God performs it. God told Jeremiah, “I’m putting My words in your mouth that you might be over the nations.” That’s a lot of power right there, and we can see the evidence today. Where is Babylon? Where is Assyria? Where is Edom, and where is Moab? Where are the Philistines? They’re gone. Destroyed. Who destroyed them? God. How? When Jeremiah spoke it. God would not have done it had he not spoken it.
But the prophetic is not always words. I encourage you to read the book of Ezekiel and study all the things God had him do. The obedience of that man brought about the judgment of God. And it demonstrates that the prophetic is not always words. Sometimes the prophetic is expressed by an action, playing a part and doing things as a prophetic act. But this is true only when these things are done by the prophets.
God is revealing to us mysteries of the anointing and mysteries of the prophetic. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,” (Rev. 2:29).