Skip to main content

1. Introduction

In this second lesson, we are looking at the gift of prophecy. In the “New Testament Prophecy” lesson, we learned that prophecy declares God’s purposes. Prophecy has three levels – the spirit of prophecy, the gift of prophecy, and the prophet’s ministry.

It is usual for a person to start by moving by the spirit of prophecy, producing a hunger for the gift of prophecy. For this reason, we will look at this first.

2. Spirit of Prophecy – Entrance to the Gift of Prophecy

A. Any May Prophesy

The spirit of prophecy is when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, and they can prophesy. If they can prophesy the word of the Lord regularly without striving, then the gift of prophecy is upon them.

On the first Pentecost, Peter quotes Joel:

‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy
Young men shall see visions
Your old men shall dream dreams
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

Acts 2:17-18

This scripture exemplifies the spirit of prophecy poured out upon anyone who desires it. We see that there is no limit on people’s ability to prophesy when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Anyone who has received Holy Spirit baptism can prophesy.

In the same way, anyone receiving Holy Spirit baptism can speak in a personal prayer language.

When Paul lays hands on new believers, baptising them in the Holy Spirit, they are immediately able to prophesy:

And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they
spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:6

We see that Paul was a prophet in this passage, so it was easy for those present to prophesy.

B. Presence of a Prophet

Another reason people can easily prophesy is when a prophet is present, their mantle provides a covering for those who accept and respect the mantle. A mantel is the Old Testament symbolic word for the anointing, as we see with Elijah and Elisha:

Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

2 Kings 2:8

The whirlwind takes Elijah up to heaven, so Elisha takes up the mantle, the prophetic anointing, and uses it in the same manner:

He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.

2 Kings 2:13-14

C. Paul the Prophet

Paul, still at this point called Saul, is considered a prophet in Acts 13.

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:1

He was a prophet and an apostle. Throughout the book of Acts, we see him operate in both gifts.

Paul’s prophetic gift enabled him to foretell the shipwreck accurately:

Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.”

Acts 27:34

So as a prophet, Paul was able to train people who were learning to prophesy. Those under his ministry could prophesy freely when in the presence of Paul. In the Old Testament, we see this happen with King Saul, the first king of Israel, when he was in the company of the prophets:

When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then
the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it
happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among
the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has come upon
the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”

1 Samuel 10:10-11

3. Testimony of Jesus

The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus:

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Revelation 19:10

A. The Spirit of Prophecy will Glorify Jesus and Point People to Jesus.

Prophesying lifts the faith level of the person to see Jesus work in their lives.

As we speak of how God has provided for us miraculously, the Holy Spirit is present in the room to release the same anointing and power for miracles.
Once this happens, the faith level of the hearer grows. The hearer then spontaneously prays for the same miracle for their own needs.
For example, when we testify that we prayed for an infertile couple to have a child, and it comes to pass, it lifts the faith level of couples who need the same miracle. We can then easily pray for that miracle to happen again.

Now that we have examined the spirit of prophecy, we can move on to the next level, the gift of prophecy.

4. The Gift is a Grace

A. Comes from the Holy Spirit

When we look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the church, we find that the gift of prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of
spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of

1 Corinthians 12:9-10

B. There is Nothing you can do to Earn it.

The word for a gift in Greek is Charis, which means grace and gift.
A gift is a gift; there is nothing you can do to earn a gift.

C. Because it is a Gift, you can Operate it at Any Time

At times, I have prophesied over hundreds of people in a large congregation over three evenings.

Presbytery is where a prophet’s gift is evident by prophesying over each person.

D. It does not require another Prophet’s Presence (or Covering).

Because it is a gift given by the Holy Spirit, a prophet does not need to be present for a person to operate in the gift.

5. Purpose of the Gift of Prophecy

The gift of prophecy is for building up the church.

But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

1 Corinthians 14:3

6. Coupled with Love

Paul encourages us to pursue love and especially desire the gift of prophecy more than any other gift of the Holy Spirit.

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:1

Paul couples love ( a fruit of the spirit) with the gift of prophecy. There is a good reason for this combination. Without love, the truth of the insightful prophetic word spoken over a person may be too overwhelming for them to bear. Especially if the prophetic word is a correction, bringing conviction.

We cannot drive a ten-ton truck of truth over a plywood bridge of love.

Anne Morrow

7. Desiring the Gift of Prophecy

Many people could have the gift of prophecy if they were hungry enough. The fear of man and timidity sometimes bind people. Neither of these is of the Father’s heart. He is looking for boldness and wisdom in a person so they may be effective in prophesying.

Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:1

8: Laying on of Hands

The gift of prophecy may or may not come by the laying on of hands:

A. The Gift of Prophecy coming through the Laying on of Hands

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying
on of my hands.

2 Timothy 1:6

B. The Prophetic Gift May come Sovereignly

Why? Because God is sovereign.
Here is my own experience of how I received the gift of prophecy.

Shortly after being baptised in the Holy Spirit, I was praying one morning when the gift of prophecy suddenly came on me. Then, while still praying, I started to prophesy over my future. I didn’t even know what prophecy was!

In New Testament Prophecy, we looked at prophecy and the four different types of prophecy.

  1. This study focused on the gift of prophecy and its precursor, the spirit of prophecy.
  2. We have seen that it comes from the Holy Spirit as a grace.
  3. The spirit of prophecy comes upon anyone who earnestly desires it.
  4. The purpose of the gift of prophecy is to encourage the church.
  5. It must operate through the fruit of the spirit – love.
  6. It may come by laying on of hands or sovereignly as God wills.

Next, we will look at the ministry of the prophet.

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/Dr Neville Westerbeek van Eerten D. Miss. 2024

One Comment

Leave a Comment