Written on March 28th, 2005 - 12:10AM Last Updated: February 12th, 2007 - 4:00PM
and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. (1 Corinthians 12:10)
The manifestation of prophecy is a wonderful work of the HolySpirit, which enables us to know His will.
The Greek word for "prophecy," προφητεια, ultimately comes from the words meaning "fore" and "make known." Some scholars believe that the word for "make known" comes from the root word for "light." The part of the word meaning "fore" can be interpreted to mean "in front of" as in standing before someone, or "before" as in chronological time.
Thus, prophecy is a making known, bringing to light, or making visible of something before someone else, or before something else happens.
This manifestation is the one that the apostle Paul says we will experience when we follow after love and earnestly desire spiritual things.
Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)
Prophecy brings people edification, exhortation and consolation.
But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. (1 Corinthians 14:3)
Looking at this tri-fold application of prophecy will help us to understand its role in both each believer's life, as well as the Assembly as a whole.
οικοδομην, "edification," is a rich Greek word coming from a root meaning to build up as in constructing a house brick by brick. This word is used many times throughout the scriptures of the New Covenant, and is a primary goal for the ministry of God. When we are edified, we are building upon the foundation of our new lives—that foundation is Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). Paul had earlier written to the Corinthians that he and the other apostles and servants of the Lord had built upon the foundation of God's building that had already been laid. One does one type of work, another does another, but all work together. What kind of work has been done will be revealed at the Day (of Jesus' Coming); and then each person will receive a reward based on what remains after the fire of judgment and renewal of the earth (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
All of this gives us an understanding of how the Spirit's use of prophecy should work in our lives. Its purpose is to build up each person in the House of God. Prophecy lays upon the foundation, JesusChrist, forming the perfect habitation for God in the Spirit that He ordained before the world began (Ephesians 2:18-22). Prophecy works out on earth the work of Yahweh, that of perfecting His Assembly. It brings to birth on earth the will of the Father that has been accomplished in heaven.
παρακλησιν, "exhortation," is a form of another word used in connection with the HolySpirit, Counselor (John 14:16-17)(John 15:26). It means to encourage or intreat by virtue of being next to the person. Literally it means "to call near." Thus, prophecy works to reinforce the truth that we, as disciples of the Lord Jesus, are not alone. We have been saved out of the world into a new kingdom, a new family. When one prophesies by inspiration of the HolySpirit, he speaks up on the listeners' behalf; he comes near to them to affirm who they are in their Lord. We see prophets doing this very thing (the same word is used) following an important decision concerning an emotional discussion about the place of Moses' Law in God's plan of salvation for both Jews and Gentiles in the New Covenant.
Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers with many words, and strengthened them. (Acts 15:32)
Prophecy is used by the HolySpirit to manifest Who He is—a Counselor sent by the Father through the Son. In this the Spirit shows Himself to us, and uses us to do His very work.
παραμυθιαν, "comfort," is the final part of the tri-fold application of prophecy as taught by the apostle Paul to the Corinthians. It has a meaning of consolation through incentive or a persuasive address. Some scholars trace the make-up of the word to the words for "near" and "telling of a mystery" or "initiation." In this way, we can see prophecy being used by the Spirit to reveal the plan of Yahweh. Knowing that mystery, in continuing degrees, brings comfort. One could almost compare it to a parent reading a child a bedtime story. It is the telling of something unknown to cause the child to focus on something outside of themselves. The HolySpirit, doing the work of Christ upon the earth now that He has ascended to the right hand of the Father, does what Jesus did; He comforts the lowly and heals the broken-hearted (Luke 4:18).
How Prophesying Works
Once the manifestation of prophecy is understood, it is predictably to be desired, as Paul writes. He tells us to earnestly seek it. Before this can be accomplished, one must have received the Spirit Who manifests the prophesying, as in (Acts 19:6).
Later in his letter to the Corinthians he explains how it is worked out through a service of believers.
Those prophesying are to do so, two or three, and then the others are to discern. The two or three could be interpreted to mean two or three people prophesying, or two or three prophecies at a time. Paul then immediately says that if a revelation is given to another sitting nearby, the first should keep silent. He explains that,
For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. (1 Corinthians 14:31)
The others are to discern. This means to judge what is said. Paul often used this phrase, "judge what I say," in his letters. It means to think upon it, to come to a conclusion as to what it means. When studying the prophets of the Old Covenant, one can see how it takes time to discern what has been said. It is the same when someone prophesies through the Spirit under the New Covenant; we must take the time to discern what has been said.
Lastly, the apostle explains that "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Corinthians 14:32), meaning that they were in control of what they were doing. This was not a complete taking-over of control by the HolySpirit of those prophesying; they still had control of their faculties and were able to keep quiet until the other was done. Things could proceed in order, in a decent fashion, without quenching the Spirit. The two were not mutually exclusive. God is a God of peace, not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Prophecy is a wonderful manifestation of the HolySpirit that accomplishes many aspects of Yahweh's work on the earth. It builds us up, gives us encouragement through the presence of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and brings comfort through the telling of the mysteries of Yahweh. When we seek the things of the Spirit, following after love as our guide, we are led invariably to prophecy, which brings us further to the goal of becoming like Christ.
As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.
But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.
This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, ChristJesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.
You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.
God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.
That Son, JesusChrist, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.
His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.
The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.
So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.
Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!
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