I am writing this blog in answer to some questions I have been receiving from Christians. I just want to say that I will be answering this as to the knowledge that I already possess and of which I have not done a thorough search through the Hebrew meanings and connotations given in the Old Testament.
The office of the prophet is the same as its been for the last four to five thousand years whereas prophesying as the Holy Spirit falls upon someone happens more frequently since the Holy Spirit has come and indwells those who do not quench the Holy Spirit by their sinning.
Example 1: King Saul prophesies but is not a prophet. As you may remember, the Spirit of the Lord leaves Saul later in life leading to Saul’s jealousy and attempts to kill David.
I Samuel 10: 9-13 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. When they arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying. When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” A man who lived there answered, “And who is their father?” So it became a saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place.
Before the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord could come upon someone, but that did not make them a prophet. It is similar in modern times. Anyone who houses the Holy Spirit can prophesy, but that does not make them a prophet.
Prophesying is known to be completed for the edification of the body of Yeshua.
I Cor 14:3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.
Notice this is for prophesying, not a test of a prophet – that is something else entirely – they should be performing the duties of the office of a prophet which hasn’t changed from the Old to the New Testament.
Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
Please note the warning that someone prophesying should do so in proportion to his faith. How strongly does the Holy Spirit press a message on them? Is it confusing? Unsure? Unclear? Straight to his/her spirit, clear, and unshakeable? Say so. Be honest. The receiver will be the most appreciative, if you are honest with them.
On the other hand, a prophet is someone God gives a message to convict people of their sins to bring that person back into a correct relationship with God. Prophets who do not do so are labeled false prophets because they are not serving their main function to the body of Christ.
Prophets are rebuked for not serving their main function:
Micah 3:5-12 This is what the LORD says: ”As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim ‘peace’; (prophesying what people want to hear) if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him. But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin. (prophets point out sin and call for repentance) who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading. [Note the purpose of visions and messages for/from prophets – to expose sin and lead to repentance. I repeat, prophets are not meant to be Christian psychics]
Ezekiel 13:1-3 The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
I repeat: a prophet is someone who speaks to Christians and Jews, calling out their sin, so that they may be reconciled to God and heal their relationship with YWH.
What seems most confusing is when people confuse the abilities of seers with the office of a prophet. Many seers are prophets. There are many abilities that seers possess. Not all seers are equally strong with the same abilities. This is not to be confused with the office of a prophet. Some seers are able to discern between spirits, discern the truth, discern the heart motivations of someone else, hear the voice of God easily and clearly, empathize/feel what someone else’s spirit is feeling, know the sins or troubles of someone else, and many, many more…..(For more, please see the 3 postings on seers, prophets and false prophets)…. Naturally born seers who have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can facilitate those hurting in many ways; however, seer-prophets would also use their seer abilities to discern false teachings, false prophets, incorrect interpretations, and improper motivations.
Seers should be careful that everything originates with God/holiness and not with the will of man. There is no reason for anyone to go to a seer for answers. One can fast for guidance for their own life. God does answer fasts. If God wants you to give someone a message, then do it, but be sure it originates with God, not man or man’s seeking. God moves in his own time, not our time. If one is gifted in this way, try not to be seduced by other people’s awe and admiration. Instead, direct them to getting to a place where they can hear more clearly from God for themself which builds their spiritual abilities and relationship and secures them for their future.