LEARN HOW TO JUDGE PROPHECY
THE BIBLICAL VIEW:
I have found an increasing interest in the wonderful and powerful operation of one of the Gifts of the Spirit: the Gift of Prophecy- that ecstatic utterance of the Spirit through the mind and lips of the man or woman. I feel that a brief “question and answer” study would be beneficial and timely.
A. IS PROPHECY ALWAYS PERFECT?
1 Corinthians 13:9,10 teaches: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part “The Word teaches that prophecy is in an imperfect state and is “in part”.
1Thessalonians 5:20,21 says: “Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. “To despise not prophesyings is a direct word of command But the words that follow, “Hold fast that which is good, “clearly imply that there will be some which is good, and is therefore not to be held fast.
We are not to despise the gift nor its operations; yet we are to recognize the imperfect channels through which it comes.
Prophecy, therefore, must be carefully proved and judged before it is accepted as an accurate and true word from the Spirit of God.
B. WHAT ARE SAFE REALMS OF PROPHECY?
1 Corinthians 14:3 states: “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
These are the three usual realms of prophecy in which the learner may practice his gift with all humility and without fear, yet in holy reverence: to edification, exhortation and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:31 says: For ye all may prophesy one by one, that all learn…”Obviously there is something to learn. It stands to reason that when one is learning, he will inevitably make some mistakes. These mistakes need not be stumbling-blocks to anyone who, in humility and sincerity, desires to follow the Lord.
The learners should remain within the learning realms of:
(the building up of the hearer in faith and love and the Holy Spirit);
(the urging of the hearer to press toward the mark with greater love and spiritual activity);
(the bringing of solace and consolation to the weary, the buffeted, the afflicted).
C. IS CONDEMNATION FROM GOD?
John 3:17 teaches that “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world “Romans 8:1 states: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus”.
When instead of comfort there is condemnation, it should be rejected. Romans 8:34 asks the self-answering question: “Who is he that condemneth? Shall Christ that died?”
He bore all our condemnation on the cross.
So the prophecy of condemnation can never be the work of the Holy Spirit.The Spirit may rebuke, exhort and chide; yet He does it with great tenderness, always influencing one into repentance and love, ever showing the way out of the problem.
The Holy Spirit never leaves one in a deep hole of depression and condemnation, with neither mercy nor hope to lift him out again into the loveliness of His tender forgiveness.
Such condemnatory prophetic utterance, which are usually harsh of tone and devastating to the hearer, should recognized as from another spirit, and not the Spirit of Christ.
D. WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF PROPHECY?
The Scriptures clearly teaches that prophecy may be prompted by one of three source:
1. The Humans Spirit
-one speaking out of his own heart( Eze 13:2,3).
2. A Lying Spirit
-from the evil one (2Chr 18:21)
3. The Holy Spirit
The true spirit of prophecy from above, prompted by the Holy Spirit.
4. A Mixture Of All Three
Or a prophecy may be a mixture of any of the above three.
There is the classic example of the Apostle Peter speaking the inspired Word of Knowledge when he said:
“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus testifies that flesh and blood had not revealed it to him, but the Father. The source of that utterance was the Father.
Then, a few minutes later, Jesus turned and rebuked Satan speaking through the lips of the same apostle.
Jesus was showing how easily and quickly the wrong spirit could speak through the lips of one who loves the Lord, and the person not even be aware of it.
That which Peter spoke was most kind sounding to the unwary ear. Jesus caught its deadly intent to inject self-pity.
E. WHEN SHOULD CAUTION BE EXERCISED?
There are three other realms of prophecy which are more open to deception; and because of their very nature, we should be cautious. These three realms are;
1. When It’s A Word Of Knowledge
“The secrets of the heart made manifest “(1Cor 14:25) – an operation of the Word of Knowledge.
2. When It’s Foretelling…
things to come – an operation of the Word of Knowledge.
3. When It’s Guidance-
an operation of the Word of Wisdom.
Because wrong “guidance” can work the most havoc in the lives of God’s children, it is the realm which wrong spirits most delight to enter.
1 Samuel 10:1-10 clearly shows the operation of these three prophetic realms.
Samuel first revealed the secret of Saul’s heart – that he was seeking the lost asses.
He than gave a foretelling word – three signs which would shortly come of pass:
* Saul would meet two men who would say, “The asses are found.”
* He would then meet three men with three kids, three loaves and a bottle of wine. They would give him two loaves.
* Then Saul would meet a company of prophets coming from the high place with psaltery, tabret, pipe and harp, who would prophesy. The Spirit of the Lord would come upon Saul and he would prophesy.
All the signs were fulfilled. Then came the obedience to the guidance Samuel had given:
“Go down to Gilgal; save days shalt thou tarry there till I come down to thee.”
Saul obeyed the guidance when all the other signs had come to pass.
F. IS PROPHECY ALWAYS HELPFUL?
Many lives have been injuried and brought into confusion by the wrong use of prophecy; yet the Word clearly tells us: “Despise not prophesyings”(1 Ths 5:20). It is no wonder that through counterfeit utterances the enemy wishes to deceive, and to cause this beautiful operation of God to fall into disrepute.
G. WHAT DOES OUR REACTION TO PROPHECY REVEAL?
If the personal prophecy unveils a future ministry great importance, and our ego is inflated by it, then there is something wrong in our heart. Pride is there And “Pride goeth before destruction.”
We should flee to the Lord for deliverance from it.
But where the personal prophecy unveils a future minister of great importance, and this causes us to fall at the feet of the Lord in deep humility – that prophecy can be a help and blessing.
When the Lord spoke a prophetic word to Saul on the road to Damascus, Saul fasted and prayed three days( Act 9:3-11;26:13-18).
The heart condition of lowliness is ever the safe place. Satan said: “I will ascend” (Isa 14:13,14). Ascending is ever the direction Satan takes.
Jesus first descended (Eph 4:9); therefore His Father exalted Him. Jesus always descended (Phil 2:7,8)
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, “He says, “for I am meek and lowly in heart” ( Matt 11:29).
Neither the lion nor its whelps have ever walked in that path ( Job 28:8)
H. WHO SHOULD CONFIRM PROPHECY?
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2Cor 13:1). The law of confirmation is an important “must” in the judging and proving of a prophetic word. God is ever ready to confirm His Word, even with signs and wonders.
No important prophetic word – especially that which deals with guidance or which would affect our life – should be accepted without full confirmation by:
1. Those Not Acquainted With The Prophecy;
2. The Scriptures;
3. Another Word From God.
The following scripture illustrates prophecy confirming what God has said:
“Seperate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have [already – past tense] called them. “This implies that there was a prior word to them (Acts 13:2).
1. WHO SHOULD JUDGE PROPHECY?
The prophetic word should be open for judgement by those who are established as prophets and men the God. We are solemnly warned: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1Jn 4:1).
The Scripture says: Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge” (1Cor 14:29).
It stands to reason that one who does not have or use the prophetic gift is unqualified to judge, save on the basis of the tests already mentioned and the written Word.
But the spirit of utterance had better be left to the judgment of men qualified in the field of prophecy.
J. WHEN SHOULD PROPHECY BE REJECTED?
It is always a sign of warning if someone refuses to have his word of revelation, prophecy or utterance brought to judgment and to confirmation by written Word of God.
It is better to reject it immediately; for regardless of how good the prophecy might sound and how wonderful the ecstasy of the moment, if it be contrary to the Word, then do not receive it under any condition.
The true man of God welcomes judgement. The spirit of Christ within him makes him “easy to be entreated” (Jas 3:17).
He is ever ready to acknowledge that he is imperfect in his flesh and is not at all infallible. At best, we only know “in part” and prophesy “in part.”
Let us not despite nor shun this tremendous operation of the Spirit of God – but let us be “wise as serpents.” Let us not enter into controversy or squabbles; yet let us not receive any or all utterances which are purported to be God’s infallible Word without proper confirmation.
Let no one take authority over you or saying: “Yea, yea, thus saith the Lord.” If God has spoken, then He has spoken; I need not fight to prove it, And if God has not spoken, all my saying “Thus saith the Lord” does not in any way force Him to say what I claimed He said.
So then, brethen, let us be wise and lowly and seek to glorify our God, neither despising prophesyings nor ignoring and shunning them. Let us enjoy their mighty blessing and power in all wisdom of the Holy Spirit. In great humility of mind, let us “go on unto perfection” (Heb 6:1).