What is Prophecy?

The blog this week has been written by Joanna Millward who is part of the Accessible prophecy team.

At our wedding three weeks ago, we asked four friends of ours to pray and prophesy over us in the service after we had just got married. We received some beautiful words from God which have really inspired us as a newly married couple. However, we realised that many people at our wedding would have no idea what was going on, or where these people were getting these words from! Therefore I wanted to provide an explanation on what we believe prophecy to mean, not just for the people at our wedding but for anyone who is unsure of the meaning of prophecy.

On a simple level prophecy means to hear God’s voice and then to repeat what He has said; making known His heart and intention. mhGt9WQThis may look different to different people as to how God may speak to them, but the model of prophecy in the Church means to listen to God on behalf of someone else, and then tell that person what they think God has said to them. Usually this will be a word of comfort or encouragement for the other person. However prophecy doesn’t just have to be on behalf of another person, someone could also be listening to God on behalf of a church or a particular community. When this person gets a sense, the Church or community would then weigh the prophecy together.

A common misconception about prophecy is that it always means to tell the future. While this is sometimes true, there are many aspects of the prophetic which are more about our current reality or past experiences. It can be helpful to think in terms of two broad categories of prophecy:

  • Fore-telling prophecy means speaking about the future and the things that are yet to come. This type can be quite directive and pour strategy and purpose into someone’s life.
  • Forth-telling prophecy means speaking into the present. It can mean encouraging the person in their current circumstances, or speaking God’s truth about their identity.

When we look at the Bible we can see both fore-telling and forth-telling prophecy. There are many passages in the Bible which show fore-telling prophecy. A specific example being Acts 11:28-30 where the prophet Agabus prophesies that there will be a famine. The disciples then act on this and prepare for the famine he has predicted. We are also told in 1 Corinthians 14:3 that “everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” This shows us forth-telling prophecy; speaking God’s strengthening, encouraging and comforting words to people in the here and now.
© Sarah Klockars-ClauserHowever, a more profound way of looking at prophecy is to think of it in terms of revelation.

Prophecy is fundamentally about revealing truth that is hidden so that people can see and hear.

The greatest example of this is when Jesus came to the earth and revealed to us who the Father is and what His relationship with Him is like. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:18

Jesus’ revelation of the Father is the greatest and most profound revelation – the greatest prophecy – of all time. And in the same way that Jesus revealed the Father, we as disciples who seek to follow Jesus are living as prophetic people as we reveal the Father and Jesus.

If you live a life which reveals the truth about Jesus to people, then you too, are living a prophetic life.

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