The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 2—Prophetic Terms Defined

“Hear now My words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” Numbers 12:6. AGP 22.1

This statement explains the operation of what the Scriptures elsewhere call “the gift of prophecy.” 1 Corinthians 13:2. It also explains the following scripture: “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21. AGP 22.2

“The gift of prophecy” is one of the special gifts of God extended through the Holy Spirit to the human family. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. This gift is also called “the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:17), which is defined by the same inspired writer to be “the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10. The term, the prophetic gift, which we shall constantly employ, is thus clearly identical in meaning with the several Biblical expressions here cited. AGP 22.3

God’s purpose in providing and bestowing the prophetic gift is clearly to re-establish and maintain communication with man, who has been estranged and separated from Him through sin. This gift operates through prophets, by means of visions, dreams, inspiration, and revelation. The product, prophecy, is a divine message from God to the human family. The great Book called “the word of God” (Hebrews 4:12) and the “Holy Scriptures” (Romans 1:2) came to mankind through the gracious operation of the prophetic gift (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). AGP 22.4

The prophetic gift is not the message itself, nor is it the gospel; neither is it the Bible. Rather, it is the method, the process, the means, by which the divine message comes from God to man. It is an essential and inseparable part of the great plan of redemption. The gift, therefore, dates back to the day when the Lord resumed communication with Adam after his banishment from Eden. This gift has never been withdrawn; it still remains God’s abiding gift to the human family. Through this channel He has been revealing Himself and giving His messages to the AGP 22.5

world, ever since our first parents left their Eden home. There have been periods, some short and some long, when the gift has not been manifested in “open vision” (1 Samuel 3:1), but the gift has never been permanently withdrawn. At such times as God has deemed best, the manifestation of the gift has reappeared, and through the medium of visions and dreams prophets have brought divine messages to the Lord’s needy people. AGP 23.1