Messenger of the Lord


The Gift of Prophecy

One of those special gifts is the gift of “prophecy” (1 Corinthians 12:10; Ephesians 4:11). Through the gift of prophecy the Holy Spirit links Himself with certain men and women who then convey to others the truth about Jesus. That is the Spirit’s job description—to “speak about” Jesus through gifted men and women called “prophets.” Knowing Jesus and what He can tell us about God is the most essential information needed by the human family, for “to know [Jesus] is life eternal” (John 17:3, KJV). MOL 2.10

In the book of Revelation, the prophet John wrote how this gift was working in his own life: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to ... his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1, 2, RSV). MOL 3.1

Here we see the divine communication system at work: The Revealer working through the Spirit to reveal the truth about God through His prophet. In Revelation 19, the angel who visited John reminded him that the “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (vs. 10, RSV). MOL 3.2

The purpose of the gift of prophecy is to tell the story of Jesus. The prompting Agent who inspires the human prophet to tell the truth about Jesus is the Holy Spirit. In Biblical shorthand, the Spirit of prophecy is “the testimony of Jesus.” MOL 3.3

Peter understood this divine system of communication: “You love him, although you have not seen him, and you believe in him, although you do not now see him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express, because you are receiving the salvation of your souls, which is the purpose of your faith in him. It was concerning this salvation that the prophets made careful search and investigation, and they prophesied about this gift which God would give you. They tried to find out when the time would be and how it would come. This was the time to which Christ’s Spirit in them was pointing, in predicting the sufferings that Christ would have to endure and the glory that would follow. God revealed to these prophets that their work was not for their own benefit, but for yours, as they spoke about those things which you have now heard from the messengers who announced the Good News by the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. These are things which even the angels would like to understand” (1 Peter 1:8-12, TEV). MOL 3.4

Genuine prophets are not motivated by personal whim or reward but by the direct moving of the Spirit of Christ, the “Holy Spirit sent from heaven.” In one sense, the “Spirit of prophecy” is the Spirit of Christ through His Divine Helper, the Holy Spirit—made known to men and women through the human prophet. In another sense, “the Spirit of prophecy” is also the testimony about Christ, the chief purpose for the gift of prophecy. MOL 3.5

Since Jesus returned to heaven, this simple, double-edged formula is one of the clearest, safest tests as to the genuineness of a “prophet’s” claim: Does he or she tell the truth about Jesus? In the spirit of Jesus? MOL 3.6

Why has the very name of Jesus, through the years, softened the voice and calmed the heart of people on all continents? Because men and women remember the courage recovered, the hope revived, and the surge of strength they received to pick up life’s challenge anew—when they remembered how much they matter to Jesus who said through the Spirit of prophecy, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10, RSV); “I will never fail you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, RSV). They have learned through experience what He meant when He said, “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you” (John 14:18, RSV). MOL 3.7