The gift of prophecy often confused with the prophetic office. There is a ministry of the prophet, but not everyone who prophesies is a prophet. To stand in the office of a prophet one should also have some gift of revelation of at least two, either word of wisdom, word of knowledge, or discerning of spirits. In other words any two of the gifts of revelation plus prophecy and a consistent manifestation of the two of the revelation gifts.
The gift of prophecy is also confused with preaching. Preaching is to proclaim, to announce, to cry, to tell. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15 Jesus did not say prophesy to every creature. and also Paul did not say men will be saved by foolishness of prophesying. “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Corinthian 1:21)
In the New Testament, prophets sometimes are referred to a small group who witnessed the resurrected Christ and were given a special mission by Him as His representative (1Corinthians 9:1, 15:5, 8) as was the case of the Old Testament prophets, The primary responsibility of the New Testament prophets was not predicting the future but presenting God’s message to their contemporaries. Old Testament prophecy is foretelling, while the New Testament prophecy is forth-telling. Example of forth-telling (1 Corinthian 14:3) But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
Old Testament prophecy dealt mostly with the future, sometimes centuries to happen. The New Testament prophecy is not so much what is going to happen in the future but it is a ministry to make people better and most useful Christian. We have a guest speaker from neighboring church and he came with this minister that prophesied to me that I will be visited by an angel, for God has a message for me and he walks away and came back with our Bishop and confirmed the prophecy.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracle, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. (Corinthian 12:27-31)
Paul is talking here about the most excellent way is the way of love.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the gift of prophecy is the most important gift as scriptures in 1 Corinthians 14:5 have said. “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.”
These gifts of revelation are all inspired utterance by the Holy Spirit.
- Tongues are inspired utterance in an unknown tongue.
- Prophecy is an inspired utterance in a known tongue.
- Interpretation of tongue is an inspired utterance in your own tongue to give interpretation to an unknown tongue.