The gift of Prophecy is the special grace to prayerfully search so as to gain insight into the counsel and purpose of God concerning the past, present and future, and speak-forth or tell-forth (proclaim) or foretell (predict) in faithful words as moved (inspired) by the Holy Spirit at the given time, the divine counsel which the whole Church or some members need to be aware of. Joh 4:16-19; Act 21:9; 1Pe 1:10-12; 2Pe 1:19-21.
PROPHET is from the Greek word “prophetes” (one who speaks for another as spokesman or interpreter (Exo 7:1) or one who speaks by another spirit as inspired speaker) used for some FORTH-TELLERS like sacred singers (1Ch 25:1) and poets (Tit 1:12), or FORE-TELLERS like pseudo-prophets, augurers and oracles (1Ki 18:19). PROPHET was borrowed from Greek and used in the Bible to describe a divinely INSPIRED SPEAKER or SINGER (Heb= nabi), who may also be a REVELATORY SEER (Heb= ro’eh) and INSIGHTFUL VISIONER (Heb= chozeh). True Prophets search God’s mind to SEE and GRASP the hidden truth from God and are moved by the Holy Spirit to SPEAK the Word from the Mind of God (1Pe 1:10-12). The Bible in 1Sa 9:8-10; 2Sa 24:11; 1Ch 29:29 described the three nabiystic Prophets: Samuel as also ro’eh, Nathan as nabi, Gad as also chozeh.
While revelation comes to the prophet while awake and alert, vision comes while the prophet is asleep or in some diminished consciousness. Inspiration comes by the Holy Spirit indicating in the prophet what the counsel of God is and moving him/her to speak from God.
When God began the nabiyistic Prophetic movement in Israel (through Samuel 1Sa 10:5-6; 1Sa 19:20), they supplemented or complemented the Priests in meeting the need to preach, interpret and teach God’s Word and Counsel. This was especially useful in the absence, shortage and exclusion of Priests, as welll as in neglect and negligence of Priests. Prophets went where Priests couldn’t, and went to those who wouldn’t come to the Priests. Priests became Priests by birth, gender and training, while Prophets became Prophets by call, gift and training.
Prophets have the gifts of Revelation and Discernment combined with the gift of word of Exhortation for effective delivery of their prophetic messages Act 15:32; 1Co 14:3. Prophets are vast in Scriptures and prayerfully eager to discover God’s purpose AND TRUTH Dan 9:1-3; Dan 9:22-23; Dan 10:11-12; Dan 12:8-9.
Christians should pray like Prophet Daniel who prayed according to what God has revealed earlier to the Prophets, not merely as we wish, desire or think (Dan 9; Joh 14:10-15; and 15:7). When people say “prophetic”, this does not always mean prophecy or prophesying, rather this may mean that what is spoken shall be honoured by God. Prophetic benediction (Num 6:22-27), declaration (1Ki 17:1), intercession (Gen 20:7, 17; Job 42:8; Act 4:25-31; Jas 5:14-18), or imprecation (1Ki 22:28; Act 5:8-10; Act 13:8-11) are when a Prophet or a spiritual person makes an intercession or declaration based on faith in divine principles derived from earlier revelations, and also backs it up with prayers with the conviction that God before Whom the prophet/prophetess stands will honour his/her words. Prophetic preaching is when a spiritual person preaches eternal truths derived from the earlier revelation, as is in the Scriptures, to exhort or comfort unto edification (Act 15:32; 1Co 14:3; 1Co 14:37).
Biblically, to prophesy means to speak the mind of God for revelation, discernment, exhortation and conviction (1Co 14:3, 1Co 14:24 and 1Co_14:25). Therefore Christian Prophecy is not the same as soothsaying, divination, augury or prognostication of vain secrets, presumptions and every future event. Prophecy is rather, the timely proclamation of the counsel of God (what God intends to do and intends us to know and do) for the hour, which is according to His pleasure and predetermined purpose. Isa 47:12-14; Jer 23:16-18; Dan 10:21).)
Moses said a false prophet may be right in prediction and signs and yet be wrong in proclamation of God’s counsel (Deu 13:1-5; Deu 18:20-22).So the true test of prophecy is compliance with the Scriptures not confirmation of predictions and signs.
End-time Wisdom is to know that the false prophets shall do great signs and deceive many (Mat 24:22-28; Rev 13:13-18).