Prophecy is hearing from God and telling others.

Prophecy is hearing from God and telling others.

Some Old Testament texts would indicate it is better never to prophesy at all than to make a mistake when claiming to speak for God.
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ Deuteronomy 18:20
But as we read the New Testament, we see strong instructions encouraging ALL believers to prophesy, not only church leaders.
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1
How strange, that the Old Testament should warn against prophesying unless you know that you know that you are a true prophet who infallibly hears the exact words spoken by God.
How strange that the New Testament inspired by the same Holy Spirit should encourage all believers to prophesy. Surely God knows that we will sometimes make mistakes! Surely He knows that we often only partly understand what He wants to tell us!
Scripture seems to put us in a no win situation. If we boldly encourage everyone to prophesy, are we encouraging false prophecy, confusion and condemnation?
Many Christian leaders today are intimidated by this problem. They teach prophecy is no longer for today. This teaching is without biblical evidence.
Others  water down the concept of New Testament prophecy so that is just another word for preaching or general exhortation. There is plenty of New Testament evidence to suggest that God still appoints believers to hear messages from heaven and to tell others what they hear, not with the same authority and literal accuracy as scripture but still representing a direct message from God.
Others only allow pastors, elders or leaders to prophesy. But this too is dangerous. If prophecy comes only from leaders, and church members are not supposed to question their authority, then errors will go undetected and mislead many.

Of course we must distinguish between honest disagreements and abusing leaders. In a healthy family, sons are allowed to disagree with fathers and brothers with brothers. Nevertheless, the freedom to disagree is not a license to start a fight.

But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brothers (and sisters). Mt 23:8
Prophecy is often a problem because so many Pentecostals have not understood the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the OT, true prophets were anointed by the Holy Spirit to prophesy. These men (and sometimes women) were given an extra strong enabling of divine grace to protect them from errors. They had to be accurate because the people they ministered to did NOT have the Holy Spirit and so could find it difficult to discern truth from error.
In the New Testament, ALL followers of Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and all believers are called to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit and to seek to exercise the gift of prophecy themselves. This equips believers to hear the voice of God and to discern truth from error in a way which was impossible in the Old Testament.
This makes the Old Testament system of theocratic government obsolete because ALL believers in the New Testament can and should be personally led by the Holy Spirit.
Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Mt 23:9

In fact, this calls into question the entire system of church government practised by many churches, Roman Catholic as well as Pentecostal.  In these churches a specially ordained class of people called Bishop, Senior Pastor and Pastor rule over the people in a similar way to the government of Old Testament Israel. Hebrew Prophets, Priests and Kings were appointed by God to exercise spiritual control over the people and to speak for God into people’s lives with the authority of God Himself.
In the New Testament, believers are exhorted to exercise discernment for themselves, to discern between true and false teachers, true and false prophecies, true and false leaders and between accurate and inaccurate teachings even from genuine preachers and leaders.
So seek the gift of prophecy; dare to risk honest mistakes, knowing there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Respect genuinely gifted leaders but question and pray about what you learn from them because no one is perfect.

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