Summary: What is the gift of Prophecy? Tongues? Interpretation? This clear and concise message brings clarity and understanding of the Holy Spirits gifts


The Gift of Prophecy, The Gift of Tongues, and The Gift of Interpretation

Dr. Russell K. Tardo

I. The Gift of Prophecy

The gift of prophecy is the most predominate of the Gifts of the Spirit in that it is the gift manifested most often. In Acts 2, Peter says that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the manifestation of speaking in tongues is not the result of too much wine, but is fulfillment of the prophecy of the prophet Joel (Joel 2), a sign of the end times.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. [Joel 2:17-18]

This is significant because in the Old Testament only the priests and prophets prophesied. But not so in the New Testament. Sons, daughters, women, men from all walks of life are prophesying and speaking in tongues.

For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. [1 Cor. 14:31]

Here we have Paul’s words on the subject, but caution must also be exercised. Because the gift of prophecy is the one most used, it is also the gift most misused. Paul does, however, go on to say that believers should covet to prophesy. It ministers to the entire church.

A. What is Prophecy?

Prophecy is divinely inspired utterance concerning past, present or future events in a known language to the church or to people, or even to places or things. God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the mountains.

The gift of prophecy is exercised when God anoints a believer to be His vessel. He speaks through your vocal chords but it comes by divine inspiration. This gift is one of the most misunderstood and misused gifts.

B. The Most Predominate Misunderstandings Concerning the Gift of Prophecy.

1. Many confuse the gift of prophecy with the ministry office of prophet.

And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers. [Eph. 4:11]

The gift of prophecy does not make one a prophet. There are certain characteristics (Numbers, chapter 12) which will distinguish the ministry office of a prophet which will not characterize one who has the gift of prophecy.

The Lord Himself will appear to the person and will set him in that ministry office. It can be an actual appearance of the Lord or it can be through dream or vision. Now just because the Lord appears to you doesn’t make you a prophet. If a person is a prophet, he will know it and we will know it.

2. The prophet will have other gifts of the Spirit operating in his ministry as well. The revelation gifts will also operate, i.e., the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, discerning of spirits. A prophet was called a seer in the Old Testament because they saw into the Spirit realm. That’s not necessarily the case in the person who simply has the gift of prophecy.

3. The gifts of healing, the working of miracles and the gift of faith will accompany the prophet’s ministry. Old Testament examples are those of Elijah and Elisha, while a modern day example would be William Branham. Such is not always the case however, for John the Baptist was a prophet. Jesus said a greater prophet never lived than John, yet you don’t find recorded in Scripture that John the Baptist worked a miracle. We must always say there are exceptions for God cannot be placed in a box. God will do what He chooses to do. Bear in mind also that prophets were not always popular people.

4. There is a uniqueness that accompanies the deliverance of the prophet’s message. While the gift of prophecy is generally spoken, it can be sung and that’s Bible. After all, prophecy is divinely inspired utterance and the psalms are songs and they are all prophecy.

...who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals . . . . [1 Chron. 25:1]

Here prophecy came through the playing of musical instruments. It can also come through vision, dream or it can even be written. The New Testament book of Revelation is a prophecy. In fact, the entire Bible is prophecy because it’s divinely inspired utterance. All these characterize the gift of prophecy as well as the office of prophet.

The prophet’s message is delivered in a way that is totally unique. In the Old Testament the prophet not only spoke the prophecy, but also acted out his message. For example, in Jeremiah, chapter 27, Hosea acted out the prophecy God gave him in that he married a harlot as a sign to Israel concerning God’s judgment. See also Ezekiel, chapter 4, where God told Ezekiel that a siege was going to be laid against the city, food would be rationed and the people would finally resort to eating their children. God told Ezekiel to act it out telling him that the people would eat human excrement. God gave Ezekiel a dispensation in verse 15, telling him to eat cow’s dung instead. Anyone still want to be a prophet? This acting out the message is not necessarily the case with the gift of prophecy.

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