I was surprised to hear a Pastor say that He didn't believe in prophetic ministry or that individuals can still hear God. When I asked him how he knew what to preach without hearing God;s voice, he said, "Well, I can hear that!" I know that I could not counsel without hearing God's voice. The Word of God clearly says ...
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Rev 3:19-20 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. KJV
The question is, "What does hearing God's voice mean to you?" We had to go back to the Bible to find out what it really teaches about hearing God and prophetic ministry. Are prophecies, dreams and visions really being poured out on all flesh as the Prophet Joel predicted? Is God really willing to speak to each of us through prophetic ministry? Is hearing God's voice a normal part of communion with God?
Many people have an Old Testament definition of hearing God's voice: a prophet who sternly corrects and who predicts destruction. Others pray for direction and specific words of wisdom for themselves and others all the time, believing that God gives wisdom liberally. Many times, my own personal direction has been "confirmed by a witness" who heard from God, like Paul was confirmed in Acts. Often this has been through prophetic ministry.
Acts 21:10-11 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. KJV
Most of us prefer the New Testament definition of the gift of prophecy: for edification, exhortation and comfort to the church. (l Cor. 14:3) Did you know that is the one thing you are commanded to covet, "Covet to prophesy?" KJV Have you obeyed these commands to desire the gift and to receive those that have it?
1 Cor 14:1-2 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
Matt 10:40-41 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward ... NIV
I used to believe that hearing God's voice and the gift prophesy ceased after Acts 2. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me that most of the scripture in the New Testament, about the hearing gifts, was written after Acts! How could I believe 1 Cor. 13 and not believe chapters 12 and 14? While 1 Cor 13:9-10 says, "For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away," I don't believe that this will be fulfilled until the only perfect one comes back again. He had already come and gone when this passage was written.
Actually, my passionate desire for hearing God's voice and to hear His heart of love for people overtook my doubts and fears. I cannot imagine trying to intercede for people if the Holy Spirit did not tell me how to pray. In every prayer counseling/ministry session, our precious Holy Spirit orchestrates in unique ministry to each individual. He tells me what questions to ask. He chooses which people to lead to us for ministry because He knows how He can operate through each of us as He wills. He is the one that convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment, by speaking to each one of us.
1 Peter 4:10-11 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. KJV
There are different types of prophetic anointing and ministry specified in the New Testament:
The O.T. and N.T. are full of examples of prophetic words to congregations and to individuals. All personal prophecy is conditional on the obedient cooperation of the recipient. For instance, the prophet anointed Saul as King, but his repeated life style of disobedience eventually stole his destiny from him. There is prophecy that is not conditional: end times prophecies will come true regardless of the disobedience of man.
The Bible is clear as to what our response to prophecy should be:
1 Cor 14:39-40 Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
1 Cor 14:3-4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
1 Thess 5:19-21 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. KJV
*** The Strong's definition of word - NT:4487 - in this case, is the rhema word:
rhema (hray'-mah); from NT:4483; an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically); by implication, a matter or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute); with a negative naught whatever:(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
James 4:17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
Heb 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hab 2:2-3 2 Then the LORD replied:
"Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
1 Tim 1:18-20 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
One of the strangest lies in the church has been that only men can be five fold ministers, like prophets, because there are records of the prophetess and women with the gift of prophesy in the New Testament.
Luke 2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser ...
Acts 21:8-9 ... we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. KJV
What we need are more schools of the prophets like scripture records (1 Kings 2 and 4) where those with the gifts were trained by others like Elijah or Samuel. Many people in these last days find that they can hear God clearly, but do not have the instruction and accountability to qualified prophetic oversight.
The stronger the gift and the higher the office, the greater the accountability should be. Any great thing that God does, the devil will counterfeit. Let's obey the scripture which commands us "do all things in order" -- not to be afraid of doing all things.
QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT! but desire earnestly to edify, exhort and comfort with the prophetic word. Hearing God's voice is a normal part of the Christian life.
\o/ \o/ \o/ Open those arms wide and receive it!
Prov 7:2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Believing His Word, Carlotta