Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;– Romans 12:6
We saw how the SPIRITUAL gift of prophecy was the desire and burden to FORTH-tell God’s Word. This is the roll of preaching – to boldly declare God’s Word. There is no need to look for new revelation when we have 66 books of Holy, Complete, Powerful, Inexhaustible revelation to expound! There are also imitation gifts of prophecy to watch out for.
There is a FLESHLY gift of prophecy. This could also be equated to the mere talent of eloquent speech and charisma. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:1, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.” He later says in 2 Corinthians 3:12, “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.” Paul makes a distinction between the SPIRITUAL gift of prophecy and the FLESHLY gift of prophecy. Many church-goers are so used to witnessing the “FLESHLY” gift of prophecy, they are not able to identify the SPIRITUAL gift of prophecy. You may be worried now. How do you tell the difference. Look at what Paul continues saying in 1 Corinthians 2 –
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Do you want to know how to tell the difference between SPIRITUAL and FLESHLY prophecy? Take note of who gets the glory. The PROPHET or the LORD? Now keep in mind there are carnal church-going idolaters who crave idolatry and will idolize a person regardless of who the person is. But is the prophet (or preacher) building up himself or building up the Lord and the church? Paul makes it clear that he did not come to dazzle with brilliance but to demonstrate the power of God THROUGH HIS OWN WEAKNESS! Why? That their faith “should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” True, spiritual prophesying edifies, exhorts, and comforts (1 Corinthians 14:3).
There is also a DEVILISH gift of prophecy. In Matthew 24:24 our Lord says, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” There are those today who show great signs and wonders which are not given by the Lord. There are many who claim to be prophets in the sense of foretelling events who do so with devilish influences. There are false prophets today who seem to hold an unnatural power over congregations. Many many people are seduced by these prophets. We can apply the same test with these DEVILISH prophets as we can the FLESHLY prophets – who is getting the glory? The “prophet” or the Lord? There are well-known false prophets today who make millions of dollars a year from dazzling their audience with brilliance. Who is getting the glory?
Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that in his weakness the Lord was exalted. God uses the foolishness of preaching – not man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:21). This is TRUE, SPIRITUAL prophecy.