For We Can All Prophecy

One of the great biblical truths of prophecy is that under the New Covenant, as opposed to the Old Covenant, everyone can now prophesy, if they want to. This fundamental change between the Covenants means that instead of a few rare anointed individuals, the whole family of God is equipped to move in the spiritual gift of prophecy as detailed in 1 Cor 12:10. While there will naturally and inevitably be differing levels of anointing and experience among us, the core issue is that we all can! We are a prophetic people.

The prophet Joel pronounced this inevitability in Joel 2:28,29 when as part of the outpouring of the spirit, received at Pentecost, the gift of prophecy would be released to all God’s people. Your sons and daughters will prophecy is very inclusive.

The core bible versus which proclaim this truth are both found in 1 Cor 14. Verse 1 calls us to eagerly or earnestly desire spiritual gifts, and proceeds to profoundly single out prophecy. Obedience to the word of God does not seem to leave much room for manoeuvre here. Then verse 31, while for a different reason, stipulates my above title “for you can all prophesy”, which is equally specific.

Contrary to the historical, hierarchical and authority-based interpretations of the fivefold ministry in Eph 4, the role of the Prophet is “to prepare God’s people for works of service”, verse 12, which fits comfortably into an environment where all God’s people can prophesy.

Finally, while often, and correctly, used as a definition of prophecy, Rev 19:10 makes this same point. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Proclaiming the heart of the gospel is prophecy. This also introduces the healthy condition of keeping prophecy Jesus, and not man, focused.

Mark Iles