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Preaching and Exhortation

Prophets not only deliver messages from God verbatim with "thus saith the Lord",  prophets also
preach.  The Amplified Bible calls prophets inspired preachers.  John the Baptist  was a prophet
and more than a prophet.  Jesus stated that John the Baptist was Elijah who was to come.  John
the Baptist
made straight the way of the Lord.  He preached the coming of God's kingdom.  

Jonah - Preached a message of doom to the city because of immorality.  

Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32) being prophets themselves strengthened the brethren by a lengthy
message.

Prophets give messages to strengthen and exhort the brethren and these messages do not
necessarily begin with, 'Thus saith the Lord...'  The Lord often will give a theme, or simply the
actual feeling of what is in his heart, to His prophets to understand His heart, who are then able
to share in their own words what the heart of the Lord is.

Prophets can also have a gift of preaching and/or teaching by divine revelation.   In the case of
my former pastor, Robert Richardson, at Trinity Worship Center, his high calling is pastoral but
he also has a prophetic gift which exhibits revelation knowledge.  In the case of my current
pastor, I would say that her stronger gift is prophetic and then her secondary gift is pastoral.


Revelation Knowledge and Discernment

In biblical times, it was expected for a prophet to operate in revelation knowledge and
discernment.

Luke 7:39 tells the story of Jesus reclining at a man's house for dinner when a woman of ill repute
entered and began to worship him.  "The man who owned the house said in his heart, If this man
(Jesus) were a prophet he would know who and what manner of person this woman is who is
touching him, and that she is a sinner."  

This scripture says to me that it was common knowledge in Jesus' day that a prophet was
expected to operate in discernment.  Another event recorded in which a person in Jesus' time
makes a statement which reflects the abilities that people expected to find in the ministry of a
prophet was the story of the woman at the well.  Jesus told this woman that she had had five
husbands and was presently living with a man who wasn't her husband.  00

The woman said, "I perceive though art a prophet," because Jesus was operating in revelation
knowledge.  This woman assumed that a person operating in revelation knowledge would be a
prophet.  

In both these cases it was expected that a prophet would operate in supernatural discernment.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that he preferred that people prophesy because if all prophesy and
an unbeliever enters, the secrets of his heart are disclosed......(1 Cor 14:25)  This exposition of
the secrets of our hearts is discernment.

The scriptures often relate that Jesus 'knew' what was in a person's heart.  Many, if not all
prophets, operate in this gift of discernment, or knowing what is in a person's heart, revealed
intuitively through the spirit.  Often a prophet gets revelation of wisdom or knowledge through this
sudden, unexplained "knowing".

This sudden or unexplained knowing often makes those who have a prophetic gift in this area
sensitive people who are sometimes hurt easily because they "know" and perceive things that
most cannot.  When I was growing up I didn't understand why I was such a sensitive person
around other people.  I knew my feelings were sensitive but didn't understand why. My feelings
seemed to be more intense than those of other people.  After I began to learn about my gifting I
realized I was more sensitive than others because where a normal person does not easily
discern what is in the hearts of others, I was able to easily discern the moods, attitudes, heart,
and integrity of people everyday.


Intercession

But if there be prophets, and if the word of the Lord be with them, let them now make
intercession to the Lord of hosts......(Jeremiah 27:18)

Prophets are called to intercede, especially with prophetic prayer.  Prophetic prayer is God
giving the prophetic person an urge to pray for a particular situation and gives them the outcome
to pray as well as the situation. In other words, God gives the person praying the need that needs
to be met and the answer to the problem.  The prophet will pray God's will as a solution to the
need.  God will often drop an instant request for prayer into the hearts of His prophets.  These
'prayer requests' are for that instant and according to God's purpose.  They are often very
intense burdens to pray that are all but impossible to resist.

Foretelling the Future

There are many accounts of prophets foretelling the future.  The old testament is loaded with
them but because we are discussing the relevance of prophecy today I am including two events
from the New Testament.  In Acts, there are two records of a prophet named Agabus foretelling
the future.  

In Acts 11:27, Agabus stood up during a meeting and tells of a coming famine in all the world.

Then, in Acts 21:11, Agabus came to see Paul and took his belt and prophesied that Paul was
going to be bound by the Jews in the future. (Acts 21:11)  

Agabus did not include a Rhema word from God in either account.  His prophecy only disclosed
a coming crisis.  This is important to some people because they can wonder why do I have all
these prophesies of doom?  God warns His people of coming crisis because He loves us.  I
personally ask God to give me prophesies of good news also because I believe that it is
scriptural to desire to be balanced in all things, and God grants the request.

Dreams and Visions

What is the difference between a seer and a prophet?  A prophet can either be a non-seeing
prophet or a seer.

A seer is one whose prophetic ministry is largely based in the realm of receiving from the Lord in
the form of dreams and visions.  Seers have a larger percentage of their prophetic gift centered
around vision, receiving messages, and revelation knowledge by dreams and visions.

Do dreams and visions come from God?  Yes.

The bible says:
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Indeed God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it.  In a dream, a vision of the night,
when sound sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds.  Then He opens the ears of
men, and seals their instruction.  Job 33:16

And he said, Hear now My words:  If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself
known unto him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. (Num 12:6)

I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions and used similitudes by the
ministry of the prophets.  (Hos 12:10)

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out 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.  (Acts 2:17)
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The difference between a prophet's dreams and those of another person is that a prophet will
receive messages for the future and for the body of Christ.  An individual who is not prophetic will
usually dream of things that God is speaking to them regarding themselves.

Another point to remember with dreams and visions is that the prophets in the bible didn't always
understand what their prophecies, dreams, and visions meant and neither will we always know
what the message is regarding the dreams and visions we are seeing.  The prophets
responsibility is to be faithful in revealing what we've seen to the proper person or spiritual
authority.

Does it make it any less prophetic when our dreams come in forms that are symbolic?  
Absolutely not.  Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's prophetic dream using symbols of cows and corn.  
The Holy Spirit gave the revelation to Joseph that those symbols were symbols of years of plenty
and years of famine.

Joseph dreamed of his future.  His brothers and his father instantly knew that Joseph's dream
symbols of the sun, the moon, and the stars were symbols for themselves; and they were
offended that Joseph's dream suggested they'd be bowing down to him.  His dreams were very
symbolic but undeniably prophetic.

The book of Daniel and Revelation are so full of symbolism that it's nearly impossible for a lay
person to interpret them.

Does the heavy symbolism make those books and those dreams any less prophetic?  No!

















Copyright 2008 Mia Sherwood Ministries