Dreams and visions were part of the Pentecostal fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28 & Acts 2:17). When God pours out his Spirit, we can expect that Christians will be inspired to prophesy. Prophesy is also mentioned in Romans 12:6, Ephesians 2:23, 3:5, 4:11 and Revelation 10:11. Paul also commands us in 1 Thessalonians 5:20 ‘Do not despise prophesying.’
Again as with dreams and vision, we can not limit God to our own experiences (whether positive or negative) but we must listen to Scripture and we can see clearly throughout that God communicates and guides his people through prophecy.
The ministry prophecy didn’t cease with the New Testament church and we see that it continued for many years after in the early church. I personally don’t believe that prophecy holds the same weight and authority as Scripture as some will argue using rhema and logos. I query this as the Bible alone is God’s perfect word. I do however believe that God still guide through prophecy, but it needs to be tested according to scripture.
- – It must be in line with the teaching and character of Scripture
- – It should lead the hearer on in the faith and basic truths
- – The person speaking should show fruits (Matthew 7:16 and Galatians 5:22-23)
- – If it’s predictive we should see if it’s fulfilled
- – It is discerned by others with the prophetic gift (1 Corinthians 14:29)
The relationship of prophecy to guidance is not easy. Clearly God does want to speak to us in relevant ways which apply to our situations. His main method of speaking is through his Word, the Bible. But he also uses prophetic preaching, teaching and Bible exegesis as well as other prophetic utterances which can play an important part in showing God’s will for us.
I am not expert in this field and therefore I urge you, if you feel that God has spoken to you through a prophecy, to discuss this with someone who has the prophetic gift. Some Christians are amazingly gullible in naively accepting any message as God’s word for them. Other Christians are so sceptical and critical that they ignore what God is speaking to them. It is a tightrope, but let us always listen carefully to what God may be saying to us and then mesaaure is against scripture.