In his great sermon, right after raising up the crippled man at the "Gate Beautiful" Peter referred to Israelites as "children of the prophets" (Acts 3:25, KJV). Surely, he assigned this title to them because the Jews owed their spiritual existence to the ministry of the prophets who had guided them through the process of redemption into a valid relationship with God. With hearts full of gratitude and faith, they often quoted various prophetic voices like Enoch, Job, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others who wore this holy mantle—spiritual prophetic pillars who, by divine inspiration, mapped out the future of God's chosen nation. Sharing what Yahweh had revealed to them, these oracles of God "begat" in Abraham's seed a revelation of truth that opened the door to their destiny. Thus, they became spiritual "fathers" to the people of God.
Those who have been born again during this era of grace can also claim this name: first, because we have been grafted into Israel, inheriting the titles that rested upon God's holy nation; and second, because our New Covenant worldview was foretold and shaped by the prophets of the former era.
How ironic it is that Enoch, the first recognized prophet, is quoted foretelling the last event of this age, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints" (Jude 1:14, NKJV). The ancient patriarch, Job, taught us much about how to react to suffering, but he was also subject to prophetic outbursts revealing the future, such as:
"I know my Redeemer lives, and He will stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God" (Job 19:25-26).
Each prophet after Enoch and Job passed on a unique spiritual legacy and message to future generations:
— Abraham was identified by God as a prophet in Genesis 20:7. He preached monotheism in a polytheistic world (anointed preaching is prophecy on its foundational level). When his wife, Sarah, was barren, he prophesied they would have offspring as numerous as the stars. He foretold that his seed would be strangers for 400 years in a land that was not theirs and that they would be enslaved and mistreated (Gen. 15:13). Most importantly, he declared that they would come out and that through his seed—the Messiah who would yet be born—"all nations" and "all the families of the earth" would be "blessed" (Gen. 22:18, 12:3).
— Moses, over four centuries later, prophesied the 10 plagues in Egypt and the method and means of Israel's deliverance. He received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, written by God on tablets of stone, and the Torah and prophesied of an even greater prophet to come.
— Jeremiah, the boy prophet, picked up on Moses' revealed truth and prophetically lifted it to a higher level, declaring that the same God would write His law, not just on stony tablets but on the hearts of His people in the New Covenant.
— Ezekiel also foretold the availability of this transformational, spiritual rebirth: "Thus says the LORD God ... I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you; I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes." (Ezek. 36:2, 26-27)
— Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah, the Anointed One who would make these things happen, would be born of a virgin, and His name would be called Immanuel (meaning God with us). (See Isa. 7:14).
When God was manifested in the flesh and walked in the world, the human race arrived at a pivotal, prophetic turning point. Numerous prophecies converged on that generation. Jesus Himself was not only the Son of God, He was "a prophet, powerful in deed and word"—the greater prophet Moses foretold would come (Luke 24:19; Deut. 18:15-19; John 6:14; Acts 3:22-23, 7:37).
Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension were all necessary steps to make it possible for His prophetic Spirit to be shared with all who confess Him as Lord—thus, passing on a prophetic kind of spiritual DNA. In Peter's Pentecost message, he claimed that the Israelites witnessing the event were seeing the fulfillment of a prophecy of Joel had declared centuries prior—that all of God's people would become prophets through an encounter with the Holy Spirit:
"'In the last days it shall be,' says God, 'that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even on My menservants and maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17-18, based on Joel 2:28-29).
From that pivotal point forward, every child of God in the New Covenant has been empowered to prophesy on at least one of the following three levels:
The first level is declaring the Word of God under the power of the Holy Spirit. The second level is declaring future events by echoing prophets who gave original forecasts for the future. The third level is initiating prophetic insights—to individuals, to groups, churches or the church as a whole, or to all humanity—through dreams, visions, revelations or instantaneous utterances
Of course, the third type of prophetic utterance is the most refined. Not everyone is awakened on that level. However, all New Covenant sons and daughters of God are "children of the prophets," so the prophetic word is very much a part of our spiritual makeup. Therefore, on the first foundational level, we should all be prophesying every day—just by sharing the gospel.
First Corinthians 14:31 reveals, "You may all prophesy," and Romans 12:6 claims believers "prophesy according to the proportion of faith." In the simplest way, this can just involve sharing your faith, for "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10). If we testify of what Jesus has done (in our lives and the lives of others), we are automatically prophesying that He can and will do them again. When God speaks to you, either by the written Word or the living Word, it is a very compelling thing. Those who hear His voice should burn in their hearts to tell others. Freely we have received; freely we must give—that we might bring to others "edification, exhortation and comfort." (See 1 Cor. 14:3-5, 2 Pet. 1:16-21.) One of the most edifying and comforting prophetic words to utter is repeating the first one that was given—by the Lord Himself after the fall when He prophesied to the serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). There is no better way of summing all of this up than to quote Amos 3:8:
"The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?"
In this episode of Discover Your Spiritual Identity with Mike Shreve on Charisma Podcast Network, learn more about the prophetic nature and calling that is part of your spiritual DNA.
Mike Shreve has taught on the spiritual identity of believers for over 30 years. This powerful revelation is featured on his weekly podcast on cpnshows.com and a weekly TV program on It's Supernatural Network—both titled Discover Your Spiritual Identity. It is also the theme of his Charisma House book titled WHO AM I? Dynamic Declarations of Who You Are in Christ. A product of the Jesus Movement Era, Mike has traveled evangelistically in the United States and overseas since 1970 with an emphasis on healing and the prophetic.
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