The Spirit Of Prophecy, What Is It And Who Possesses It?

Updated on March 17, 2018

What is this "Spirit of Prophecy" According to Scripture?

What is the “spirit of prophecy”? Is it a gift that only a select few have, or could it be more common than some might think? In scripture this exact particular phrase, "spirit of prophecy," appears only once:

Revelation 19:10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

So, according to the angel speaking to John, the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy. It is interesting to note that apparently this spirit was possessed by John and his brethren. What does this mean? Does that mean that John and his brethren were all prophets? I believe that we can start revealing the answer to these questions by first looking in another of John’s writings, his first epistle:

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

The apostle Paul expounds on this:

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

So, it is only through the Holy Spirit that one can even confess that Jesus is Lord. I personally find it reassuring to know that the spirit of God dwells within all who openly confess that Jesus is Lord! We also have a wonderful reassurance from Paul concerning this in regards to or salvation:

Romans 10:9 …that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now, why is it called the “spirit of prophecy”? It is my belief that it is because Jesus was in fact the fulfillment of the law and prophets.

John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Jesus in the synagogue after reading about Himself from the prophet Isaiah:

Luke 4:20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 24:44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Even after His resurrection, Christ continued to reveal Himself in ancient scripture on the road to Emmaus:

Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Even in Acts 13 Paul “testified” in the synagogue after the law and the prophets had been read and showed how all of the law and prophets were written concerning Jesus Christ.

Acts 13:4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.

And Peter on the day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:

15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy.
19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 For David says of Him,

‘I saw the Lord always in my presence;
For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.
26 ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted;
Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;
27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades,
Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’

So now we get to the meat of the issue here, both Paul and Peter were able to show from scripture that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and prophets. Both of these men possessed this “spirit of prophecy”.

Jesus proclaimed that the time of God’s prophets had been sealed with the arrival of John the Baptist.

Luke 16:16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.

This was also foretold in by Gabriel in Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place."

In conclusion, I would suggest that anyone who confesses that Jesus is Lord has the “spirit of prophecy” that John wrote about in the book of Revelation..

© 2017 Tony Muse


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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Reincarnation explains why people are born with birth defects, whereas a single life theory does not.

      An author who writes that God is Wrathful does not understand God and is PROJECTING a part of himself onto God.

      There also seems to be a question of Mental Illness. Anyone who kills or harms another or themselves because God tells him to is Delusional. Agreed?

      What is Scripture? Whatever you want to believe. Here is another view of ancient Scripture:

    • Tony Muse profile image

      Tony Muse 3 months ago from Texas, USA

      Jay C OBrien - In regards to reincarnation I will have to defer to what is said in the book of Hebrews.

      Hebrews 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.

      If I am correct, reincarnation involves the person dying repeatedly in an attempt to somehow finally "get it right". Yes, Hebrews states that man dies only once.

      I believe with all my heart that God is loving, merciful and good.

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

      It is God's desire that all should come to repentance and love and serve Him, not as demoralized slave, but out of love that come with that personal relationship.

      Now, what about the wrath that we read about, even in the New Testament?

      John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

      I believe that God wishes to reestablish a "Utopian state", if you will in which man and God can coexist in perfect harmony with each other in mutual love. Yet, there are those who simply choose to have a rebellious and hateful heart and gravitate towards dystopia and chaos. It is hard to imagine those two diametrically opposes natures coexisting, isn't it. While I believe that it is God's will that everyone desire love and peace, a purging of those who oppose God must take place. Does that mean that God truly hates them or that He is evil? No, for all have been created in His image. But those who oppose Him will never in this, or any life time, be content to be in His presence.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      The best theory I have come across is, Reincarnation. The idea is that we return repeatedly as needed to learn spiritual growth.

      Reincarnation is the belief that each of us goes through a series of lifetimes for the purpose of spiritual growth and soul development. The past merely provided a framework of potentials and probabilities and an individual’s choices, actions, and free will in the present determines the actual experience lived this time around. Rather than being a fatalistic approach to life, it is much more one of nearly limitless opportunities.Within this framework of lessons that need to be learned as the soul strives to meet itself is the central idea that the soul is constantly experiencing the consequences of its previous choices. This concept is expressed in Biblical terminology as, “What you sow, you must reap” and is generally labeled “like attracts like” by students of reincarnation.

      I do not believe in an Evil, Jealous, Wrathful God. Do You?

    • Tony Muse profile image

      Tony Muse 3 months ago from Texas, USA

      Jay C OBrien - Let me ask you this: Are you by any chance a Universalist? Do you believe that in the end that God will save every man, regardless of the life that they lived or their relationship with or loving God?

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Simply stated Blaspheme occurs when a person depicts God as a warrior/killer; or with negative human emotions (Jealousy, Wrathful, Vengeful). Now how many times in The Bible is God depicted this way?

      Here is one suggested solution for the problem.

    • Tony Muse profile image

      Tony Muse 3 months ago from Texas, USA

      "How can we depend on what religious leaders say when they cannot agree among themselves?"

      That is a valid question, indeed. I have made it a point in my personal study not to depend on interpretation of the Bible of other people. Let's face it, our background and upbringing in our faith is bound to influence how we interpret and apply some passages. I have found myself questioning my own understanding on numerous occasions simply because I can't help but wonder if that was what was intended by the author or am I simply reading it that way because someone else has told me that it what it means, it is a very fine line that one has to walk if they are serious about wanting a true understanding.

      Yes, within the Christian faith there are many denominations, sects and even cults. I believe that this has been the result of groups of people following the teachings of man and not relying solely on the Bible as authority. Even in a situation where people were totally void of outside influences, there would be disagreement on certain aspects. I do not try to dwell on those things too much, as far as I am concerned as long as people have a good understanding on the most important aspects of the Bible and understand that God is a loving God and that a way of salvation has been made for them, we are all one in Christ. Getting overly worked up over doctrinal differences doesn't anyone any good.

      I believe that what we call "scripture" comes from the writings of people who have had a very intimate relationship with God in the past. I believe that their testimonies are true because they agree with each other and in the case of prophecies, they came to pass. I believe that it is entirely possible that there were other writings that we simply do not have because they may have been lost with time, but what we do have is a pretty comprehensive account as far as I am concerned.

      Are there certain books or passages that you would categorize as blasphemy? I'm simply trying to understand where you are coming from.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      "Hope that answers your question."

      Not really. How can we depend on what religious leaders say when they cannot agree among themselves?

      What is "Scripture?"

      Is it just whatever you believe? It is because it is?

      I do not wish to accept blasphemy as scripture. Blasphemy is any story or depiction of God with negative human emotions (Jealousy, Wrath, Vengeance). Stories about God with negative human emotions or as a Warrior are simply Projections of the authors. What say ye?

    • Tony Muse profile image

      Tony Muse 3 months ago from Texas, USA

      Jay C OBrien - Honestly, my opinion will be of a biased nature since I am a Christian. But, I believe that if it is proof that you seek concerning the validity of the ancient Hebrew and New Testament texts, then the prophecies that have been fulfilled must be weighed as evidence within themselves.

      Even with that said, there is an element of faith involved for even the Jewish leaders possessed, studied and had knowledge of the prophecies, yet their lack of faith prevented them from believing in their validity.

      With Christianity, you have a God who loves and cares for His creation with a depth that exceeds human comprehension. In my opinion, the story of redemption, forgiveness and grace is enough to set Christianity apart from other religions. As Christians we are encouraged to have a close, personal relationship with the one who created us, tat is pretty special.

      The Bible consists of writings from a multitude of writers whose testimony agrees with with one another. On the other hand, with a religion like Islam or Buddhism, the faith is pretty much based on the writings of one person alone.

      Hope that answers your question.


    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      From article:

      "What is this "Spirit of Prophecy" According to Scripture?"

      I will admit I am confused on the subject of Prophecy because many different religious groups claim Prophecy supports their leadership structure. They argue among themselves and they can't all be right. Thus, I do not believe much in Prophecy.

      What is more important is, "What is Scripture?" Again, different religious groups claim their writings are scripture and they argue among themselves. Again, they can't all be right.

      I believe all people and all religion is from the same Source. If we read all writings as if they are distorted reflections from the One Source we could conclude that all religions are ultimately All One Progressive Religion. What think ye?