The Spirit of Prophecy, What Is It and Who Might Possess It?
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:
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