Let us be reminded of “1 Corinthians 14 NKJV: Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy … 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” Paul was encouraging believers, thus disciples, to seek that they may prophesy, thus speak a word of wisdom, or knowledge, or a word from the heart of the Father for the purpose to edify, exhort, and comfort. And such ability to prophesy is part and parcel of the life of any believer, simply because if you are a disciple of God, then you walk by the Spirit of the Lord. It is the Spirit of the Lord that equips the believer to speak and utter truths and encouragement.
It says in 1 Samuel 10 (at the time of Samuel anointing Saul): 5 After that you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. Samuel tells Saul about the group of prophets and how Saul will begin to prophesy when the Spirit came upon him. What Samuel spoke then came to be and so we read: 11 And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”
We find a similar situation in 1 Samuel 19:20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David. And when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as leader over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
Question is, was Saul now a prophet? Were the messengers of Saul prophets? No, he was anointed to be a king. He prophesied because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Just so, any believer can prophesy if so moved by the Spirit of the Lord, and this is something that needs to be pursued, yet it does not make that person a prophet.
And even though a believer may be moved to prophesy, it does not mean that there is a habitual gift of prophecy present. Many times when a believer does speak a word of prophecy, and if that word does come from God, it can simply mean the Spirit of the Lord came upon them as the Spirit came upon Saul. This is the bases if the promise to be found in Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Acts 2 reflects the cry of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 for all believers to seek and pursue prophecy because if you walk by the Spirit you shall speak the truths and the wisdom by the Spirit. One needs discernment to know when a believer is prophesizing according to the gift, or whether it is merely the move of the Spirit, or if the person is a prophet.
Revelation 19:10 NKJV: 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The phrase “the testimony of Jesus” is mentioned four times in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 1:2, it refers back to the first verse, which says that God gave Jesus Christ this special message; and Christ in turn sent it to John by an angel. In other words, what we now have as the book of Revelation is “the testimony of Jesus.” The ninth verse of the first chapter uses the phrase in the same way.
Revelation 12:17 says that the true Church has this testimony and keeps the commandments of God, meaning the same as Christ said in John 15:14, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” The Church, therefore, lives by Christ’s instructions. The commandments of God and Christ’s instructions are one and the same. The last reference is in Revelation 19:10, where the angel quickly restrains John from worshipping him. Instead, the angel said, “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
We thus see that the testimony of Jesus is the words of Christ in general and the revelation of this book in particular. The word ‘prophesy’ may refer to the declaration of wisdom, a piece of truth, or even inspired preaching. In other words, the angel was saying that John should focus on preaching the word Jesus told gave unto him, thus the same command God gave to His disciples in Matthew 28 (the Great Commission).
Therefore, we understand that if we continue to preach and teach and proclaim the full Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ – He who was the mystery who became known to all mankind – we are engaging in the spirit of prophecy for we are declaring the truth of the Kingdom, of our Lord and the reality of the things that were and the things that will be and the things that are now. Therefore, when any believer engages in speaking the truth of Jesus and the truth of the Gospel, as instructed in the Great Commission, we are abiding and upholding the spirit of prophecy for we are declaring the unveiled mystery of our Lord and the truth of John 3:16.
This, however, still does not make all believers prophets. It merely reminds believers of the importance of preaching the truth of the Gospel, and only such a truth for any other truth DOES NOT ABIDE IN THE SPIRIT OF PROPHESY. Again, we can only abide in such prophecy if we declare the truth of our Lord and no other distortion of the truth. For this reason, Paul warns in Galatians 1: 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert[a] the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
We are also reminded of the Lord’s Word in Revelations 22: 18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Even though much of what is written in Revelations was a prophecy of things to come hundreds of years ago, and while some in our time still need to be fulfilled, the entire Book speaks of the Gospel and the Truth of Jesus who is the beginning and the end – the Alpha and Omega. So speaking of the past, the present, and the future when dealing with Jesus and the Kingdom, is preaching the Gospel as taught by Jesus and made clear unto us by the Spirit.
This is therefore the “testimony of Jesus” which is the spirit of prophecy. We read in Revelations 12: 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. This is talking about those who stand opposed to the ways of the devil, including therefore all believers. We overcome by the testimony of Jesus, whose Blood has redeemed us.
After all, we as believers are called to deny ourselves and to take up the cross, therefore not loving our lives to the death, for this is the mark of a true believer and someone who walks in the spirit of prophecy. But again, does this make all believers prophets, or moving according to the gift of prophecy? No. It merely means all believers are called to yield and submit to the Holy Spirit in order for us to declare the testimony and truth of Jesus, so that we may abide and uphold the spirit of prophecy.