Shall we prophesy?
The gift of prophecy is the ability to speak God’s word to others, or more appropriately to be open for God to speak God’s word through us. Prophets do not predict the future, but offer insight and perspective on current conditions and how things might turn out if changes aren’t made. Prophets are incisive, clear, and often controversial, communicators. Prophets see things that others often don’t, and they have the courage to “tell it like it ought to be.”
• How does prophecy impact your life at home, at work, in relationships with friends?
• What other gifts best complement prophecy, and enable you to increase the value and impact of your gift
• In what ways can you develop and improve the use of prophecy?
• Where do other people see evidence of this gift in your life?
Be gifted! Amen
I am touched by St John who was the most aged disciple. He was blessed to see visions and prophecies to come.
We have the book of Revelations; most of which is on his visions.
We may ask “Who wrote the book?”
Second-century Christian writers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Melito the bishop of Sardis, and Clement of Alexandria and the author of the Muratorian fragment identify John the Apostle as the “John” of Revelation.
John was not without attempts on his life.
John was allegedly banished by the Roman authorities to the Greek island of Patmos, where, according to tradition, he wrote the Book of Revelation. … It is traditionally believed that John was the youngest of the apostles and survived them. He is said to have lived to an old age, dying at Ephesus sometime after AD 98.
St. John the Apostle, also called Saint John the Evangelist or Saint John the Divine, (flourished 1st century CE; Western feast day December 27; Eastern feast days May 8 and September 26), in Christian tradition, an apostle of Jesus and the author of three letters, the Fourth Gospel, and possibly the Revelation to John in the New Testament. He played a leading role in the early church at Jerusalem.
John’s authoritative position in the church after the Resurrection is shown by his visit with St. Peter to Samaria to lay hands on the new converts there. It is to Peter, James(not the brother of John but “the brother of Jesus”), and John that St. Paul successfully submitted his conversion and mission for recognition. What position John held in the controversy concerning the admission of the Gentiles to the church is not known; the evidence is insufficient for a theory that the Johannine school was anti-Pauline—i.e., opposed to granting Gentiles membership in the church.
John the Evangelist, SaintSt. John the Evangelist, elephant ivory plaque, Carolingian, early 9th century; in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Overall 18.3 × 9.4 × 0.7 cm.Photograph by Katie Chao. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, The Cloisters Collection, 1977 (1977.421)
John’s subsequent history is obscure and passes into the uncertain mists of legend. At the end of the 2nd century, Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, claims that John’s tomb is at Ephesus, identifies him with the beloved disciple, and adds that he “was a priest, wearing the sacerdotal plate, both martyr and teacher.” That John died in Ephesus is also stated by St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon c. 180 CE, who says John wrote his Gospel and letters at Ephesus and Revelation at Pátmos. During the 3rd century two rival sites at Ephesus claimed the honour of being the apostle’s grave. One eventually achieved official recognition, becoming a shrine in the 4th century. In the 6th century the healing power of dust from John’s tomb was famous (it is mentioned by the Frankish historian St. Gregory of Tours). At this time also, the church of Ephesus claimed to possess the autograph of the Fourth Gospel.
Legend was also active in the West, being especially stimulated by the passage in Mark 10:39, with its hints of John’s martyrdom. Tertullian, the 2nd-century North African theologian, reports that John was plunged into boiling oil from which he miraculously escaped unscathed. During the 7th century this scene was portrayed in the Lateran basilica and located in Rome by the Latin Gate, and the miracle is still celebrated in some traditions. In the original form of the apocryphal Acts of John(second half of the 2nd century) the apostle dies, but in later traditions he is assumed to have ascended to heaven like Enoch and Elijah. The work was condemned as a gnostic heresy in 787 CE. Another popular tradition, known to St. Augustine, declared that the earth over John’s grave heaved as if the apostle were still breathing.
The legends that contributed most to medieval iconography are mainly derived from the apocryphal Acts of John. These Acts are also the source of the notion that John became a disciple as a very young man. Iconographically, the young, beardless type is early (as in a 4th-century sarcophagus from Rome), and this type came to be preferred (though not exclusively) in the medieval West. In the Byzantine world the evangelist is portrayed as old, with long white beard and hair, usually carrying his Gospel. His symbol as an evangelist is an eagle. Because of the inspired visions of the book of Revelation, the Byzantine churches entitled him “the Theologian”; the title appears in Byzantine manuscripts of Revelation but not in manuscripts of the Gospel.
The spiritual gift of prophecy is an extraordinary and unique gift. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” This gift is a blessing to the church and should not be quenched or despised (1 Thessalonians 5:20). Those who have the gift of prophecy differ from the Old Testament Prophets who spoke the authoritative Word of God directly. Their words were recorded as Scripture as they proclaimed, “Thus says The Lord,” whereas the messages from those with the spiritual gift of prophecy must be tested (1 Corinthians 14:29-33; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; 1 John 4:1-3). In the New Testament the Apostles, not the prophets, took over the role of Scriptural proclamation from the Old Testament Prophets.
The Greek word for the gift of prophecy ispropheteia which is the ability to receive a divinely inspired message and deliver it to others in the church. These messages can take the form of exhortation, correction, disclosure of secret sins, prediction of future events, comfort, inspiration, or other revelations given to equip and edify the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3-4, 24-25). Again, they do not constitute the authoritative Word of God, but are the human interpretation of the revelation that was received. They are spoken in human words through a human mind which is why they must be tested against the Scriptures (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21).
The Holy Spirit gives the gift of prophecy to some believers to make God’s heart known and to edify the church. This gift is for the benefit of both believers and unbelievers and is a sign that God is truly among His church (1 Corinthians 14:22-25). Those with this gift are sensitive to both the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the church body. They should be humble and continually study the Scriptures in order to test these revelations before speaking them. When they do speak, they should allow and even expect others to weigh what is said against the Scriptures and interpret the message accordingly. In this way the church may be continually built up together in unity (1 Corinthians 14:4, 26). See also Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:1-5, Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Peter 4:10-11.)