The Purpose of Prophecy
We have begun to discuss the levels of prophetic revelation from impressions to being caught up into Heaven such as Paul and John did in the New Testament. Generally, it makes sense that the more dramatic, or high level the revelation, the more important it is. Others seem to think that the more high level the revelation, the greater the ministry of the prophet, but neither of these may be the case. We have learned that the level of revelation is more related to the difficulty of the task than to the importance of the revelation or the level of the authority of the prophet. For this reason, when we go through seasons of not receiving much revelation, especially what we are calling high-level revelation, we should learn to be content, and use these times for sinking our roots deeper into sound Biblical truth, searching the Scriptures.
As the prophecies of the end times all make clear, as we get closer to the end of the age, the difficulties will be increasing. This is why we see in Joel 2 and Acts 2 that in the last days the level of prophetic revelation will likewise be increasing. In these difficulties, we do need more clear guidance.
As this increase of revelation comes, we must keep in mind one basic truth about prophetic revelation – that prophetic revelation is never given for imparting or establishing doctrine. That is what the written Word was given for, and it alone has that purpose. You will find at the root of many heresies and false teachings that they were received through a prophetic revelation, or we should say, a false prophetic revelation.
Prophetic revelation is for revealing the strategic or tactical will of the Lord, not for imparting doctrine. The written Word, which is our doctrine, is finished and no revelation will come from God to add to it or take away from it. Any that would presume to do this we should immediately judge as false prophecy, and reject it regardless of how it comes. About this, we can have no doubt.
Impressions, Discernment and Words of Knowledge
Now we will go back to what we are calling the lower levels of revelation, starting with impressions. We will also start with the gift of discernment. The gift of discernment operates in different ways with different people. For example, Oral Roberts could feel what was wrong physically with another person when he put his hands on their head. Others can just focus on a person and start to feel things. These feelings, or impressions, are revelation. Some of the greatest miracles in modern times resulted in these, which reveals how even the lowest level of revelation can be very important.
The way that the impression works is when a prophet operating in this way focuses on a person, they may start to feel a knee hurt and then know that this person has a knee problem. This is the way discernment often works with a healing ministry. Physical healing is the easiest kind of healing, and for moving into the realms of emotional or spiritual healing, the gift of "a word of knowledge" often works with discernment. This is the knowledge of something we could not know in the natural – we could look at someone and begin to remember something that we did not experience, but that person did. If we stay focused, the Lord can give us a word of truth about the situation that can set that person free from the consequences of the event.
These are just a couple of ways that the prophetic gifts can operate in relation to healing, but they can be used for virtually every other area of life as well. I learned that I could focus on a church and start to sense things just like I did when focusing on a person. I then learned to do it in relation to cities, then nations, and businesses – virtually anything that people are interested in or engaged with. Once, when the Lord showed a friend of mine which team was going to win the World Series and that there was a message in this, we both started getting the scores of the games in this Series before they were played. And no, I would not gamble with such knowledge, but there was a message in the scores as well as the ultimate outcome of that Series.
Seek to Do All Things in Obedience to God
A mature prophet can focus their gift on something or someone and start to see into them supernaturally, but we should only want to see what is useful to the work of the Lord. The gifts of the Spirit are not toys for entertaining us, but tools for doing the work of the Lord. This basic prophetic integrity, seeking to do all things in obedience to Him, can enable the Lord to give us more authority and revelation.
The way I know what the Lord wants me to focus on can come by prophetic directive or two other ways: 1) by love growing in my heart for something that I know is not a natural love that I have, or 2) by what is called in the Old Testament "the burden of the word of the Lord" (Zechariah 9:1; 12:1). These are important for us to understand if we are going to stay on course with our gifts.