II. What is Prophecy specifically designed to do?
Let’s now look at specifically what Prophecy and the Prophetic Realm is supposed to do:
I Corinthians 14:1-5
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him;however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
Now these verses tell us specifically that:
- We are to pursue love, desire spiritual gifts, but ESPECIALLY desire to prophesy
- Speaking in tongues is speaking to God, in a prayer language that speaks mysteries
- Prophesying speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to people/mankind
- Speaking in tongues is for self-edification
- Prophesying edifies the church
- Prophesying is greater than speaking with tongues unless there is an interpreter
So we learn from these verses that we as believers are supposed to especially desire to walk in prophecy. Speaking in tongues is pretty much between you and God. It’s a gift for edification of the speaker’s own spirit. Mysteries are being spoken through tongues that only the Spirit of God understands.
Prophesying opens up the conversation so that the listener, the church, and those hearing the Word, may be edified. Tongues builds you up personally, prophesying builds up the church. Speaking in tongues is the Spirit of God moving within and through your mouth in a prayer language, while prophesying is the Spirit of God moving within and through your mouth in your own/native language.
So the purpose of Prophesying then, is exhortation, edification, and comfort, for the listeners. Paul says that’s better than tongues unless there is an interpreter. If other members of the Body of Christ are present, they need to understand what you are saying through the tongues/prayer language.
I would also like to point out again, to those that say that prophecy and tongues are “not for today:” you accept I Corinthians 13. Those same people often quote I Corinthians 13, the great Love chapter, at every wedding. But I Corinthians is a letter. It’s a letter from Paul to the church at Corinth with his responses to their questions. Chapters and verses, as we understand and use them now, were not in place until the 16th century. There were other systems that were used, but the one that stuck was William Whittingham’s system, used in 1557. The first English Bible to use both chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible published in 1560. The King James version was begun in 1604 and completed in 1611. There are no chapter and verse divisions in the original manuscripts. So it is entirely unreasonable to assert that I Corinthians 13 is scripture but I Corinthians 14 is not. Prophecy and tongues are a part of the New Testament church.