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Is Prophecy Relevant in Modern Society? | Colleen Stock

At the mention of the prophetic, you may envision a scruffily clad man holding a placard at an intersection shouting: “Repent the End is nigh”. Or a neatly dressed male superstar from a distant country giving prophetic words. In modern church circles this term generally means people who mysteriously predict the future and seem to have a special Zoom connection with God. Little is said about the prophetic, and what is said tends to centre around a few mystically-gifted celebrities or slightly strange individuals.

But how do we as modern women, in a very cerebral society, apply the mystery of the prophetic to our lives?

Let’s start with what is the prophetic and who may prophesy. I approached several well-known, female prophets in Cape Town whom I asked to give their insight on this topic. In a sphere which has, for centuries, been primarily dominated by males, these women are in ministry, and are known for their prophetic voices and the accuracy of their words. Prophets Rose Roode, Kari Smith and Sally Goodwin are dynamic female leaders and visionaries who are not shy to speak God’s words boldly.

Contrary to some Christian teachings, women too can be prophets. 1 Corinthians 14:31 says: “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” There is no emphasis on gender, nor does God have a limit to the number of people who may prophesy or give words. There’s space for everyone’s unique anointing. Sally Goodwin shares an encounter she had with God where He told her that “men have been given many opportunities over centuries of church history to bring His word, and they have often used those opportunities to exclude women. But God is intent upon raising an army of women who get to operate fully in whatever office or gifting, or anointing, He has placed on their lives, including that of the office of the prophet.”

These are the prophetesses specifically mentioned in Scripture: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Huldah, Abigail, Esther, Rachel, Leah, the wife of Isaiah, Anna and the four virgin daughters of Phillip. Most theologians also accept Junia and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, who are said to be apostles and prophetic. Rose Roode advises us to “open our hearts wide to the gifting and calling of prophets, both male and female, and hear the voice of God as they bring us prophetic words”.

The practice of prophecy within the Church has evolved since the Biblical Old and New Testaments and is much more than just a prediction of future events, or the calling down of judgement. It is founded on spiritual discernment and spiritual perception, which occurs in many ways in Scripture: visions, pictures, dreams, prophetic words, audible messages, angelic encounters, heavenly experiences, symbolism, prayer, and mystical events. A prophet is, essentially, a spokesperson for God. They are tasked with speaking to the people on God’s behalf, by sharing a message or even teaching. Most prophets are gifted in interpretation and help with understanding and explaining the mysteries of dreams and visions.

Sally Goodwin says, “The Old Testament prophets prophesied much danger and disaster over Israel and yet there was always a caveat of hope attached to their words. John the Baptist prophesied the hope of a Saviour and Messiah in Jesus Christ, Who is still our hope for today. In a world gone mad we all need hope and God uses the prophetic to release that hope over His creation.”

Kari Smith expands on this by saying that traditionally prophetic voices were not unfamiliar in the church setting. But she believes that in this season, God-appointed prophets will be more relevant in the modern global landscape, with greater emphasis on marketplace and governmental prophetic voices.

God, through the Holy Spirit, uses prophets to transmit supernatural knowledge and insight. The prophetic person gets “downloads” and impressions in their heart – a “just knowing” of information. The prophet is a mere vessel to relay this information, which is something that most people don’t have knowledge, or the ability, to intuit about someone or their future. This information   doesn’t come from a prophet’s limited intelligence or knowledge. It’s usually an epiphany, an ‘Aha!’ moment for the person receiving the word of knowledge, which has the ability to cut through years of struggles. It could also be about events that have happened or are going to take place in the future.

Kari Smith says “Heaven’s agenda currently is to bring shifts over nations. This is the season where people will see nations born in a day! According to Jeremiah 1:10 God has released an anointing and authority on His appointed prophets that their God-inspired words will have the ability to overthrow, demolish, and uproot demonic structures over nations, so that they can be rebuilt for revival. Hosea 12:13 confirms that a God-appointed prophet has the ability and authority to preserve and bring a whole nation out of captivity!”

Emma Stark, core leader of the British Isles Council of Prophets,  and co-founder  of the Global Prophetic Alliance, says in her book , ‘The Prophetic Warrior’:, “Prophets are fundamentally warriors, who know how to set captives free with words that liberate and fight on the recipient’s behalf. Every time we prophesy, something should change!”[1]  

Christians use the gift of prophecy and new revelation from God to guide the Church. The definition of prophecy according to Scripture is that it is a spiritual gift from God (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-14) with God anointing apostles, prophets and others in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28).

Kari Smith shares that we have “stepped into the Kingdom Age where God is shifting normal

church expression into Kingdom rule.” She expands on this by saying: “Currently there is global turmoil, and the earth is shaking through natural disasters, famines, wars, and economic shakings. Fear and uncertainty are gripping the minds and the hearts of people globally and, therefore, God’s prophets are relevant and important in society to release God’s direction and revelation to navigate people through these shakings.”

Rose Roode explains that prophets are mandated to be the light in darkness on the earth, and though there is deep darkness, the Lord will dawn His glory over all.

From Abraham and Moses to living prophets today, God follows a pattern of guiding and directing His children through prophets. God wants us to overcome our challenges, become better people, and thrive within our sphere of influence. But He doesn’t expect us to do it alone. He guides us through the Holy spirit, Scriptures, and prophets. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

God uses words of knowledge as game changers to capture the person’s attention, and validate them. It says: “I know you; I see you; I know about the things you love”. He shows the person the best version of themselves. Rose Roode states, “The purpose of the prophetic is to encourage, exhort, and comfort, and in this day and age the prophetic is so needed.”

In her book, ‘The Warrior’s Dance’, Anna Werner says: “God reveals to us creative strategies to every problem or every circumstance we may be facing…His instructions don’t always make

sense, or may even seem like they are not going to make a difference, but that is where our faith needs to kick in”. [2]

The author of God Secrets, and pastor, Shawn Bolz, gets cell phone numbers, birth dates, licence plate numbers, home addresses, and bank account numbers as words of knowledge. He believes these show people that God knows them intimately and has their “number”. “By sharing these personal details it helps to develop trust and a strong connection to the Lord”.[3]

Dan McCollam, prophet, author, trainer, and itinerant speaker, uses prophetic knowledge to help find missing people and to track people who have  been trafficked. [4]

A well-known Australian prophetess, Lana Vawers, says in her online words and books that the prophetic is “for pioneers and forerunners to receive new blueprints, heavenly strategies, and for hearing the Father’s heart for the nations”.[5]

Sally Goodwin believes that “there are many reasons why the prophetic is relevant in today’s modern world, but one of the most important reasons, in my opinion, is hope. The prophetic brings hope. Hope in a God who sees us, knows us and loves us. Even if the prophetic word being released is one of warning or rebuke – there should always be an element of hope.”

I’ve learnt that it’s all about our relationship with God. It’s not about revealing any specific prophetic revelation or word. Rather it’s about knowing God intimately, as we get to know how He would feel or act, we in turn learn to articulate His heart.

He wants us to converse with Him, to see and notice all the small things, to continually go back to Him, to focus on Him and look to Him for the answers. A prophetic person lives the prophetic, it’s

not merely words or information, but reflects in their daily life through experiences, events, relationships, circumstances, and nature. We should apply the prophetic information to all of life’s circumstances, open or close doors and gateways, and bring forth changes for God’s Kingdom.

The New Testament encourages people to test, and discern prophecy: “Always take the words prophesied or given to you back to God for confirmation through the Word of God and prayer. True prophets point people towards the Lord, into a deeper relationship with Him. They guide people towards greater understanding, intimacy and fellowship with God, always reconnecting man to God”. (1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21; 1 John 4:1),

A prophetic word should be an appetiser, not our main meal, or our only meal. It should direct us towards God and give us a desire to hear God for ourselves. It should be a slither of wisdom, knowledge, or confirmation of things already in our heart and soul. If we’re only relying on well- known prophets for direction or constantly having to go back to a prophet to guide us, we’re on dangerous ground. We will slowly become reliant on, and in awe of, the prophetic person for guidance and wisdom.

[1] Emma Stark. The Prophetic Warrior: Operating in Your True Prophetic Authority. Shippensburg: Destiny Image Publishers. 2020

[2] Anna Werner. The Warrior’s Dance: A Seer’s Guide to Victorious Spiritual Warfare. (Shippensburg: Destiny Image Publishers. Kindle Edition, 2020)

[3] Shawn Bolz,. God Secrets: A Life Filled with Words of Knowledge. (Studio City: ICreate Productions. 2017).

[4]  Dan McCollam, Bethel School Of Prophets 2018: Session2.

[5] Lana Vawser, The Prophetic Voice of God: Learning to Recognize the Language of the Holy Spirit. (Shippensburg: Destiny Image Audio. Audiobook, 2019.)

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