About New Testament Prophets and Prophecy
The most significant of the prophets in the new Testament are John, who authored The Book of Revelation, John the Baptist, and of course, Jesus himself.
Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, is the only book of prophecy. Unlike many books of the bible which were written originally in Aramaic, Revelation was first written in Greek. Its first title word, Apokalypsis, was a Greek word which simply meant "revelation."
While some people believe that this prophecy depicts the actual coming of Armageddon (the final, conclusive and devastating battle between good and evil), many others believe that these images represent the persecution of those times and the hope of God's intervention to bring justice to the situation. Still others believe that Revelation is mostly allegorical reflecting the inner struggles of the individual and humankind alike. (For Edgar Cayce's take on the Book of Revelation, see Revelation- A Commentary Based on a Study of 23 Psychic Discourses by Edgar Cayce, A.R.E. Press, 1995.)
Perhaps the most significant new Testament texts about prophecy can be found in Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 14). Here are some excerpts.
"Aim at charity, yet strive after the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy."
"What then is to be done, brethren? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, has an instruction, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation."
"For you all can prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be encouraged."
"So then, brethren, desire earnestly the gift of prophesying and do not hinder the gift of speaking in tongues. Only let all things be done properly and in order."
~ I Corinthians 14:1, 26, 31, 40
It was very common during Paul's time that mystical experiences were often accompanied by 'speaking in tongues' (languages and words which the speaker did not understand). Paul believed that speaking in tongues was significant as evidence of divine overshadowing. As such, it was very helpful in the efforts of converting others to the church. Yet, he also believed that if you did not have an interpretation of the foreign words, then what good would it do? To Paul, it was much more important to develop prophesying because that's what brought the guidance and inspiration through which one could grow.
In I Cor. 14. Paul teaches us to come together one-to-one and in a group to develop our spiritual gifts; to lift our vibration through songs or hymns; to have "an instruction," or particular exercises which we can use regularly; to have a "revelation," or the spontaneous reception of image or message; to prophesy; and finally, when we do get an image that may seem unintelligible (such as "tongues"), then we must take note and pursue every possible interpretation. Paul also tells us that the gifts of the spirit are different for each person:
"Now there are diversities of gifts, but there is only one Spirit.
And there are diversities of powers, but it is the one God who works all things in all men. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man as help to him.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit.
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit.
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the means to distinguish the true Spirit; to another tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.
But all of these gifts are wrought by that one and the same Spirit."
~ I Corinth. 12:4-11
In this we learn that there are no right or wrong ways to practice the spiritual gifts. As long as the insights received point the way to a greater truth in the divine and loving soul, there is no technique that stands above or below another. There may be some people who link with spirit using methods that aren't for you. Have tolerance for the differences you find. This is a significant step in your awareness of the compassionate self within. And, in terms of your work with spirit, it is a very important opportunity for you to learn from those differences. Paul makes it clear to us that there are many, many diverse gifts of the spirit. Watching others and learning new ways will help you diversify, too.
(Excerpted from Advanced Spirit Communications by Sharon Anne Klingler. All rights reserved.)