”For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)
A true Prophet today, in the New Covenant, does not have the same ministry as a Prophet in the Old Testament, although there are some similarities. Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection has made a difference, not only when it comes to how God relates to believers, but also when it comes to how God views the whole world.
The disciples of Jesus at one time wanted to act like Elijah, by calling down fire from heaven upon a Samaritan village that did not receive them. Jesus corrected them strongly and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of” (Lk. 9:52-55). The disciples, who wanted to imitate Elijah, obviously weren’t influenced by the Holy Spirit at that moment. And if it wasn’t the Holy Spirit, one might wonder what spirit they were influenced by!
Old Covenant Prophets exposed the sins of the people; they focused on the problem. However, we now live after the cross. Jesus has already dealt with the sin-problem once and for all (Heb. 9:26). A true Prophet in the New Covenant does not preach the problem that Jesus has already dealt with. A true Prophet explains how God, through Jesus Christ, has already solved the problem!
In Revelation 19:10, we find a very interesting statement: ”The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” In other words: If you want to be prophetic, stay with the testimony of Jesus, the Gospel, the good news about Jesus and His finished work on the cross.
A true Prophet cooperates with the Holy Spirit – I believe all Christians can agree on that. Paul said in First Corinthians that the Holy Spirit’s job is not to tell us what we lack (like Old Covenant Prophets did), but what we by grace “freely have received” in Christ (1 Cor. 2:12). The Holy Spirit thus reveals what we already have – not what we might receive in the future, should we measure up to a certain religious standard!
The best raw model of a Prophet in the Bible, the greatest Prophet of them all, is neither Moses, Jeremiah, Daniel, nor even John the Baptist (who according to Jesus was the greatest of all the Prophets in the Old Covenant). Jesus Himself is number one. He had the greatest prophetic ministry the world has ever seen. This means that a true Prophet in the New Covenant acts like Jesus!
What did Jesus do? He preached good news, forgave sinners, confronted the self-righteousness of the religious elite, and made them marvel at the “gracious words” [words full of grace] that proceed from His mouth (Lk. 4:22). He healed the sick, lifted religious burdens off people’s shoulders, and also predicted future events and gave words of wisdom and knowledge etc.
A true Prophet in the New Covenant does not mainly focus on future events, although prophesying the future is part of the “package” of being a Prophet even in the New Covenant. The main focus is not about what is going to happen, but the Gospel, the testimony of what has already happened because of Jesus.
If you believe that you are called to be a Prophet, I encourage you to do the following: Study the New Covenant, the result of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Learn the Gospel. If you only focus on future-telling, or giving people so-called “prophetic greetings”, without the foundation of having a revelation of the Gospel, you most likely will go wrong and leave many people wounded and hurt along the way.
A true Prophet enlightens people about Jesus and His finished work. A true Prophet preaches the Gospel. For the testimony of Jesus – not the testimony of future events – is the spirit of prophecy.