GOD’S DESIRE FOR ALL HIS PEOPLE TO PROPHESY Scripture Reading: Num. 11:29; 1 Cor. 12:13; 14:1, 31; Recently, I discovered that not only i...


Scripture Reading: Num. 11:29; 1 Cor. 12:13; 14:1, 31;

Recently, I discovered that not only in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament as well, God expressed His desire concerning His people. In Numbers 11 Moses was burdened with the care of the people of Israel, who numbered about two million. God told Moses to call the seventy elders out of their camps and gather them into His tabernacle. When the elders came, the Spirit of God descended upon them, and they all began to prophesy. They began to be prophets speaking for God (Num. 11:25). Two of them were not among the ones around the tabernacle. Even they began to speak because the Spirit of the Lord was also upon them. When Joshua knew this he became unhappy and said, “My lord Moses, forbid them” (Num. 11:28). However, Moses replied, “Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all Jehovah’s people were prophets, and that Jehovah would put his Spirit upon them” (Num. 11:29). This verse corresponds exactly with Paul’s word in 1 Corinthians 14:31: “For you can all prophesy.”

Naturally speaking, when we say the English word prophesy, we understand this to mean to predict, to foretell, to tell of something before it happens. Yes, prophesy in English does bear this denotation. But in the two Biblical languages, Hebrew and Greek, the word for prophesy means not primarily to predict, but to speak for God. If you speak for yourself, that is not to prophesy. But if you speak for God, this is to prophesy. Not only so, it also means to speak forth God. That means you speak God out. In your speaking you not only speak for God, but also in this kind of divine speaking you speak God forth into others. You speak God out to others. Of course, this word prophesy, both in Hebrew and in Greek, also means to foretell, but in the writings of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, there is very little foretelling.

In Isaiah, a book of sixty-six chapters, perhaps all the foretellings, all the predictions, could only comprise the equivalent of one chapter. But the other sixty-five chapters do speak for God and speak forth God. It is the same with Jeremiah. In the fifty-two chapters of Jeremiah there is very little foretelling or predicting. The greater part of Jeremiah is a speaking for God and a speaking forth of God. It is the same with Ezekiel and even with the minor prophets. The greatest prophet in the Old Testament was Moses. Moses spoke so much in his five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch. Here there are not many predictions. Rather, most of Moses’ speaking or writing is a speaking for God and a speaking forth of God. If you are going to know God, you have to read these five books from Genesis through Deuteronomy. When you read Moses’ five books, you do have the sense that these books are speaking forth God into you. In today’s terms, these books are dispensing the very God which they reveal into our being. This is not only the speaking for God, but also the speaking forth of God.

In the Pentecostal movement I heard a lot of Pentecostal foretellings, yet I never saw one fulfillment. The so-called predictions or foretellings in today’s Pentecostal movement are mostly false. In China from 1932 I began to study the Pentecostal movement. I heard the prophecies and I saw what followed, but I did not see any fulfillment. Then, twenty-four years ago, I came to this country and was invited to some of the Pentecostal meetings to speak there. I saw how they predicted and how nothing happened. They always opened their prophecy with “My people, time is short,” and they always ended it with “thus saith the Lord.”

In their prophesying they never quoted anything from the New Testament. They always quoted some phrases or verses from the Old Testament, mostly from Isaiah. However, in the New Testament, when the Lord Jesus spoke in the four Gospels, He never ended His speaking with “thus saith the Lord.” Furthermore, in none of Paul’s fourteen Epistles did he say, “Thus saith the Lord.” Rather, he said, “I have no commandment of the Lord, but I give my opinion” (1 Cor. 7:25). He did not say, “Thus saith the Lord,” but he wrote, “I give my opinion as having received mercy of the Lord to be faithful.” Then at the end of 1 Corinthians 7 he said, “I think that I also have the Spirit of God.” That means, “even though I told you my opinion, yet I think I have the Spirit of God.” He did not say, “Thus saith the Holy Spirit.” From this you can see that this kind of Pentecostal prophesying brings us all backward to the Old Testament, forgetting what is revealed in the New Testament.

In the New Testament, especially in Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, the word prophesy is used not mainly with the meaning to predict. Rather, it is used strongly with the meaning to speak for Christ and to speak forth Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul says, “No one speaking in the Spirit of God says, Jesus is accursed; and no one can say, Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit.” To say “Lord Jesus” is to prophesy. You have to put verse 3 of chapter twelve together with verse 1 of chapter fourteen. In 14:1 Paul says, “Pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy.” To prophesy is just to speak the Lord Jesus, to speak for Jesus, or to speak forth Christ. This is to speak in the New Testament denotation.

Not just in our meetings, but even in our daily life, we must be people all the time speaking Christ, all the time speaking for Christ, and all the time speaking forth Christ. If I come to you and do not speak a bit of Christ, but instead just talk with you about schools, about the world situation, about Taiwan, about Hong Kong, about your city, and this and that, I am doing what the worldly people do. Whenever and wherever we open up our mouths, we speak Christ, we speak for Christ, and we speak forth Christ. In Acts 1:8 the Lord Jesus told us clearly that we all are His witnesses: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses.” A witness is a speaking one, one who only speaks things concerning the one he is testifying. We are His witnesses and we have to speak Him, speak for Him, and speak forth Him on every occasion. Even when young ones go to their grandparents, they should not speak that much concerning other things. They should speak Christ, speak for Christ, and speak forth Christ. This is to prophesy. I do not think we all can prophesy in the sense of predicting; I cannot nor would I like to. But we all can speak; we all can prophesy in the sense of speaking Christ or speaking for Christ.

I have been speaking for Him, speaking forth Him, and speaking Him directly to others for over fifty years. You also can do this. Paul says, “You can all prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:31). You all can speak for Christ, speak forth Christ, and speak Christ. Speak Christ all the day. Surely if you love the Lord and you have good fellowship with Him every day, then every day in your fellowship with the Lord you are spontaneously anointed and filled up within. You are anointed without and filled within. Spontaneously you have a lot to say, you have a lot to speak. To speak what? To speak Christ, to speak for Christ, and to speak forth Christ. This is a strong proof that we Christians should be this kind of speaking people. We all have to realize that it is God’s desire that we Christians should be a speaking people, and we have to try our best to fulfill His desire.

Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee. Home Meetings. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA.



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