Today, Kenneth Hagin of blessed memories, who has renewed my mind through the spirit shares with us a simple truth, that many having ignored have destroyed their lives.
Paul, speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus in his farewell message, said, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me” (Acts 20:22,23).
Then in chapter 21, while on his journey Paul landed at Tyre where the ship was to be unladen. Luke, the writer of Acts, was with Paul. He wrote, “And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem” (v.4).
Paul continued on his journey:
8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles
12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.
Some have thought that Paul missed it. However, when Paul did go up to Jerusalem and was arrested, Jesus stood by Paul in the night. He appeared to him in a vision. He did not rebuke Paul. Jesus did not tell Paul that he had missed it. He said, “… Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11).
No, Paul did not miss it. What God was doing was preparing Paul for what was ahead of him.
Notice that we have two different things operating here: (1) the gift of prophecy; (2) the ministry of the prophet. They are different. They are not the same. It is a mistake to confuse the two, yet this is often done.
The fact that one prophesies does not make him a prophet. The Word of God plainly teaches that everyone should desire to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1). However, if just prophesying made you a prophet, then it would seem that the Lord was saying that everyone should desire to be a prophet. Yet Paul asked, “Are all apostles? are all prophets?…” (1 Cor. 12:29). The answer is no. Since all could not be prophets, God would not tell us to seek something we could not have.
The simple gift of prophecy is speaking unto men to edification and exhortation and comfort
Prophecy is a supernatural utterance in a known tongue—your own tongue. (Speaking in tongues is supernatural utterance in an unknown tongue—a tongue unknown to you.) Prophecy can be used in prayer, as well as tongues.
Sometimes when you are prophesying, it seems as if there are two of you. It seems to me as if I am standing right beside myself. You see, it is coming from my inward man where the Spirit of God who is prophesying abides. I listen with my natural ears to see what He said.
The Office of the Prophet
There is the office of the prophet. Without going into detail about it, we will touch the office of the prophet briefly concerning guidance. For one to be a prophet, he stands in that office and uses that ministry. Other spiritual gifts besides prophecy must operate in his ministry. The simple gift of prophecy, as we have said, is for speaking unto men for edification, and exhortation, and comfort. In this simple gift of prophecy there is no foretelling—no prediction whatsoever. However, in the ministry of the prophet there is foretelling and prediction. A prophet has the revelation gifts (the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and/or the discerning of spirits) in operation along with prophecy.
It is important to realize that spiritual things can be misused just as natural things can be misused. Some folks have never realized that. They think that just because it is spiritual, it has to be perfect—that it cannot be misused.
I have known people who were at one time wealthy who are now bankrupt because they listened to someone prophesy how to invest their money.
I remember a dear man who was in one of my meetings. I knew who he was, but I didn’t really know him. I did not know that he would never make a business deal without calling a so-called “prophet” to prophesy to him what to do.
I said to him, “I seem to be impressed to say this to you. You are going to lose everything you have and go bankrupt if you keep listening to whoever is advising you.”
He didn’t listen. The poor fellow, who was very wealthy, lost his home and everything he had. I have seen this happen not just one time, but many times.
I have seen ministers who have lost their ministries because of wrong prophecies.
You have to judge prophecies by the Word of God. If prophecy is not in line with the Word of God, it is not right.
Secondly, you have to judge personal prophecies by what you have in your own spirit. If you do not have something in your own spirit, do not accept a personal prophecy.
For years I have traveled extensively in the ministry. Everywhere I go there is always someone who has a “word” from the Lord for me—sometimes two or three. In all these years only one or two of them have been correct.
Do not build your life on prophecies. Do not guide your life by prophecies. Build your life on the Word! Let those other things be secondary. Put the Word of God first!
People sometimes say, “Well, if God is doing it, it has to be all right.”
You have to realize that it isn’t exactly God doing it. It is men prophesying under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. Anything that man has to do with, is not perfect.
Spirit of God is perfect. The gifts of the Spirit in themselves are perfect. But they certainly are not always perfect in manifestation, because they are manifested through imperfect vessels. This is the reason prophecy and tongues with interpretation need to be judged by the Word.
1 CORINTHIANS 14:29,30
29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
“Let the prophets speak….” The Bible is talking about prophets here—not just anyone who prophesies. Do not accept something just because a prophet said it. It is to be judged according to the Bible. We do not judge people. We judge what was said.
Now notice verse 30. “If any thing be revealed to another [prophet]….” Prophets have revelations. Others might occasionally, but prophets have a ministry along this line.
1 CORINTHIANS 14:32
32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Some have said, “God made me do that. I couldn’t help but say that.” The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. That means a person does not have to say it. It comes out of his spirit. It is subject to him. The gift of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, and prophecy operate under the unction of the Spirit. And it might be that God through these methods would give us a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, or revelation as we need it. But we initiate the operation of prophecy. We initiate the
operation of tongues and interpretation. We are the ones who have to speak it out.
Many times when the Spirit of God is moving, anyone who can prophesy could do so—but that does not mean one should. Also, when the Spirit is in manifestation, anyone who is used in the ministry gift of tongues and interpretation could speak—but that does not mean he should. Have that unction of the Spirit to do it—otherwise just sit there and let God move through someone else who has it.
I held a seven-week meeting in a church years ago. Every single night about the same time, at the same spot in the service, just as they got ready to pass the offering plates, this woman got up and spoke with tongues. She said the same thing in tongues every night. After a while I could have said the same things she said. If no one else would interpret it, she would. It was like someone poured cold water over the crowd. It deadened the service.
The pastor asked me to teach the auditorium class one Sunday morning when he had to be out of town. This was unusual—but I finished before the bell rang. One of the deacons said, “Brother Hagin, may I ask a question?”
“Well, yes,” I said. I thought it would be in line with the lesson.
He said, “When messages in tongues with interpretation are given in public assembly, shouldn’t they be a blessing to the congregation? Should it kill the service?”
That dear woman was sitting right in front of me.
I said, “That is beside the lesson. I’d rather not get into that right now.”
But others, some of the leaders of the church, said,
“Brother Hagin, we ought to answer that.”
So I said, “If it is in the Spirit, it will lift the service high. It will not push it down.”
That woman was intelligent enough to catch on to that. She came to me and said, “I have been wrong, haven’t I?”
I said, “Yes ma’am, you have.”
She said, “I thought so all the time. There was a witness on the inside of me that knew that. But I wanted to be used of God. I am going to stop that.”
I said, “Thank you. You are a real blessing to the church.”
Others might have gotten angry about it saying, “They won’t allow God to move.”
Sometimes folks do speak out, like this woman, without the unction of the Spirit. This does not do away with the fact that her tongues were real. However, they were in imperfect operation. They were misused.
I admonish people to be very careful about personal prophecies. So many lives have been shipwrecked and ruined by not being careful regarding personal prophecy. Don’t marry someone because someone prophesied you should. I have seen many such so-called “prophecies” through the years. I have never seen one of those marriages work out yet. Homes have been broken up by so-called prophecies.
Also, don’t go into the ministry because somebody prophesied you should. Get it on the inside of you for yourself. Then if a prophecy confirms what you already have, that’s all right. Jesus said to me when He appeared in that vision in 1959, “If the prophecy confirms what you already have, accept it. If it does not, don’t accept it.”
The Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). He had already called them. This was just a confirmation of it.
In the last church I pastored there was a certain young person who was beautiful spiritually. My wife said to me, “I believe the hand of the Lord is on him. God is calling him into the ministry.”
I said, “I have that conviction myself. But I am not going to “call” anyone. I am not going to tell anyone they are called, even if I know they are.”
This is why. When one gets out in the ministry, it isn’t always easy. Paul told the young minister, Timothy, “Endure hardness as a good soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3). When the way gets hard—and it will—you can have the victory. But it will get hard and someone who is not convinced of the call for themselves may say, “I just went because Daddy said so.” Or, “Someone prophesied to me; I really don’t know that I am called.” But one who makes that dedication from his own spirit, who knows God called him, will stand through hell or high water.
So I did not say anything to this young person. Then one Sunday night we were all praying around the altar. I went around and laid hands on people to pray as God would lead me. I stopped beside this young man who was kneeling in the altar in intense prayer. I opened my mouth to pray, but I heard these words come out, “This is a confirmation of what I said to you at 3 o’clock this afternoon as you were praying down in the storm cellar. You asked for a confirmation and this is it. That was Me speaking to you.”
After the prayer service I asked, “Were you praying
down in the storm cellar at 3 o’clock this afternoon?”
(I wanted to check up—if I am wrong, I want to get right. If I miss it, I just admit, “I missed it.” Don’t be afraid to say, “I missed it.” When I first started learning to drive a car I missed it a few times and ran up over the curb. But I didn’t quit driving just because I missed it. Did you? We ought to have as much sense about spiritual things. Just because I missed it, I am not going to quit. I am going to keep going. I will just see to it that I don’t miss it again. So I was checking up on it to see.)
This young person said, “Yes, I was praying. You know, Brother Hagin, I have felt for some time that God had a call on my life, but I didn’t say yes or no. So I was spending time down in the cellar (which was fixed up like a nice basement) praying, meditating, reading the Bible, waiting on God. I felt that the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘I have called you to the ministry—and I will confirm it tonight in the service.’ But I didn’t know how He would.”
Remember—if it does not bear witness, or confirm something you already have, do not accept a personal prophecy.
As long as the gift of prophecy stays in the realm of speaking to men for edification, exhortation, and comfort, it is wonderful. Encourage that. But many times someone who prophesies may see a prophet minister with a word of foreknowledge. Then he begins to think, “I prophesy, so I can do that.” Then he moves out of the place where he should be, into the other realm where he should not be.
A woman came up to me in one of our seminars we held in Tulsa. She had come with a group from a nearby city. She said, “Brother Hagin, this is all new to us. In our
town we have a weekly prayer group. I want to ask you something about it. Some of them think I am wrong, but I don’t think what we are doing is right. Actually, I don’t know if I would call it a prayer meeting—all they ever do is lay hands on one another and prophesy. They spend all afternoon prophesying over one another. And I don’t ever get anything but a bad prophecy.
“They prophesied that my mother was going to die within six months. That was eighteen months ago and she is not dead. Then they prophesied that my husband was going to leave me. He’s not saved but he is a fine man and I love him. He is a good provider. We don’t have any trouble. Those are just two examples. I always get prophecies that something bad is going to happen—but nothing bad has ever happened.”
I said, “No, and it won’t either. You are a child of God.”
She said, “Isn’t that a misuse?”
I said, “Yes, it is.”
We need to know these things. It is very easy for babies to be misled and misguided. We can get off track. That’s why Paul wrote to the church at Corinth about these things.