It was the winter of 1999. I had a profound encounter with the Lord. As I explained this to a spiritual counselor, he suggested that the Lord was telling me that I was prophetic. What does it even mean to be prophetic? That was my question.

Over the next few weeks you are going to hear from a number of different people who are “prophetic.” Maybe from their journeys and how they discovered that they were prophetic you will discover that you are prophetic too.

In the Bible there were seers and prophets. What does that mean? There were those who literally saw into the spiritual realm, much like Elisha who asked that his servant’s eyes might be opened and his servant could see the horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17)

Prophets were the spokesmen for the Lord. They brought a message – sometimes of encouragement, sometimes of rebuke or warning, and sometimes of things to come.

(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.) 1 Samuel 9:9

In Samuel, we see the transition from seer to prophet in Israel’s history, even though it is not fully explained over here. It has often been said that all seers are prophets, but not all prophets are seers. I think what people are trying to say with this is that seeing is a prophetic activity, but not all prophets see into the spirit realm. That is because there are different ways in which we can hear from God. Someone who primarily “hears” from God may not see into the spirit realm, although some do both. And then there are other ways of hearing from the Lord, which we have detailed earlier in the year.

Samuel was a transitional figure in many ways. Samuel was already known as a seer. Samuel is known to us as a prophet. He was the last of the judges and the first of the prophets. This does not mean that Moses was not a prophet. Samuel plays a unique role in the history of Israel, when prophets arose and addressed the nation. Samuel is the first of these. Peter said as much in Acts 3:24. By anointing kings, he ushered in the era of kingship into Israel’s history.

Whether you see in the spirit, hear from the Lord, or sense His presence in other ways, it doesn’t matter. When the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit became available to all, not just a select few. When you have the Holy Spirit, you are empowered to prophesy. The gift of prophecy is for everyone. Maybe you are active in using your gift, prophetic gift. Maybe you did not yet realize that this gift is for you as well. Stay tuned in these next number of weeks to find out that the prophetic looks like you.

By Ralph Veenstra