6 Levels of the Prophetic

The Following material was written by Bob MacDonald (www.bobmacdonaldministries.com ) and used with permission.

Someone has likened prophecy levels to a swimming pool


The Spirit of Prophecy

There is a shallow end that all can safely use

“Everyone can prophesy” – 1 Cor 14:

This is inspirational prophecy with an aim to encourage, build up and comfort people

This is the most common form of prophetic utterance in the church

Called “Congregational Prophecy”

Consists of anointing of the Holy Spirit that enables people who are not prophets or who do not possess a prophetic gift to prophesy

Especially during a time of corporate worship

1 Corinthians 14:1, 5 – when Paul declared that he desired that all would prophesy – it was this level of prophecy he had in mind

it was not a general call for everyone to become a prophet or have a prophetic ministry

Rev 19:10 – “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”

Every spirit filled believer can reach up into the spiritual atmosphere and receive from the Holy Spirit (who is present), a revelation for the group they are in at the moment.

The worship leaders are often the ones who lead the people into this place with the Lord – where the Spirit of the Lord is present

It will be a present thought of what God thinks and feels toward His children

Often consists of Scripture that are positive and flowing in the direction the worship and service is going

It may also be a spontaneous word from the Father’s heart

It may be a description of a picture the Lord is showing

then requires someone to intrepret and apply the picture so all may benefit

It will (must) be edifying, exhorting (encouraging) and comforting

seeks to bless people and glorify the Lord in simple terms

It is out of order to be directional, correcting or rebuking

Both in the context

and by who is giving the prophecy

It only takes a small amount of grace upon a person’s life to flow in this level of prophecy

Though ideal for the person to be living a commited and separated life unto the Lord

it is not as high a requirement as the other levels of prophetic

When this anointing falls upon a group of people, even backsliders have been known to prophesy with great inspiration – 1 Samuel 19:20 – 23

A person who prophesies in the Spirit of Prophecy may never do it again

Though they could if they will tune themselves and flow in the atmosphere

Prophecies in this area will not be as detailed and rarely include any foretelling

They will be edifying, exhortation and comforting – but will not tell of things to come

The Gift of Prophecy

A little bit deeper in the spirit

This is more than just everyone can prophesy as Paul states regarding the spirit of prophecy

This manifestation of prophecy is limited to a fewer number of people

This is a gifting grace from the Holy Spirit

1 Cor 12:4 – “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

 V.7  –“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

V. 10 – “to another prophecy”

The Spirit does not give to all – but to certain ones

Everyone can flow in the Spirit of prophecy, but “to some He gave the gift of prophecy”

The Holy Spirit did not give the gift to all!

We do not all have the same spiritual gifts

Different parts of the body to do different tasks and functions

These gifted ones are not dependent upon a spiritual atmosphere

They can move in the gift at any time under the moving of the HS

They can use the gift in any situation – not just in the assembly (spiritual atmosphere)

The gift of prophecy is a resident gift and can be utilized at any time by those who are developed in the gifting – Acts 21: 8– 11

Believers who regularly receive impressions, dreams, visions or other types of revelation

This group receives more regular prophetic information then the first group, yet substantially lacks clarity and understanding what it receives

They will edify, exhort and comfort

But will also contain other aspects of revelation from the Spirit

They should be given training and mentoring to grow in their use of the gift

Hearing the voice of God

Discerning the voice they hear

Decreasing their own content & increasing God’s content

Deal with the issues in the soul so as to not pollute the prophetic word as it passes through their soul

With practice, their senses can be trained –

 Heb 5:14 – “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

The leadership will begin to recognize the gift and allow some room in the assembly


Prophetic Ministry

In a swimming pool there is a middle section where the water gets progressively deeper

Likewise in prophecy there is a time when some people will push on in a gradually deeper expression of the heart of God

– note the dashed lines

Some will move deeper through desire, training and experience

Continual use of the gift of prophecy will begin to push us in the direction of the Ministry rather than just casual use of the gift

The leadership can usually count on this person to have something from the Lord

The leadership has learned the content value of their words to be high


Believers whose gifting has been recognized, nurtured and commissioned for regular ministry in the local church

They primarily operate in the sphere of the local church

A ministry function empowered by a strong anointing that rests upon an individual at all times

It exceeds the first two levels in commitment and calling

commitment – requires a lifestyle that is devoted to the prophetic

calling – oftentimes preparatory for those who will later function as mature prophets

It grows out of the gift of prophecy

It means getting into deeper waters in terms of our faith

Believing for more specific and revelation and words instead of the general inspirational type

It will broaden our use of the gift to include a wider range of people, situations and activities

We will need to consider a more extensive set of issues than just handling prophecy in the local church

We need the dual revelation

The general word of Scripture

Scripture can provide general guidelines and life principles on a multitude of things that pertain to our lives, relationships, fellowship with God, marriage, work, home, church and ministry

To be allied with the specific word or prophecy

– which supplies the fine and specific detail  to the general principles outlined in Scripture

Prophetic ministry is different from the gift of prophecy

There is increased




responsibility for the words they are giving

growing in character


yieldedness – brokenness

relationship with Holy Spirit

Prophetic ministry is concerned with the church

Prophetic ministry brings God’s perspective, releases vision and calling and undermines the enemy

It has one hand in the past and one in the future – but is able to bring both elements into the present to help make sense of what we are going through

The knowledge of both the past and God’s purposes for the future often bring a radically different perspective of current events

This is the main sphere of influence

The direction the church can take

Who will lead

How we will get to our destination

It is concerned to see the church fulfilling his call

It draws attention to the majesty and supremacy of God in times of trouble

This prophetic perspective gives  faith and hope and the energy to fight on and break through

The prophetic ministry will start to teach others how to move forward in their spiritual gift of prophecy

Will have those they are teaching/equip

Will have those they are mentoring

They will have earned the respect of the local leaders

Pastors will need to learn how to effectively nurture these prophetic ministries and incorporate them into the ministering life of the Church

Develop a working Protocol that is “upfront” and known by all

before there are difficulties and challenges

Those in the Ministry of Prophecy have learned how to work within the boundaries of the local church Prophetic protocol


Prophetic Mantle

This is a further progression of the gift from the Holy Spirit

Not everyone with gift of prophecy will move on

Though they could if they devoted themselves to it

This is the person who has been faithful with their gift and in the area given (little things)

Now the Lord begins to open a larger sphere of ministry and influence

Have been faithful in the “little” things so now flowing in “more”

They still are significant in the local church

Growing maturity and influence in the local church

Ministry begins to move out of the local church into areas of civil and community interests (not on national level)

The Lord starts to give them a voice for the larger community and region

Becomes influential in community affairs

Speak to community leaders, politicians

speaks with members of city council, editorials in newspaper

Write editorials to the local newspaper

Radio and TV get their reaction

They give warning to regions of things that are coming

They speak God’s mind and heart into decisions that are being made

Prophetic mantle will fall upon a person who was in close association with a prophet or group of prophets

 i.e. Elisha/Elijah – 1 Kings 19:19; 2 Kings 2:15

There is increasing





growing in character



relationship with Holy Spirit



The Office of a Prophet

Note the solid line!

It is important to note the one does not merely grow into the office of a prophet

It is not through the development of a spiritual gift that one becomes a prophet

Ephesians 4:11 – 12 indicates that Office of a prophet is a special governmental gift given by Christ gift

This is a special calling by Christ the head of the church

not the development of a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit (gift-ministry-mantle)

The office of prophet – means that a person’s particular spiritual gift/office has been recognized by the church and that the person is authorized to engage in open ministry centered around that gift

Three issues in recognizing a person is in New Testament prophet:

certain level of supernatural giftedness

evidenced by regularly receiving divine information from the Holy Spirit

validity of this gift is proved over time

not an issue of having just one prophetic word regardless of how accurate or spectacular it seems

Godly character is an essential mark of a true prophet

Jesus said he would know true and false prophets by their fruit

the fruit Jesus is referring to includes the Holy Spirit’s presence and sanctifying work in the person’s life

there is a brokenness, a kindness, a selflessness and a compassion that have the mark of the Holy Spirit on them

these people diligently seek to cultivate holiness in a deep passion for Jesus in their lives

also, fruit of prophetic ministry includes the kind of impact is made on others

Matured wisdom of God has come through experience and relationship with the Holy Spirit

this wisdom enables the person to be an instrument of the prophetic knowledge and power of God in a way that builds up the people of God and the purpose of God

this wisdom is foundational to using the prophetic in a manner that will build up the local church

 Essential ingredients of development in prophetic ministry

The sovereign gifting and call,

the intense processing that leads to brokenness before God and

the discharging of the prophetic ministry

To possess this office, one is required to have a sovereign calling, extensive training and multiple encounters with the presence of God

Their credibility is established by their long proven track record of accurate prophecies

This doesn’t mean they are infallible, but rather their words are to be taken more seriously than others words

The prophet will continue along the same lines but go ever deeper into the supernatural realm of hearing God and being his mouthpiece

They are able to move in the spirit, gift, ministry and mantle – but more!

The prophet lives in the realm of forth telling, rebuke, affirmation, revelation, a limitation, divine utterance, prediction, encouragement, dreams, visions, exhortation, correction and ministry confirmation – Ephesians 2:20; 4:11 – 12; 1 Corinthians 12:28

They give lots of personal prophetic words

Prophet will see into the motives of people’s hearts, the secret things, bring out what the Lord is needing to show and call people to action

They can give direction, correction and rebuke to churches

In the process they will build up the Body of Christ

Methods of operation and the end product will be different between individual prophets

Some prophetic ministries are rooted in evangelistic and pastoral situations

Others use their gift to open up difficult issues because the prophetic ability is channeled through the word of knowledge

Some are clearly involved in forth telling – using Scripture messages to inspire congregations with a timely and relevant word

Others move particularly in revelatory prophecy in a predictive manner

Some move only in personal prophecy while others are more happy speaking corporately

One of the major things they will do is equip the other saints to move in the gifts of


Word of wisdom

Word of knowledge

They are able to teach and train others in how to do it

Not just do it themselves out of their own giftedness

A prophet is concerned with holiness and purity and is seeking to prepare the bride of Christ

They build the church and establish kingdom values and practices for Christ’s return

Eph 2:19 -20   “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but ellow-citizens ith God’s people and embers of God’s household, built on the foundation of the postles and prophets, with Christ esus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

They are one of the 2 offices from Christ that lay foundations for the church

The prophet operates in a governmental office – directing and correcting the church

They will invest the church with supernatural faith as they both forth tell the word of the Lord and foretell his purposes

Prophet has a kingdom perspective that will motivate the church universal towards a practical unity of the Spirit

A prophet will speak to churches, cities, regions and nations

They operate heavily in

Word of wisdom

Word of knowledge

Discerning of spirits

Their words will be heard by those in authority – church leaders, kings and governments

Jer 1:10 – “ See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

At other levels – build up, stir up and cheer up


uproot, tear down,

destroy and overthrow

Then Build and Plant

Their words will be accompanied by signs and wonders in healing miracles and clear signs of the supernatural presence of the Lord and his hosts

The office of prophet is also a trans-local ministry

Not just centered in the local church

Will travel all over the world.

Important rule is to learn the specific sphere of influence

Knowing the boundaries is just as important as locating the territory

Influence and activity will expand to relationships and by development and opportunity


The Office of Apostle – as it relates to prophecy

Note the solid line

It is important to note the one does not merely grow into the office of a apostle

It is not through the development of a spiritual gift that one becomes an apostle

Ephesians 4:11 – 12 indicates that Office of an apostle is a special governmental gift given by Christ

This is a special calling by Christ the head of the church

not the development of a spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit

There is another whole level of the prophetic that flows through apostles that is not there with prophets

The office of apostle – means that a person’s particular spiritual gift/office has been recognized by the church and that the person is authorized to engage in open ministry centered around that gift

Apostle – sent one who establishes and builds the church

They plant churches and ministries

They are the master builders – laying the foundations of Jesus Christ in the church

Also other functional, governmental and lifestyle foundations

Prophet is a messenger to the church and is recognized by the hearers as a divine Channel of fresh revelation

Fresh light brought upon biblical truth

Teacher explains and enforces Biblical truths

Apostles prophesy at a depth more than prophets or other prophetic people

See callings

See ministries

See areas of the world people are assigned to – spheres

They see destinies

They can see the next 20-30 years of God’s good plan for the person

They see the large picture

They prophecy to great depths and often in tremendous detail

While prophesying, they inter-weave signs, wonders, healing, miracles

All 9 of the gifts of the Spirit will be involved while prophesying

One of the major things they will do is equip the other saints to move in the gifts of


Word of wisdom

Word of knowledge

Gifts of healing

Working of miracles

All the other gifts of HS

They are able to teach and train others in how to do it

Not just do it themselves out of their own giftedness


See other apostles and call them out

See other 5 fold ministries and call them out

more so than the other 4 fold ministers do

Call out and appoint elders in the local church

set other ministries in place in the local church

Impart spiritual gifts to the other 5 fold ministries to be able to do the calling

 Rom1:11- “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong”

Can also direct, correct, discipline, rebuke

Can tear down and build up

Jer 1:10 – “ See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

The importance of development


We must look at our prophetic ability and practices and plan to upgrade them

These things do not just happen

People need training in prophecy as much as they do in prayer, warfare, worship, sharing their faith and praying for the sick

When beginning in prophecy there is a large mixture of our thoughts/impressions/feelings competing with the mind of the Spirit

Most often prophecy is a mixture of our words and God’s words

Sometimes this yields a “mature” word that reflects ideally what God would like to communicate

Sometimes his word is communicated in a much less than ideal fashion, yielding a “weak” word of lesser value – but still not to be despised

There are no clear-cut standards for deciding if a person is at a certain level or exactly what the distinctions truly are

Some are not biblical distinctions – while others clearly are

These are simply categories that help us to communicate with each other more effectively

As we receive training, discipleship and opportunity to move in the gift – we develop our listening potential

We learn to filter out our own thoughts

Discern the voice of the enemy

To hold onto the word of the Lord

As we receive training, discipleship and opportunity to move in the gift – we develop our purity in delivering the word

Less flesh added

Proper emphasis in places the Lord puts the emphasis

In the realm of prophetic ministry there is less mixture

The person is growing into the gift and establishing credibility and a good track record

When tired or upset or other factors distracting us

Then the scale slides and the % of God and % of man shifts

more of man and less of God

This is a cautionary note to know when to quit

In congregations

Those with gift (ministry/mantle) or office of prophet should judge the prophecy given by those giving from the Spirit of Prophecy

Without adequate training, our gifting will not reach beyond a certain level

One of the main causes of difficulty in the prophetic realm today is the lack of development, training and discipleship

Without proper healing in the inner man from the wounds of sin and others

Our soul will color the Word of the Lord

Our emotions will entangle themselves

We will hurt people

We will speak more of our own words

As they move into the prophetic office

They come into a greater flow of revelatory anointing and responsibility

On the national and international scene

 We are called to weigh what is said – 1 Corinthians 14:29 – 30

Even prophetic office and office of apostle – still must weigh and test words

However good and reputable the prophets or prophecy may be

Including those occasions when an audible voice is heard from heaven as it were

1 Thessalonians 5:20 – 21 –“ do not despise prophecies.  Test all things; hold fast what is good”

If the prophetic utterance is from God, and the Holy Spirit will bring the words home to our hearts and give us an internal witness of the fact that it is indeed something God is saying to us

Important to see the differences between:

Poor prophecy

Weak prophecy

Average prophecy

Strong prophecy

These distinctions allow room for people to grow and develop

in character

in spiritual sensitivity

in protocol

These distinctions allow for the unique separate class the Bible calls “false prophet”

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