In the New Testament era, a simple believer named Ananias received Christ’s instructions to go to the recently covered Saul of Tarsus and minister to him. He wasn’t a prophet, but he heard from God a message, not of new doctrine, but of personal direction. This is a key for those who walk in the Spirit today.
First – every believer can hear from God and receive what we know as a “revelation.” A revelation is simply God speaking to us as He has promised to do. John 10 states that “My sheep hear My voice.” When we do we call that a revelation because God has revealed something to us. Maybe we should simply call it “normal.” Regretfully, because most believers have not learned to differentiate God’s voice from the other voices we hear it is not “normal” – and those who do hear God regularly appear special and their “revelations’ gain extra importance in the life of believers and the local church.
Second – because those who do walk in the revelatory gifts apparently are few and far between, their word becomes much more powerful than it should be. People flock to their services if they are known as a prophet or apostle because they want to receive a word from the Lord. If they are a member of a congregation – people value their insights and opinions more than those of others because “they hear God.” This gives them and their words more influence than they really should have and that influence is often misused. Everyone should be hearing God for themselves – and those who do hear God and minister prophetically then simply confirm what believers have already heard for themselves. This places the revelatory gifts back where they really belong.
This sometimes leads to people who are prophetic then beginning to go past receiving simple personal direction and helping people to know what the Lord is calling them to do and how, when, where, and with whom they are to do it. They begin to receive fresh revelation from the Lord – new teachings, new insights, new doctrine … most of which are not even biblical. However, the Church is often not very discerning and these teachings are openly accepted as “from the Lord” because these people hear God. This is how the church goes into apostasy and heresy becomes a regular part of the life of the Church.
When someone walks in the revelatory gifts and ministers prophetically – their revelations must line up with what the Bible states and teaches. When they receive a revelation – it should be a new insight into an old truth – not a new truth or doctrine that is being established. Revelation brings new light and fresh insight into biblical truths and the work that the Lord is currently doing in His Church and in the world. Fresh insight into established biblical truth. Of course, this should be happening every Sunday from every pulpit in every nation as the teacher or pastor brings fresh revelation, new and timely insights into the Word of God – the Bible.
So, be careful what you hear or read – in the end times, Paul wrote, many will teach doctrines of demons, myths, and strange fables – and this has now become a reality and even the “very elect are being deceived.”