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PROPHECY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO ASK! DO/TS 3035 1/96

--With the Lord's Answers Summarized for Your Benefit--Part 2--Judging and Interpreting Prophecy!--Compiled by Peter A.

1. (Introduction:) This is the second in a series of prophecy question and answer GNs. In this GN we will answer questions which pertain to judging and interpreting prophecy--answers which we pray will help you in the judgment and interpretation of prophecies given to you or your Home.

2. As with the first of this series, Mama asked our WS prophets to bring a number of questions regarding prophecy before the Lord. They did so, and He answered wonderfully, as usual. Rather than publishing the full prophecies, we have again chosen to condense them in order to make the answers shorter and more concise.

3. Judging prophecy is the act of discerning if a prophecy was given by the Spirit of God. Interpreting prophecy is the act of coming to an understanding of what a prophecy means.

4. Judging Prophecies: The Bible clearly states that prophecies should be judged. 1Cor.14:29 says, "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." Dad has also given counsel about the judgment of prophecy, most specifically in "Despise Not Prophesying" (ML #244). In the first five questions of this GN we will see what further insight the Lord has given to help us better judge prophecies.

5. Interpreting Prophecy: There are many reasons to ask the Lord to speak to us in prophecy. Some of these include a need for: encouragement, direction and instruction, help in decision-making, insight into problems, finding the Lord's will in a matter, etc. Once the Lord has spoken on a matter, we must prayerfully look at what He has said and determine what instruction or answer He is giving us. To do this, we must interpret the prophecy, we must find the meaning of what He has said to us.

6. In order to fully benefit from the gift of prophecy, we must learn to properly interpret the prophecy, as it doesn't help much to get a message from the Lord if you don't understand the meaning of what He's telling you! So in questions 6 through 11 we share some of what the Lord has said on this subject.

7. In order to properly judge and interpret a prophecy, it is necessary to carefully study the prophecy. The best means of doing so is to record the prophecies and transcribe them. This way you will have an exact record of what the Lord has said and you can prayerfully study the meaning. It would be wise to keep some record of all the prophecies your Home receives, such as a notebook or computer file, so that you can periodically go back and reread them to see all the Lord has shown you and how it has come to pass.

(Note: When reading this GN publicly with others, please indicate where the Lord starts speaking by saying something like "prophecy begins," and then at the end of the prophecy, "prophecy ends"--or simply read the opening and closing quote marks. This will help the hearer to be able to better distinguish between what is commentary and what is prophecy. Thanks!)

Judging Prophecy

Question 1

8. How do you determine whether a prophecy is of the Lord or whether it's a false prophecy?

9. Answer: To determine if a prophecy is a true prophecy or a false one, it must be prayerfully judged. A true prophecy will be scripturally and doctrinally sound, and it will engender the fruits of the Spirit. False prophecies are unscriptural or unsound doctrinally. They engender fear, doubt, worry, confusion and criticism of others.

10. The Lord gave some specific counsel about how to determine if a prophecy is from Him or not: "Beware when what is received engenders fear and doubt and confusion, for it is not My Spirit embodied in the form of a dove--gentle, soft and loving. ... Even so will I give you good things and that which engenders faith and trust. Even in My correction of you, do I not give you hope for a brighter future and hope for repentance and hope for another day? ... Beware when that which comes makes you afraid and fearful or doubtful and critical. I will give you that which is for your profit."

11. True prophecy will not be harsh or cruel, causing ungodly fear. Instead it will be loving, will encourage and bring about faith and trust, even if there is an element of correction. If a prophecy causes you to be fearful, doubtful or critical of others, then it most likely isn't of the Lord.

12. "You must learn to discern the Spirit. ... If the message ministers condemnation or anger or fear or hatred or disgust or doubt, these things are not of Me, and the message is not of Me. For the wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, like dew falling upon the grass. Therefore, taste and see that the Lord is good, for by the taste you shall know. Does it minister fear? Does it minister condemnation? My voice is the still and gentle voice, full of mercy and good fruits, patient, without partiality, without hypocrisy, loving. ... If it ministers condemnation, negative thinking or fear, these thoughts are not of Me."

13. Of course there are times when the Lord may want to correct someone who is deliberately disobedient, defiant or rebellious, and certain portions of a prophecy may not sound so loving or gentle because the Lord has to show them how serious their condition is. But such prophecies would normally be given to the shepherds in private when they are praying for or about a person. In such a case, if the correction is confirmed by more than one prophecy and the leadership teamwork prayerfully study the prophecies and know that they are of the Lord, they can give them to the person. They should do so with a lot of love and understanding, remembering that the Lord is trying to help the person by correcting them, not to discourage them and make them feel like giving up.

14. The Lord said we need to "be tasters to know that which is good and that which is not. If something comes which does not sound right to you ... take time to seek it out. Let it be balanced in the balances, weighed with the scales of My Word." So if a prophecy just doesn't seem to be right, then pray more about it, weigh it against the Word, take time to counsel about it.

15. Please remember, though, that just because a prophecy comes out differently than what you are used to hearing, it doesn't mean that it's a false prophecy or that the prophet is out of the Spirit. "Fear not to pour forth, to sing the sounds of My waters and to hear them. For there are many varieties, there are many songs, there are many motions. They are of many speeds, they flow through many channels, they each make individual sounds. Let the waters cool and refresh you, all of them. ... Fear not for My variety."

16. Beware of pride. In answering this question, the Lord also spoke to those of you who prophesy, giving you valuable counsel about steps to take to make sure you receive true prophecy: "I ask that you fear Me, and that you be desperate, and that you be prayerful, ... that you desire to please Me most. ... Your best protection is to abide in Me. If you don't keep your eyes upon Me, and if you desire to be praised or desire the glory or the adulation of man rather than My will, you may be distracted and deceived. For pride comes before a fall, and pride is the greatest enemy to the use of this gift. For this gift is powerful, and some would want to be acclaimed and praised for it, thinking that they are particularly gifted or anointed or wonderful when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. Beware, for this is spiritual pride."

17. As you can see, it is very important for the one receiving the prophecy to be in the fear of the Lord, prayerful, desperate, and above all humble, fighting against spiritual pride. As the Lord said, "Pride is the greatest enemy to the use of this gift."--So be humble!

18. Stay close to the Lord. In addition to those things listed above, the Lord also pointed out the importance of those who prophesy being close to Him: "This is why your queen has so impressed upon you the importance of getting closer to Me in this day, to love Me more, to know Me more, to praise Me, that we may have a close relationship, so that there will be no interference, no static. We will walk closer than ever before and you will be able to hear the whispers without the distractions that are all about you. Therefore stay close to Me, and understand the importance of loving Me more and more."

19. Pray against preconceived ideas. Besides loving Him, you need to also make sure you "pray against any preconceived ideas, against your own will." You must set aside your personal feelings about a matter and pray for the Lord to reveal His will. Along with this, you must set aside the business of the day and fully tune in to the Lord.

20. "Before you come in from the wings, in beneath the dome of My temple, to gather and to hear from Me, you must learn to take off the garment of your works, so you are not cumbered with much serving and busyness of your day. For it is important that when you come in from your business that you take time to praise Me, to love Me, to let My Words and the beauty of My music and song cleanse your mind and set your hearts at peace, that you might be in neutral gear and at peace, sitting in the stillness. Take time to be holy, whole in mind and body and spirit." Singing, praising, praying, speaking in tongues and taking time to enter into the Spirit are important factors in a prophecy session, as they help you to focus your mind on the Lord and put aside the business of the day.

21. What about mistakes? The Lord said that in our learning to use this gift, mistakes will be made. There will probably be some false prophecies, but we will learn from them, so we shouldn't be afraid of them. "Be not afraid, for I will not let you be deceived if you will come unto Me wholly and in desperation, with respect, with great fear of God, as you seek to know My will. I will give you the gift of discernment. ... Are you not My sheep? Are you not born of Me and of My Spirit? Do you not hear My voice and recognize My voice, and the voice of a stranger you will not follow? Even so will I place within you a greater anointing. If you will follow closely, I will protect you from the voices of strangers." The Lord gave a further promise of discernment when He said, "If you seek Me with all your heart, will you not recognize the voices of the Enemy, will you not recognize that which is not sound ... by the witness of the Spirit?"

22. In another prophecy the Lord again spoke about this time being a learning time. He said, "I have ordained this time for you to practice. You need to practice, you need to learn to hear clearly and specifically from Me so that in the future you can hear Me and you will know that it is My voice and not another. You need to learn to be able to hear My voice and to discern between My voice and the voice of the Enemy. So fear not to practice and fear not to make mistakes. ... I will not let you go astray. There are safeguards." The Lord definitely wants you to step out by faith and use this wonderful gift of prophecy and not to be held back by fear that someone will lead you astray through it.

23. Safeguards. Besides the prophet staying in tune with the Lord, one of the main safeguards against false prophecy is good shepherding by the teamwork as they prayerfully and wisely judge the prophecies. Another safeguard is if the prophecy is confirmed by other prophets. "Out of the mouth of two or three prophets let every word be established." A further safeguard is the counsel of others in the Home: "Open up the safeguard of many voices about you, whom shall seek to confirm. ... Not only the pastors among you shall judge ... there are humble ones among your congregation who will be a help and strength unto you. Give respect and honor and due deference unto every voice from among you, that you might have the confirmation."

24. Another safeguard against getting led astray by a false prophecy is the Love Charter. "Do not fear that these among you shall lead you astray, for their words will be measured against the Charter. If they lead you in the wrong direction, the guidelines in the Charter shall push you back into the straight and narrow. Those of you who have been offended and led astray in the past due to false prophecy, do not fear, for I set up the Charter to protect and to keep you and to give you security."

25. Some people have expressed hesitancy about prophecy and they are afraid that someone in their Home will prophesy something that instructs them personally to do something that they don't wish to do or which they don't have the faith for. The Charter gives you a great deal of protection against having to do things you do not choose to do. You are not obligated to follow a prophecy that someone gives you. You have the choice to do so or not.

26. Those of you who are shepherds must be very careful when prophesying, judging or interpreting prophecy, that you don't do so under the influence of your own preconceived ideas or personal burdens. You must guard against any temptation to misuse the giving, judging or interpreting of prophecy to push your own program on your teamworkers or Home. All judging and interpretation should be a matter of prayerful counsel with others and should not be left to just one person.

27. One other important point the Lord addressed was that in the past some may have given false prophecies, or gotten very lifted up about their gift, and therefore haven't used it for a long time. To you the Lord said, "I speak unto you who have been bruised in the past, I speak unto you who have been stopped from exercising these gifts, and ask you to step forth again that I may mightily anoint the gifts of prophecy that I have given in this day. You shall be protected, do not fear."

28. To add a few more specific points on this subject, we are including some quotes from "Despise Not Prophesying" (ML #244):

29. To effectively pass judgment on a prophecy, check these points:

1. Does it contradict the Word?

(a) Isa.8:20--If it's not according to the Word, it's in darkness.

(b) Gal.1:8--If it's against the Word, it is accursed.

2. Does it contradict the apostles' doctrine which God has given us through His shepherd?

(a) Acts 2:42--Continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine.

(b) 1Tim.6:3-5--If someone goes against the God-given doctrines, he is a proud, envious disputer from whom you should withdraw yourself.

3. What are its fruits?--Mat.7:20.

(a) Gal.5:22,23--"Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."

(b) 1Cor.14:33--A Godly prophecy usually flows with and confirms what God has already said. It brings unity and peace, never confusion.

(c) 1Cor.1:29--Does it lift you up in pride?

(d) Rev.12:10b--Does it condemn you and the flock?

(e) 2Tim.1:7; 1Jn.4:18--Does it bring fear in your hearts?

4. Consider the source or the prophet.

(a) 1Cor.1:10--Is he of one mind with his leaders?

(b) Mat.7:15-20--What are his fruits?

(c) 1Cor.10:31--What are his motives?

Question 2

30. How should the leader of a prayer and prophecy session judge prophecy during the actual session? Are there times when a leader should stop a prophecy before it is done? Are there times when he should wait until afterwards and pray about the situation and talk privately with the individual?

31. Answer: The person leading the prophecy meeting is responsible to judge the prophecies given. If someone is giving a prophecy which is unscriptural or false doctrinally, or which contains personal, deliberate, vindictive attacks on someone, they should be stopped immediately. If someone gives a prophecy that is somewhat tainted or is in the flesh, but it is not harmful, it is not necessary to stop the prophecy.

32. When you lead a prophecy meeting, it is your responsibility to stay very attuned to the Spirit, listening carefully to the prophecies that are being given, discerning any that seem to be a bit off, or any that are not of the Lord.

33. There are times when a person will give a somewhat "tainted" prophecy, most of which will be of the Lord, but for various reasons, some of their own spirit will get mixed in. This can happen for various reasons, including not setting aside personal feelings on the matter, being unwilling or fearful to give what the Lord is giving, or because of spiritual problems which affect your channel with the Lord. Such prophecies don't generally cause harm, and usually the person does not need to be stopped when he is delivering such a prophecy, though it might be wise for the shepherds to prayerfully and lovingly speak with the person about it later in private.

34. There are also times when someone will give a false prophecy, one that is not of the Lord at all. These can often be very harsh and condemning, speak ill of someone in a cruel or unloving manner, or lead others astray in false doctrine. When such prophecies are given, they should be stopped immediately. The Lord said, "If it is the voice of the Enemy coming in and harming My sheep, I say unto you, stop that prophet in his tracks, rebuke him before all, and if necessary, forbid him from prophesying for a time until he has learned to hear the voice of the Lord. ... Beware of pride and of self-glory and of wrath that is not of Me, and of bitterness which the Evil One would use to point the finger and to accuse and to condemn."

35. There is a big difference between a prophecy that is a bit "flavored" by the prophet and one that is not at all of the Lord. If somebody is a bit off track in their prophecy, but it's a minor matter and it's not doing any damage, you generally do not have to stop them in the middle of the prophecy. But if it's a case where someone is speaking false doctrine or is railing against others in the name of the Lord, they need to be stopped.

36. As Dad said in "Despise Not Prophesying": "If it was just a harmless prophecy that never said much, even if it was in the flesh, I'd just kind of pass it off and go right on. They knew when I wasn't too enthusiastic about it. If I wasn't sure, I'd just keep quiet. If I liked it I'd `amen'! The only prophecies I judged harshly were those unscriptural or false doctrinally, or containing personal, deliberate, vindictive false attacks on someone in the name of the Lord! But only with those which I considered false doctrinally, anti-Scriptural and really harmful and that would be apt to lead people astray would I have to say: `Now I don't think this is according to the Bible.--I think this person is misled, or they've been deceived or confused, or maybe I didn't understand it.' I tried to let them down in love as easy as I could" (ML #244:2).

37. To the shepherds who must judge prophecies, the Lord says, "To judge a prophecy is a gift of My Spirit, even as it is a gift to give the prophecy. Therefore he that judges exercises a gift also." So if you are in a position to judge prophecy, you should ask the Lord for the gift of being able to do so wisely and prayerfully.

38. He also adds a caution to you shepherds: "Be not hasty to judge a matter before you hear it. Be sensitive to My Spirit, for I am not a condemning God, I do not wish to openly rebuke, ... I am not waiting with My finger on the trigger. I would rather there be a little wild fire, so that the true fire may burn brightly." This is important counsel, as the Lord is stating that we shouldn't be too hasty in judging a prophecy to be false. Remember, just because something is strange doesn't mean that it's false. And even if it is a little off, if it's not doing any harm it doesn't need to be dealt with publicly. "If you see that a matter should be stopped, then stop it. But if it's not harming My sheep and if it is obvious to all that the person is a little tripped off, then let him speak and let him dwindle out, and let his own fire go out by itself."

39. Mama says about judging prophecy: "When our Home has a united prophecy session I usually refrain from immediately judging the prophecy by saying an `amen' between the prophecies, since I personally prefer not to `amen' some and be silent about others. If there's ever anything that is at all `tainted,' I can be more certain of it after the prophecies are transcribed and after I have had time to prayerfully study them. Then I can pray about how to best present this to the person who gave the prophecy. However, thankfully, I have almost never had to do this in our Home.

40. "There have been some times when we have had questions, wondering what a prophecy meant, and we have gone to the Lord about it, and each time He has explained the `mystery.' The fact that we were unable to understand the prophecy was not the fault of the prophet; it was our own lack of understanding, and the fact that the Lord wanted us to learn something from the way He does things by having us ask Him for further details. Certainly, however, if someone were to give a false prophecy that was accusing others or obviously false doctrinally, I would stop it immediately."

41. If there is someone in the Home who has given an obviously tainted prophecy, you shepherds should talk to them and pray with them about it. Please do so with a great deal of love and understanding. Do not be condemning. If you are, the person may lose their faith to ever prophesy again. "If a brother or sister be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual restore such an one in a spirit of meekness" (Gal.6:1).

42. If someone in the Home has given an obviously false and harmful prophecy, you shepherds should speak and pray with them as well. That person should repent and apologize publicly to the Home, and should refrain from prophesying for a period of time.

43. As the Lord has said throughout this series, we are learning how to use this gift of prophecy and we should not be overly concerned about the possibilities of mistakes happening. "You must ask for wisdom and discernment that I may help you to know what is right and what is not right. Take it not lightly, for I say unto you, there will be voices that are not of Me that will try to enter in. But be not in panic or fear, for I have allowed this as part of your training. For there will be mistakes, pitfalls and failings, as a child must fall when he first learns to walk. But it is for your good, and your growth and your learning."

Question 3

44. While most people give their prophecies in a straightforward manner, some have an odd or strange style of delivery. Does this matter? Do we need to be concerned about them? Do we need to judge their prophecy in a different way?

45. Answer: The message of the prophecy is what's important. If the message is right, then the delivery doesn't make any difference.

46. The Lord said that we should not worry about what kind of vessel delivers the water of His Words to us, whether it's a fancy goblet, a plain glass, a crystal glass, a faucet or a bucket. What counts is that the water "quenches your thirst." The message of the prophecy is more important than the style or the delivery of the prophecy.

47. The main criteria for judging prophecy is not the manner in which it is given, but the truth and the fruit of the prophecy. "If their words bring forth good fruit, if their lips bring forth praise, if their words be sweet and seasoned with salt, gracious, loving, compassionate, kind and understanding, if they speak truth, if they bring peace, if it ministers righteousness unto the hearers, these are the ways to judge."

48. Even though some prophets may have a different style of delivery, or some may be less gifted than others, it doesn't mean that what they give is wrong or distorted. "Some of the vessels may be marred, so that when the water is poured out, it does not come out smoothly; nonetheless it comes. Have mercy upon those who are the vessels for My voice and pray for them as they speak My Words, for in their heart they may struggle to deliver and have a difficult time. Pray for them to have a clear channel." This is such an important point! As people are prophesying, you should pray for them to have a clear channel.

49. The Bible says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2Cor.3:17). God's Spirit is not bound, so if He wishes to give a prophecy through someone in song, or in poetry, or in whispers, or a loud voice, or with weeping or laughter, it doesn't matter; it can all be from the Lord. The Lord has designed it so that some people have a different style of delivery. "Others have a different delivery because I have made them different; nevertheless they are to be esteemed no less important. They are different, as the thumb is different from the fingers, for I give them a different perspective. Some have special talents made for special situations."

50. The Lord gave an interesting illustration of a handicapped painter who had to hold the paint brush in his mouth or his foot. To the onlooker it looked a little strange, but when you looked at the painting, it was a beautiful picture. So you should not be looking at the person who delivers the prophecy, but at what the Lord has to say. You shouldn't let your feelings about the person giving the prophecy interfere with how you receive the prophecy. The Lord can speak through anyone He chooses in any way He chooses, and you should not let your familiarity with that person affect your acceptance of the Word the Lord pours through him.

Question 4

51. Sometimes you notice a pattern, or a certain style of wording in people's prophecies that is rather unique to them. It is like their personality comes through when they give prophecies. Is that because their personality gets in the way? If so, does it lessen the value of the prophecy?

52. Also, when some people prophesy they make the same grammatical inaccuracies or repeat the same incorrect usage of words as they do in their normal everyday speech. Is this because the way we express what the Lord gives us is affected by the way we normally express ourselves or speak? Do our human frailties and weaknesses affect what the Lord gives through us? And if so, does that lessen the value of the prophecy?

53. Answer: The Lord made each of us as individuals and He uses our individual gifts and talents for His glory in the way He chooses. Though He can, and sometimes does, override our personality, vocabulary or grammatical skills, He usually doesn't. Besides generally limiting Himself to our personality and vocabulary, the personality and vocabulary of those who help deliver the message from the spirit world also affect the prophecy. None of this lessens the Words the Lord gives.

54. Each person is a unique creation of God, and the Lord speaks through us and uses us differently. "As you hit the different rods of a set of chimes, each one gives forth its own tone. As My Spirit hits upon each of your hearts, each heart brings forth a different tone. I may at times override your individual personalities ... but I also ... flow through you and use you in the manner in which I have created you. ... I bestow upon each individual their own particular gift of prophecy. I am the one that perfects that gift within them as they yield step by step, as they practice, as they pour forth. So be not afraid, neither be condemned if you find your prophecies come forth in one manner while another's prophecies come forth in another manner. ... Do not compare, for it is still My Spirit that speaks through you. It is just your vessel that shapes the way I speak, but it is still My Words and My Spirit flowing through you."

55. Comparing is so often a source of real discouragement, so the Lord is cautioning you not to compare the way He speaks through you with the way He speaks through someone else. Regardless of how it comes--flowing or halting, eloquently or simply--it's the Lord using your particular gift. The Lord says He can override our personalities when giving prophecies through us, but He says that He more often prefers to use us the way that He created us, frailties and all. So we can expect that the prophecies we give will often reflect our personality and our vocabulary.

56. In regards to the language and the grammar that we use, the Lord said, "You do not speak all the languages, you are not able to put My Words into the perfect words, but you only use those that are within your repertoire." So it seems that generally, though not always, the Lord limits Himself to our frail vessels, our knowledge of grammar and vocabulary.

57. He cautions us to "Be not offended at the personality of the prophet. Be not offended at the inaccuracies of his speech, but rather ... look upon the message, whether it be true. Look upon the goal, look upon what I am saying. Look upon the point that I am trying to get across." Clearly the message is more important than the eloquence of the delivery. "Though at times I can burst through and take further control through My Holy Spirit, and give you ... supernatural things, ... this also depends upon your yieldedness and upon the importance of the message. But I usually prefer to work through you the way you are. ... I do something supernatural when it is necessary and when the circumstances and the importance and the imminent necessity calls for this." Generally the Lord uses us as we are, even with our poor language skills. However, if we're yielded, He can push through with something out of the ordinary when He feels it's important enough to do so.

58. The Lord pointed out that He generally gives the message through more than one prophet so that the full picture will be precise and clear and you'll have a clearer understanding of what He's talking about. He said, "There are many interpretations to words, but in order to make My message clear, I speak through many, in many different ways with different talents, and many different spirit helpers and many personalities, all to bring forth the same message."

59. He allowed one of the Heavenly helpers to speak, and this spirit helper said, "We all are different. We have our different personalities. Sometimes we volunteer for what message we want to bring you. Sometimes within our group, we, your counselors, will choose one among us who can speak in a well-rounded manner to bring a weighty message or communicate a point that is hard to get across. ... So we counsel, we have our eyes on each other and we communicate with each other and choose among us who to send a specific message to when you are gathered together.

60. "Some of us are assigned to you individually; we stay with you all the time. We are always available to speak to you. Sometimes others come in and out while we are with you and give counsel to you. Sometimes they will step in and speak to you in prophecy, in your heart, or in a vision or in an impression. But usually we, the ones who stick with you, direct you. ... So there is lots of variety when you are together. Don't worry if you get a little variety once in a while when you are on your own." So besides our own personalities playing a role in the receiving of prophecy, the variety of those in the spirit world, both our own personal spirit helpers and those who sometimes deliver messages to us, plays a part as well.

Question 5

61. If a member in a Home gives a directional prophecy which the teamwork of the Home is doubtful about or doesn't feel is of the Lord, how do they decide whether or not to implement it?

62. Answer: If you are unsure whether to implement something given in prophecy, seek the Lord for further confirmation. Pray and hear from Him about the matter a number of times if necessary.

63. The Lord gives a simple answer to this question. He says: "If you are not sure of the thing which has been spoken ... seek Me further for these things. ... You shall have peace in the things on which you shall decide if you have faith that that which I have given you is good, and that which has been received is sound. But if you do not have this peace, seek Me further." He goes on to say, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses, let My purposes be established. Seek confirmation; let there be no divisions amongst you." So in a case where you are not sure, you would want to receive confirming prophecies on the matter. If the prophecies are unclear to us, but we need to act upon them, we should take time to hear more about it from Him before deciding. "I am not leading you to be hasty in your decisions, I am leading you to take time with Me and to savor these things."

64. We must remember that prophecy is only one of the ways to know God's will. Another is in Godly counsel together. The Lord said, "In the multitude of counselors there is safety. ... You must do things through the multitude of counsel. ... I speak through this gift of prophecy ... but this must be balanced with the multitude of counsel." So when the Lord gives a directional prophecy, it should be counseled about with the Home before being implemented.

65. If such a matter has brought about some confusion or conflict within the Home and it can't be sorted out by further prayer and discussion together, you can pass it on to your VSs or CROs and ask for their help, as they might be able to give more objective counsel.

66. Please remember that just because something the Lord gives in prophecy does not go along with what you initially thought should be done, that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong. The Lord might be trying to give you new direction, so be open and prayerful. "Leave yourself open for My Spirit, for the new things that I will say to you, the new directions that I will give to you. However, you must be fully persuaded in your own heart that this is the way, and it may take time. But I am patient and I will confirm it over and over. Therefore ask for confirmation and I will give it."

67. To the shepherds the Lord added, "I say unto you shepherds and overseers that this is a new day. I am eager to do new things, therefore be open to all that I have for you. ... I have many new directions, new things to lead you into. For it is the time to exercise your faith and to put your hand into My hand."

(For further questions and answers regarding judging prophecy, please refer to the first GN in this series, entitled "Prophecy Questions You May Have Always Wanted to Ask!--With the Lord's Answers Summarized for Your Benefit--Part 1--The Use of Prophecy!", GN 655, ML #3019, questions 7 and 8.)

Interpreting Prophecy

68. Now we will turn from judging prophecy to interpreting prophecy. The following question, number six, was given to three separate groups to pray about. This was done to seek further confirmation, to see how the Lord would answer each group on this important question, that not only in the mouth of two or three witnesses, but in the mouths of three different groups of prophets, these answers would be established. The Lord answered clearly! Each group received very similar answers, which in some cases were almost exactly the same, while in other instances the answers complemented one another. Because there were three sessions for this particular question, the answers to this question are lengthier than the answers to the other questions.

Question 6

69. What are the guidelines for interpreting prophecies?

70. Answer: To properly interpret prophecy, you should pray and counsel with others who have prayed for and are gifted with wisdom, discernment and understanding. Those interpreting must have pure intentions, be open and receptive to God's will, and put aside their preconceived ideas. Prophecy is not to be carnally or analytically interpreted, but rather interpreted in simplicity and faith, guided by the written Word. The interpretation should be a united one and should not minister pride or bring division. If there is something in the prophecy that is not understood, it should not cause doubt or fear, as the Lord may not wish to reveal the full meaning of the prophecy at the time, but may do so in the future.

71. The Lord gave a number of factors for properly interpreting prophecy. He started by saying that, "Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding and discernment, for without these three there can be great confusion." These are spiritual gifts which can be prayed for. Daniel prayed for understanding when he had seen a vision and "sought for the meaning." The Hebrew word translated in that verse as "meaning" is generally translated throughout the Old Testament as "understanding," so he sought for understanding of the vision, which we must often do with prophecy as well.

72. Some people have specific gifts for interpreting prophecy. The Lord said, "For as I make some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, so I have given some the gift of discernment and of wisdom, the gift of knowledge. Some have greater understanding of My Words than others." If we are going to be seeking the Lord for answers in prophecy, we must also pray for the gift of understanding His Words. "This is of great importance. You must pray, ... look unto Me for answers from the Heavens and I will give them to you." It is a very special gift, "to be treasured as greatly as prophecy, for it is a precious gift to rightly divide God's Word."

73. Another major point which was brought out was the need for prayerful counsel together in determining exactly what the Lord has told you in prophecy. "Assemble yourselves together in the spirit of prayer." The Lord doesn't necessarily give any one person the full interpretation to every prophecy. He said, "My light shines through each person with a slightly different color, with a slightly different hue, but all together you can get the complete picture. It is My will to give understanding of some things to some, and other things to others, so that you will be dependent on one another and you will seek one another for confirmation, for understanding; else could one say, `I am the oracle of God. I have the direct line.'" What wisdom the Lord uses in keeping us humble!

74. Counsel in these matters is so important, because sometimes what may be very unclear to you might be very clear to someone else, through the discernment the Lord has given them. As a further confirmation of the need to counsel, the Lord went on to say that we are "in the training period, and you have need of more confirmation and greater consultation. Discuss and pray over and consider what the words that I give mean, for at times they are not easy to discern. ... Therefore, be not hasty in deriving the meaning, but study and pray, and ask Me to open up their meaning. Without counsel ... many will run off with the wrong interpretation."

75. It is important that those seeking the interpretation are in unity and in agreement. "You need to be unified by My Spirit, anointed by My Spirit, directed by My Spirit, and led by My Spirit. ... I will guide you, and lead, and confirm in each of your hearts that this is the proper interpretation."

76. Besides being in unity, those interpreting must also be guided by the Word. "You must guide your thoughts with My Word. ... If My Word is strong in your heart, it shall guide you in the interpretations thereof."

77. The next major factor in interpreting prophecy is the need to be open to all the Lord may be saying. Prophecy cannot be interpreted just by using carnal reasoning, logic or analytical study. It requires the wisdom of God and the leading and the discernment of God's Spirit. We cannot just assume in our own pride that we know what the Lord is saying. The Lord said, "Be open to change. Be open and receptive. ... Rebuke the spirit of pride and cast off your own interpretation. Seek for My interpretation by yielding to one another, and My Spirit shall bear witness in your hearts as to what is true."

78. We shouldn't interpret prophecy according to what we want it to say. "You must be yielded to whatever I have to say, and not be pulled away by your desires, lusts or preconceived ideas. You need to be open to whatever I give ... without the door of pride slamming shut the gate that will lead to My highest will." In order to understand and accept the Words the Lord gives, we must be of a "believing heart and an open mind and of pure intentions." If you already have your mind made up about the matter, it will be difficult to be open to what the Lord may be trying to show you through the prophecy.

79. The Lord gave some very clear signs to guard against in interpreting prophecy (and these same ones apply to those giving prophecy): "Does it minister to your pride? Does it minister divisiveness? Does it minister self-righteousness? These things are not of Me. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the way of humility, in the way of love, in the way of submissiveness. ... The Enemy desires to lead you astray into the paths that divide one from another." So if a prophecy is given and someone interprets it in an unloving, critical, self-righteous or divisive manner, then that interpretation is ungodly and should not be followed. One way to not let this happen is through prayerful counsel together.

80. Another list of guidelines the Lord gave was: "Does it do good to others? Does it minister love? Does it minister encouragement? Does it bear good fruit? This is the way I lead." As in all things, we must be led by love and humility when we interpret, for as 1Corinthians 13:2 says, "Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries ... and have not love, I am nothing."

81. In Isaiah 55:9 the Lord says, "For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." God's ways and thoughts are so far beyond us that it's understandable that we wouldn't always understand everything that He might say to us. Some of what He says might be very clear, some might be shrouded in mystery. Sometimes what He tells us might be for now, sometimes it might be for later. Sometimes part of a prophecy is for the present, while another part is for the future. Sometimes part of the prophecy is for one person while part of the prophecy is for another; or part may be for an individual, while part may be for the group as a whole. So it takes prayerfulness, wisdom, discernment, understanding, faith, and sometimes patience, to understand all the Lord is saying.

82. Generally, though not always, when we are seeking Him through prophecy for guidance in our decision-making, He gives clear instructions, so it's not necessary to constantly be looking for mysterious hidden meanings. He said, "I speak plainly unto you, as children. Read it, and understand it for what it says. I do speak the deep things and the mysterious things of the Spirit, but I speak unto you plainly. If I say this or that or the other thing to you, that is what I mean."

83. He went on to say, "The word of prophecy that comes to you is not like the prophecies of old, or predictions of the future, or scoldings to a rebellious nation. I speak unto you ... directly. Why do you seek ... to make complicated that which I have tried to make simple? ... Be not puffed up in your minds nor seek to interpret intellectually, for you will not prosper. And woe unto those who seek to fabricate their own interpretations." We must be simple and prayerful when interpreting prophecy.

84. Of course, at times some parts of a prophecy might not be completely understood, as sometimes the Lord doesn't give us the full interpretation, but that is not a reason for us to doubt the prophecy or say it is untrue or inaccurate. The Lord said, "That which you don't understand, let it rest in your heart and I will unfold it to you in My time. For even your Father David did not always understand the Words of the prophecies that I gave to him, yet he still treasured every Word and had great respect unto Me for the Words I gave to him. ... You must not feel discouraged or distraught if you cannot understand every Word that I speak unto you. ... My Words are hidden jewels that are opened up to you in My time. Therefore do not fear if there are things in My Word or My prophecies that you do not understand."

85. It is very important to understand that the Lord doesn't limit Himself to our finite minds. He lives in eternity, while we live in time, thus He may make a statement in prophecy which He intends for the future, which if we interpret as being for now, may look like it's wrong, whereas He knows that it is right. As time goes on we will see that He was right, even though it seemed wrong to us at the time.

86. It's a bit like when the Lord told His disciples that Lazarus' sickness was "not unto death." He later said that Lazarus was sleeping, and eventually He told them "Lazarus is dead." This might have seemed a bit contradictory to them. His disciples could have asked how Jesus could say the sickness was not unto death, yet Lazarus was dead; in fact, he was in the grave for four days! Yet Jesus eventually raised him from the dead, so even though the disciples didn't understand it at the time, they eventually did, after Lazarus was raised up. They could have accused Jesus of giving false or inaccurate statements at the time He made them, but because they had faith in the Words that He had said, they could trust what He said even though they didn't understand it.

87. The Lord pointed out that prophets like Daniel, Jeremiah and Ezekiel did not always understand what He gave to them. "For many things that I spoke unto them were for their day, yet other things that I gave unto them were for the years to come, ages to come, which they knew little of. ... Therefore if it comes, it comes, and if it doesn't, let it lay until the day that I open it unto you. ... In that day when you need it, it shall be opened unto you if you will pray. ... With the help of your brethren and the confirmation of other prophets and wise men around you, you will know the mystery, step by step, stone by stone." So don't be worried or fearful if you cannot always interpret everything that the Lord gives. Some things may be for later, and the Lord may reveal them to you at that time.

88. One helpful tip is that if those interpreting and/or judging a prophecy don't understand something in the prophecy, one of the first things to do is to ask the person who gave the prophecy, because sometimes they understand what the Lord meant. Also, that person might know things like who is speaking in the prophecy or who is being spoken to, whereas others may not know it.

Question 7

89. Who is qualified to interpret prophecy?

90. Answer: Those who interpret prophecy should be men and women of faith who are listening to and full of the Holy Spirit. They should have the gifts of wisdom, discernment and understanding, and should prayerfully counsel together about the meaning of a prophecy. Teamworks and others in the Home should pray for wisdom, discernment and understanding.

91. One of the most important gifts one must have to be qualified to interpret and understand prophecy is faith. The Lord said, "You need the gift of faith. ... For if you see things through the eyes of faith, then I can reveal things to you. But if you're doubtful and scrutinizing, you will not see things clearly." Besides faith, those who interpret prophecy must be those "who have the Spirit of God and are in the Spirit of God and are listening to the Spirit of God."

92. So if someone has a great deal of battles or doubts about prophecy or if they are critically inspecting every little word and not looking at it with the eyes of faith, or if they are not full of the Spirit or generally do not listen to the counsel of the Lord through the Word or others, they probably won't be able to properly interpret the meaning of the prophecies.

93. The Lord confirmed that "in the multitude of counselors there is safety," and that you should seek among you "elders, men and women full of the Holy Ghost, who are able to rightly divide the word of truth." In most cases your teamwork are your elected elders and should be prayerful men and women who are full of the Spirit, whom you love and trust, thus together they are probably qualified to interpret prophecies. But there may be others who are especially gifted in interpreting who could assist the teamwork in praying about the meaning of the prophecies. Those of you on the teamwork and others should pray for the needed gifts. The Lord said, "I shall supply all your need, even this gift of interpretation, whenever you need it." So we can rest assured that when we need to interpret a prophecy, the Lord will supply the gift to do so.

94. The Lord called discernment and understanding "gifts," and said that these "gifts and callings of God are without repentance, so respect the gifts that I give." Just as everyone doesn't have the gift of prophecy, everyone does not have the gift of interpreting prophecy, but you can certainly ask for it. He said, "I will bestow upon you the gifts that you need to fulfill My will, to hear from Me clearly, to see My will and to be led by Me." So we are to pray for the gift of properly interpreting the Words He gives.

95. The Lord said that sometimes we will make mistakes with interpreting prophecy. "Some could interpret wrongly, but you will grow and learn as you practice and exercise these gifts." As with all gifts, we must learn to exercise them in order to become more familiar with them. So don't be condemned or discouraged if you make a mistake. Learn from it, accept humbly that you made a mistake, explain honestly what it was, say you're sorry, and carry on.

Question 8

96. When a prophecy is given, how much of what is said can be taken literally and how much needs to be interpreted?

97. Answer: Some things given in prophecy can be taken literally, other things cannot. To understand the proper meaning, a prophecy should be prayed about and counseled about with those who are gifted in wisdom, discernment and understanding. At times the meaning of a prophecy may not be clear because the Lord wants you to seek Him more in prayer about the matter. Other times it's not clear because what He has said has a future application that He wants to reveal to you at a later date. If you can't fully understand a prophecy, don't be discouraged, just trust that He will reveal its meaning in His time.

98. Determining which prophecies or parts of prophecies can be taken literally and which can't depends on the prophecy itself. Quite often the Lord speaks very clearly in prophecy, while other times He speaks in a more hidden or mysterious manner. Sometimes He wants us to take things at face value, other times it requires more interpretation to understand what He means. Sometimes part of the prophecy is clear but another part isn't. Sometimes what the Lord says in prophecy doesn't require a great deal of interpretation, sometimes it does.

99. When a prophecy isn't easy to understand, the Lord wants us to stir ourselves up, to come before Him in prayer for the meaning. He said, "For do I not speak to you in mysteries and in riddles and in conundrums to help you to stir up the gift that is within you, to seek Me ... to see the way before you? For I don't want you to be lazy; I want you to stir up the gift, to exercise your faith, to strengthen your spiritual muscles."

100. There are a number of other reasons why the Lord doesn't make a prophecy clear. One reason He gave was: "When I give prophecies, sometimes they are for different purposes, for different questions than those that you asked. If you take time to ponder it in your heart, to prayerfully consider it, to pray for My application, My interpretation, you shall see ... the purpose of it." So there are times when you ask the Lord a certain question and He gives you a wider scope of an answer than you expected, sometimes even answering other questions or talking about matters you weren't asking about. Since He's got you on the line, He may have extra things to talk to you about! In such a case you must pray for the Lord's application so you can learn from what He has told you.

101. Another reason the Lord gave for prophecy not being clear was that it wasn't yet time for us to understand it. "I speak ... yet it is not for you to know. ... Further on, you shall see the application of My Word. You shall see the fulfillment of My Word. Be not dismayed if you do not understand every word ... every passage, every phrase that I utter. If you will have faith and receive My Words, even though you do not understand, accepting them as from Me, then you shall see the glory of the Lord." So at those times when, even after prayer and counsel together, you don't understand what the Lord has said, in whole or part, don't be discouraged about it and don't feel that it must be wrong, nor that you are "out of it" because you can't understand it. The Lord simply may not want to reveal it to you now, but He may later on.

102. The Lord added to this point when He said, "My Spirit will lead you into all truth, but it is a continuing process." He also added, "There are intermediate interpretations and there are complete fulfillments." Sometimes prophecy has a short-term fulfillment, but also a more complete or long-term fulfillment. For example, if a couple who hadn't had any children after a number of years of marriage were praying for the wife to become pregnant, the Lord might say something like, "You shall be a fruitful vine." They might interpret that to mean the Lord was going to give them a child. Once the child was born they might feel the prophecy was fulfilled, and indeed it was. However, over the years she may have other children. So the prophecy had an immediate interpretation, but also, in time, a complete fulfillment. It's very important to remember that not all the words given in prophecy will be fulfilled in the order they are given, nor necessarily in a specific time frame.

103. In one prophecy the Apostle Peter spoke about the problems he had when Jesus said some very mysterious things. Peter said, "I was the one that wanted to do everything just the way the Lord said it. ... I wanted to get out there and take it at face value. When He said, `If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out,' I couldn't make sense of this. When He said, `Eat My flesh and drink My blood,' many left. They took it at face value." These were sayings that the Lord didn't intend to be taken literally. He wasn't promoting that people pluck out their eyes, nor that they should eat His flesh and drink His blood right then, in a cannibalistic manner. So there are times when the Lord may say something a bit mysterious, and in such cases we must prayerfully interpret what He is saying. To reinforce this point, the Lord said, "Look beyond the letter of the law. Don't be so technical. Try to understand My point of view."

104. In order to rightly determine if something the Lord has said should be taken at face value or needs further interpretation, it helps to counsel together with others who are gifted with wisdom, discernment and understanding. "There are ... Godly counselors who are like farmers of the seed, who are well-versed in the Word and doctrine, who have been separated unto this task and who have the anointing of the discernment of My Word." So when prophecies are given about a Home matter, those who have the gift of interpretation and discernment, the elders and shepherds of your Home, need to prayerfully read, study and counsel about what is given, to determine what the Lord is saying. If you have received a personal prophecy and you don't understand it, you can ask help of those gifted in this area.

105. The Lord also said, "The Word must be wielded with skill and accuracy and dexterity by those whose occupation and calling it is to discern the Word. ... Anyone can have My Spirit flow through them to speak the Words, but there are some who are called to handle the Word and to know how to use the Word properly. ... Therefore, strive to be Word men and women. Strive to be learned in My Word. Strive to take them deep into your hearts, to understand their meaning, to ask Me for wisdom, for I give wisdom to all that ask Me." What a call from the Lord for us to steep ourselves in His Word, to learn to use it, to understand it!

Question 9

106. What do you do when there are conflicting prophecies, when two prophecies received on the subject seem not to be saying the same thing?

107. Answer: Sometimes prophecies do seem to contradict one another. When this happens, you should not automatically assume that one is right and the other is wrong. They may both be right, one having an immediate fulfillment, the other a future fulfillment. In such a case the prophecies should be prayed over and counseled about, and if necessary, brought before the Lord, asking Him for further explanations.

108. There are times when a number of people are praying together for the Lord's will, and two prophecies will seem to contradict one another. This does not necessarily mean that one prophecy is wrong, and the other right. They both may actually be correct, though perhaps not to be fulfilled in the same time frame.

109. The Lord said, "Some of these prophecies are fulfilled in different ways than you imagine. Some are fulfilled in part now and some later. You can ask Me one question and receive different answers because there are different answers for different times. One person may come here now and go somewhere else later. Or one person may have two burdens in their heart. You may ask Me about a person and I will speak through two different people to explain the different burdens of that person's heart. All these are a mosaic which fits together." Another prophecy said, "From the spirit world we see things differently from how you see things. We are in a place where there is no time."

110. When there is a seeming contradiction, the prophecy should be counseled and prayed about with those who have the gifts of discernment and understanding. The Lord said, "Take it to those learned among you, for does not even My Word ... seem to contradict itself? But you must learn to apply it. If you seek My face I will make all things clear. I will make the crooked paths straight. ... If one thing seems to contradict, then weigh it in the balances with the other prophecies. If you still cannot make up your mind, then seek Me again. For sometimes God lays up mysteries, but it is the honor of kings to seek those mysteries out." So those who are learned and have the gifts to interpret prophecy should look at the prophecies that seem to contradict each other and pray over them and try to get the Lord's mind on the matter, balancing one prophecy against another. But if you cannot find out what the Lord means, you should go back to Him in prayer and ask Him to speak again to clarify.

111. Prayer is the key to solving the mystery of seemingly contradictory prophecies. "For I, the Lord, do reveal secrets unto man, but sometimes it takes desperation and seeking Me, and the knowledge of My ways, and a deep desire to understand My truths that are even contrary to your own thinking and your own ways of being. At times I make it plain to you, other times I would make it veiled so that you must seek Me and find Me."

112. When two prophecies appear to contradict one another, it is not wise to immediately judge one or the other as being wrong, as you may not have a full understanding of all that the Lord meant. There are some things in the Bible which seem on the surface to contradict themselves, but upon closer examination they fit perfectly and are accurate pieces of the puzzle. Micah said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Isaiah said that His Light would shine out of Galilee of the Gentiles (Isaiah 9:1-2). Hosea predicted that Jesus would come out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). When read before their fulfillment, these all could have seemed very contradictory to each other, yet in time they all proved to be true. So it takes patience and faith to trust that those things that the Lord has given are truly of Him. Though we may not fully understand the interpretation, it doesn't make the prophecies false or wrong, just because we, with our finite minds, can't figure them out.

Question 10

113. How much should be left up to the individual when interpreting prophecies that are given for him personally, such as regarding medical decisions, changes of location, marital matters, etc.?

114. Answer: If a prophecy is given for an individual, the decision to implement or not implement the prophecy is completely up to that person. He or she should seek the counsel of others who are gifted in interpreting prophecy when trying to find the meaning of the prophecy. Both the person and those helping with the interpretation should set aside their own opinions, desires and plans and be open to what the Lord has said.

115. Using the gift of prophecy to help find the Lord's will in a personal matter is a great blessing. As with all prophecies, what the Lord tells us in these personal matters should be prayerfully interpreted, but whether or not to implement what the Lord has shown is completely up to the individual they were given for.

116. The Lord said, "According to the individual's faith be it unto him. But I caution you, the receiver of the prophecy, to seek counsel. For in the multitude of counselors there is safety. My prophecies are often a mystery, and you do err if you look to your own interpretation. You do err if you look not for the counsel of those about you, if you look not to the elders for their counsel and their interpretation."

117. If you have asked others to pray and hear from the Lord for you, or you have received directional prophecy for yourself, it is wise to share it with your elders, either your teamwork or someone you know who is gifted in prayerfully interpreting prophecy.

118. He went on to say why it is wise that such a prophecy should be counseled about instead of interpreted only by the individual. "Perhaps you are so close to the forest that all you can see is this one individual tree. You cannot see the overall picture because this matter is so personal and weighs so heavily upon your heart. I chide you to seek the counsel of those who are withdrawn; who are able to step back and see the overall; who are not so personally involved; who are able to more clearly hear from Me and decipher the Words that I have given."

119. Although you should ask for counsel regarding the interpretation, this does not give the shepherds or those helping to interpret the prophecy any authority over your decision in these personal matters. You have to operate according to your own faith. If you don't agree with their interpretation or you choose to not follow what was received in prophecy, that's up to you. "I counsel you shepherds and elders that for the individual, according to their faith be it done unto them. The final decision must rest upon their shoulders. ... They cannot operate on your faith. It must be their faith." The Lord further confirmed this by saying, "Every man must stand before God and give account of himself. Every man must have faith for himself. So in prophecy, every man must be fully persuaded in his own heart as to what I have said, and as to what they will receive and believe."

120. The Lord pointed out that He has been teaching us to teamwork and to counsel for years, and that teamworking together applies to interpreting prophecies as well. However, if prophecies are directed to an individual, some things said may only be understood by that one person. "I have put specific things in the prophecy that you, and only you, can understand; things that are in your heart, that an outside observer may not get the right interpretation of. For I have put them in your heart and you will understand them, and they will ring true in your heart."

121. Though you, to whom the prophecy is directed, may be the only one to understand parts of the prophecy, the Lord still expects you to seek counsel in the interpretation. "Shall you be the bearer of all the gifts, and all the wisdom, and all the understanding? Or shall you seek those which have gifts which you lack? For although you have the responsibility for the last and final decision, according to your faith, you also have responsibility to understand what My will is. ... Therefore in all your getting, get understanding, and seek for those who might help you in getting this understanding."

122. The Lord warned those who help in the interpretation of personal prophecy not to let their own needs or plans for this person, or their own desires, play any role in the interpretation. "For great is the awesome power and responsibility that rests upon you as you counsel, as you interpret. Let it be by My Spirit. Let it be according to My wisdom, and not the wisdom that is from below; not according to your own will; not according to your own understanding; not according to what is best for you, even what is best for those about you in your Homes. ... What a great responsibility, even what a great condemnation rests upon you if you discern unwisely, if you interpret in your own understanding or according to your will, or what seems good to you. ... You must have a giving and truly sacrificial spirit of love, desiring My will above all else. You, My counselors, must be devoid of any will of your own as you counsel and advise, as you interpret. You also bear equal responsibility to be completely yielded, to have no will of your own, so that you may rightly divide the Word of Truth."

123. The Lord also gave words of comfort that even though mistakes in interpretation will be made, He will keep you through them. "To make mistakes and to repent of them ... is part of your training and of your learning. ... I have used this word `to practice.' Does it not signify trial and error? Yet I will not let you harm yourselves and those that hear you if you will cling unto Me, and live close by Me. Your errors shall be small compared to the great glories which I shall reveal to you and help you with in your decision-making, in your encouragement, and in your joy."

124. Remember, if a prophecy isn't clear or if you aren't sure of the interpretation, you can and should come to Him again in prayer. "Ask Me, and seek Me again if you do not understand what I am saying, and if you are not fully persuaded in your heart. For I am not the author of confusion, but of peace and love and joy."

125. That was the last question on the subject of interpretation of prophecy. This next question has to do with the interpretation of tongues:

Interpretation of Tongues

Question 11

126. The Bible speaks about the gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Is this a spiritual gift that we should know more about and be using more?

127. Answer: The gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues are gifts of the Spirit which can be used in receiving and interpreting messages given by the Lord. (This interpretation of tongues is different than the interpretation of prophecy which we have been discussing in detail above.) Speaking in tongues is a great asset when used in prayer and praise, as it helps to clear your mind as you focus your attention on the Lord. Many people, knowingly and unknowingly, use the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues.

128. There is a difference between tongues of praise (Psa.35:28; 51:14) which do not have to be interpreted, and messages in tongues (Acts 19:6; 1Cor.14:5) which should be interpreted. Many people speak in tongues and use it as a tool of praise and personal edification. This is somewhat different than receiving a message in tongues. Generally, but not always, a message in tongues comes with real force, and if the person receiving this message has the gift of interpretation, it will often be followed by the interpretation, which generally comes as a prophecy. Sometimes the person who receives the message in tongues doesn't have the gift of interpretation, so someone else who does receives the interpretation.

129. Dad had the gift of tongues and interpretation. His mother did as well. Often when Dad was teaching he would burst out in tongues and then give the interpretation. You can find examples of it throughout the Letters. You can also find examples of when he would speak in tongues and then receive the interpretation, like in "Be So Happy." He would receive poetry this way as well. (See "My Love Is the Wild Wind," ML #154B.)

130. In answering this question, the Lord explained some of the different facets of the gift of tongues. He talked about praying and praising in tongues as a way of clearing ourselves of the multitude of thoughts that crowd our minds. "Enjoy My fluid of the Spirit, enjoy the lubricants of God, the tongues of the angels of God, the tongues of the movement and the utterances of the Spirit, as they rustle through your soul and free your mind from your day-to-day tasks when you come before Me in prayer. It's like the wind of God that blows through and clears your mind of its present thoughts. The sweet lubricants of the presence of God wash out, flush out your thinking, fill you with thoughts of God, the presence of the Lord, and help you focus on the Spirit and what I am speaking to your heart. So enjoy these things. If there be an interpretation that is useful for all and you know it, then give it; otherwise, just enjoy it. Enjoy the freedom of the Spirit as I loosen your bound spirit and help you be free enough to speak." As the Lord says here, not all tongues are meant to be interpreted.

131. However, the Lord also showed that many times when we are praying and praising in tongues He is actually giving us a message and its interpretation, though it may not be so obvious to us. "Many times, unbeknownst to you, you are getting the interpretation of tongues. My Spirit is pouring through your heart in tongues as you praise and seek Me, and as you stir yourselves up. As you call unto Me and pray unto Me, and pour out your heart to me in tongues, I begin to speak to you. As you have been pouring out your heart to Me, I have begun speaking through you, in tongues, and then the words have come to you in your language."

132. There is also the more traditional style of receiving messages in tongues, where the tongues are given, usually in a louder or more forceful manner than when one is normally praising or praying in tongues, and it is then followed by the interpretation, either by the person who was speaking in tongues or by someone else. The Lord spoke about this method as well. "In the early days, you would speak in tongues and then pause, and give interpretation. This is a style. If you would go for this style, I would use it. ... For some have a special gift of tongues that edifies, that stirs up, that excites and ignites the Spirit, and ignites another prophet of God who can then give that interpretation. This I will do and this I have done and this I will continue to do."

133. When explaining the gift of interpretation, Dad said, "An interpreter is like a prophet because he is able to get the interpretation, which is virtually the same as prophecy--to be able to get the words in your own language of a message that comes in another language. The only difference between that and direct prophecy is that there's no intermediary message in tongues, you just get it straight from the Lord without the secondary step of having to get it in tongues first and then interpret" (ML #1436:34).

134. Some may want to receive this gift of tongues and interpretation and should therefore ask for it, as it will encourage them to see the Lord manifest Himself in this way. "For I can give the gift of tongues in a special way. I can give the gift of interpretation in a special way, and this will be a great encouragement to many, as they step out by faith and they are able to participate and partake by faith. As I rapture them in My arms and carry them in the Spirit, they will know that I have answered their prayers as they have stepped out. They have asked, they have longed to participate in this move of the Spirit, and they will see new things happen."

135. The Lord pointed out that He also bypasses the step of giving the message in tongues, followed by the interpretation, by just giving straight prophecy. "I shall give unto you My Words, direct and pure. If you need interpretation of tongues I will give it, but ... I give My direct Words unto you in authority and in power."

136. So as you can see, there are a number of facets to the use of the gift of tongues and of interpretation. The Lord is able to use it in its more traditional form, He can use it even when we don't realize He is, and He can bypass it altogether. Everyone who has the gift of tongues can and should use it for prayer and praise, especially when coming before the Lord to hear from Him, as it clears away any clutter in our minds and helps us tune in to Heaven. But remember, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. So be not concerned about how your gifts are manifested, but be concerned about My Love pouring through your heart."

137. The Lord wants us to have freedom in the Spirit, to be able to pray and praise in many ways. Worshipping the Lord in tongues is a wonderful way to bypass the mind. When doing so, let yourself go, praise Him with all your heart, let the Spirit of God overtake you--especially you younger ones who perhaps haven't experienced this freedom of the Spirit. "Quench not the Spirit, and don't be surprised, but let it flow, let it flow! Crank it up, cook it up, stir it up! Encourage new and mighty moves of My Spirit, and you all will partake of thrills and ecstasies! Your young people and everyone will be thrilled and enraptured by My Spirit and the beautiful things I can do. Singing in tongues and praising in tongues will burst forth and bloom forth into interpretations and messages and revelations. I have gifts of miracles to give! I have gifts of healing to give.--More and more things to come, as the days unfold and as you exercise your muscles of faith and your muscles of giving and listening and pouring out."

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family