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His ways of speaking are not our ways (Isa 55:8). We need to learn the way prophecy comes! Some of that teaching is actually hidden in the meaning of the five different Hebrew and Aramaic root words translated in our English text for 'prophecy.'
They have a wealth of expression and actually describe the way in which God's inspiration comes. Two of the words Ro'eh and Chozeh, underline the passive experience of receiving the prophetic message from God, while the other three words, Massa, Naba and Nataf describe the active experience of communicating God's message to the audience.
The word Ro'eh literally means 'a seer' and it occurs twelve times in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Essentially, the root RO'EH, means 'to look at' or 'behold.' This word is used of the prophet in his 'seeing' or perceiving of God's message, especially, although not exclusively, with reference to the visionary. This word describes distinctively the prophetic revelation of the prophet through visions.
Here is another word translated in our English bibles as 'prophet' - Chozeh. It also carries the base meaning of 'a seer.' This word is used sixteen times in the Hebrew text. David Blomgren makes the distinction between these two words stating that, "although these two terms, ro'eh and chozeh may be used interchangeably, CHOZEH seems to be the broader term used to refer to either cognitive or visionary perception. The biblical release of prophecy in your life will often operate in the same manner.
God will first show you something and then give you the task of verbalizing that which was just impressed on the table of the heart.
The Hebrew term 'Massa' and its root, 'Nasah,' are used a total of seventy times in the Old Testament to identify prophecy. It means 'a burden' and it reveals the response of the one receiving God's message - it comes like a weight or burden upon them. That is what happened to me in that aforementioned prayer meeting. A literal weight came on my body. Read through Isaiah chapters 13-23 and one after another 'the burden of the Lord' comes upon Isaiah as he speaks God's word of rebuke and judgement over Babylon, Moab, Damascus, Egypt, Dumah, Arabia and Tyre.
Both Zechariah and Malachi use the phrase 'the burden of the Lord' in good King James English, while the NIV uses the word 'oracle' to describe a strong prophetic message from God. It's interesting to note the blending of prophetic terms in the opening salvo of Habakkuk's book of prophecy - 'The burden which Habakkuk...did see' (Hab.1 :1KJV). Here is a blending of a heavy strong word from God that came through a vision.
David Blomgren goes on to add another interesting highlight to the word 'massa.' "This same Hebrew word however, is also descriptive of the lifting up of the soul in the prophetic flow of the temple musicians as exemplified in the master musician Chenaniah who was master of 'song,' (Heb. massa here is a 'joy' or literally a 'lifting up', Ez.24:25). Also implicit within this word is the concept that the purpose behind the prophetic word, even when judgmental, is restorative. Even when denunciation is in order because of sin, it is a 'lifting up' prophecy, intended to bring them higher in God's ways. Indeed, the main concept behind this word massa is that of a lifting up, not a weighing down."
No less than 435 times does this graphic word for prophecy occur in the Old Testament. This Aramaic and Hebrew word 'naba' basically means "to bubble up, to gush forth, to pour forth." A clear image of the activity of the Spirit of God flowing from our inner most being as a river of life. This time however, the river is a river of words, words from God. Amos 3:8 says "the Sovereign Lord has spoken - who can but 'naba', prophesy." Joel 2:28 says, "your sons and your daughters will 'naba,' prophesy." That has happened to me many times. For example, one time I was at a youth prayer meeting and suddenly there was a 'bubbling up' within me to communicate God's heart. There are some theologians that actually consider this term as one that describes an ecstatic aspect of prophecy.
Here is the second Hebrew word for prophecy that is used to describe the communicative dynamic. The prophetic message is in essence an interplay between a reception of God's words and the giving of those words through a human vessel, like you or me. While 'Naba' described the communicating of a prophecy like words that bubbled up from within, 'Nataf' actually pictures a flow of words that actually drop upon the messenger 'as drops of rain.'
In Micah 2:6-11, it is used four times as a descriptive term for prophecy. "It is not only a flow as water from the prophet's lips, gushing forth as a fountain, but it is also to be viewed as rain drops, falling from Heaven... the prophetic word is a word dropped by God from Heaven as rain."
I have often experienced this rain of God's thoughts upon me as I preach or pray over people. They come one by one and at times, I feel embarrassed as I wait for more insight to fall upon me. It is normal. One of the meanings of the word 'to prophesy' is just that - waiting for rain from Heaven.
However tedious the process, 'prophecy is an indication of God's approval and blessing on the congregation because it shows that God is actively present in the assembled church,' so affirms Wayne Grudem in his book "The Gift of Prophecy." More prophecy Lord! Send your inspiration into your Church because it's a sign that you are present in the midst of us.
Also, please note that some of the course discussion may be moved from the prophetic-school list to the extended discussion list (email@example.com).]