Most people have heard of a “Prophet” and “Prophecy”, but how about a “Seer”, and what is the difference between an “Onar” and a “Enupnion”?
When it comes to the prophetic there is a lot to learn and there are still many misunderstandings; even within the Body of Christ. Many people and even Christians still shy away from the prophetic because of fear of being led astray by a “false Prophet”. People fear what they don’t understand.
These are exciting times to live in now because God is pouring out His revelation knowledge through the Body of Christ on this subject and there are more in-depth teachings available now about prophecy, prophets, dreams, visions and seers etc., than ever before! The good news is, you don’t have to live in the dark anymore!
There is so much to learn about the prophetic, like the difference between a “Prophet” and a “Seer” and what the Word of God defines as a “False Prophet”? The prophetic river runs deep and it has been a very special form of communication between God and His people for a very long time; It’s wisdom from God that we need now to fully understand His speaking voice.
God’s Word says His people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:1-7), so it’s vital that we educate ourselves on this very important subject. James 1:1-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
Here is some of the wisdom God has shared through excerpts of the writings of James W. Goll and Mia Sherwood, who both operate in many prophetic gifts of God. This information will better help you to understand the prophetic realm, and in turn, how to understand prophecy and your own God given visions on a much deeper level.
Part 1. The Seer Realm
Excerpts from James W. Goll’s book “The Seer 40 Day Devotional”
1 Samuel 9:9
Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, ‘Come, and let us go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.
Within the overall realm of the prophet lies the particular and distinctive realm of the seer. The word seer describes a particular type of prophet who receives a particular type of prophetic revelation or impartation.
When it comes to prophetic revelation, a prophet is primarily an inspired hearer and then speaker while a seer is primarily visual. In other words, the prophet is the communicative dimension and the seer is the receptive dimension. Whereas nabiy’ emphasizes the active work of the prophet in speaking forth a message from God, ra’ah and chosen focus on the experience or means by which the prophet “sees or perceives” that message.
All true seers are prophets, but not all prophets are seers. A prophet may have the particular grace to hear and proclaim the word of the Lord and yet not necessarily function as profusely in the revelatory visionary capacity as a seer does. The seer, on the other hand, may move quite remarkably in this visionary dream capacity yet not be as deep in the inspirational audible graces of hearing and speaking. Nevertheless, both move and operate in the prophetic realm, but in different capacities or dimensions
The Diversity of Visionary States
1 Corinthians 12:11
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
2 Corinthians 12:1
“Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.”
1 Peter 1:13
“Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
There is only one Holy Spirit, but He works in a multiplicity of ways. There are many spiritual gifts, but only one gift-giver: the Holy Spirit of God. The prophetic anointing manifests itself in many diverse ways, but they all derive from the same Spirit.
This same diversity by the one Spirit applies also to visionary states and experiences. In fact, the New Testament uses a variety of Greek words to express different visionary states. None of these states are “higher” or “better” than any of the others. They are simply different, and the Holy Spirit uses them with different people for different purposes. Let’s take a closer look at some of these visionary states.
In Greek, onar is the common word for “dream.” It refers simply to the kind of dreaming we all do when we sleep. Everyday dreams are themselves visionary in nature because our minds generate images that we “see” while we are asleep. As the Bible makes clear, God can and does use these common dreams to communicate with ordinary people.
Like onar, the word enupnion refers to a vision or dream received while asleep. The difference with enupnion is that it stresses a surprise quality that is contained in that dream.
Horama is another general term for vision, meaning “that which is seen.” It carries the particular sense of a “spectacle, sight, or appearance.” New Testament examples commonly associate this word with waking visions. You can be a candidate for horama visions. Just tell the Lord of your desire to be a person who receives the spirit of revelation and sees visions. It is for today. It is there for the asking!
An horasis occurs when the Spirit who lives within us looks out through the “windows” of our eyes and allows us to see what He sees. Sometimes we are seeing in the natural or in the spiritual and sometimes it is both. When our spiritual eyes are open, sometimes our natural eyes can see into the spiritual realm. We may see dual images as visionary spiritual pictures are superimposed over the images we are seeing with our physical eyes.
Another visionary state found in the New Testament is denoted by the word optasia—literally meaning “visuality,” or in concrete form, “apparition.” Optasia has the very specific connotation of self-disclosure or of letting oneself be seen. The word always occurs in the context of someone seeing a divine or spiritual personage.
Ekstasis, from which our English word “ecstasy” is derived, means amazement, astonishment, or a trance. Literally, ekstasis means “a displacement of the mind,” or “bewilderment.” When translated as “trance,” ekstasis refers to one being caught up in the Spirit so as to receive those revelations that God intends.
With apokalupsis, we come to the most frequently used word in the New Testament to describe a visionary state. Apokalupsis literally means “disclosure,” an “appearing” or “coming,” a “manifestation.” It carries specifically the sense of something hidden that has now been uncovered or revealed.
“Egenomehn ehn pneumati”
The phrase egenomehn ehn pneumati literally means “to become in the Spirit,” a state in which one could see visions and be informed or spoken directly to by the Spirit of God. Therein lies the secret to how we get revelation. We do it by first getting in the Spirit. The more we are filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit, the more we become one with the Spirit, and the more our eyes will be opened to see in the Spirit. He will give us the perception to look into the spiritual realm.
Part 2. False Prophecy or Human Error?
Excerpts from an article from Mia Sherwood’s website
A false prophet is someone who claims to be a prophet of God but is not. One sign of a false prophet according to scripture is when someone who prophecies a thing which does not come true. But that is not the only type of false prophet. The bible states there are others who may make correct prophecies but do so without the authority or inspiration of Almighty God. These are also false prophets and are not to be listened to.
The bible tells us not to believe a prophet, even if that prophet shows supernatural ability, if that prophet leads you away from the Lord your God. Until the prophetic gift that the Lord gave me manifested, I didn’t understand how this was possible. How would a person have a supernatural gift if they were a false prophet?
The bible says that the gifts and the call are without repentance. This means, once given, God won’t take the gifts back. Therefore, if God gives me a genuine prophetic gift, so that I can know things before they happen, to discern the hearts of men, and to have revelation knowledge, the gift won’t go away even if I turn from a life of obedience to God. This means that someone who is a false prophet, was likely a genuine prophet at one time in their lives. Jim Jones, who became an infamous cult leader, many say was once a very gifted, genuine, prophet of God.
I believe that those who have the gift of foretelling the future and personal prophecy are kept on a very short leash by God. The ability to get into pride because of the nature of the prophetic gift of foretelling the future and personal prophecy is a very serious temptation. Many people will believe and trust a person with this gift because they are impressed by the gift and falsely assume someone trusted with this must be walking in integrity. Because of this, I believe we need to be well informed against the wiles of false prophets. Jesus said at the end times false prophets would be rampant upon the earth, which behooves us to be educated
The true test of a false prophet versus a true prophet who speaks a word that does not come to pass.
So that we make no mistake, this is Jesus’ instruction to identify false prophets:
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles,
So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20)
Jesus said you will know them by their fruit, he said nothing about them making a mistake. As a person who often receives a message from the Lord I can tell you that occasionally my lack of ability to communicate well does not brand me a false prophet. There have been times that I’ve delivered the right message but my description could have been better or other times I had to use my own words to communicate the message that I had received from God but they were less than stellar because God gave me the inspiration but the words did not come verbatim.
A genuine prophet that makes a mistake will still consistently bear the fruit of the spirit in their lives. A false prophet will consistently bear actions that align with the world and with selfish motives. You will know whether to chalk a person up to one or the other by who they are in their every day life.
Credits and References
Excerpts from the book, The Seer 40 Day Devotional, by James W. Goll
James W. Goll is Founder of the Encounters Network
Excerpts from article by Mia Sherwood
Founder of Heart Song Ministry