Seer or Discerner: What is the Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between the gift and ministry of a seer, and a gift of discernment is? 

This is a great question—because many discerners are gifted visually and see a lot in the spiritual realm. And many seers are encountering things they recognize are demonic—so there can be some cross-over in the manifestations and experiences of the two gifts.

I have answered this at length in the Enliven Prophetic School this week, but the following is a summary:

The Seer Gift and Ministry

When we use the term ‘Seer’ we describe one type of prophetic gift and ministry. [1]

We are describing those who have prophetic gifts and ministries, or who are prophets, who operate primarily in the realm of seeing. That is, in visions, pictures and visual impressions, and even dreams, from the Holy Spirit.

The key points we need to remember about the seer gift and ministry are:
1. It is a prophetic gift and ministry (1 Sam 9:19)
2. Being prophetic, the primary focus is on seeing God’s intended purpose
3. Throughout the Bible, seers were given visions from God concerning the past, present, and future. They also saw symbolic pictures and visions that were prophetic and had Heavenly encounters. Seers were enabled by the Holy Spirit to see in the spiritual realm for God’s purpose at that moment.

The Discernment Gift

Our definition of the gift of discernment comes from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, where he says,
‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: …to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’ (1 Cor 12:7-11, NKJV)

The spiritual gift of discernment is the Holy Spirit-given ability to perceive whether an atmosphere, word or action is sourced in God, a person or something demonic.

The key points about the discernment gift are:
1. Its primary focus is on distinguishing the source of something.
2. Whilst some discerners do operate in the realm of sight (visions, visual impressions, and pictures from the Spirit) many discern in other ways. This may include a ‘knowing’ (recognition) by the Spirit, feeling, sensing atmospheres, and even physical responses

Seer or Discernment Gifts: A Different Focus

So, to sum up, the seer gift and ministry, and the discernment gift have different purposes. They also have a distinctive focus.

  • The seer gift is a prophetic gift and its main focus is on seeing and declaring God’s intended outcome
  • The focus of the discernment gift is to perceive the source of something

Note that Paul identifies the gift of prophecy and the gift of discernment separately in his list of gifts of the Spirit. So, they are not the same. And one is not more important than the other. They’re both needed.

Having said that, there is very good reason for those who operate in one or other of these primarily to see their need for the other:

  • Someone who operates in the seer gift of prophetic ministry needs discernment, to help weigh up whether or not a vision, encounter or visionary experience is of the Holy Spirit.
  • Likewise, someone who has a gift of discernment needs the encouragement and perspective that the prophetic ministry and gift brings. When we perceive the enemy at work, for example, the prophetic gift sees past what is currently going on, to God’s intended outcome. And that is a game-changer!

So, whichever gift you identify most with, pray to be strengthened in the other. And always ensure that you have those with complementary gifts of prophecy wisdom, leadership, and so on, around your life to bring the balance and complete your gift and ministry.

Being in a community and having a team, a spiritual family, a church body around you, and leadership oversight is the most important thing you can do, to stay on track, reach your fullest potential, and honor God in your gift and calling.

We were never meant to journey alone.

Gifted as both Seer and Discerner

It is certainly possible to be gifted strongly in both ministries. Seers of the Old Testament were also discerners.

My own story is that I had a gift and ability to discern from a very young age. But while growing in the gift of discernment, the primary calling in my life was ultimately to prophetic ministry, where I operate mainly as a seer. So, while I identify with both ministries, I’ve learned not to take either for granted.
Both gifts need sharpening, both are significant, and each one shines at different times. This depends on the need and what God is doing.

[1] See my Biblical references here: 8 Ways to Grow in Prophetic Visions and Pictures

Enliven Prophetic School: Seer Master Class

This week, I’m thrilled to let you know that after a few months of hard work, the Enliven Prophetic School is now open!

This school is for anyone who would like to learn and grow in the gift and ministry of prophecy and includes classes for discerners as well.

Modules currently include:

  • Foundations of prophetic ministry
  • How to hear God’s voice, begin and grow in prophecy
  • The Seer gift: how to grow in pictures and visions
  • Discernment and prophetic warnings: how to respond and share a prophetic warning

Visit the Enliven Prophetic School here.

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
Prophetic Ministry for a Revival Generation

26 thoughts on “Seer or Discerner: What is the Difference?”

  1. Kirstin Plunkett

    I am interestedin more info of The Enliven School of Prophecy &Discernment. Is there anyway I can receive an email on more information of entering, payment and etc.

    Love you all,
    Kirstin Plunkett

  2. Radeana Washington

    Hi my name is Radeana Washington I’v known for a while God was dealing with me on this my pastor actually prophesied in my life that i had an isichar anointing that God was going to anoint me to see past present future

  3. Thank you i have been having a hard time finding help with this i have both but discernment is my extream gift i dont know how to deal with being around some ppl some ppl i can control it some ppl and places i can feel the demons and it gives me a errky feeling and it gets worst to were i have to run outa the place i start to move and its like a panic attack and my heart builds up and some times ppls demons hit me they dont want me ministering to them and even going to the store i can feel it from some ppl once in awhile its so strong i can feel it on the next aile i can see in the spirit realm some times i just need help the lord sent me to a new church but i just been seeing more because im under a prophetic ministry its been turned up and i just have questions the holy spirit lifted my head back and lit up my eyes one night and told me i betow apon the the gift of prophecy but im still not sure what it means you cleared up for me is it possible to be a seer and a discerner? And do you know of anyone i can watch online that knows or teaches about this stuff? i couldnt find anything on YouTube really Thank you god bless?

    1. Hi Veronica, as I mentioned above, the best help is to be in a church community with people who can help discern what is going on and lead you through it, learning by remote (YouTube, blog etc) is limited. But I pray for you now Veronica, you will find the help you need.

    2. Sherry ann Edwards

      I know exactly what you are talking about it’s the same way for me. You can look at “Patricia King Ministries” on You tube, there’s a lot of info about “The Seer Ministry” & “The Gift of Discernment.”

  4. The gift of discerning of spirits has been sharpened. It is frustrating at times of all the different spirits i feel especially the demonic ones. It gets very overwhelming especially in the night hours. What do you do with the things that God allows you to sense.

    1. Hi Wanda,
      The best thing is to get tuned into the Presence of the Holy Spirit and to know at any given time He is in you, and His Presence is in the atmosphere around you. I pray you can zone in to God’s Presence more and more and the other will drop away into the background

  5. Thank you for explaining the difference between the two gifts. I have both and they seem to intertwine. However, when prophesying, I either do it thru seeimg or a word that I hear from the Holy Spirit. I’ve been trying to figure out what gift is operating when I can see those who’re called as Leaders or in the 5 Fold Ministry. Would you know anything about this, or had it happen to you?

    1. Hi Beatrice,
      Yes, I often prophesy from a single word God had given to me, sometimes I ‘hear’ something too, there’s many ways He works, He’s endlessly creative. 🙂
      So it’s not a ‘one size fits all’, but sometimes a simple explanation such as above is helpful to clarify certain points.

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