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 recognise are demonic—so there can be some cross-over in the manifestations and experiences of the two gifts.

I’ve answered this in depth in the Enliven Prophetic School this week, but following is a brief summary:

The Seer Gift and Ministry

When we use the term ‘Seer’ we are describing one type, or strand of the 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 saw symbolic pictures and visions that were prophetic in nature, they had Heavenly encounters and were enabled by the Holy Spirit to see in the spiritual realm for God’s purpose in that moment.

The Discernment Gift

Our definition for 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, including 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 and a different 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—they are not one and 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 community and having 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 honour 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 on my life was ultimately to prophetic ministry, where I operate mainly as a seer. So, whilst I personally identify with both ministries, I’ve learned not to take either of them for granted.

Both gifts need sharpening, both are significant, and each one shines at different times, depending on the need and what Father 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 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
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family

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

  1. Ps Aburimhe Dickson

    Blessed be the Lord God with whom is no variableness and shadows of turning who had richly endowed you with his grace and wisdom. You’ve been a source of great encouragement to my ministry calling. I’m extremely blessed by this prophetic teaching and ministrations. More grace!

    1. Hi Ps Aburimhe, thanks for the message, I’m glad the teaching has been a blessing to you. God is good!

  2. Hi Helen,
    Thank you for this encouragement!
    I have been SEEing things for about 10 years. God gives me a picture for a person, I ask God what the picture means and then I get the encouragement. Last year I had my first experience of prophesying over a stranger that I had no previous knowledge about to give an anchor or a reference place to what I was seeing. Very exciting.

    Last week I had my first significant Discernment-moment where a person of God was being criticized and discouraged by some seemingly well meaning people. The critiquing of others was impacting and lessoning the persons preaching and general demeanour. I discerned that it was actually a spirit of intimidation and spoke to his wife about it. They prayed and the intimidation lifted and now a freshness has come.

    1. Hi Trudi, and I love LOVE your story here. It so clearly illustrates that the purpose of discernment is a ministry of the Holy Spirit to bring good fruit that honours God and heightens His Presence.
      Thank you 🙂

  3. Idowu-Agida Isaaac

    Hello, the post is full of detailed information that could get anyone an undeniable gifts of the Holy Spirit, i want to emphasis further that the hunger for spiritual things is inevitable for manifestation of the spirit is given to all to profit..
    i write related contents as your on http://www.dare.com.ng check it out, we may share common interest in future.

  4. Sherry ann Edwards

    Thank you for the information, I was the same person who asked you about this same topic a couple days ago. I will read it thoroughly in your website “Enliven Ministries”
    But just by reading this so far I could probably say that I have the Gift of Discernment along with a little Seer in the middle because of all the dreams that I continually have. Thank you so much I will keep reading your posts to learn more.

  5. I have background on occultism and I haven’t been delivered fully yet. I just noticed these last three years, after I was ministered by one of my leaders on several deliverance processes with my family that I and my family are able to perceive and see supernatural things. I cannot see spiritual realms, but I can sense them and sometimes see them on my imaginations even though it’s not clear mostly and I think I sense both the darkness kingdom and kingdom of God in their movements. But, my younger brother and sister can see spiritual realms clearly mostly the evil spirits. My mom often has dreams about the future but in negative nuances about bad things that will happen. My question is how do I know if it’s the inheritance from my ancestors through their involvements on occultism or from God? My leader suggested that we prayed about the abilities and if it they aren’t from God, He would take them away. Do you have any other suggestions for us? I feel every time we pray about this and anything related with occultism, our prayers are blocked or something like that. And these last days, we are under vicious attacks every time we try to ask God to deliver us.

  6. Kendell Greene

    I was raised a seventh day adventist. One day, after a church meeting that really bothered me, the lights went off in the church and I knew I was the only one who saw the lights go out and I knew it was God telling me He was not in this church. For 10 years I was not sure what to believe and was taught to never go to church on Sunday because they did not have the truth. Long story short, I was taught how to dowse by using a necklace to communicate to spirit guides. I also learned I could write the alphabet in a circle and the spirit guides would spell. One day they told me they were demons and to leave them alone. I did for a week but then cussed them out for all the really bad things that had happened in my life. I then waited for them or God to strike me dead. When it did not happen, it was like this door opened and I began communicating and living among countless demons to study how they work. After a few months, Satan asked me what I was doing with his demons and to leave them alone. I have always prayed and I knew I was protected by God. God then led me to a church and turned on His Light for me to know that He was in the Presbyterian church. I began seveal Bible studies and studied fervently as God opened my eyes to His truth. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I have learned to keep my focus on God, which has been hard because the demons still let me know they are around. It has been 5 years now and I can discern very easily how people of God are being tricked by the demons and it is so sad and overwhelming. Recently, a person working for me told me she was going to wait a few years to get pregnant. However, when I would pray for her I would see a baby and then the color blue. Sure enough, she was pregnant and recently found out it is a boy. I trust God with everything going on in my life and around me. I told God that I would do anything He desires me to do and He placed a mentally and physically handicapped lady in my home to love an care for and then my evil mother-in-law to love and care for as she battles dementia. And, my husband is not saved and does not have an interest of attending church. I have learned to trust God with everything and to direct me in everything I do. He has also been training me to be humble and to be a servant. Not sure what all of this will lead to but really glad I found this website. Thank you!

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