Ephesians 4:10 He that descended [the one who became Jesus Christ came down from heaven and also ascended back into heaven after completing his mission] is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens [to the throne of God the Father], that he might fill all things.) 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Jesus Christ who came down from and ascended back to the throne of God set certain offices of responsibilities withing his Ekklesia. These responsibilities are called: 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
These are offices of responsibility and carry with them the necessary authority to enable them to fulfill their functions. No man has any ecclesiastical authority on his own; all authority is vested in God the Father, Jesus Christ and in every Word of God. The mark of all of these offices, and indeed of all converted persons is that they live and teach others to live by every Word of God, and if they should depart from the Word of God they forfeit any and all authority because they have departed from the source of all moral authority.
Just because a man calls himself an apostle, evangelist or prophet or any other religious title; does not make the claim true. Many false apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers have infiltrated the Ekklesia over the years and it is the responsibility for every person to question and test any such claims by the Word of God to see whether a self proclaimed apostle or prophet is really what he claims.
Jesus Christ commends those who question and and test would be church leaders:
Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried [tested and proven and discovered those who are false] them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
How can we know who is of God and who is not?
All men of God will set a godly example and will live by every Word of God, teaching others to do the same (Mat 7, Deu 13).
Any man of God who does not set a godly example in his own personal conduct and who does not focus all people on living by every Word of God is NOT from God. That includes any person who rejects any part of every Word of God, including the Biblical calendar and the sanctity of God’s Sabbaths.
The title apostle existed in the established religion and this title was continued in the New covenant Ekklesia by Jesus Christ. The word “apostle” means someone representing and invested with the authority of another as his personal representative.
Jewish Encyclopedia: Apostle (Greek ἀπόστολοσ, from ἀποστήλλειν, “to send”), a person delegated for a certain purpose; the same as sheliaḦ or sheluaḦ in Hebrew, one invested with representative power. “Apostoloi” was the official name given to the men sent by the rulers of Jerusalem to collect the half-shekel tax for the Temple, the tax itself being called “apostolé.”
In the New Covenant it was the function and responsibility of an apostle to directly represent Jesus Christ and to continue the same preaching of the Gospel of Salvation and the way to life eternal that Jesus Christ preached.
As Jesus preached to those who had never before heard such things, the New Covenant apostle was to go and preach the same message that Jesus preached to those who had never heard these things before. That is, the apostle was sent out to do the initial groundbreaking public preaching and to raise up congregations as God inspired people to respond.
Contrary to popular belief evangelists were not primarily sent out to preach to the public as most understand that word today. Rather it was the job of the apostle to preach to the public and raise up congregations.
Evangelists followed up on the apostles and once enough people began to respond to the apostle’s preaching and a local congregation was formed, the apostle would go on to new areas, leaving behind an evangelist to build up the congregation.
The evangelist would further instruct the new converts and would identify and ordain local elders and teachers to continue in building up and instructing the brethren. The evangelist might also build and follow up on the apostle’s public preaching and continue to speak out to the public.
Paul instructs Titus to follow up on Paul’s activities in Crete as follows.
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee [Paul did not send Titus to Crete rather he LEFT him there, implying that Paul was in Crete and left Titus there to follow up on Paul’s preaching] in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee [this following up on the apostles preaching to organize practical matters and congregations is the primary function of an evangelist]:
The work of an evangelist is further defined by Paul’s instructions to Timothy
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
Paul is clearly referring to Timothy as an evangelist preaching to the Ekklesia, since he says that many will fall away and one cannot fall away from something one has never had.
4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [This has been fulfilled through the centuries and is now being fulfilled in its fullness in today’s corporate assemblies]
4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Pastors [elders] and teachers, will be the subject of the next article.
The prophets were and are people to whom God speaks directly, either by voice, or by dreams and visions or simply by divine inspiration. Through these means God reveals things that are either unknown or not yet fully understood. Apostles, evangelists, elders and teachers proclaim and teach the Holy Scriptures, but God sends his prophets to give a good understanding of the things of God through divine revelation. God may also send his prophets with specific messages to certain people and even nations at various times.
This prophets section will be lengthy because today’s Ekklesia has cut itself off from this blessed access to God’s guidance, by going so far as to even deny that God sends prophets today. They do so because they are proud and think that they know it all spiritually (Rev 3:15-22).
Before Jesus Christ was sacrificed for the sins of the world God sent his prophets to:
- Warn the people to live by every Word of God
- Warn the people that God would abandon them if they forsook him
- Warn the nations concerning what would happen to them through history
- Foretell and prepare the way for the coming of Messiah and in due time a New Covenant
- Speak the truth to religious and secular authorities when the called out people went astray
- Deliver messages directly from God as God desired.
After Jesus was resurrected the New Covenant officially began, and a change in the priesthood came as the priesthood reverted back to Melchizedek [who became Jesus Christ] from Aaron.
With the change from the Mosaic Covenant to the New Spiritual Covenant and the change in the priesthood, there was also a change in the office of prophet.
The New Covenant prophet is also sent by God:
- He does all of the same things as the Mosaic prophet
- He corrects the sinful and admonishes the called out to live by every Word of God, and he explains and teaches the brethren the spiritual intent of the Word of God expounding and explaining the New Covenant,
- As the earlier prophets prepared the way for the first coming of Messiah and the coming Kingdom of God, the New Covenant prophet also prepares the way for the extension of the New Covenant to all flesh at the second coming of Christ, by revealing and explaining the New Covenant that Christ will mediate between God the Father and all humanity at his coming
- The New Covenant prophet also gives messages from God just like the Mosaic prophets.
- All the prophets, both Mosaic and New Covenant, are personally chosen and sent by God to warn the religious and secular leadership when the nation of the called out has gone astray; warning them to quickly repent and turn to a passionate zeal for godliness, and warning them of strong correction if they will not.
The New Covenant prophet does all that the Mosaic Covenant prophets did, with the additional responsibility of explaining the spiritual New Covenant, through the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit of the Mosaic prophets.
This week we will look at what the Bible has to say about the “office of a prophet”.
The whole Word of God is the testimony of Jesus [inspired by him] and all of the Bible is the spirit of prophecy [inspired by God’s Holy Spirit].
Revelation 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen [truly], the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God [ruler of God’s creation].
The Greek word for “beginning” is arché (Strong’s #476) and means: beginning, origin; magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule, ruler.
From the above verses we read that the angel who is talking to John tells him that those who have been called, converted, and have qualified to be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb are truly blessed; and then the angel assures John that the message which has been delivered to him is “the true sayings of God” who is the Ruler over all creation.
When John tries to bow down to the angel in awe of all that he has told him, the angel tells him to worship only God. Like John, we are to believe the message because it is from God, the Faithful and True witness, but we are never to worship [exalt] the messenger, unless that messenger is Jesus Christ Himself. (Acts 10:25-26, Acts 14:10-15)
Jesus Christ is the Greatest Prophet That Ever Lived
Most believers think of Jesus as a Savior, King, Messiah, Lamb of God, Priest, the Creator or by any number of descriptive names and He certainly is all of these; but besides all of these things, Jesus is also called a prophet and He is the greatest Prophet of all the prophets.
A prophet is a messenger sent by God; a person who speaks for God. He witnesses for God, calls people to repent of their sins, and may also deliver direct messages from God.
Prophets are usually hated by the unconverted for the message that they bring and they are persecuted and often killed for their message. Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father. Jesus came to the world to proclaim a message saying that we must repent of our sins, believe the Gospel, and be reconciled to God the Father. From the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus preached the Gospel message of the way of salvation and how mankind could become members of the Family of God.
Jesus was hated by the religious leaders of His day and they delivered Him over to death because of His message.
Matthew 27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem a few days before the Passover, the crowds recognized Him as a prophet. They called Him “Jesus the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
Matthew 21:10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 21:11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Matthew 21:46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Luke tells us that just after Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read. Jesus read from Isaiah 4 and then implied that the prophecy was speaking of Him. By reading this and by saying “this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”, He revealed to the people that He was indeed a prophet.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. ….4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
A few verses later Jesus in speaking of Himself, indicating plainly that He was a prophet.
Luke 4:24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
When two of the disciples were walking on their way to Emmaus after the death and resurrection of Jesus, they were met by a person (not knowing that it was Jesus) who asked them what they were talking about and why they looked so sad. They replied that they were talking about the recent events that concerned Jesus of Nazareth and then they described Him as a prophet. Not only did they call Him a prophet but further described Him as a MIGHTY PROPHET that was MIGHTY in deeds and in words before God and all the people.
Luke 24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
In Deuteronomy 18:15-18, the Lord gave a prophecy to Moses about a future Prophet that was to come at a future time. And then God added that the people were to listen attentively to that Prophet and give heed to what He had to say. This Prophet is, of course, referring to Jesus Christ of Nazareth who was God made flesh who came to give the greatest message of all time to all mankind.
Deuteronomy 18:15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken [listen attentively and heed what He says].
Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Jesus is the greatest prophet the world has ever known and yet most of the world rejects Him not only as their Priest and King, but also as the Prophet spoken of in Deuteronomy 18. Though there are many that give Him lip service and say that they are His followers, very few in reality “hearken” unto His words by believing and doing what He says. The fact that most of the world would reject Jesus was told to us by John at the very beginning of the Gospel of John.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
For those who do listen and heed the words of Jesus (that Prophet) and receive His sayings and His message and do what He says, there is the wonderful promise that the Word (who became Jesus Christ, the first begotten of God the Father) would empower them to become the very sons of God.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
When John the Baptist began his ministry the religious leaders asked him who he was.
John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
As indicated in their question to John the Baptist, the religious leaders knew about the prophecy of the great Prophet spoken of in Deuteronomy 18 that was to come and they referred to him as “that Prophet” and yet when Jesus did come to them, they refused to believe that He was that Prophet. So they rejected Him, persecuted Him, and when they had the opportunity they killed Him.
A true prophet of God brings and proclaims messages from God. Jesus Christ was a proclaimer of the Good News which is the message of repentance and the way of salvation and how to attain eternal life as a member of God’s own family.
Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father to deliver a message to mankind that this life is not all there is; that there is a whole new life in the spirit possible for those who listen to His message, repent of their sins, seek the atonement that Christ offers, and then turn their lives around to sin no more. He came to show that God is real and that we are to change our lives to reflect that fact by stopping our sinful ways, seeking His forgiveness, and then living for Him obeying Him in all things, following Him whethersoever He should lead us.
We have the whole Word of God canonized for us and whenever we pick up the Bible we read the words of the greatest Prophet that ever lived, who still lives and who is the head of His Ekklesia.
He has an amazing message for all who will trust and obey His words. Jesus speaks to us in His Word and calls us to follow Him, to obey His Father’s commandments; He teaches us, He encourages, He comforts and He warns us; He tells us of things to come, and sometimes He reproves and chastises us. As we read and study the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will lead us into God’s truth and if we diligently heed (hearken to) God’s words we will become spiritual children of God and be given the gift of eternal life.
Be On Guard Against False Prophets
There are MANY false prophets that have gone out into the world and yet true prophets of God are very rare in our modern day. It is so very important that we know the difference for our future eternal lives depend on who we “hearken” to: teachers and prophets that direct us correctly to live by every Word of God and the true words of Jesus Christ, or to someone who counsels us to follow themselves and teach that we must embrace their false teachings.
False prophets teach things that are contrary to God’s truth and they lead their followers away from worshiping the true God. They are used by Satan to attempt to lead people astray; and for those who are the called of God to become unfaithful to their calling and therefore forfeit the opportunity to be one of God’s first fruits. False prophets, in essence, seek to steal our crowns and keep us out of God’s Kingdom.
True prophets of God are those who teach all people to zealously live by every Word of God!
False Prophets are those who teach contrary to any part of the Word of God!
Miracles and fulfilled predictions are not proof of godliness or of being a messenger from God. God’s messengers often foretell events and do perform miracles by the power of God, but Satan’s agents can also do these things. God tells Moses and tells us, how to discern the difference between the true man of God and Satan’s counterfeits.
Deuteronomy 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder [makes a prediction, or performs a miracle],
13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after [let us obey others (including any person) rather than the Eternal] other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth [is testing us] you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
God wants to know just how much we really love HIM! Do we truly love God enough to do what God says? or will we be turned aside by every person who claims to be of God while teaching falsehoods?
13:4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
Those who seek to dominate the brethren to cause people to follow themselves and their false traditions in place of the Word of Almighty God will be destroyed by the Eternal if they do not repent.
Brethren that means that nearly every church of God leader and elder is facing rejection by Jesus Christ (Rev 3:15), and stern correction in the soon coming great tribulation.
13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
Miracles and fulfilled prophecy are not proof of whether a man is of God or not: the proof that a person is godly is their zeal and faithfulness to live by and teach others to live by every Word of God.
Anyone who waters down or diminishes, or adds to God’s commandments; is to be rejected as if he did not exist for you, as if he is dead. We are not to make idols of any person or thing to put them before God, not even a member of our own family.
Deuteronomy 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul [body], entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
We are not to follow anyone to make an idol of them and obey them in place of obeying God; and we are not to conceal those who seek to deceive the brethren into following themselves but we are commanded by Almighty God to reveal this wickedness and warn the brethren.
We have become softhearted about wickedness and evil deceitful men!
Almighty God is outraged at such misguided pity for those who would steal our crowns and our potential eternal lives!
13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him [not concealing clearly implies that we are to openly reveal false teachers]:
13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust [or to deceive] thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
13:11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.
In the New Covenant such people are to be publicly brought before the people with proof and then they are to be rejected by all the people. Titus 3:10
This is a rather lengthy introduction of our subject regarding “the office of a prophet” but we need to set the standard of what a true prophet from God is and does; Jesus, who is the greatest prophet of all, sets the highest standard for all the rest of the prophets who would come in His name. Jesus was a HOLY man of God and He requires that His prophets be holy as well. (Luke 1:70, Acts 3:20-21)
Prophecy and the role of prophets may not be something that most of us think about that often in our day to day lives, but because false prophets abound, it is important that God’s people understand more than just the bare basics of what a true prophet of God is about.
When Revelation 19:9 tells us that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” it is a key identifier for us and lets us know that Jesus’ message (which is the whole Word of God) is not only prophetic but it is the very essence of all prophecy. This verse tells us that the One who became Jesus Christ was the One who inspired all the prophets and He is the source of all biblical prophecy.
If a man comes to you and deviates even the slightest from God’s Word, or directs you to another god, then that person cannot be a true prophet. A true prophet will only speak the words of God; but a false prophet will speak his own words and will direct his listeners to himself rather than pointing them to Almighty Creator God and to His Word.
A true prophet of God will only speak the truth and he will never contradict the Word of God. He will never go against what God has to say about keeping the whole Word of God and he will never direct people to compromise with God’s commandments. God’s laws, ordinances, statutes, precepts, judgments, or to disobey God in anything at all. God does not change and the words of God’s true prophets will uphold every Word of God. Isaiah gives us the qualifier that identifies a true servant of God:
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this [God’s] word, it is because there is no light in them.
Jesus warned His disciples that we must be on guard and watchful because many false prophets will come into the world and into the Ekklesia and will deceive many.
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The apostle Paul also warns the end-time brethren about a certain great false prophet that will be great and he will be very convincing; he will be backed by Satan’s power and will deceive most of the people on earth with his ability to perform signs and lying wonders.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Jesus tells us in the Olivet prophecy to “Watch” and “Pray” always that we may be able to escape all the deception that will take in these evil days.
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Definition of a Prophet
The English word “prophet” comes from the Greek word prophetes, which can mean “one who speaks forth” or “advocate.” Prophets are also called “seers” [to see] because of their spiritual insight.
The Greek word for prophet is prophétés (Strong’s #4396) and means: a prophet (an interpreter or forth-teller of the divine will). (Strong’s Concordance)
Word Helps: A prophet (4396 /prophḗtēs) declares the mind (message) of God, which sometimes predicts the future (foretelling) and more commonly speaks forth His message for a particular situation.
In the Greek language a prophet is simply “one who speaks for another”, one who speaks for a god, and so interprets the god’s will to the people. Hence, the essential meaning in Greek is “interpreter” and even more properly “messenger.”
A true prophet of God speaks for God, he is a spokesman who conveys God’s messages to the people. Those messages can be predictive, exhortations, warnings, or can be about something specific; it is up to God as to what the prophet speaks.
In the Old Testament there are four Hebrew words that are translated into the English words “prophet” or “seer.” The four Hebrew words that are translated “prophet” are nabi, nataph, roeh, and chozeh.
The Hebrew word nabi (Stong’s # 530) means: a speaker, a spokesman (Strong’s Concordance) the word is from a root meaning “to bubble forth, as from a fountain,” hence “to utter”. The Hebrew word nabi is used for “prophet” by most of the Hebrew writers. When the sense of “bubbling up” is applied to speaking, it means “to announce” or “to call” or “to declare”. Hence, a nabi, or a “prophet”, is an announcer; one who pours forth the declarations of God.
Another word is nataph (Strong’s #5197) which can also mean to drip, dropping, prophesy. A primitive root; to ooze, i.e. Distill gradually; by implication, to fall in drops; figuratively, to speak by inspiration — drop(-ping), prophesy(-et). (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
Hence the Hebrew word nataph is sometimes translated as “prophet,” because it means “to drop, drip, or distill.” This word can be used to describe rain distilling and dripping from the sky. In Joel and Amos this word is used to say the mountains will drip [nataph] sweet wine (in the Millennium) (Joel 3:18, Amos 9:13). This same word can be used to depict words that drip or drop out of someone’s mouth by God’s inspiration.
Prophets are called upon to speak forth God-inspired words where and when God requires and the word nataph, meaning to drip, drop, or flow out, is analogous of the way that God drops His words into the mouth of His prophets. The definition is, as Strong’s Concordance says, “to speak by inspiration.” This is indicative that the message that the prophet brings is not his own message, but the Lord’s words. Also, it seems to imply that sometimes the one speaking God’s words may not understand much of the message when he starts prophesying, but that the words “drop” upon him, i.e., he speaks them as he gets them from God.
The Hebrew word roeh (Strong’s # 7203) means: vision or literally “to see” or “to perceive.” It is generally used to describe one who is a revealer of secrets; one who reveals. In the time of Samuel this word, ro’eh, “seer,” began to be used (1st Samuel 9:9) when Samuel was referred to as “the seer”. (See Numbers 12:6-8.)
Another Hebrew word that means “seer” is chozeh (Strong’s # 2374) which also means “to see” or “to perceive,” but this word for seer is often used in reference to musicians. You might see in the Scriptures that a certain person who is described as a musician is also called a seer. It is also used to indicate a person who is a counselor or an adviser to a kings. This person or “seer” as he is called in the Hebrew language may not be truly a prophet, but rather an adviser; someone who had wisdom, and thus advised others. So it can mean a wise person or “one who has insight.”
When the translators were translating, they tried to indicate whether the person’s message was spiritual or if it were non-spiritual advice. If the message was spiritual, then they tended to translate it “prophet.” If the one giving the message did not give any indication of it being a spiritual message, then they would insert “advisor” or “counselor,” even though it was exactly the same word.
In 1 Chronicles 29:29 it is interesting that three of these words are used: “Samuel the seer (ro’eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi’), Gad the seer” (chozeh).
1 Chronicles 29:29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer.
Another Hebrew word, quesem, is somewhat like “prophet” but means a false prophet. In Joshua 13:22 Balaam is called a prophet as in “soothsayer”; the Hebrew word is quesem (Strong’s #7080) and means: “diviner,” to practice divination, a word used only of a false prophet.
Joshua 13:22 Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.
How Does God Speak to Prophets?
Prophets speak forth words of exhortation, teaching, admonishment. warning, correction and comfort [See The Gifts of God’s Spirit: Prophecy].
God uses various means to communicate with His prophets and then it is the job of the prophet to give the people God’s messages.
When Miriam and Aaron complained against Moses, the Lord explained to them that He often speaks to prophets in visions or in dreams but with Moses He spoke to Him directly (face to face).
Numbers 12:6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. 12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 12:8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, [directly] even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
In other places, God says that He puts His words in the mouth of the prophet. Which means that God inspires the prophet to say or to write the messages that God wants to impart to His people.
Jeremiah 1:9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
In Revelation, John was told to eat the little book that was given to him from the angel, which is symbolic of taking in the words of God and then spilling them out as messages from God. Right after John was told to eat the book, God told him he must prophesy to many peoples [i.e. write out the book].
Revelation 10:8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 10:9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10:10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (See also Ezekiel 3:1-4)
The prophet is the mouthpiece by which God speaks to men of His mind and of His will, hence what the prophet says is not of man but of God. The following verses give more evidence of how God speaks by the mouth of His prophets through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [stands alone].
This means that all the prophets and prophecies are part of a larger whole and that no prophet or prophecy contradicts any other, nor any other part of the WHOLE Word of God.
To understand a principle ALL scriptures on that particular principle must be brought together. One cannot correctly understand a subject by taking one scripture out if its context and out of the context of all other scriptures on the same subject. No scripture stands alone and all teachings must be consistent with all other scriptures.
Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
Acts 4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
Acts 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet unto our fathers.
On some occasions God will also speak directly in a voice as He did to Adam, Elijah, Moses, Samuel, Joshua and others. God may also send His angel to speak to men as He did in the case of Daniel, the apostle John and others. In all such cases the voice must be proved out as being consistent with the scriptures before it is accepted.
Office of a Prophet
It is God who sets some in the Body to be prophets who then act as His inspired spokesmen.
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
From the biblical accounts that we read, prophets are just like other servants of God, they are ordinary people who have weaknesses; God says that He calls the weak of this world and it is no different when it comes to prophets. He uses the weak and the base things [individuals] to confound those who are the mighty and those who are wise in the ways of this world. Why is this? So that all the glory goes to God and not to the prophet.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Prophets came in all sizes, all ages; they are of different temperaments and personalities; most were men but God chose a few women to be prophets (prophetesses – Judges 4, 2nd Chronicles 34:18-25, Luke 2:36). They do not necessarily have to have long flowing robes with long white hair and beards; that is generally the image that is projected to our minds by pictures in books and famous artwork of what a prophet should look like by mainstream Christianity. But just like teachers or pastors, prophets look like ordinary people for they are ordinary people.
Prophets are not chosen by men, but are specially appointed by God; and no one can appoint himself to the office of a prophet.
God chooses His own prophets according to His own will and as He sees fit. A prophet is no more special than any other person in the Body of Christ. God requires that a prophet be righteous and holy but He requires that all of His people be righteous and holy as well. The following verse is directed to all the brethren no matter what office they may be called to.
Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
God sets each believer in His Body as He wills for His own purposes, including those He sets in the office of a prophet.
There seems to be a mindset that prophets are to be set on a pedestal and that they have a very exalted position in the Ekklesia so they are to be looked up to and perhaps are unapproachable. But prophets [and apostles, etc.] are just like any other brethren in the faith; and prophets, apostles, elders or any other leader is not to be looked upon as some kind of exalted one or viewed as a celebrity.
Modern prophets, and even religious teachers, are to be proved out by the whole Word of God; and only when what they say is proven to be consistent with the Word of God are they to be believed. The same goes for anyone else who claims to be from God.
All believers are given one or more of the gifts of the Spirit, and those gifts do not make anyone more important or loftier than others. God wants us to be more interested in living by every Word of God, and in how we can help each other to grow in spiritual maturity rather than focusing on the specialness of any particular gift. See The Holy Spirit series.
1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing [giving the different gifts] to every man severally as he will.
Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
What is the purpose and function for which God places leaders in the Ekklesia in their respective roles, including the work of a prophet? Paul tells us that it for the perfecting of the saints and to help them to achieve spiritual maturity to the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
All men and women whom God places in positions of helping the Ekklesia, including prophets, are to be faithfully ministering to and edifying the members by their preaching, teaching, exhorting, and prophesying, so that all may come to the full knowledge of the truth; and thereby all be in perfect unity with Christ who is in full and perfect unity with His Father.
The various people who are appointed by God for these offices are to work together with all of the brethren, just like the parts of a human body function together to make the whole body strong and healthy.
A very important aspect of the work of those God has placed in these offices is to help protect the brethren from false teachings and from cunning crafty false teachers who sneak into the assemblies to deceive and to gain a following for themselves and who seek to take the members away from God’s truth.
How is the flock protected? By grounding the brethren in every Word of God and in the sound doctrines contained in that Word; in that way the brethren will be able to identify false teachers and their false doctrines.
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness,whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
In addition to the passage in Ephesians 4, there are many other verses in the book of Acts and in the Epistles that mention prophets, a couple of such are found in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
1 Corinthians 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
According to what Paul has to say about the gifts and callings of God, including those of prophecy and the office of prophet, a well rounded functioning Ekklesia would expect to include prophets just as normally we would expect it to have the other offices (apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, etc.) and the other gifts of the Spirit in order to have all the ministries that the Lord wants the church to have as a fully operating Body.
It is important that we understand the ministry of the prophet and how God would have them function in the assemblies if we are to recognize them.
God sends prophets to explain and expound God’s Word revealing matters not yet understood; to warn His people when they stray from His truth and to correct the Ekklesia of errors that have crept in and also to instruct the brethren as to what to do in special situations. Examples involving Paul come to mind as well as the instruction to leave Jerusalem and go to Pella before the Roman siege of that city in the first century.
Why have there been no recognized prophets in this end time era of the church? Because we have been taught preconceived ideas about prophets; and because church leaders refuse to acknowledge that particular office.
Today’s church leaders are full of pride in themselves and are not willing to listen to anyone who corrects their errors out of the Word of God. As it is written in the message to the Laodicean’s they think they are [spiritually] rich and have need of nothing, not realizing how spiritually blind and wretched they are (Revelation 3:15). The office of prophet is of vital importance to the growth and well being of the Body of Christ and to the furtherance of the plan and purposes of God.
God sends forth His prophets for the benefit of His people but also for the benefit of the unconverted who need to hear their messages and warnings as well.
We can see that the prophets were absolutely vital to God’s purposes in the Old Testament, and the need for them today in the New Covenant era has been downplayed because we think that we already know and understand all things; not believing God when He said that many things were sealed from the understanding of men until the very end time.
This means that some of the things that we thought we understood for many years are in error and that God would send His servants, the prophets, to explain and reveal a better understanding of those things which would not be revealed until the end time.
We acknowledge that God still provides us with teachers, pastors, evangelists; so why not prophets as well? Our great pride in our own ways prevents us from accepting that God would send anyone to correct and warn us, and also prevents many of the corporate groups and their leaders from accepting the promised opening up of the sealed scriptures and the expansion of understanding in these latter days.
I have heard it said in past sermons and articles that the office of prophet has been done away, because of a vague reference to 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 insinuating that we have the canonized Scriptures now and we have no need for prophecy and prophets.
1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away [shall be replaced by the full complete knowledge].
But there is nothing in Scripture that says that the office of prophet has been done away with, rather we have verses that say that God does set some in the Ekklesia as prophets. (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 12:27)
A detailed study of Scripture, and indeed, the godly examples and evidence of correct practice in the early Ekklesia, reveals that prophets do have their place in the New Covenant dispensation as taught and shown by the apostles.
We studied the passage in Ephesians 4 in detail a few weeks ago in regard to speaking the truth in love and how the ministries of the various offices help perfect the brethren to grow up to the fullness of Christ and become spiritually mature men and women of God.
Paul says that it is God who gives these offices to some of the called out believers and Paul includes the role of the office of prophet right along with the other offices of apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. It is right here in the Word of God.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
In this verse Paul lists the various offices of responsibility that God gives to some and then follows up in the subsequent verses with an explanation of the purposes and functions of those whom God has gifted and placed in these various offices.
The people who serve in these various callings are not only gifted by God to perform their duties, but they in turn, are a GIFT to the Ekklesia if they are faithfully carrying out their God-given responsibilities.
They are a gift to the Body of Christ because of the role that they play in helping others to grow spiritually through their collective and cooperative preaching, teaching, administrative works, and the duties of being a prophet, and all are supposed to work in harmony with each other. and to call the brethren back to God if they fall away!
In the book of Acts, Luke mentions freely about the activities of certain men who were recognized as prophets, and his writings confirm what Paul’s epistles’ teach in regard to the office of prophets. The book of Acts shows that prophets were active in the New Covenant and that the work that God called them to was very important in the development of the early Ekklesia.
Here are some passages that include the mention of prophets that served and worked in cooperation with others in the days of the apostles and the early church.
Acts 11:27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Acts 15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: 15:31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
Acts 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 21:12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
The gift of prophecy is the writing or speaking gift of exhorting, edifying, warning, correcting, teaching and comforting as translated in 1 Corinthians 14. (Prophecy- definition: teaches, refutes, reproves, admonishes, or comforts – Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
Would the Lord specifically place men in the Ekklesia with the gift of prophecy if they were not called to the office of prophets”?
The call of a person to the office of prophet is solely God’s choice in who He wants to place in that office; that person never chooses it for himself. God alone gives him his vocation.
To show this from Scripture we can look at some Old Testament examples of ones that God called to be prophets and the Scriptures make this very clear.
Both Isaiah and Jeremiah as well as John the Baptist knew that they were called from birth:
Isaiah 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
While Moses was tending sheep, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and called him to be His spokesman and prophet.
Exodus 3:4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
Exodus 3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 34:11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, 34:12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.
Amos describes the call of God upon his life saying that he was just a herdsman and a fruit gatherer but that God called him from that vocation and sent him out to be a prophet to Israel.
Amos 7:14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit [wild figs]: 7:15 And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
There are many more examples and the study of all the prophets makes for a very informative and in-depth study, for the prophets are a foundational part of the Word of God.
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
In regard to prophets being a part of the Ekklesia, the book of Acts confirms what Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12 teaches, that it is God who selects and specifically calls some men and women to be prophets.
The role of prophets was important in the establishment of the early church as recorded throughout Acts as we saw earlier. For instance in Acts 11, it was the prophet Agabus who foretold that there would be a severe famine in the known world during the reign of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:27-28).
This famine that was foretold by Agabus is documented in secular Roman history and in Josephus:
Agabus predicted what woul happen to Paul if he went to Jerusalem. So Agabus confirmed to Paul the persecution he was about to face so that he could get ready; mentally and spiritually. (Acts 21:10-14).
It was to certain prophets and teachers that God spoke directly to and revealed to them to set Barnabas and Saul (Paul) aside for a specific task . It was they [the prophets and teachers working together] who then fasted and prayed for the two and sent them off on their journey to fulfill their commission.
Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
The prophets Judas and Silas are specifically mentioned as exhorting and strengthening the disciples in Antioch. (Acts 15:32) Silas, who is called a prophet, was very instrumental in doing God’s work in the first century Ekklesia and his name comes up quite often in Acts. He is mentioned as a dear companion and fellow worker with other prominent workers such as Barnabas, Judas, Paul, and Timothy, who he worked closely with in establishing congregations and in strengthening the brethren.
The book of Acts and the Epistles show clearly that the Lord still worked through called out prophets after the Old Testament prophets.
Prophets are an integral part of the gifts of ministries, and the office of prophet has not been done away with. While each person in the Ekklesia has the potential to receive gifts of the Spirit, not all brothers and sisters receive the same gifts.
Prophets are charged with being spokesmen for God just as they were in the Old Testament, but because we have become so Laodicean, most of the Ekklesia do not want to be told that they need to repent of the errors that have crept in or that they still need to continue to grow and make changes.
The leaders of the COG groups reject anyone that tells them that we have been and are still wrong in many areas. We have come to think that we have all the truth and are in need of nothing: so if a real prophet from God came and lifted up his voice to show the Laodicean church its sins and its doctrinal errors, would we even listen to such a one? At this point it appears that most would not.
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
The ministry of a prophet is God’s doing, and it is imperative that we come to understand that and that such an office is important to the spiritual health and function of the Ekklesia. God’s people should be very interested in recognizing who they are and what we can do to help them in their job, supporting them and encouraging them to do the ministry that God has called them to.
As God’s prophets [spokesmen] in the Ekklesia, they are like the watchmen that were set up in days of old who see the wolf (the enemies of God) coming and sound the alarm so as to divert the people from danger; they can be likened to the watchman that sees how biblical prophecy is unfolding and sounds the trumpet of warning so the people can get ready; and they are used of God to spur His people to a more zealous and passionate walk with Christ.
Those called to be watchmen trumpeting out God’s specific messages in a way only prophets can do. Their work is very necessary in the life of the Ekklesia and also to the outside world; their work will become even more vital as we draw closer to the traumatic things that are going to happen in the near future. And of course we know what the Bible has to say about the two witnesses; they will occupy the office of prophets and fulfill the things that God wants them to do (Revelation 11:1-13).
Revelation 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
It behooves us to be able to tell the difference between a true prophet of God and a false prophet; and do what we can to learn those differences so that we are not led astray.
All prophecy, whether it is from one that is prophesying to exhort, teach, refute, reprove, admonish, or comfort as we learned last week which is the gift of the Spirit; or from a specially appointed of God prophet that has been given the gift of the office of prophet, will be as the Holy Spirit gives utterance, inspiring them to speak God’s words and not their own words.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
2nd Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
One who is called to be a prophet speaks whatever message God wants him to speak and whatever is needed for the time and situation. It is God who determines the message that He wants a prophet to speak, and that message can be different from what we may expect. We cannot come to God with preconceived ideas of exactly what God is going to do or what He should say for He says in Isaiah:
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Prophets were very much operational in the early church and just as then, they should be operational in the end time church. We do need to pray that God would pour out the gifts of His Spirit abundantly amongst His faithful called out ones, to exhort, encourage and strengthen each other; and for His true prophets to boldly and powerfully give God’s messages to His church and to the world in these modern day times as well.
The Prophet’s Job is to Warn
Isaiah 1:58 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
God sends His prophets to warn His wayward people to repent of breaking God’s laws and going astray from living by every Word of God. Prophets vehemently and with boldness rebuke the people of their wickedness. There are many examples, but one that really stands out is the life of Elijah the prophet who went up against King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel. In fact all of the prophets admonished the nations of Israel and Judah to repent of their wickedness and going after idols and warned of what would happen if they did not.
God sends his prophets when the political leaders and religious ministry have gone astray to warn them to repent. When Israel and Judah sinned, God sent His prophets to reprove the people in no uncertain terms and sometimes very harshly and graphically, about how evil they were and to repent of their wicked ways or suffer His wrath!
Which is exactly where we are at this time. The modern day Israelite nations’ sins have mounted up to heaven and are the most perverse and wicked in all of history. Because the people refuse to listen to God, either through His Word, or by the prophets He sends; the only thing left is drastic, painful correction.
We can do a word study of “God’s anger”, “the wrath of God”, “God’s indignation”, and study the passages that speak of the correction (tribulation) that is coming soon.
These verses of warning and correction not only apply to the physical nations of Israel but also to the spiritual nation of Israel that makes up the Ekklesia. Unless they repent of their Laodician attitude repent of following after idols of men and false doctrine, they too will suffer the consequences just as ancient Israel and Judah did.
Just because we say that they belong to God’s Ekklesia is no protection, we must be obeying God from the heart in all things.
Physical Israel which has received of the bountiful physical blessings promised by God through Jacob and Moses have been given so many resources and advantages over the other poorer nations of the world and yet we have become the most wicked nation on earth and we even export our wickedness to the Gentile nations.
Likewise, spiritual Israel has received God’s precious truth and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and yet most still insist on putting men on a pedestal to look to them to tell us what we can and cannot do even when it is contrary to God’s Word. We have turned away from God by following after men who exalt themselves rather than God, and we want to cleave to the traditions of men rather than being zealous to walk in the light of God’s truth.
The COG leaders and the members think they have all the truth so therefore they will not study to prove all things; and when challenged with deeper understanding about the calendar or the meaning of the festivals and prophecy and how we should be keeping the Sabbath according to God’s Word, we refuse to even hear the matter, persecuting those who are seeking the truth. When God begins to judge in these end times, Peter says that He will begin with the house of God which is the Ekklesia of God. To whom much is given, much is required.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
What is a prophet? One with the gift of prophecy is one to whom God speaks either directly through dreams and visions, or through direct inspiration and who has been tasked with the responsibility of passing God’s message to others.
God’s prophets speak, exhort, teach, comfort and warn others with God’s Word. In that sense, all believers should be able to prophesy to a certain extent. But there is the leadership ministry gift to the Ekklesia of the office of a prophet; ones that are called to be God’s spokesmen and to act as watchmen and messengers.
It is God who places them in their office and they are to speak as God directs. Their gift is not just to prophesy in the way of exhortation, teaching, comforting; they are also to warn the brethren and the world and to strongly rebuke all sin. They have been given the vocation and assignment of being a prophet. They live totally for God and they embody the Word of God in their lives, and by their thoughts, words, and actions they stand up for the truth in spite of what anyone else thinks or does to them.
Prophets may have the supernatural ability to do miracles to demonstrate the authority of God backing them with signs and wonders, or they may be like John the Baptist, one of the greatest of God’s prophets, who did no miracles.
In the past, prophets had the task of faithfully speaking God’s Word to the people. They were instrumental in guiding the nations of Israel and Judah; and in the New Covenant times they were instrumental in establishing the Ekklesia in the first century. It was the prophets, who under the inspiration of Jesus Christ, wrote many of the books of the Bible.
We are told by Paul that God’s household is “built upon the foundation of [the scriptural writings of] the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:20)
At this time most of the world is deceived and is totally lacking in the standards of righteousness and holy living as taught by the whole Word of God, and the wickedness and violence of the world is getting worse day by day. All we have to do is read the news headlines and look around us as to what is happening. This is where God’s prophets come in; to boldly give the messages that God wants the world to hear. Those who “harken” and who will repent and turn to God will be given the chance to become sons of God, but those who refuse, God will require it of them.
God tells Ezekiel that the house of Israel is impudent and hardhearted and will not hearken to His Word nor to the ones that He sends and that is why there is so much evil and perversion in the modern day nations today. God told Isaiah basically the same thing, that the children of Israel are rebellious, deceitful children, and it should be no surprise to us that the modern day Israelites will not listen to God’s instructions either until they are brought to deepest desperation in the coming perilous times, such as the tribulation.
Ezekiel 3:7 But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.
Isaiah 30:9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
This is not just physical Israel, but today’s COG groups and their leaders also say this as well. To those who try to warn them and point out their pride, doctrinal errors, and idolatry of men and corporate organizations; they say: “prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits“!
Jesus, spoke too, of how Jerusalem despised and killed the prophets that God sent to them and He lamented over that fact. This will happen again in the future with the two witnesses who will be martyred in Jerusalem.
Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
Again, we are to be on guard for false prophets; in the New Testament we have many warnings against false prophets and we are told that by their fruits we will know them. Jesus warns His disciples of them in several places.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Not everyone who “speaks forth” a message is actually a prophet of God. The Bible warns against false teachers who claim to speak for God and who say they teach the words of truth but who actually deceive the people they purport to teach.
2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation speaks of a false prophet who will arise in the near future and deceive the whole the world.
Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The apostle John tells us that we must always test the prophets who come to us: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1).
A true prophet of God will be committed to speaking God’s truth and turning the people to God and His commandments. He or she will never contradict any part of the whole Word of God or lead people away from God’s laws, statutes, or ordinances. A true prophet will say, just as the prophet Micaiah said when he answered back to wicked King Ahab: “As the Lord liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.” (2 Chronicles 18:13) (See whole chapter of 2 Chronicles 18 for the whole story).
As we approach the final years of the six thousand years of man and see the prophetic events begin to unfold, we, too, must listen and heed the words of the prophets, most importantly the words of our Lord and Savior who was, and is, the Greatest Prophet of all the prophets, who loves us and wants us to qualify to be in His family. Jesus tells us to put Him FIRST always and then to “FEAR NOT”.
Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
There are so many indications that the tribulation is getting close that it behooves us to examine our walk with God and to be sure that we are zealously living by His every Word, repenting and changing when we see that we have been in error or possibly looking to men rather than looking to Christ who is the Sovereign Head of His Ekklesia and the only Mediator between God and man.
How much time do we have left before the correction begins to bear down on God’s people and on the nations of the world? Only God knows for certain, but He promises that He will reveal the things we need to know when it is right for us to know and that He will reveal these things through His prophets.
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.