Monday, March 23, 2009

The Prophet (Part 2): Dt 18:15-19

"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.' The Lord said to me, 'They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him." (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)
If Jesus is "The Prophet" that was foretold long ago, then what is the role of prophets in the New Testament? The testimony of the New Testament is clear that the ministry of prophets remain within the church. Consider some of the following scriptures.
"Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch." (Acts 11:27)

"Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul." (Acts 13:1)

"Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message." (Acts 15:32)

"As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea." (Acts 21:10)

"And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets , are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?" (1 Corinthians 12:28,29)

"Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment." (1 Corinthians 14:29)

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets , and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers." (Ephesians 4:11)
While it is clear that prophets still minister within the church today, we must be careful not to define that ministry in terms of Old Testament patterns and forms.

Before, the prophets spoke God's word to a people who were void of God's spirit. The spirit of God would rest on the prophets and they would prophesy. However, the people did not have the spirit of God, so the voice of the prophet was the only way they could hear and understand the word of God. However, today all of God's people posses the spirit of God and all can hear God's voice.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27)

"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance... 'and it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'that I will pour forth of my spirit on all mankind.'"(Acts 2:4, 17)
Before, the prophets were the authoritative voice of God. Their word was final and was to be obeyed. It was through the prophets that the people learned who God was and what He expected of them. However, today God's people are taught directly by the Lord.
"And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all will know me, from the least to the greatest of them." (Hebrews 8:11)

"As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him." (1 John 2:27)
Before, the prophets stood alone. They alone represented God; they were separate from the people. They were special and were sought out after for answers and direction. However, today prophets are just one of many ministries in operation within the Body of Christ. The are just one member, like every other member of the Body. They share in the life of the Body; in giving and receiving that which Jesus has given them.
"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ... For the body is not one member, but many... Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it." (1 Corinthians 12:12,14,27)

"And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets , third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues." (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Notice that prophets are placed in the Body; prophets no longer stand alone.

Before, prophesy was the exclusive rights of prophets; those select few upon whom the Spirit of God would rest. However, today all God's people can prophesy.
"For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets." (1 Corinthians 14:31-32)

"And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy." (Acts 2:17)
Let us earnestly desire to prophesy, but let us learn to prophesy according to New Testament pattern and form.

David Robison

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