New Testament Prophet

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Character and Ministry
Of
A New Testament Prophet

By 

Stephen Odonga 

 
A Gift to the Church by The Lord Jesus Christ

 The five fold offices are given to the body of Christ by Christ as a gift.  In a very real sense the fivefold offices cover all the leadership ministry activities of Christ while He was here on earth.  The Apostle Paul explains this as follows:

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

             “When He ascended on high,

            He led captivity captive,

            And gave gifts to men.”

Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.

 

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:7-16)

 It must be clearly understood that a gift is not earned.  For this reason, the fivefold offices cannot be earned.  Of great importance is to recognise that no one can appoint another person into these offices.  The Holy Spirit may use the church eldership to confirm the call of God on an individual but they cannot decree by laying on of hands or through pre-qualification methods determine whether a person has one of these fivefold offices.

 Another important aspect of a gift is that it is not inherited from one generation to the next.  Unlike the Old Testament where God chose a family line passing on the Covenant from one generation to the next this does not occur in the New Testament. In the New Testament, we only inherit from Christ.  For this reason there are no recorded inheritances of anointing from any of the Apostles to their children. This contrasts with the Old Testament where it is meticulously recorded.  The genealogy regarding spiritual inheritance finished with Christ as recorded in the gospel of Matthew.  It is clear that there is no biblical basis for church elders “anointing” their children or close relatives to inherit their ministry.   Church history clearly shows that whenever this occurs the once very successful ministry invariably loses its anointing and becomes a dead denomination or church by the 3rd generation. 

 Evidence of the Direct Call by The Holy Spirit, not appointed by men

Introduction

The very workings of the office of a prophet make it extremely difficult for an individual to build a substantial ministry without a genuine gifting in prophecy at the very least.  The word of God warns, however, that false prophets will also be operating so prophesying alone cannot guarantee that one is genuine.  It is also possible for those who operate in the gift of prophecy to claim to be prophets either because they do not understand the true nature of the New Testament prophet or they are being motivated by a selfish agenda.

 The Scriptures, both Old and New Testament clearly demonstrate that God, by His Spirit, makes a call on individuals and appoints them.  The Holy Spirit then sends them out to fulfil their ministries and confirms their anointing.  This principle is true for the fivefold offices even though a vast majority of church leadership have achieved their offices through other means.

 As the prophetic ministry is restored to its true status in the local church as an office in its own right, there will obviously be many who will make claims to being called to the office.  The following Scriptures provide the Divine pattern on how God has called individuals to the prophetic office.   

How were Prophets called in the Old Testament?

 Abraham

Abraham, at the age of seventy-five, was called directly by God and was asked to leave his kinfolk and country (Gen 12:1-9)

“Now the aLord had said to Abram:

     “Get bout of your country,

     From your family

     And from your father’s house,

     To a land that I will show you.

2     cI will make you a great nation;

     dI will bless you

     And make your name great;

     eAnd you shall be a blessing.

3     fI will bless those who bless you,

     And I will curse him who curses you;

     And in gyou all the families of the earth shall be hblessed.”

4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and ithe 1people whom they had acquired jin Haran, and they kdeparted to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram lpassed through the land to the place of Shechem, mas far as 2the terebinth tree of Moreh. nAnd the Canaanites were then in the land.

7 oThen the Lord appeared to Abram and said, p“To your 3descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an qaltar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and rcalled on the name of the Lord. 9 So Abram journeyed, sgoing on still toward the 4South.”

 

Moses

 Moses was officially called and commissioned by God while he was a shepherd at Mount Horeb having fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian. God directly spoke to him out of the burning bush (Exodus 3: 1-22)

     Now Moses was tending the flock of aJethro his father-in-law, bthe priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to cHoreb, dthe mountain of God. 2 And ethe Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this fgreat sight, why the bush does not burn.”

4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called gto him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. hTake your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, i“I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for jhe was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the Lord said: k“I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry lbecause of their taskmasters, mfor I know their 1sorrows. 8 So nI have come down to odeliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land pto a good and large land, to a land qflowing with milk and honey, to the place of rthe Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, sthe cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the toppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 uCome now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, v“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 So He said, w“I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a xsign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, y‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is zMy name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ 16 Go and agather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, b“I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; 17 and I have said cI will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’ 18 Then dthey will heed your voice; and eyou shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, ‘The Lord God of the Hebrews has fmet with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I am sure that the king of Egypt gwill not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will hstretch out My hand and strike Egypt with iall My wonders which I will do in its midst; and jafter that he will let you go. 21 And kI will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 lBut every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, marticles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So nyou shall plunder the Egyptians.”

 Moses was eighty years old when he was called and sent (Exod. 7:7)

“7 And Moses was neighty years old and oAaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.”

  

Samuel

 Samuel was only a child when God directly called him audibly by name to be a prophet (I Sam. 3:1-21).

“Now athe boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And bthe word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. 2 And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow cso dim that he could not see, 3 and before dthe lamp of God went out in the 1tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, 4 that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” 5 So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

6 Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!”

So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 (Now Samuel edid not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, f‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel gat which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli hall that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 iFor I have told him that I will jjudge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because khis sons made themselves vile, and he ldid not 2restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house mshall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15 So Samuel lay down until 3morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!”

He answered, “Here I am.”

17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. nGod do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, o“It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

19 So Samuel pgrew, and qthe Lord was with him rand let none of his words 4fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel sfrom Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been 5established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by tthe word of the Lord

Isaiah

 Isaiah was given an opportunity to answer God’s direct call to be prophet (Isa. 6:1-10)

“In the year that aKing Uzziah died, I bsaw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, cwith two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:

     d“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

     eThe whole earth is full of His glory!”

4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

5 So I said:

     “Woe is me, for I am 1undone!

     Because I am a man of funclean lips,

     And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;

     For my eyes have seen the King,

     The Lord of hosts.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from gthe altar. 7 And he htouched my mouth with it, and said:

     “Behold, this has touched your lips;

     Your iniquity is taken away,

     And your sin 2purged.”

8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

     “Whom shall I send,

     And who will go for iUs?”

     Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

9     And He said, “Go, and jtell this people:

     ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;

     Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

10     “Make kthe heart of this people dull,

     And their ears heavy,

     And shut their eyes;

     lLest they see with their eyes,

     And hear with their ears,

     And understand with their heart,

     And return and be healed.”

 

Elisha

 Elisha was a young man of working age when he was called as a replacement for Elijah (I Kings 19:16-21).

“16 Also you shall anoint qJehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And rElisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 sIt shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will tkill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, uElisha will kill. 18 vYet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, wand every mouth that has not kissed him.”

19 So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his xmantle on him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, y“Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”

And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”

21 So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and zboiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.”

 

Jeremiah

 Jeremiah was in the womb when God called him. He was born with the call to be prophet (Jer. 1:4-10).

“4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

5     “Before I hformed you in the womb iI knew you;

     Before you were born I jsanctified 1you;

     I 2ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then said I:  

k“Ah, Lord God!

     Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

7     But the Lord said to me:

     “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’

     For you shall go to all to whom I send you,

     And lwhatever I command you, you shall speak.

8     mDo not be afraid of their faces,

     For nI am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.

9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and otouched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

     “Behold, I have pput My words in your mouth.

10     qSee, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,

     To rroot out and to pull down,

     To destroy and to throw down,

     To build and to plant.”

 

How were Prophets called in the New Testament?

 John the Baptist

John the Baptist was called to be a prophet in the spirit and power of Elijah even before he was conceived (Luke 1:11-17).

“11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of mthe altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, nhe was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and oyou shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and pmany will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be qgreat in the sight of the Lord, and rshall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, seven from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 tHe will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

 

The Lord Jesus Christ

 The Lord Jesus was prophesied about by Moses in the Old Testament  that He would be a prophet  (Deut. 18:15-19)

“15 p“The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb qin the day of the assembly, saying, r‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’

17 “And the Lord said to me: s‘What they have spoken is good. 18 tI will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and uwill put My words in His mouth, vand He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 wAnd it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.”

 

He was prophesied about in Psalm 2:

 “1     Why ado the 1nations 2rage,

     And the people plot a 3vain thing?

2     The kings of the earth set themselves,

     And the brulers take counsel together,

     Against the Lord and against His cAnointed, 4saying,

3     “Let dus break Their bonds in pieces

     And cast away Their cords from us.”

4     He who sits in the heavens eshall laugh;

     The Lord shall hold them in derision.

5     Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,

     And distress them in His deep displeasure:

6     “Yet I have 5set My King

     6On My holy hill of Zion.”

7     “I will declare the 7decree:

     The Lord has said to Me,

     f‘You are My Son,

     Today I have begotten You.

8     Ask of Me, and I will give You

     The nations for Your inheritance,

     And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

9     gYou shall 8break them with a rod of iron;

     You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”

10     Now therefore, be wise, O kings;

     Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11     Serve the Lord with fear,

     And rejoice with trembling.

12     9Kiss the Son, lest 1He be angry,

     And you perish in the way,

     When hHis wrath is kindled but a little.

     iBlessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

  

He was prophesied about through Isaiah (Isa. 9:6-7):

“6     hFor unto us a Child is born,

     Unto us a iSon is given;

     And jthe government will be upon His shoulder.

     And His name will be called

     kWonderful, Counselor, lMighty God,

     Everlasting Father, mPrince of Peace.

7     Of the increase of His government and peace

     nThere will be no end,

     Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

     To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

     From that time forward, even forever.

     The ozeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

 

 In the New Testament the call was given through the visitation of an Angel to Mary (Luke 1:22-26):

“26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin abetrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, b“Rejoice, highly favored one, cthe Lord is with you; 5blessed are you among women!”

29 But 6when she saw him, dshe was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found efavor with God. 31 fAnd behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and gshall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, hand will be called the Son of the Highest; and ithe Lord God will give Him the jthrone of His kfather David. 33 lAnd He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

 

The Apostle Paul

At his conversion Saul was called by The Lord Jesus (Acts 9:1-18)

“ Then aSaul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked bletters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

3 cAs he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, dwhy are you persecuting Me?”

5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”

Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 1It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 And ethe men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus fnamed Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”

And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”

11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul gof Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, hhow much 2harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all iwho call on Your name.”

15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for jhe is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before kGentiles, lkings, and the mchildren 3of Israel. 16 For nI will show him how many things he must suffer for My oname’s sake.”

17 pAnd Ananias went his way and entered the house; and qlaying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord 4Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and rbe filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”

 

John and Paula Sandford provide some valuable insight into the call of a prophet.

"No-one by deciding, or wishing it so, can become a prophet. The corps of prophets is not an open club. One cannot pay dues, or take training, or desire so intensely as to become a prophet. There is no membership roll, as in a church. One cannot inherit the prophet's mantle. It cannot be given by one man to another, though a man can be the Lord's instrument for such. Reading this and a million other books will not make a man a prophet. Hours of prayer, diligence in intercession, seeking the gifts of the Spirit, none of these will make a man a prophet. There is no way a man can become a prophet by the flesh…

…Not only may a man not become a prophet unless God calls, he may become a prophet only by responding in obedience when He calls, as He calls, and in confirmed recognition within the body of Christ." (The Elijah Task, pp 41-42, John and Paula Sandford, 1977, Victory House Inc, Tulsa, Okalahoma, USA)

 It is important therefore for leadership to know how to determine whether such anointing is on certain individuals. In addition, there are those individuals who want to know whether they have the call to the office of a prophet. Below are some good indicators to help; but are by no means the only indicators.

 1) Supernatural sign - These may include:

 a) Visitation from The Father, The Lord Jesus or The Holy Spirit to tell you of the call to be a prophet.

b) Being taken up to Heaven and told by the Lord of the call to be a prophet.

c) Angelic visitation to announce God's call to you to be prophet.

 2) People around you begin to recognise that you have an unusual ability, without knowing a person well or prior knowledge, to discern accurately where people are at ( as if you can see right through them).  

3) When or if you begin to know ACCURATELY things about the future through visions, dreams, trances, strong inward impressions, etc.

 4) Spiritually discerning leaders will begin to recognise this prophetic ability.

 5) God confirms through a recognised prophet your call to the office of Prophet.    

 “The call of a prophet is given solely by the Lord. It was His Holy Spirit who called and spoke through every prophet of the Old Testament (Heb. 1:1). It remained the same in the days of the New Testament. It remains so now. One difference pertains. Now the prophet's call must be independently confirmed by the Lord through the body, and throughout his ministry. Apparently the people did not confirm a prophet's call in the Old. The Old Testament prophet stood over against everyone else. The New Testament prophet is not only called within the body, but the whole body is itself based upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20). 

The call of a prophet usually but not always includes his job description. This was so with both Jeremiah and Isaiah. The call of Ezekiel, however, does not contain his job description.” (The Elijah Task, pp 42, John and Paula Sandford, 1977, Victory House Inc, Tulsa, Okalahoma, USA)

 

Status of the 21st Century Prophet

Not an Old Testament Prophet

 The 21st Century prophet while inheriting many characteristics of the Old Testament prophets, however, does not have all their responsibilities.  The most significant responsibility that the 21st Century prophet does not have is being a source of guidance to people.  In the Old Testament God expected His people to call upon Him and He would then speak through a prophet to give guidance.  Kings often asked the prophet to seek God on their behalf (2 Kings 3:9-12).

“9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom, and they marched on that roundabout route seven days; and there was no water for the army, nor for the animals that followed them. 10 And the king of Israel said, “Alas! For the Lord has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.”

11 But hJehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of the Lord by him?”

So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who ipoured 1water on the hands of Elijah.”

12 And Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom jwent down to him.”

 In the New Testament the Scriptures clearly teach repeatedly that Christians are to get their guidance from The Holy Spirit who indwells them (Romans 8:14)

 “14 For ras many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

 And John 16:12-15

“12 “I still have many things to say to you, nbut you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, othe Spirit of truth, has come, pHe will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 qHe will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 rAll things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He 3will take of Mine and declare it to you.” 

 Does this therefore mean that prophets have no place providing guidance to Christians? Certainly they do!  The most important difference between the Old Testament and New Testament roles relating to guidance is that in the New Testament the prophet will be sent by The Holy Spirit to speak to an individual or group to give guidance.  In most cases the individual or group may or may not have been seeking God for a particular issue.  The prophet is sent either as an answer to prayer or as a Sovereign act of The Holy Spirit to address a particular issue in the life of the individual or group. Individuals are not to seek out prophets.   

Not a foundational New Testament Prophet

 It is true that a current local church must be built on the foundations of the Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 2:20)

“19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been abuilt bon the foundation of the capostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being dthe chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into ea holy temple in the Lord, 22 fin whom you also are being built together for a gdwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

However, these foundations have already been laid in the written Word. The teachings of modern Apostles and Prophets use the written word to establish local churches under the direction of The Holy Spirit as the Head of the church on earth on behalf of Christ.

 Each specific local church or group of churches may be given a particular mandate by The Holy Spirit to fulfill based on the foundational principles already laid down in the NT. For example, one church or group of churches may be focused on ministry to the local communities and the country just as the church in Jerusalem was focused on the Jewish nation.  Another local church or group of churches may have a global or regional focus sending out Apostles and Evangelists as The Holy Spirit wills, just as the Gentile churches regarded Paul and Barnabas as those sent to minister to the Gentiles.

The prophets in each of these instances would be used by The Holy Spirit to confirm His vision for the specific churches and also for individual ministries within those churches.  The prophets would also reveal the mind of The Holy Spirit regarding doctrine as applicable to each of the local churches.  Each church would therefore know how the written foundational principles are to apply for the specific vision that has been given to them. The prophet would assist the Pastor(s) and Teacher(s) to consolidate and disseminate the practical application of the Will of God for the local church.

 A very important and regular task of the prophets would be to judge any prophecy being uttered and also to discern any attempts by Satan to infiltrate the local church through an individual or group of individuals. He would then bring this to the attention of the Pastor and Eldership or may deal with the persons directly under The Holy Spirit’s direction.

 Peers with the New Testament and Old Testament prophets but builders on the foundations already laid

 The 21st Century prophets are peers with the Old Testament and New Testament prophets in their capacity to influence the wellbeing of The Church.  Their capacity to foundationally impact the establishment of a local church is of similar magnitude to their Biblical ancestors.  As prophets to the Body of Christ they are able to declare the message from The Holy Spirit that can dramatically impact and /or shake the Church to it very foundations. 

 It is clear that the current state of The Church reveals that she has either made significant foundational shifts and /or changes since the time of the Apostles and New Testament Prophets.  She is definitely far from ready for the return of the Christ. The Holy Spirit has the task to restore those foundations based on the written Word that He has already provided.  Prophets in this instance could therefore bring to light foundational truths that were lost since New Testament times.  This will have sea change impacts on the spiritual wellbeing of The Church.  Significantly however, 21st Century prophets are builders on the foundations already laid by the Old Testament prophets and the foundational apostolic and prophetic writings of the New Testament.

The 21st Century prophet has an inheritance with the Old Testament and New Testament prophets

 The 21st Century prophet has been given an inheritance of the prophets passed on from the Old Testament and New Testament prophets. They have inherited a mandate and responsibility for the office of prophet (Refer to the sections below).  The Scriptures document how the prophets who were operating in several different areas of influence received the inheritance.  Some were simple farmers while some like Daniel were influential political figures.  Their testimonies provide us with examples of the requirements for administration of the inheritance according to the high and holy calling upon the prophet.

The 21st Century prophet has the enormous challenge of not betraying what the prophets in the Scriptures have built and established as the standards and quality of ministry acceptable before God in each of their generations.  The prophets of today must continue with the same sense of dedication in this generation so that those who come after them can have an inheritance that has not been destroyed or damaged in anyway.   

One of the greatest dangers for the 21st Century prophet is the current obsession by the world with international notoriety at all costs.  The celebrity mania has become so strong in the secular world to the extent that even churches have succumbed to its power of presence and recognition.  Global recognition of one’s ministry is now automatically considered as endorsement from God.   

While global recognition is in many ways the future because of the pervasive use of multimedia to receive and disseminate information, the prophet must be very careful not to define his high and holy calling based on the moral standards of these media.

 The 21st Century prophet has a holy duty to uphold the spirit and devotion of the Old Testament and New Testament prophets because of the direct revelatory nature of their gifting. They have been given the holy privilege to consistently see, hear, smell, taste and feel what The Holy Spirit has, is and will be experiencing.  This puts them in the position of having a vastly deeper knowledge and understanding of the Mind of The Holy Spirit than the rest of the body of Christ. Such a privilege will demand a deeper sense of responsibility and accountability by The Holy Spirit on the prophet.

 The Character required of the Prophet by The Holy Spirit

1.      Set apart (holy to the Lord) for the ministry of building God’s Kingdom and preparing The Church for the return of The Saviour

2.      Love motivated

3.      Intercessory heart

4.      Not motivated by fame through the ministry

5.      Not motivated by fortune through the ministry

6.      Not motivated by the power of influence that can be achieved through the ministry

7.      Eph 6:10-19:

“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 lPut on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the 2wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against mprincipalities, against powers, against nthe rulers of 3the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 oTherefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand pin the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, qhaving girded your waist with truth, rhaving put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 sand having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking tthe shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And utake the helmet of salvation, and vthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 wpraying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, xbeing watchful to this end with all perseverance and ysupplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, zthat I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which aI am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

 

The Lifestyle required of the Prophet by The Holy Spirit

 1. Not pre-occupied by quest for material abundance

 2. Not pre-occupied by quest for fame

 3. Not pre-occupied by quest for controlling influence such as religious or political power

 4. Accessible to all, not just to the privileged and powerful in Christian and non-Christian circles

 5. Intercessory commitment for the purposes of The Holy Spirit to be fulfilled in the local and whole Body of Christ.

 6. Always seeking greater intimacy with The Holy Spirit

 7. Submitted to the Leadership of the local church that God has assigned him/her to.  This does not, however, mean obeying without exercising spiritual discernment on what is taught and practised in the local church. They have a responsibility to judge what is being taught and practiced in the Name of God and to make the leadership aware if they are going astray from Scriptures.

 8. Devoted to reading and studying the Word of God

 9. Not neglecting their family commitments (provision of food, clothing, shelter, emotional and psychological)  - to wife, children and extended family

 10. Contributing towards the provision of the needs of the socially disadvantaged.


 

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Cross References

Note: All references are from New King James Version

a Gen. 15:7; Acts 7:2, 3; [Heb. 11:8]

b Gen. 13:9

c [Gen. 17:4–6]; 18:18; 46:3; Deut. 26:5; 1 Kin. 3:8

d Gen. 22:17; 24:35

e Gen. 28:4; Zech. 8:13; Gal. 3:14

f Gen. 24:35; 27:29; Ex. 23:22; Num. 24:9

g Gen. 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Ps. 72:17; Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:34; Acts 3:25; [Gal. 3:8]

h Is. 41:27

i Gen. 14:14

j Gen. 11:31

k Gen. 13:18

l Heb. 11:9

m Deut. 11:30; Judg. 7:1

2 Heb. Alon Moreh

n Gen. 10:18, 19

o Gen. 17:1; 18:1

p Gen. 13:15; 15:18; 17:8; Deut. 34:4; Ps. 105:9–12; Acts 7:5; Gal. 3:16

q Gen. 13:4, 18; 22:9

r Gen. 4:26; 13:4; 21:33

s Gen. 13:1, 3; 20:1; 24:62

a Ex. 4:18

b Ex. 2:16

c Ex. 17:6; 1 Kin. 19:8

d Ex. 18:5

e Deut. 33:16; Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 7:30

f Acts 7:31

g Ex. 4:5; Deut. 33:16

h Josh. 5:15; Acts 7:33

i Gen. 28:13; Ex. 3:16; 4:5; [Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:26, 27; Luke 20:37, 38]; Acts 7:32

j 1 Kin. 19:13

k Ex. 2:23–25; Neh. 9:9; Ps. 106:44

l Ex. 1:11

m Gen. 18:21; Ex. 2:25

n Gen. 15:13–16; 46:4; 50:24, 25

o Ex. 6:6–8; 12:51

p Num. 13:27; Deut. 1:25; 8:7–9; Josh. 3:17

q Ex. 3:17; 13:5; Jer. 11:5; Ezek. 20:6

r Gen. 15:19–21; Josh. 24:11

s Ex. 2:23

t Ex. 1:11, 13, 14

u Gen. 15:13, 14; Ex. 12:40, 41; [Mic. 6:4]; Acts 7:6, 7

v Ex. 4:10; 6:12; 1 Sam. 18:18

w Gen. 31:3; Ex. 4:12, 15; 33:14–16; Deut. 31:23; Josh. 1:5; Is. 43:2; Rom. 8:31

x Ex. 4:8; 19:3

y [Ex. 6:3; John 8:24, 28, 58; Heb. 13:8; Rev. 1:8; 4:8]

z Ps. 30:4; 97:12; 102:12; 135:13; [Hos. 12:5]

a Ex. 4:29

b Gen. 50:24; Ex. 2:25; 4:31; Ps. 33:18; Luke 1:68

c Gen. 15:13–21; 46:4; 50:24, 25

d Ex. 4:31

e Ex. 5:1, 3

f Num. 23:3, 4, 15, 16

g Ex. 5:2

h Ex. 6:6; 9:15

i Deut. 6:22; Neh. 9:10; Ps. 105:27; 135:9; Jer. 32:20; Acts 7:36

j Ex. 11:1; 12:31–37

k Ex. 11:3; 12:36; 1 Kin. 8:50; Ps. 105:37; 106:46; [Prov. 16:7]

l Ex. 11:2

m Ex. 33:6

n Job 27:17; Prov. 13:22; [Ezek. 39:10]

n Deut. 29:5; 31:2; 34:7; Acts 7:23, 30

o Num. 33:39

a 1 Sam. 2:11, 18

b Ps. 74:9; Ezek. 7:26; Amos 8:11, 12

c Gen. 27:1; 48:10; 1 Sam. 4:15

d Ex. 27:20, 21

e 1 Sam. 2:12; Acts 19:2; 1 Cor. 13:11

f 1 Kin. 2:17

g 2 Kin. 21:12; Jer. 19:3

h 1 Sam. 2:27–36; Ezek. 12:25; Luke 21:33

i 1 Sam. 2:29–31

j 1 Sam. 2:22; Ezek. 7:3; 18:30

k 1 Sam. 2:12, 17, 22

l 1 Sam. 2:23, 25

2 Lit. rebuke

m Num. 15:30, 31; Is. 22:14; Heb. 10:4, 26–31

3 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX adds and he arose in the morning

n Ruth 1:17

o Gen. 24:50; Ex. 34:5–7; Lev. 10:3; Is. 39:8; Acts 5:39

p 1 Sam. 2:21

q Gen. 21:22; 28:15; 39:2, 21, 23

r 1 Sam. 9:6

s Judg. 20:1

t 1 Sam. 3:1, 4

a 2 Kin. 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23; Is. 1:1

b John 12:41; Rev. 4:2, 3; 20:11

c Ezek. 1:11

d Rev. 4:8

e Num. 14:21; Ps. 72:19

f Ex. 6:12, 30

g Rev. 8:3

h Jer. 1:9; Dan. 10:16

i Gen. 1:26

j Is. 43:8; Matt. 13:14; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26; Rom. 11:8

k Ps. 119:70; Mark 6:1–6; Acts 7:51; Rom. 10:1–4

l Jer. 5:21

q 2 Kin. 9:1–10

r 1 Kin. 19:19–21; 2 Kin. 2:9–15

s 2 Kin. 8:12; 13:3, 22

t 2 Kin. 9:14–10:28

u [Hos. 6:5]

v Rom. 11:4

w Hos. 13:2

x 1 Sam. 28:14; 2 Kin. 2:8, 13, 14

y [Matt. 8:21, 22; Luke 9:61, 62]; Acts 20:37

z 2 Sam. 24:22

n Ex. 3:12; Deut. 31:6; Josh. 1:5; Jer. 15:20; Heb. 13:6

n Judg. 6:22; Dan. 10:8; Luke 2:9; Acts 10:4; Rev. 1:17

p Matt. 21:11; Luke 1:76; 2:25–34; 7:16; 24:19; Acts 3:22

a Acts 4:25, 26

5 Lit. installed

6 Lit. Upon Zion, the hill of My holiness

7 Or decree of the Lord: He said to Me

8 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Syr., Vg. rule (cf. Rev. 2:27)

9 LXX, Vg. Embrace discipline; Tg. Receive instruction

1 LXX the Lord

m Eph. 2:14

n Dan. 2:44; Matt. 1:1, 6; Luke 1:32, 33; John 7:42

o Is. 37:32

a Matt. 1:18; Luke 2:4, 5

b Dan. 9:23

c Judg. 6:12

5 NU omits blessed are you among women

6 NU omits when she saw him

d Luke 1:12

e Luke 2:52

f Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:21, 25; Gal. 4:4

g Luke 2:21; [Phil. 2:9–11]

h Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 5:7; Luke 1:35, 76; 6:35; Acts 7:48

i 2 Sam. 7:12, 13, 16; Ps. 132:11; [Is. 9:6, 7; 16:5; Jer. 23:5]

j 2 Sam. 7:14–17; Acts 2:33; 7:55

k Matt. 1:1

l [Dan. 2:44; Obad. 21; Mic. 4:7]; John 12:34; [Heb. 1:8]; 2 Pet. 1:11

a Acts 7:57; 8:1, 3; 26:10, 11; Gal. 1:13; 1 Tim. 1:13

b Acts 22:5

c Acts 22:6; 26:12, 13; 1 Cor. 15:8

d [Matt. 25:40]

1 NU, M omit the rest of v. 5 and begin v. 6 with But arise and go

e Dan. 10:7; John 12:29; [Acts 22:9; 26:13]

f Acts 22:12

g Acts 21:39; 22:3

h Acts 9:1

i Acts 7:59; 9:2, 21; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:22

j Acts 13:2; 22:21; Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 15:10; Gal. 1:15; Eph. 3:7, 8; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11

k Rom. 1:5; 11:13; Gal. 2:7, 8

l Acts 25:22, 23; 26:1

m Acts 21:40; Rom. 1:16; 9:1–5

n Acts 20:23; 2 Cor. 11:23–28; 12:7–10; Gal. 6:17; Phil. 1:29, 30

o 2 Cor. 4:11

p Acts 22:12, 13

q Acts 8:17

r Acts 2:4; 4:31; 8:17; 13:52

h 1 Kin. 22:7

i 1 Kin. 19:21; [John 13:4, 5, 13, 14]

1 Was the personal servant of

j 2 Kin. 2:25

r [Gal. 5:18]

n Mark 4:33

o [John 14:17]

p John 14:26; Acts 11:28; Rev. 1:19

q John 15:26

r Matt. 11:27; John 3:35

3 NU, M takes of Mine and will declare

l [2 Cor. 6:7]

m Rom. 8:38

n Luke 22:53

3 NU this darkness,

o [2 Cor. 10:4]

p Eph. 5:16

q Is. 11:5; Luke 12:35; 1 Pet. 1:13

r Is. 59:17; Rom. 13:12; Eph. 6:13; 1 Thess. 5:8

s Is. 52:7; Rom. 10:15

t 1 John 5:4

u 1 Thess. 5:8

v Is. 49:2; Hos. 6:5; [Heb. 4:12]

w Luke 18:1; Col. 1:3; 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17

x [Matt. 26:41]

y Phil. 1:4

z Acts 4:29; Col. 4:3

a 2 Cor. 5:20; Philem. 9

 

Published 2006

 

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