The prophetic ministry is alive and well. The head of a prophetic ministry is the Apostle who is God-appointed and not man-appointed. It is only in a church that embodies the full fivefold ministry of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher, according to Ephesians 4:11-12, that the saints will be perfected, the work of the ministry will flourish and the body will be edified.
Prophets have been used down through time to relay God’s message to His people. It is given to prophets to be God’s mouthpiece on earth. There are some who think the prophetic ministry has died out, but of course that is not true. As we advance towards the close of time, it is more important than ever that God’s prophets move into their rightful position and do the work that has been given them to do. Prophets get a “bad rap” in some circles because there are a few who are out of order. It is very important that we study the Scriptures to determine how the prophet is to function. When we look at the specific teachings on prophecy from 1Corinthians 13, clear cut guidelines emerge.
The chapter begins by saying that although one may have the gift of prophecy, if that person does not have charity, he is nothing. Nothing! What a statement! What is it about love that makes it so special? Apostle Paul describes it very well. Charity is long suffering and is kind. Charity does not envy. It doesn’t vaunt or lift itself up and is not puffed up. It does not behave itself unseemly. It seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil. It rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Charity never fails, although prophecies shall fail. Why will prophecies fail? They will fail because we prophesy in part. God does not give one individual all knowledge related to a matter. The scriptures teach us that it is out of the mouth of two or three witnesses that a word must be established.
2 Corinthians 13:1 (KJV)
In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
If God speaks a thing to one individual, someone else should be able to corroborate it. And, that word must always be according to the Scriptures.
“When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part, shall be done away”. At the return of Christ the gifts of the spirit, including prophecy, will no longer be needed.
Apostle Paul said that when he was a child, he spoke, understood and thought as a child, but when he became a man he put away childish things. Although seers (prophets) only see with dim vision now, the day will come when it will all be very clear. Prophets must therefore put away the childish things of impatience, jealousy, self-importance, and self-exaltation. We must not act up like children out of control when others don’t believe what we prophesy. We have to remember that although a matter may have been given unto us to know, the person who is not a prophet may be hearing the matter from us for the first time. We have to cut that individual “a little slack” and be patient with him. Since we are not trying to get glory for ourselves, what does it matter if some don’t believe? We are only required to obey God.
Romans 3:3 (KJV)
For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
Prophets are not happy when their fellow travelers on the Highway of Holiness fall, but are very happy when truth is revealed. Are people being mean to us? We can take it; we can endure it. There is no glory in being a prophet because some of the trials that prophets must endure are very hard. Read the book of Jeremiah and see what his life was like. Poor Hosea had to marry a woman of the streets and was openly humiliated. A prophet must live a life that is very close to God. Sometimes, no, often times, we are instructed to do and say things that others might not like. But if God tells us to do or say a thing we must. We must constantly assess our own lives so that we are living up to God’s requirements of us.
One last statement about the office of a prophet: it, just like the other four positions in the fivefold ministry, is a God-ordained position. 1Corinthians Chapter 14 tells us to desire to prophesy, which lets us know that God can use any saint to speak through the prophetic word to edify, exhort or comfort an individual or the body of Christ. The role of the prophet, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. It is more than simply calling an individual aside to tell them a word from God. It is more than speaking a word in the congregation, and even more than speaking a word to the nations. It is living a life that is dedicated to God, fasting and study. It is living a life that is in constant communication with God and His word. Prophets receive information and directions from God through dreams, visions and “knowing” in the spirit. Prophets know His voice and are able to distinguish it, not only from that of other “spirits”, but from their own “voice” as well. Unlike those times when God may give an individual a word to prophesy on the spot such as during a church service, God may tell his prophet well in advance what He wants said at a later time. That word may not go forth for a period of time because the prophet knows that not only must he speak what God says, but he speaks when God says.
Prophets must make their calling and election sure. Only God can call, anoint and place the prophet in His rightful position. A true prophet will assure that he is one who was sent and not one who, out of zeal, just went. The eternal implications are too important, so we all must make our calling and election sure.
2 Peter 1:10 (KJV)
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.