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;
[Ephesians 4:10-13 NKJV]
A prophet is someone who prophesies, who foretells what is to come, and this is a difficult area. How can you tell if a prophet is genuine or if they are merely making it up? The test and proof is if the prophetic word comes from God. It is for this reason that we must ‘test the spirits’.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
[1 John 4:1-3]
The prophetic is the ministry to which some people seem to aspire, perhaps because it has a certain glamour, a caché, that is a misrepresentation of its purpose and actuality. However, it is a calling and the only true prophets are chosen by God, by His Spirit. Those who are genuinely prophetic often consider it a burden, knowing that if they mishear the Lord’s message, or if they mis-speak it, there can be eternal consequences. However, our God can steer the faithful prophet to fulfill His purposes.
The word of The Lord through a prophet can be a blessing or a warning, but always a profoundly affecting experience. Look at the major influence on our understanding by Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel (whose names mean ‘his name is El (great, almighty, god)’; ‘Jehovah has saved’; ‘whom Jehovah has appointed’; ‘God strengthens’ and ‘God is my judge.’)
Also, consider this: while a prophet will have prophetic visions from God, someone who has visions from God is not necessarily a prophet. I believe that visions are a way that the Holy Spirit uses to communicate with us.
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
[1 Corinthians 12:27-31 NKJV]
We can see that Paul always puts prophets as second in line after apostles. This is what seems to be a hierarchical principle seen throughout the Bible, indicating a ‘God’s-eye view’ of things purposed by and emanating from Him.
Third is mention of teachers in 1 Corinthians; in Ephesians, evangelists, which we shall consider next time in this series.
A HOLY OCCUPATION: Oswald Chambers on Prayer
By what right do we become ‘a royal priesthood’? By the right of the Atonement. Are we prepared to leave ourselves resolutely alone and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centred, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God.
[from ‘My Utmost For His Highest’]
Listen to this meditation by clicking on the download file below
”Prophetic praise and Worship music” (you can let the spirit decide whether or not it is anointed) “He who dwells in the secret place of the most High” — Ray Watson
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
[Ephesians 2:19-20 NKJV]