x374.......Who Can Be a Prophet?

The promise of the release of the Holy Spirit on the day of pentecost, is verified and confirmed by Peter when he relates this old testament prophecy in the book of Acts chapter 2:

16* But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17* And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18* And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19* And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20* The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21* And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2: 16-21)

This is an OT promise that God would make a day in which the spirit of prophecy would not be limited to those chosen few who were anointed by God (as in the old covenant) to be prophets. But rather, the promise of the ministry of the prophet--is clearly given--at the day of pentecost--to all "sons and daughters".

This is a very big and important change from the old covenant to the new. It brought tremendous power to the move of God--since now all the people had the God given right and were now all anointed (through the offering of Jesus the "Christ"--the Anointed One) to prophecy.

In those days of the church of the bible, this prophetic gift moved the church--and was in operation through every Christian. The "apostolic revival" which was occurring in the church was fueled by the prophetic gift--and it is central to the operation of the new covenant church. In this new church--God can speak through anyone (whether by tongues or through their understanding).

Paul explains the importance of the gift of prophecy in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14--for example:

1* ¶ Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2* For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3* But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4* He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5* I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. (1Co 14 1-5)

and here is the amazing promise to the church "if all prophecy".....

24* But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25* And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 26* ¶ How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27* If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28* But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29* Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30* If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31* For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. (1Co 14:24-31)

It is absolutely clear, that in the new covenant, all Christians have the God-given right to prophecy. In fact, the Bible is saying here that the church really won't be the church unless this is not only allowed, but encouraged. The prophetic gifts are the voice of the Holy Spirit--the voice of God in the operation of the church--this is the way that God is going to speak to the church and lead the church. WE cannot say that we are a church which is lead by God, when we disallow the prophetic gifts, or limit them in any way. We cannot rightly say that God will only speak through the leaders of the church. In the old covenant, this was the case, but in the new covenant operation of the church--the prophetic gift--working through any and all Christians, is the way that God is meant to give His instructions to operate the church.

Of course we need to understand that Jesus and the Bible church gave us the example of apostlship as the operational plan for Christians. Jesus operated by a network--and so did the church in the Bible. The church, even though it had 3,000 members from the very first day, operated in small groups--in homes--wherever. They knew that wherever 2 or 3 gathered in the name of Jesus, He would be in the midst. This was the basis of the apostolic operational plan for the church. Christ was the Head of the church, and He gave His commands through the prophetic gift--a gift which clearly is meant to be in any Christian at any given time. God will speak through whomever He chooses--if we put ourselves in the place where everyone can be heard!

Often, we are told that it is right that we all can occasionally function in the gift of prophecy, ---but only a few chosen individuals are "prophets". There are only "some" people who are "prophets".

But the simple fact is that when someone is "prophesying" they are a "prophet" (one who prophecies!)---(It seems the only gift of ministry that we understand is the gift of teaching---when someone is teaching --they are a teacher--duh!--of course it helps because for some unknown reason "teacher" is the only ministry gift which is translated into English--no wonder they are misunderstood!!)

Let's prove this out--the word "prophet" in Greek:

prophetes {prof-ay'-tace} n m

---- prophet 149; 149

1) in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things 2) one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation 2a) the OT prophets, having foretold the kingdom, deeds and death, of Jesus the Messiah. 2b) of John the Baptist, the herald of Jesus the Messiah 2c) of the illustrious prophet, the Jews expected before the advent of the Messiah 2d) the Messiah 2e) of men filled with the Spirit of God, who by God's authority and command in words of weight pleads the cause of God and urges salvation of men 2f) of prophets that appeared in the apostolic age among Christians 2f1) they are associated with the apostles 2f2) they discerned and did what is best for the Christian cause, foretelling certain future events. (Acts 11:27) 2f3) in the religious assemblies of the Christians, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate, their hearers 3) a poet (because poets were believed to sing under divine inspiration) 3a) of Epimenides (Tit. 1:12)

Notice the Greek word itself: prophetes

Now, here is the Greek word which is translated "prophecy"

propheteuo {prof-ate-yoo'-o} v

----prophesy 28; 28

1) to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict 1a) to prophesy 1b) with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining esp. to the kingdom of God 1c) to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation 1d) to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels 1d1) under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others 1e) to act as a prophet, discharge the prophetic office

As we can see, the 2 words are identical in meaning---one simply referring to the "act of prophecying" while the other refers to a" person " who is prophesying. It is simply the difference between a noun and a verb!

Notice the 2 words again:

prophetes {prof-ay'-tace} propheteuo {prof-ate-yoo'-o}

It is ridiculous for anyone to say "we can all prophecy, but only some people are "prophets". But it just this kind of thinking that limits the move of God within the church. If we follwed the Biblcal operational plan for the church, we would put ourselves in the position where the Lord could give us His commands readily to us. The church in the Bible met daily--NOT every one--every day--but if we could imagine hundreds of "houses of God" in a given area or city, we would see active operation in God perhpas 24 hours a day! The Lord should be speaking to us as ready groups, on a daily basis, Groups which are ready to carry out His comands--and be apostles.