The Gift of the Prophet
The Prophet's ministry is one of the most coveted in the Body of Christ; at the same time, it is one of the most misunderstood. When people think about a Prophet they think about a man or a woman to whom God speaks very specific things about individual's lives, however, the prophet's ministry is way deeper than that.
The word "Prophet" means an inspired one. He is one who speaks forth the word of God. He is a being of eternity. In other words, there is nothing on the timeline of eternity that is off-limits to the Prophet whether past, present or future.
The operation of the prophet's ministry has not changed for the most part since the Old Testament, but let us establish a few major distinctions between prophets before and after Christ.
2 Peter 1:20-21
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Notice here that Old Testament Prophets were considered prophets because the anointing of the Holy Spirit came upon them, and moved them to speak the word of the Lord. This same operation happened to Balaam's donkey empowering it to speak. Though they prophesied, they were all natural men and when this anointing left, they sometimes did not have the power to understand the depths of their own word (1 Cor 2:14). However, in this dispensation, if a prophet speaks, it is Christ who is speaking from within them. Thus, the born again prophet is able to not only speak forth what God is saying but to comprehend the things of the Spirit because he himself is spiritual. In addition to this, their anointing does not come and go, but it abides on the inside forever.
A FOUNDATIONAL GIFT
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
The prophet's ministry is a foundational one. It is placed (laid as a foundation) second to the apostle according to 1 Cor 12:28. The reason it is such a foundational gift is that it receives a revelation of the mystery of Christ.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
The above scripture is the words of Jesus. The Old Testament scriptures were written by the prophets. All the prophets wrote about Jesus. This is at the core of the Prophetic gift, it receives a revelation of Jesus Christ. The scripture below gives a detailed description of the prophet's ministry.
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began" [all the prophets spoke of the salvation to come]
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
[This salvation entails the fact that mankind would be delivered from the power of satan and totally freed from sin]
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
[Abraham was promised the Holy Spirit. (Gal 3:14). Being freed from sin, through the operation of salvation, the people will also reieve the Spirit of God to dwell on the inside. This is God's greatest mercy. The Holy Spirit on the inside is the power to live righteously and hence, takes the fear out of falling to sin. We are truly free indeed]
75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
[Thus, having the Holy Spirit, men should live their lives thereafter in absolute holiness.]
The Prophet speaks forth the word of God. He speaks for the mystery of salvation. He also speaks forth the rewards of that salvation and the eternal nature of our Lord and the church. Search the scriptures and you will find that all the prophets of Old prophesied the mystery of Christ. David spoke of Christ in the lower parts of the earth. Isaiah, saw Him crucified and his resurrection. Zephaniah saw the day of the Lord, Ezekiel and Jeremiah, saw the healing of salvation.
It is crucial for one to understand, when referencing Christ that we the church are now His body. Thus, the prophet's ministry includes the Body of Christ.
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
According to the above scripture, it is the preaching of the revelation of the mystery of Christ that has the power to establish a son of God. Thus the prophet's ministry is a necessary foundation, in which the rest of the body will be made stable.
APOSTLES AND PROPHETS
The prophecies of a prophet are not sporadic, but they are in tandem with the revelation of the Apostle.
Where the prophet's ministry differs from the apostles is found in the following scripture.
1 Corinthians 13: 9
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1 Peter 1:10
Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
The prophetic gift only receives a part of the revelation of the mystery of Christ. This was true from the very beginning of the earth. This is why, though the Old Testament is filled with prophecies about Christ, those prophecies were not sufficient to expose the fullness of the mystery. Every prophet who wrote scripture wrote a portion of the revelation of Christ, nevertheless, God was still able to keep the core of the mystery of Christ a secret from all creation.
Note that the Old Testament scriptures were exposed to not only men, but to angels too. Didn't Satan quote the scriptures to Jesus? Yet, having read and known the writings of the prophets, he nor any man could discern the true plan of God. So much so, that Paul said that if they knew the plan of God they would not have killed the Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, this same plan was in writing in the scriptures, but it remains veiled until the apostle's gift brings light to it.
Thus, it is true today that those who the Prophet's gift will receive the revelation of the mystery of Christ, but if they are not attached to an apostle, they themselves will not fully understand the depth of their word. It will bless them and cause them to believe the truth, but they will not be able to minister it in totality and hence will not be able to convince the hearers. Thus, God set the apostle and the prophet to work together, as foundational gifts in the Body of Christ.
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
It is the apostle's gift that has brought completion to the prophetic ministry. Jesus being the first apostle was able to give clarity to all the scriptures. He was the first to discern the plan of God though it was written all over the scriptures. It is the apostle's gift that receives a full revelation of the mystery of Christ, thus, the prophet's ministry today serves as a confirmatory word, establishing that which was rendered by the apostle.
27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
The prophet renders the same word of the Apostle. Notice in verse 32 that these two prophets confirmed the brethren. That word "confirm" means to build upon or to establish, to strengthen. Thus, these prophets strengthened the brethren by building upon the foundation that was already laid by the apostles. Listen to Paul...
1 Corinthians 3:10-11
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Here Apostle Paul confirms the fact that whichever gift follows an apostle's must build on the foundation a further revelation of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Prophet's ministry is more focused on revealing who Jesus is and who the church is, than speaking directly to individuals in a church about their lives. Though speaking to individuals is not outside the bounds of the prophetic gift, it is not its focus. The prophetic voice speaks to the global church.
Another misconception is that a prophet only speaks words that He is hearing God speak to Him. This is one operation of the gift of prophecy, however, a prophet must be able to articulate/teach the doctrine of the mystery of Christ the Lord has dispensed to him.
1 Corinthians 14:31
For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
The ministry of the prophet is supposed to cause every individual to learn something. In other words, teaching is involved. This is why it is crucial for prophets not to be closed-minded concerning their gift, because if they are, they will come to a church and pick out a few people to speak to, however, the others in the church are not impacted. They have gleaned nothing from your ministry, and they will leave missing your supply of the Spirit.
Also, one of the scriptures above (1 Pet 1:10) stated that the prophets of old searched diligently. This deals with the mentality that a prophet does not have to study but to just listen for words from the Lord. On the contrary, a prophet must be given to diligent study, that they may be able to render the word of the Lord, the scriptures bearing them witness.
WHAT ABOUT PROPHECY?
Prophecy refers to the declaration of the heart and mind of God. It is often referred to as futuristic events, however, it is by the Spirit of Prophecy that Moses, saw what happened in the creation of the world, an event that occurred years before He was born. Thus a Prophet possesses the Spirit of Prophecy, hence God will enlighten them of events past, present, or future. The revelation of these events are always relative to the Body of Christ.
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Agabus was a New Testament prophet. Notice here that He prophesied about a dearth which is a famine. This is important because it was a word to the Body of Christ. This enabled the Body to prepare for what was to come upon the earth. Again...
10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.
Here is another futuristic prophecy from Agabus, He prophesied what would happen to Apostle Paul, who was the head of the Gentile reformation, thus, his captivity and death would be pivotal for the Body of Christ.
In short, the Prophetic gift guides the body of Christ. It receives a revelation of the mystery of Christ that confirms the word given to the apostle, and it has its ear to the mouth of God, thus operating in a spirit of prophecy, enabling them to perceive past, present or future according to the Lord's will.
Does all this mean that a prophet cannot prophesy to an individual? Absolutely not! A prophet can prophesy to individuals as the Spirit leads, but that gift of prophesying to individuals is not limited to the prophet. All who can hear the voice of God can render a word to another. However, the mystery of Christ and prophetic guidance of the church is a ministry reserved for the Holy Prophets of God.
Lastly, when the Prophets prophesy in the church they are to do so in decency and in order, knowing that the Spirit is subject to them. In other words, they are able to control their actions and their disposition. They must be in subjection to the pastor of the house. They are to speak when allowed and to allow others to speak. Also, when they render a word, it ought to be judged by the body of Christ. It also good to note that interpreted tongues is also considered prophecy.
1 Corinthians 14:37
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
Being an apostle myself, if any prophet is reading this, confirm that the words I speak are of the Lord.
Apostle Kareem Flowers
Sunrise with Jesus