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The Gift of Prophesy

Updated on August 5, 2012
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I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.

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Prophets: Recievers of God's Revelation

In the last article entitled "Apostles Today?" we learned that the apostles and prophets laid the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:19,20). Some would say that there are prophets still in the Body of Christ today. This is a very dangerous belief in that it makes the assumption that God's revelation to mankind isn't complete. They are really saying that we can continually add to the Bible. And it is this open view of God's revelation that has lead some into heretical teaching in the Church.


I. What is a Prophet?

Some would identify the gift of prophecy with that of preaching. But a good pastor gets his message from the Word of God. Of course the Holy Spirit is still involved, but the Spirit does the work of illumination, shedding light on the Scriptures, and teaching us to apply them to our lives. The gift of prophecy, on the other hand, involves additional revelation from God.

The biblical prophet had the ability to receive direct revelation from the Lord, and then communicate that revelation to men. God's message could come to the prophet in various ways. Sometimes through visions and at times in dreams. But the Lord also spoke directly to him as well.

Whenever a prophet spoke from the Lord, it was free from error. Deuteronomy 18:22 says that:

"When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."

God cannot communicate mistakes. He doesn't garble His message. And if He says something is going to happen in the future, it will happen. So obviously the predictions of a prophet have to come true.


II. Women And Apostles as Prophets

When most people think of prophets, they think of men. However, the Bible calls women prophets, or rather prophetesses, as well. Old Testament examples include Huldah, Deborah and Miriam. In Acts 21:9 it tells us of the four virgin daughters of Phillip who were prophetesses.

Also, in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul was said to have had the gift of prophesy. We see this in Acts 13:1. In this verse he is still called Saul, which is his Jewish name. But he is clearly shown to be a prophet. Although not all prophets are apostles, it would stand to reason that all apostles were also prophets. They received direct revelation from the Lord.

III. Prophecy Has Ceased

As we stated, the purpose for the New Testament apostles and prophets was to lay the foundation of the Church, the Body of Christ. To them was given the revelation which has been preserved for us as God's Word, the Bible. I Corinthians 13:8-9 tells us that the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy would cease when that which is perfect, or complete, has come.

Some would say that the thing which is perfect is when Jesus returns. This can't be however if you read the full context. Paul also says that when that time comes there will abide faith, hope and love (13). Obviously, faith and hope will no longer be needed when Jesus returns, for our faith is the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 13:1). When He returns, we'll see Him face to face. And our hope is for His soon return. Upon His return our faith will turn to sight, and our hope will be fulfilled. Love alone will abide into eternity. However, we still need faith and hope today, even with the completed Word of God to which these verses are obviously referring.

The interesting thing is that people still think that God has to reveal anything else. Jesus is the final Word of God to man (Hebrews 13:1). He has died and He has risen again. He's in Heaven at the right hand of the Father. We know that the future holds His return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We also are aware that our job is to spread the gospel of the grace of God until He returns. What new revelation could we possibly need?

In Revelation, the very last book of the Bible, and the final chapter, it gives a fitting conclusion to the book of Revelation, but also a warning to all who would add to the completed Word of God when it says this:

"For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifies of these things says: "Surely I come quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

With this final "amen" the Word of God is complete. And we await the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to return. The apostle John, the final prophet, has completed the foundation that we now build upon today.


Conclusion

I am thankful that we are living in the exciting age when we have God's complete revelation to man. Jesus Christ was the person toward whom all of the Old Testament prophets were looking. And the New Testament prophets have laid the foundational teachings about the Lord Jesus Christ, including those about His death, burial, resurrection, ascension to the right hand of the Father, and soon return. These are the main teachings that we still rest upon today. We must continue to build upon that foundation by telling the world about Jesus Christ and letting them know of the reconciliation that they can have with God through faith in Jesus' name. May we remain faithful to Christ until He comes again.






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    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      6 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      We could go on and on about this and I agree that the Bible is true from cover to cover, but you must agree that, even though God doesn't change, He changes the way He deals with men.

      For example, we don't follow the Old Testament Law because Christ has fulfilled the Law. None of us in this day and age offer animal sacrifices because Christ was the ultimate sacrifice for sin. "For by one offering He has perfected forever, those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).

      There are many examples of things in the Old Testament which we don't do today, that they did then. But even though we aren't doing them, it doesn't mean that we don't believe that the Bible is true from cover to cover. And it bothers me that you would assume that I don't believe that it is true.

      I don't know if you read the things that I asked you to read, but before you judge, at least get the full picture of what I'm saying. Especially since Paul himself said that there would come a time when prophecy and speaking in tongues would cease (I Corinthians 13:8). And the Book of Revelation warns against adding to or subtracting from God's revelation.

      Prophecy was used for one thing. That was to give further revelation from God. That sounds like it is adding to Scripture to me.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 

      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      The Bible is true cover to cover so one part does not cancel another.. prophetic words are uttered frequently as well as speaking in tongues also referred to as praying in the spirit..

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      6 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      The book of I Corinthians was written early in Paul's ministry, while tongues, prophecy, and the sign gifts were still present in the Church. It was the very next chapter that Paul tells us that tongues and prophecy will cease. And by the end of the first century, when Scripture had been completed, they did. If you read my other articles entitled "Apostles Today?" and "Sign Gifts" it should give you a better understanding of my conclusions. God bless

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 

      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Not sure your conclusion...You must accept 1 Corinthians 12:7 and following..."Now to each one.." that is us...

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      6 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Yes, I love God's Word and am thankful that we have His full revelation to us today. Thanks for stopping by lifegate.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      "With this final "amen" the Word of God is complete." Amen!! We have it all.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      6 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thank you PlanksandNails and Sassydee for stopping by and for your comments. They are much appreciated. God bless both of you.

    • sassydee profile image

      Delilah 

      6 years ago from los angeles, ca

      voted up useful and beautiful nicely written

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 

      6 years ago

      GodTalk,

      This a good theme that cuts right through a lot of deception that is out there. It is encouraging that you are able to take a stand on genuine truth.

      Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. - Jude 3:3

      To understand "once for all" in the above verse is the all inclusiveness of summing up all things in Jesus Christ. There is no “new” revelation in the attempt to add or expand on Biblical theology. All prophecy must be interpreted through Scripture; there is no other way to finding God's revelation of truth.

      Biblical prophecy freely promotes the truth of Jesus Christ. The truth is in God’s Word, which comes first and foremost.

      The modern false "prophets" of today call attention to themselves by acting “super spiritual,” or having “greater revelation” to promote their ministry, charity, books and other wares that they are selling to the masses.

      On the other hand, there is the Holy Spirit, which first and foremost points to, and glorifies the name of Jesus Christ and His Word over man-made ideologies.

      I also say amen! the Word of God is complete.

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