…a genuine prophet of God in the New Testament dispensation is first and foremost born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. Secondly, a genuine prophet of God is called to function in the office of a prophet: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).
“I have also spoken by the prophets, And have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.” – (Hosea 12:10)
The office of the prophet is one of the most important offices in the Christian Faith, and also for the move of God on earth. It is an extremely critical ministry that God has established to carry out His agenda on earth. Prophets are the mouthpieces of God. Prophets are the conveyors of God’s plans, purposes, instructions, blessings and even judgments to mankind, whether in the Old Testament in the New Testament. God began to raise prophets in the Old Testaments, and He began with Enoch.
‘Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints”’ – (Jude 1:14).
This teaching will not and cannot exhaust the subject of the “prophetic”. However, the Holy Spirit will help us to build a robust understanding of who prophets are. If you check the scriptures very well, you would find the names of people like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Nahum, Jonah and others. Bible scholars classify prophets into Minor and Major Prophets. These classifications have nothing to do with the content or quality of their ministry, but it is basically about the size of their books. Basically, there are four Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. And, twelve Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
According to Heather Riggleman, “The English word for prophet comes from the Greek word ‘prophetes’, which means to “speak for another, especially one who speaks for a god.”
The biblical prophets spoke the truth, which came from God. Their unique vocation allowed them to authoritatively speak on God’s behalf. They never spoke on their own authority nor did they share their own opinions. They only shared their message, as God instructed them to do. Their role was to make God’s will known, as well as his holiness, and to instruct God’s people to reject idolatry and sin.
Thus, a genuine prophet of God in the New Testament dispensation is first and foremost born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. Secondly, a genuine prophet of God is called to function in the office of a prophet: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).
Note: having the gift of prophecy does not automatically make someone a prophet. Any believer can receive the gift of prophecy and can give very accurate words from God to people or to nations, and it will come to pass. You can build your personal altar to a level that the gifts of prophecy can begin to manifest in you. You can desire any gift and pray them into manifestation. Paul said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 12:31, “Desire earnestly the best gifts”. But, a prophet is someone who has been primarily called by God to function in the office of a prophet, with many unique gifts. It is a specific office. You can’t make yourself a prophet. God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1-5).
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? – 1 Corinthians 12:29
According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, “for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
In the above scriptures are nine gifts of the Spirit, categorised into three: revelation gifts, power gifts and utterance gifts:
- Revelation gifts, word of wisdom, word of knowledge and discerning of wisdom;
- Power gifts, working of miracles, gifts of healings and special faith;
- Utterance gifts, prophecies, diverse kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues;
In the New Testament, Jesus was a prophet; Silas and Judas were prophets (Acts 15:32); Agabus was a prophet (Acts 21:10).
- A prophet will be strongly anointed by God with revelation gifts, power gifts and at least one of the utterance gifts — at least prophecies. Also note that satanic prophets have infiltrated the body of Christ— many of them will have most or even all of the above gifts. Consequently, you don’t validate the authenticity of a prophet solely on the basis of gifts, but on the basis of fruits (Matthew 7:20). Let’s now look at some of the generic attributes of God’s true prophets:
- (1 Corinthians 14:32);
- When God’s prophets speak, it comes to pass — “As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” — Jeremiah 28:9;
- Prophets are custodians of God’s secrets (“Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” — Amos 3:7;
- Genuine prophets of God are not silent conformers, they speak against evil in the society, they are never silent, “And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord”, 1 Samuel 3:20;
- The divine inspiration and instruction of the Old Testament prophets are affirmed in the New Testament. 2 Peter 1:20-21: “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Ayo Akerele, a leadership and system development strategist, and minister of the word, writes from Canada and can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.
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