Offices of the Holy Spirit 3

The Prophet

by Pastor John Hamel

 

“And He gave some, Apostles; and some, PROPHETS; and some, Evangelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers;” (Ephesians 4:11)

In this article we will study the Prophet’s Office.  Only those who lack knowledge of Scripture or simply refuse to believe could possibly deny the existence of this valuable office today.  The Prophet brings the Body of Christ to maturity and we do still need to mature. Therefore, the Office of the Prophet is as necessary and as functional today as it was in Bible days. (Ephesians 4:12-14)

The Greek word for Prophet is “prophetes.”  It means “A foreteller and an inspired speaker; one who speaks for God.”  This office, as with all the Five-Fold Ministry Offices, functions completely and supernaturally through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

God Does Not Appoint Novices to a Prophet's Ministry

It is uncommon, in fact it is exceptionally rare, for an individual to start out in ministry by being placed in the Prophet’s Office. God does not put novices, those who are untrained and immature in spiritual things, in any position of authority. Spiritual novices have a tendency to yield to pride which opens the door to Satan.  

"Not a novice, lest being lifted up in pride he fall into condemnation of the devil." (1Timothy 3:6)

Both the Prophet's Office and the Office of the Apostle require much preliminary training in the lower, yet equally as important, Offices of the Teacher, Pastor or Evangelist.  How much training depends upon the individual. (1Timothy 2:7; 2Timothy 1:11)  

Only once an individual has developed their preaching and teaching skills and their faithfulness is proven does promotion into the Office of the Prophet begin. This process can take many years of disciplined obedience to the Word of God, prayer and study.

Prophets, like all other Ministry offices, have varying degrees of anointing.  Some Prophets have much stronger anointings than other Prophets.  We see this clearly in the lives of the Prophets Elijah and Elisha. Elisha performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. However, whatever level of anointing a Prophet may have, he/she can increase that anointing through fasting, prayer, study and holy living.

Primary Qualifications of the Prophet’s Office

The primary thrust of a New Testament Prophet’s Ministry is teaching and preaching the Bible.  This was true with Jesus. (Matthew 9:35)  It was true of the Apostle Paul. (1Timothy 2:7; 2Timothy 1:11)  Jesus and Paul were first Teachers and Preachers.  John the Baptist was not a Teacher, but he was a Preacher Prophet. Therefore, teaching and/or preaching is the first and foremost responsibility of all New Testament Prophets.

Prophets spend much more time in prayer and in reading of the Word than the average Minister.  Their preparation for public and private ministry is more a preparation of the heart. This is necessary because their messages frequently come entirely by inspiration of the Holy Spirit once they are in the pulpit or in the presence of the one to whom they are to minister.  

Many false Prophets do not even bother to prepare themselves as Teachers or Preachers. They simply step to the podium and the show begins. They may use a verse or two from the Bible to appear to be Scripturally based, but from that point on it's usually "a dog and pony show," "smoke and mirrors" and yielding to evil spirits who know things about people. In the Bible these are called "familiar spirits." (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; 1Samuel 28:7-9) Almost always the subject is soon turned to money and material possessions as the false Prophet attempts to fill his/her coffers at the expense of God's unlearned children – the Bible illiterate. 

Real Bible Prophets also operate very consistently in the Revelation Gifts.  These are the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom and the Discerning of Spirits.

Prophets also see into the spirit realm and know things about people, past, present and future, but only as the Holy Spirit reveals it to them.  They do not know all things about all people at all times.  They know only what the Holy Spirit is showing them at the moment.  This happens far more consistently with the Prophet than with all the other Ministry Offices.  It also happens in private far more often than it does in public. (1Kings 17:9-24; 18:1-8; 2Kings 4:1-37; John 4:5-19) It would not be wrong to say that the majority of the Prophet’s supernatural ministry to individuals, possibly as much as ninety percent, occurs behind closed doors and not from the pulpit. This has commonly been my experience as well.

Prophets experience visions as well as revelations. (2Corinthians 12:1)  Prophets are not omniscient, as stated, but they do have visions and revelations far, far more than the average Minister or layperson. (2Kings 4:27; 5:20-27) 

This is why the Prophet is a "Seer.” He/she sees into the spirit realm as God wills through the Gift of Discerning of Spirits. He/she has insight into both God's Word and even peoples’ lives as God wills.  The Prophet also has foresight concerning future events, such as my 2004 vision of coming Spiritual Awakening.  This would not be generalized foresight as is the case with many false Prophets who "predict" things that anyone can see coming.  The true New Testament Prophet has specific, often detailed, foresight concerning future events that would not have been known otherwise. (Acts 11:27-30; 21:10-14) 

Take the Prophet Ezekiel, for example. God told Ezekiel that He was making him a "watchman" who would give people warnings directly from the Most High God. (Ezekiel 3:17; 33:7)  A watchman is one who looks out from a height with the purpose of warning of impending danger or to pass on any information, good or bad. (Isaiah 21:6-12; Jeremiah 6:17, etc.)  So, Prophets are watchmen/seers equipped of God to see things coming in the distance that others cannot see.  Part of their job is to watch for whatever God reveals or however He warns or guides. 

However, seeing into the realm of the spirit is not limited to future events in the Ministry of the Prophet.  God commonly shows the Prophet things in the past or present as well, in order to help people.

Consistent Supernatural Manifestations

A true New Testament Prophet operates very consistently in the three Revelation Gifts of the Holy Spirit plus the simple Gift of Prophecy.  Laypeople may operate occasionally or sporadically in the Revelation Gifts, but true Prophets operate in them far more consistently.  It is oftentimes daily, if not weekly, whether privately or publicly, all depending on the level or degree of grace and anointing on the Prophet's life. (Romans 12:6)

It has been my personal experience that visions and revelations of the Lord sometimes come in clusters - one right after another. We see this in the lives of the Prophets Joseph, Daniel and Ezekiel as well as others in the Bible. 

In response to his critics and enemies at Corinth who said he was not a Prophet, Paul advised he was indeed a Prophet of God with proof positive - consistent manifestations and demonstrations of the Revelation Gifts.  

Although normally not one to boast, in defense of his Prophet's anointing, Paul pointed to that proof when he said, "It is not expedient [profitable] for me doubtless to glory [boast]. [But] I will come to [do experience] visions and revelations of the Lord." (2Corinthians 12:1) 

The Greek word Paul used here for "revelations" actually means, "A consistent unveiling of things not known before and which God alone could make known." 

Anyone who calls themselves a Prophet who does not experience consistent visions and revelations of the Lord through the Revelation Gifts of the Spirit, should re-examine themselves. The Apostle Paul not only said he experienced visions and revelations, he said he experienced an "abundance" of them.

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the ABUNDANCE of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." (2 Corinthians 12:7)

The Greek word Paul used here for "abundance" means, "Beyond all others in both number and excellency." 

It is clear that Paul is not referring to occasional "pipe dream" visions and “generalized" revelations that anyone could easily guess at, as so many false Prophets do. God-inspired visions and revelations will always line up with the written Word of God, unlike the dreams, visions and revelations of many popular, modern day false Prophets who flood the airwaves, internet and bookstores with spiritual debris.

One false Prophet declared, "The Lord has revealed to me that there will be many deaths of Hollywood actors this year."  I thought to myself, "Well, that wasn't a specific revelation from the Lord. There will be many deaths amongst all people this year.  As a matter of fact, one hundred and fifty thousand people die every day and many of them are Hollywood actors!"  Anyone can spew forth generalized predictions.

Paul is referring to an unveiling of things not known before and which God alone could make known.  Again, as stated above, this occurs often on a daily basis - if not daily, then weekly on average in the lives of true New Testament Prophets. 

However, experiencing visions and revelations and even prophesying are not the primary jobs of the Prophet.  He/she is first and foremost a Preacher and/or a Bible Teacher. 

Whenever the Holy Spirit does reveal something to the Prophet, it is to be judged according to the Bible standard. (1Corinthians 14:29-33) Whatever the Lord shows to His Prophet, it will always be in line with the written Word of God.  It will never contradict Holy Scripture.

The Prophet’s Ministry is also a healing Ministry, although the Prophet cannot heal anyone at will.  However, there is a consistent healing anointing that accompanies this office. (2Kings 5:1-19; Matthew 14:36; Luke 4:27; 17:11-19; John 9:6-7)  Some Prophets operate more strongly in Revelation Gifts than in the Gifts of Healings, and vice versa.  It is all up to the Holy Spirit which Prophet will operate more strongly in what Gifts and when.

Any "Prophet" who does not have the above Scriptural confirmations is not a Prophet at all.  He/she would be a false Prophet.  This does not always mean he/she is evil.  It simply means he/she is not a true, New Testament Prophet.

Manifestations According to the Will of God, Not the Will of Man

It is also important to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit determines when the Gifts will and will not operate, not the Prophet. Many false Prophets and even unlearned true Bible Prophets actually advertise they will be prophesying over the Body and operating in Spiritual Gifts during their services. This is very dangerous because the Gifts of the Spirit operate only as God wills, not as man wills or advertises. (1Corinthians 12:11) 

Man is not the Head of the Church. Jesus is the Head of the Church. (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Colossians 1:18)  Man is not running things in the Church; the Holy Spirit is running things and only as Jesus directs Him. (John 16:13-14)

What if it is not the will of the Lord for His Gifts to operate in those meetings and the people come expecting the "Prophet" to perform as advertised?  This is when false and even unlearned true Prophets begin yielding to familiar and wrong spirits, fabricating and conjuring things up, leading people into deep deception and demonic bondage.

Warning! New Testament Prophets Are Not in the Guidance Business

Finally, the New Testament Prophet is not in the guidance business.  In the Old Testament, Prophets gave guidance to individuals, but not in the New Testament.  Believers are to seek their own guidance through the Bible and through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:14,16; Colossians 3:15 Amp; 1John 2:20,27) 

Some New Testament Believers insist upon being led by the Prophet’s Ministry.  That violates the New Testament standard and opens one up to evil spirits. When Believers pressure God’s Prophets for guidance, they motivate Satan and open the door to tragedy. (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27; Deuteronomy 18:11) 

Prophets can confirm what someone already knows the Lord is saying directly to them. (Acts 13:1-3)  However, it is rare indeed for a New Testament Prophet to offer guidance.  Occasionally Sovereign God does allow it to happen, but very, very rarely.  New Testament Prophets who offer guidance as a practice are to be shunned like the plague. 

Prophets who prophesy your finances and material goods out of your possession and into theirs are also to be shunned like the plague.  That is absolutely forbidden in Scripture. (2Kings 5:20-27)  They may as well be robbing a convenience store at gunpoint when they do such a thing and they will ultimately pay a bitter price for it. Just say a bold “No” to thug Prophets who try to prophesy your possessions away from you.

Say another bold “No” to Prophets who sell prophecies for a fee! Any prophecy you may need has already been purchased for you with the precious Blood of Jesus Christ. There are no hidden fees or added surcharges. Prophets who sell prophecies are nothing more than religious racketeers who speak on behalf of the devil and should also be shunned like the plague. They will lead you right out of the will of God and get you into trouble everytime.

A Target Rich Environment for Satan and Demon Powers

It is highly unadvisable for anyone to attempt to stand in the Office of the Prophet if not called and anointed to do so by the Lord Jesus Christ. There would be no supernatural grace or anointing to endure the persecution, false accusation, misunderstanding and rejection that accompanies this Office. (Ezekiel 3:8-9) The Office of the Prophet is a target rich environment for Satan and demon powers operating through rebellious human beings, including compromising Christians.

God told Ezekiel that He would give him a forehead "as an adamant harder than flint" to enable him to withstand the persecution he would face as a Prophet. (Ezekiel 3:8-9) This was because he was going to have to stand up and give the Lord's warnings of pending judgment to some of the most rebellious, self-willed, hard-headed people in the history of humanity.  It takes an even harder-headed Prophet to stand up to a hard-headed rebel.

God is still faithful to give this same hard-headed attitude to His Prophets today. The Prophet is confrontational and needs a hard head to do his/her job obediently, diligently and effectively.  Without this special grace, one would buckle under the misunderstanding, false accusation, horrendous persecution and overwhelming rejection that still follows the Office of the New Testament Prophet today. 

Presently there are no less than four individuals, three of them Pastors, who watch my preaching schedule to determine where I will be next in order to cause trouble for me. All four of these individuals I have confronted in the past for either sexual sin, misappropriation of Ministry funds or for not walking in love and abusing their fellowman. Once one of them locates me, they begin the process of calling local Pastors where I will be ministering and fabricating stories in an attempt to destroy my credibility with those Pastors in order to punish me for speaking to them of God’s behalf. 

Fortunately, most Pastors are mature enough to not fall for this type of ungodly behavior, realizing the greater the demonstration of the Holy Spirit in one's Prophet Ministry, the greater the persecution. Still, to have something like this type of punitive behavior thrust upon you year in and year out is difficult indeed. Without the special grace imparted by the Holy Spirit it would be overwhelming and unbearable. 

It is important to note that Prophets can sometimes behave in a peculiar manner. (Mark 7:33; 8:23; John 9:6)  Yet, somehow, their occasional, unusual behavior always ends up glorifying God by setting someone free. 

The Prophet's Office is a unique and supernatural Ministry indeed.

Be Blessed … John and Barbara Hamel

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