The Eagle

Global eye

The ministry of the prophet

Jesus was a prophet

The whole of the life of Jesus was prophetic.  His life witnessed to and fulfilled prophecy.  His escape to Egypt (Matt 2:15); his living in Nazareth (Matt 2: 23); his move to Capernaum (Matt 4:14); the healing of the sick (Matt 8:17): speaking in parables (Matt 13:35); his entrance into Jerusalem (Matt 21:4) and his death (Matt 26:54-56).  Notice that Matthew always uses the phrase 'in order that what was spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled.'

The church is also prophetic

The church is also prophetic.  This is a fruit of Pentecost:

In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy (Acts 2:17-18).

Not everyone in the church will be a prophet, but the church as a whole will fulfill a prophetic role to mankind.  The church is to be prophetic both in the nature of its ministry and also as the instrument in fulfilling prophesy.  We fulfill our calling to be prophetic as surely as Jesus fulfilled his.

Prophetic vocation

The subject of the prophetic ministry is not therefore just for academic interest.  The whole church must understand its prophetic vocation in the End-Times.  The prophet is a gift from the risen Lord to the church.  His ministry is essential if the saints are to be equipped to minister one to another and the church is to come to her full stature in Christ.

God's mouthpiece

The basic Hebrew word for prophet means 'God's mouthpiece.'  One through whom God speaks.  Through a prophet God expresses his will, his longings and his purpose.  The prophet breaks down false vision and concepts.  Jeremiah was an appointed and commissioned prophet of God:

See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant (Jer 1:10).

This role is essential in our day, when centuries of false teaching and merely human concepts and structures have to be cleared away before God's purposes in restoration can be fulfilled.  The prophet challenges the status quo.  A basic principle of prophetic ministry when directed towards the church is that 'the axe must be laid to the root of the trees.'  The prophetic ministry therefore is not always popular.

Prophetic revelation

Like the apostle, the basis of the prophet's ministry is revelation (Eph 3:4-5).  He can direct others because God reveals his heart and will to him.  He is an originator who brings forth things that are new.  The prophet is a man with a sense of history and a sense of destiny.  The prophet and his ministry are grounded in history, living in the present and longing for the future.

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).

The prophets relationship to End-Time prophecy

End-Time prophecy relates to the consummation of God's purposes.  Since God's purposes are absolutely basic to the ministry of a prophet, it is essential that the prophet concerns himself with biblical prophecy concerning the End-Times.  His concern must centre on the fulfillment of God's plans as revealed through the prophetic scriptures.

The ministry of the New Testament prophet springs out of that of his Old Testament counterpart and all the OT prophets were concerned with the future, culminating in the messianic kingdom and the 'Day of the Lord.'  They spoke to their own day and generation in terms relevant to their own situation, but always with a view to forward movement and with an eye on the future.

The prophetic spirit is essential to true understanding of what has been written by the inspiration of the same Spirit in the past.  Prophecy is not a matter for private interpretation (2 Peter1:20), but is linked with the ministry of the prophet.  The prophet will study, search and enquire in order to interpret the yearning of the Spirit of Christ within him (1 Peter 1:10-11).  He will be dependent on revelation to communicate the future purpose of God (1 Peter 1:12-13).

The prophet and the nation/world

The world does not belong to the Devil, it belongs to God.  Creation does not belong to the unredeemed, but to the redeemed.  For too long the church has been marginalised and relegated to theology, worship and morality.  The unregenerate world monopolises the rest of life - politics, art, education, music, commerce and industry.

Men with clear prophetic insight first need to declare to the church and then through the church to the nation, an alternative society who are finding meaning, purpose and satisfaction in every area of life.  God has something to say in all realms, even the so-called secular ones.  With the world in its present condition, we believe that the prophet will increasingly proclaim that the kingdom of the world is going to become the kingdom of God and calling men everywhere to repent.

Revelation comes in different ways 

There are a number of ways the Lord speaks prophetically.  Revelation comes to us in a number of different ways.  The following is not an exhaustive list, but includes ways mentioned in the Scriptures.

i    Bible

This is the common way of hearing the Lord speak to us.  The scriptures are the 'logos' or eternal prophetic word of God to us.  However, often when we read it, God gives us a 'rhema' word, which is the 'now' word.  In other words, the Holy Spirit applies the word to our hearts as fresh revelation.

ii   Impressions

These are usually feelings or senses.  It's a basic way in which the Lord speaks to his people and can be powerful and important.  They tend to be general and open to interpretation and it can be a mistake to be too dogmatic about what these may mean to the person or people concerned.

iii  Words

These are communications we receive from God in our own language.  They can vary in intensity, from a 'still small voice' within us, or an audible voice.  It's a very effective way of hearing the Lord, once we've learned to recognise his voice.

iv  Visions

When our spiritual eyes are open and we begin to see with them, we may see pictures.  They may be gentle and easy to miss, like seeing with the eyes of our hearts, or they can be 'open visions' when it appears like watching a cinema screen and can't be missed.

v   Dreams

This is probably the most common way of hearing the Lord today.  There are numerous scriptural examples in both the Old and the New Testaments.

vi  Trances

This is a way the Lord uses to bring important revelation to his people - take for example Peter's experience that led to him going to see Cornelius and opening the door for Gentiles to be saved.  A trance is like a dream whilst you're awake, where the natural and spiritual are running alongside each other.

vii  Angels

The scriptures tell us that angels are ministering spirits sent to serve us, so it shouldn't be unusual to have encounters with them.  We may have more encounters than we realise!  They communicate messages from God and these interactions often become more frequent during fresh moves of the Holy Spirit.

viii Visitations

There are frequent references to the Lord appearing to his servants in the Old and New Testaments.  Whereas he could send an angel, often he appears himself, for example, when he spoke to Paul to comfort him before his journey to Rome.

ix  Being caught up into heaven

This is the state in which John received his Revelation, and it still happens today.  Many prophets testify to being 'caught up' to God's throne or into other realms of heaven. 

The whole of the life of Jesus was prophetic. His life witnessed to and fulfilled prophecy

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