Friday, 15 March 2019

Ministry of Prophets

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14 v 3-5: "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men toedification, and exhortation, and comfort.
 4  He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
 5  I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."

Ephesians 4 v 11- 13: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
 12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
 13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"

The Old Testament can be categorised as Laws, Judges, Kings, Psalms and Prophets. The prophets started with Samuel, Elijah and Elisha. Moses was also considered a prophet but he was more famous for delivering Israel out of Egypt and receiving the Law from God. David was a warrior, prophet and king and a man after God's own heart. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea were major prophets while the rest of the books were written by minor ones.

After Malachi closed the Old Testament the Jews did not hear from God for 400 years until Zacharias the High Priest was struck dumb in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement after the Archangel Gabriel gave him a message from God that in their old age he and his wife would bear a son and call him John.  

On the day John was born Zacharias was able to speak again. This was John the Baptist who would later prophesy of the coming of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  There are 333 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the Person of our Saviour from His Virgin conception to the words in Isaiah 53 v 5 - 8:
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 
 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
 7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
 8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."

Sadly, Isaiah 53 is eliminated from being read in synagogues of the Jews as they simply cannot explain it away.

Many people said Jesus was a prophet because He spoke and people were healed or delivered of demons. The wind and waves obeyed His voice. Jesus was and is so much more than a prophet. He is the Son of God!

A prophet is one who stands in God's presence and hears His voice. A prophet delivers God's messages and must be 100% accurate. If an Old Testament prophet was wrong in one thing he was stoned to death. There is a tendency in some Charismatic churches that a prophet only needs to be accurate 60% of the time!

So does that mean that we must accept that 40% of the time we must believe that God is lying to us? Who determines the true from the false? How do you know God's truth if His prophets are permitted to be wrong? No wonder the Church is in such a mess with people sending God's angels to perform menial tasks; people behaving like lunatics in the Toronto "blessing"; false doctrines abounding unchecked! It is totally unacceptable to God and the true church.

A prophet is a prophet because he or she brings a true and accurate word from Almighty God to edify or correct those to whom it is sent.

Jesus said we must beware of false prophets. They would be cult leaders or fortune tellers, psychics or mediums and their words will lead people away from the truth. Jim Jones in Guyana was a false prophet who convinced over 900 people to drink orange juice laced with cyanide which was needed for them to be caught up to God in the Rapture. His young daughter escaped and told the story to the world. 

A prophet of God will discern deep spiritual problems in people, churches or countries and provide answers from God. Over South Africa for example, there is a stronghold of a spirit of division. It built up over a thousand years of witchcraft among the African tribes and their tribal wars.  The witchcraft rituals, ceremonies, ancestral worship and deadly initiations continue to this day.

The witchcraft caused the spirit of division to grow very strong which brought the terrible curse of Apartheid or racial segregation to this land. That took 50 years to overcome. The witchcraft continues and the division is now seen in the ruling party which is destroying itself by corruption, factions and infighting. Only when the people of this land follow Jesus and reject witchcraft will the division be totally eradicated. Satan wants to kill, maim, steal and destroy South Africa, Jesus wants to save it.

A prophet or prophetess will direct people into the true will of God. Prophets stand in the presence of Almighty God and hear His Word and His will and bring those pure and holy words to those who are seeking answers.

Many times God's will is rejected in favour of man's will and carnal stubbornness. The results are always negative. Our God only wants the best for us and sends His Word to guide us away from the enemy's traps and pitfalls.

Prophets are mocked by worldly people who ask such things as which racehorse will win at Ascot so they can bet money on it. As Paul rebuked Elymas the Sorcerer in Acts for wanting to buy the power of the Holy Spirit, so should these be rebuked.  
Acts 13 v 8 - 11: "But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
 9  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
 10  And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
 11  And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand."

This is an example of an apostle, who can also prophesy or fill any ministry role, speaking a prophetic judgment that was immediately fulfilled.  You will be blind....immediately a dark mist fell on him and he could not see.  

The Word says that a prophet is respected everywhere but in his own land. Uncomfortable truths are that which they prefer to be unmentioned.  But a true prophet of God should be highly regarded for their ministry which takes courage and determination as well as great passion for truth and righteousness.   

In 1 Corinthians 14 v 28 - 33: "But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30  If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31  For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32  And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."

Prophecy is a vital part of our communication and ministry with God.  It is very much for today, although many people try to prophesy in the flesh and it causes confusion.  There is a prophetic anointing for those who have a gift from the Holy Spirit to prophesy and a different anointing for those whose ministry is prophetic.

God wants to warn His people of terrible things about to happen, like the killing of 49 Moslems in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, today.  Sadly, many people do not hear Him anymore and cannot send warning to innocent people.  The perpetrator of this tragic event is being described as a Christian Terrorist in the Anders Brevik mould who shot and killed 67 teenagers on a Norwegian island a few years ago.

These are not the acts of Christians, but they tarnish the perception of who we follow.  Jesus was the Prince of Peace, the highest authority on peace in this Universe.  He ever held His Peace in so as not to prevent His own death.  That's who we follow!

Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for blessing us with prophets who bring us into line with Your word and truth. Bring us very close to your heart so that we may hear your voice as clearly and obey it. In Jesus' name. Amen.