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By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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Clearly, there were prophets in the early Church whom the apostles and brethren took note of. They were an integral part of the healthy functioning of the Church as it was guided by the Spirit of God.
What about today? Are they an integral part of most of the Church today?
The majority do not accept prophets. Various excuses are made to ignore them, reject them, and even denounce them.
Just as the disciples did not conceive that Jesus would really rise from the dead after His death, so we have equal low levels of belief in the Church today. Most do not believe in the authenticity of the prophetic office – even most ministers, who really should know better! They are supposed to be teachers of truth, but if they are not telling you that true prophets are to be listened to in the Church they are denying you aspects that God only reveals via prophets.
God revealed to Agabus that Paul would be taken prisoner if he went to Jerusalem (Acts 21:11). God didn't reveal this directly to Paul but chose to reveal it to a third party, a prophet. Why? One reason may have been that Jesus wanted the brethren to take note of Agabus and other prophets, who were in a position to receive additional 'pieces' of revelation concerning imminent details.
God speaks to His prophets in the New Testament (NT) just as much as He did to those in the Old Testament (OT). He gives warning via them (Amos 3:7).
It was Agabus, too, who received from God a warning that the whole region was to be plunged into its worst famine for centuries (Acts 11:28). This warning was given beforehand, so the Church could make provision for what was coming.
The same is true today. God still speaks to His prophets and gives forewarning of danger, both spiritual and physical.
Jesus is the same today as yesterday (Heb 13:8). He speaks to certain prophets in various places, and gives them revelation for the benefit of those who will listen. It takes humility to listen to a prophet. Tragically, too many are too arrogant to do so. Many spurn the prophets' words.
Paul's words recorded in 1 Corinthians 12:28 about the ministries that are functional in the body of Christ are just as valid today as they were 1900 years ago. He wrote to the Ephesians that prophets are an integral part of the Church, given for its edification and upbuilding (Eph 4:11) – if they are accepted. If prophets were not relevant today, Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Cor 12:28 would not have been preserved in the NT canon!
The OT prophets were not heeded, except by the minority. They were castigated and cast out for their witness, because their words from God went against the grain. So it is today. As Jerusalem of old spurned their witness (Matt 23:37), so does the Church today – for the most part. Only a humble, broken, receptive few were open to accepting prophets. This is the part that moved on in the Spirit.
In which part do you want to be numbered? The Church is at a cross-roads and must accept true prophets if she is to move on in the power of the Spirit.
Never forget. Elijah, the prophet, is promised for the last days. Elijah wielded the power of God in a dramatic way. So 'He' will at this end time. 'He' is not a man, but 'He' works through men who hear the voice of God. Are you open to what they say?
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