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This is the conclusion of an edited three-part 2013 blog repost that exhorts professing Christians and churches that are guilty to stop resisting and persecuting God’s gifted, called and sent prophets so that our ministries for good might be fulfilled among them. Even so, how glad I am that while sinful men may not honor His prophets, the Lord Jesus does now inwardly and will in days to come, provide sweet vindication to us before the entire world near and at His glorious return to earth!
Originally Posted November 24, 2013
As foretold by His eye witness apostles and confirmed by the Lord, many of the leaders of the churches planted in the first century corrupted themselves and launched a trend that has never been reversed, but only enlarged to this hour (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Revelation 2:12-29). Indeed, as l have already written about many times, after the passing of the Lord’s eye witness apostles, corrupt shepherds along with false prophets and teachers introduced many heresies and brought forth manmade Christianity the religion which has a form of biblical Christianity (1 Corinthians 4:18-20; 2 Corinthians 3:1-6), but is powerlessly far from it (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
It is in the satanically fostered context of human ordained religiosity in churches and related organized ecclesiastical bodies that faithful saints and prophets have been martyred for the faith as by divine unction they cried out against the corruptions they saw standing faithful and true to the Word and causes of Christ--a truth recorded in many reliable sources including Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. These are churches and ecclesiastical entities that have called, sanctioned and sent out their own workers to spread their corrupt, religious doctrines while they willfully murdered those standing in their way falsely claiming divine approval (John 16:1-4).
With that history, what is it today--hundreds of years after the Protestant Reformation that also spawned its own round of violent persecution and martyrdom of godly opposition--if the churches of manmade Christianity the religion purposely persecute perceived opponents and prophets with oppression, mistreatment, ostracism, loveless abandonment to hardship and murder by words? This is done without hesitation by men controlled by the sinful flesh while outwardly decked out in deceitful religious piety as I can testify (Matthew 5:21-22, 27:46-49; Galatians 5:13-15; James 2:14-26; 1 John 3:16-17).
As if to plug up their ears to God’s outcry against their sins by His prophets, some of the scholarly especially have gone so far as to assert prophesying and preaching are synonymous so that to preach is to prophesy and all preachers are prophets. Others of that group in attempting to expose false prophets declare that prophecy and prophets ceased after the first century and surely by the completion of the entire Bible in the 4th century. Both of these views are corrupt since one does not have to necessarily preach to prophesy (2 Samuel 12:1-15; Luke 2:25-35) and may be used by God to prophesy to an individual or many through preaching (Luke 1:67-80, 3:1-20)!
While the completed Bible is our written, living foundation and landmark (Hebrews 4:11-13), it does not mean the living God has muted Himself with no further communication to be made to us at all (John 14:15-26; Acts 22:17-21, 23:10-11, 27:21-26). There has not been a time since the passing of the eye witness apostles to this hour when the Body has been without contemporary need for the eyes, ears and messages of her prophets sent from Christ the risen, living Head even with many false prophets who have existed simultaneously from ancient times (Jeremiah 23:9-32, 27:12-18, 29:1-9; Matthew 28:20b). The Lord’s foretelling of false prophets did not mean there would not be any that were true (Matthew 24:11).
On the contrary, it certifies their existence since Satan raises up the false to subvert the words of the true. The Lord’s prophets are faithful to His Word as it is written; they do not rely on or cite for final authority the opinions of sinful, mortal flesh--no matter how credentialed. And who better suited to accurately interpret God’s already written prophetic Word when He is ready (Daniel 8:15-27; 1 Corinthians 13:2a)? As the evangelist burns to win lost souls, so the prophets of Christ burn for the purity, holiness, righteousness, obedience, fidelity and fruitfulness of His bride (2 Corinthians 11:1-4)!
The Church in its infancy may not have had need for many messages of rebuke and warning--although, what is the apostle Paul with the gift of prophecy doing in most of his New Testament letters to churches? Beyond question, however, the Lord Himself continued that aspect of the work of New Testament prophets with His Revelation to the apostle John given and written down for all professing believers and their churches near the end of the apostolic period (Revelation 1:9-3:22). He has also continued to gift, call and send His prophets to faithfully fulfill every aspect of their ministries in the churches including crying out against sin and warning of divine retribution upon the unrepentant.
As the Lord foretold, His prophets have been so much without honor they are singled out among the martyred faithful saints as recipients of God’s vindication (Revelation 11:15-18, 16:1-7, 17:1-6, 18:1-8, 20, 24-19:3). This is because of their suffering to the end at the hands of unbelievers and those professing to be Christians they were sent to serve especially in the churches of manmade Christianity the religion whose leaders in the West today generally and America in particular through their proud, independent spirit, resent being told they are in sin and resist rebuke as well as warning preferring instead, to cut off the messengers to their own hurt (Jeremiah 2:29-30, 5:1-3, 7:28; Amos 7:10-17; Matthew 23:33-24:2).
Therefore, in this month of praying for persecuted believers, among them I pray for and honor my brethren, the Lord’s prophets without honor in the churches who are held in contempt and persecuted in various ways by those claiming to be Christians. As for me, I do not seek or require the honor of mortal flesh though I desire for their sakes that God’s people would give proper heed to the words of warning He has put in my mouth in perfect alignment with what is plainly written in His Word (Ezekiel 33:1-9)--woe to the teachers of falsehood who teach believers in Christ face no eternal peril for sinning in willful disobedience without repentance (Jeremiah 28; Galatians 5:19-21, 6:7-8; Hebrews 3:7-19, 10:26-31, 35-39; Jude 1-11)!
I repeat in part what I wrote in my April 17, 2016 blog repost, Disembodied, Pt. 2 under the category, The Faith: “I am deeply honored in the Lord and pleased to the highest degree to serve you as a watchman/prophet and teacher in the footsteps of those faithful servants of Christ from the first century until now...” Glory to His Name!
This is the second of a three-part edited blog repost celebrating the results of Billy Graham’s ongoing “My Hope America” campaign and more broadly, God’s glorious design of the Church to function through the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. To my great joy also in this installment, I am led by the Spirit to focus on and give instruction about the demonstrated service of the prophet in the New Testament. So, pastors, elders and others that have tried to figure out what my angle is and who do I think I am (1 Corinthians 1:26-31), I invite you to open your Bible and learn as I had to if you will, what it teaches. Too, of course, I hope you will repent from rejecting God’s Word in favor of leaning on your own understanding up until now if guilty (Proverbs 3:5). Have a great Thanksgiving!
Originally Posted November 17, 2013
How often over the years have I heard the hypocritical call even by what are otherwise serious Christian leaders for God to raise up prophetic voices among the churches to cry out against the unfaithful drift, willful compromise and increasing wickedness of professing Christians in the supposed hope that repentance and revival will break forth? Yet, when such voices as my own cry out from God against the evil in His house, these same men are among the first to resist, reject and renounce us as uncalled critics and troublemakers. As is typical of proud, independent religionists, they want to listen only to those they choose and deem fit (Exodus 2:11-15; Acts 7:22-28, 33-35, 51).
As the Old Testament prophets before and Christ as “the Prophet” in one of His multiple assigned roles by the Father, so, He commented sadly and warned those He would gift and call to follow Him in similar service that they would be without honor among their own countrymen and families; those they were sent to serve who professed to be God’s people (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Ezekiel 3:1-7; Matthew 13:53-58; John 7:1-5). He spoke the truth! Even so, New Testament prophets are an integral and continuing part of the leadership gifts Christ places in His Body from the first century.
In fact, through the apostle Paul, God ranks the ministry of prophets only behind apostles in functional importance to the Body (1 Corinthians 12:27-30, 14:1-6, 20-25; Ephesians 4:11). In general, the multi-gifted eye witness apostles (and missionaries today as their descendants) preach the Gospel, make disciples and establish churches in areas where Christ has not been named and after a season, move on to another locale (Acts 13:4-14:25). Evangelists, as we saw with Billy Graham, are consumed with preaching the Gospel to whomever, wherever the Spirit leads to make disciples. Pastor/teachers and elders lead and teach an established local assembly of disciples.
Prophets privately or corporately prophesy, teach, preach and/or exhort to reveal, instruct, encourage and build up through revelation, knowledge and wisdom as well as when directed by the Lord, rebuke and warn seeking the repentance of any professed disciples of Christ that are sinning regardless of their position in the Body. If “the righteous are bold as a lion,” the prophets the more so and are all most assuredly aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ (Proverbs 28:1, NKJV)! They serve as the eyes, ears and mouth of Christ, the Head of His Body (1 Samuel 3:1-18, 9:6-19; Proverbs 29:18; Isaiah 29:9-10; Jeremiah 1:4-19; Ezekiel 3:8-27; Amos 3:7-8) and govern themselves under Him (2 Kings 2:1-18; 1 Corinthians 14:26-33).
Thus, no local church leadership controlled or ruled over the Lord’s prophets as the earliest kings of Israel never did even when they were on the payroll except when persecuting them (2 Samuel 24:10-14; Jeremiah 37:6-21). As those of the Old with godly kings, so, the first century New Testament prophets gladly submitted to the authority of the original eye witness apostles, elders and brethren of the Jerusalem church who even sent them on missions (Acts 15:22-23, 30-35). Clearly, righteous rulers of the churches as again, the kings of Israel had nothing to fear from the Lord’s prophets and welcomed them; the prophets for their part honored and worked cooperatively with godly leadership in the churches which would also be true of me.
The Lord’s original eye witness apostles served to initially fulfill His prophecy that He would send prophets to Israel’s religious establishment since they claimed to have such reverence for them and they would reject, persecute and murder them--though Stephen was actually the first prophet murdered (Matthew 23:29-36; Luke 11:46-51; Acts 3:1-4:22, 5:12-42, 6:1-7:2a, 52-60). After the persecution that scattered the church from Jerusalem, they made disciples of Jews and Gentiles as they traveled and churches formed in places such as Antioch in Syria where Barnabas--a named prophet and teacher--was sent by the Lord and the Jerusalem church to help (Acts 8:1, 11:19-26).
It is at Antioch that we are first shown the service of New Testament prophets beyond the Jewish context at Jerusalem; men that were not pastors or preachers only and whose service was consistent with Old Testament prophets not only as forth tellers, but foretellers of things revealed to them by God and speaking to inform the disciples so that they might respond accordingly (Acts 11:27-30, 21:10-14). These gifted first century prophets were accepted into the churches and their authenticity through their lifestyle and messages, judged by all in accord with already established Old Testament criteria, the instruction of Christ and His eye witness apostles (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Matthew 7:15-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).1
Godly women that prophesied did so in honor of God’s order (1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:34-40; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). Moved by the Holy Spirit who would never lead them (or any of us) into sin, they exercised their gift primarily with women (Exodus 15:20-21), individuals or in a small group of inquiring or passing individuals with no commanding proclamation involved, but simply, faithfully repeating a word of prophecy, knowledge, wisdom or instruction from the Lord (2 Kings 22:12-20; Luke 1:39-45, 2:36-38; Acts 21:8-9). The prophetess Christ names “Jezebel” and rebukes with the church pastor was clearly out of order and false (Revelation 2:18-29, NKJV). Deborah was exceptional in an exceptional time for Israel unfaithful to God as King and with men of great spiritual weakness (Judges 4:1-10).
1 See the October 30, 2016 repost, No One Speaks For God? under the category, Instruction.
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