Every child of God born of Christ is a prophet. And from among these children, God calls some to serve in the office of a prophet, a particular calling among several serving His Body and the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
There are many nominal Christians who teach there are no prophets since John the Baptist. There are many reports, however, of prophets in the Scriptures after John and after Christ’s ascension into Heaven:
“And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar” (Acts 11:27-28 KJV).
“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul” (Acts 13:1 KJV).
“And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them” (Acts 15:32 KJV).
“And as we stayed more days, a certain prophet from Judea named Agabus came down. And coming to us, and taking Paul’s belt, and binding his hands and feet, he said, ‘The Holy Spirit says these things: So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man whose belt this is, and will deliver him into the hands of the nations’” (Acts 21:10-11 MKJV).
“And God set some in the church, firstly, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers, then works of power, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, kinds of languages” (1 Corinthians 12:28 MKJV).
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11 KJV).
Are there true prophets of God today? Some say prophets are simply preachers. Really? Aren’t apostles, pastors, evangelists, and teachers preachers, as well? Why, then, are prophets mentioned separately if they are merely preachers like the others?
Continuing with the Scriptural evidence of prophets….
1 Corinthians 14:27-32 KJV
(27) If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
(28) 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 you 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.
“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth” (Revelation 11:10 KJV).
There are those who say these two prophets, the two witnesses, are the Jews and Christians; others say Moses and Elijah returned to earth; others say the Old and New Testaments; others say still other things; on what Scriptural basis can they make these claims or by what revelation?
“And I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel showing me these things. Then he said to me, ‘Behold! See, do not do it! For I am your fellow-servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the Words of this Book. Do worship to God’” (Revelation 22:8-9 MKJV).
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15 MKJV).
Why would the Lord warn His followers of false prophets if there weren’t true prophets from which to distinguish them?
So what is a prophet? A prophet is a mouthpiece of God, expressing His nature and will. The prophet is one who has the Spirit, a child of God used as an instrument to make His will known to people. He/she is a vehicle by which God relates to the world and makes known to men the things of the Kingdom of God.
Prophets see into the spiritual realm; they see and hear what men don’t normally perceive. Prophets speak of things hidden to this world and to carnal men. Time and space are no barriers to spiritual truth, to the things of the Kingdom of God; prophets speak of the past, present, and future as given to them.
Prophets have no more righteousness of their own than anyone else. By the Lord’s Spirit they uphold the Law of God and warn of the consequences of lawlessness – Law-breaking and wrongful living. They exhort for righteousness’ sake and warn of God’s coming judgments on evil-doings; they instruct; they are leaven for good; they preserve and take life by their God-inspired words. The Spirit of God’s power rests on them and they exercise His authority by the Truth they speak.
Prophets not only represent God’s interests to men – they are also priests representing men’s interests to God. The Body of Christ is mediator between God and man, a corporate prophet in Christ, THE Prophet, THE Mediator, Who is Head of all those who make up His Body. Every Christian, that is, every one who is born again, is a prophet, none excepted.
All saints (believers) are prophets because they have the Spirit of prophecy:
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, ‘See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’” (Revelation 19:10 MKJV).
While every saint is a prophet, not all saints have the office of a prophet. Apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and elders are prophets by nature, in that they are all born of, and inspired by, the Spirit of God, but they are not prophets by special office. There are those called to the office and ministry of a prophet. They are granted special grace to represent Jesus Christ in a unique way, even as the other ministries are also granted special grace to represent Him in unique ways.
There are also those prophets who are “more than a prophet”:
Matthew 11:9-11 GNB
(9) “Tell me, what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes indeed, but you saw much more than a prophet.
(10) For John is the one of whom the Scripture says: ‘God said, I will send My messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.’
(11) I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John.
We know Jesus Christ is much more than a prophet. He is God in the flesh. John the Immerser, He said, was much more than a prophet because he was called to a special assignment, introducing the King of Glory to the earth. Being called to such a duty, John was prepared in a way other prophets never were.
However, as Jesus said, even the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John. Why? Because one in the Kingdom is born of the Prophet of prophets, of the Spirit of God. They are born of the One John was introducing. A son of the Kingdom doesn’t merely have the anointing as did John – he in Christ (“Christ” meaning “anointed one”) IS the anointing. That’s the difference between John the Immerser and one born of God.
John was filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb, which set him apart from all other prophets till his day, but he wasn’t born into the Kingdom as are all those born again since the Feast of Pentecost, after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into Heaven. Then John would be completed in faith, as Jesus’ answer to him at the Jordan River implies:
Matthew 3:13-15 MKJV
(13) Then Jesus came from Galilee to Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him.
(14) But John restrained Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”
(15) And answering Jesus said to him, “Allow it now, for it is becoming to us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
In the day of Pentecost, Moses’ desire, that all the Lord’s people would be prophets, was fulfilled (see Acts 2):
Numbers 11:26-29 MKJV
(26) But two of the men stayed in the camp; the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other was Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. And they were of those who were written, but did not go out to the Tabernacle. And they prophesied in the camp.
(27) And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
(28) And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, “My lord Moses, make them cease.”
(29) And Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”
Joel 2:21-32 ESV
(21) Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things!
(22) Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
(23) Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for He has given the early rain for your vindication; He has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.
(24) The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
(25) I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, My great army, which I sent among you.
(26) You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the Name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never again be put to shame.
(27) You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And My people shall never again be put to shame.
(28) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
(29) Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out My Spirit.
(30) And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.
(31) The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
(32) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.
There is the gift of prophecy and the office of a prophet. One may have the gift of prophecy and other prophetic gifts, such as tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of wisdom, and word of knowledge, while not being a prophet by calling and ministry. Philip the evangelist had four daughters who prophesied, having the spiritual gift of prophecy. Being saints, they were prophetesses; however, they weren’t serving in the office of a prophet.
Philip was a prophet in that he had the Spirit of God, as do all saints, and he also had spiritual gifts, but he wasn’t in the office of a prophet; he was in the office of an evangelist.
“And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12 MKJV).
True and faithful men of God, serving in the office of a prophet, are distilled wisdom. They have been separated from other men, even from believers, to be intimate with the One Whom they represent. They are steeped in the fear of God, knowing His greatness and their own weakness. They are a concentrate of the things of the Spirit. The Spirit of God takes the words He gives to His prophets and adds water, in proportion to the hearers’ needs.
That is a prophet.