During the reign of nearly every king in Israel, a prophet was raised up to keep him on the right path. In the 400 years before the coming of Christ, the prophetic voice was silent. Then the voice of a prophet was again heard – through the lips of John the Baptist.
Once the New Testament church was born, there was a flood of prophets on the scene. Many of them are recorded in the Book of Acts:
- Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32)
- Agabus (Acts 21:10-13)
- Ananias (Acts 22:12-15)
- At Antioch (Acts 13:1)
- At Tyre (Acts 21:3,4)
- At Jerusalem (Acts 11:27)
- At Corinth (1Cor 14:29)
God was restoring a ministry that had been silent for a long time.
D. Christ: The Pattern Prophet
Christ was called a prophet by God (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22). Many people saw Him as a prophet (John 4:19;6:14;7:40;9:17).
Truly Christ was God’s chosen Prophet while here on earth (Heb 1:1,2). He spoke only those things which He heard the Father speak (John 12:49; 14:10,24; 17:8). He also prophesied of things to come (Matt 24:3 “11;Luke 11:49).
Indeed, Christ was THE great Prophet. This ministry of Christ was given to His Church in the form of New Testament prophets (Eph 4:11-13). He is the model or pattern for us all.
E. The Function Of The Prophet
We must turn to the Scriptures to find the different functions of the New Testament prophet. We will discover that there are at least seven main things about a prophet’s ministry:
- A prophet’s ministry will vary from prophet to prophet.
No two ministries are exactly the same. This is seen in the various names or titles given to prophets: “seers” (l Sam 9:9); “messengers” (2Chr 36:16); “men of God” (1Kings 12:22); “servants” (Amos 3:7; Zech 1:6).
They also received their “revelations” in different ways. Some saw things in the Spirit. Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah were prophets who had visions.
Others were taken up into trances -almost as if out of their bodies. Daniel, Paul and John had experiences like this.
Some heard things in the Spirit. Micah, Isaiah and others were prophets of hearing.
Prophets also gave their message to the people in different ways. Some spoke (Isa 21:6) or wrote (Jer 30:2) God’s words to His people. Others acted out God’s words as a drama or living story (Ezek 4:1-3; Acts 21:11). Hosea’s and Joel’s entire lives were parables or stories that were used to bring God’s message to His people.
From all of this, we dearly see that there will be a great many differences in the prophetic ministry. Truly, no two prophets will be the same.
- A New Testament prophet’s ministry will involve revelation.
Revelation comes in several forms:
a) Supernatural insight into God’s mind or Word. Before the New Testament was written, many of the apostles and prophets were used by the Holy Spirit to establish the Church (Eph 2:20).
As part of this establishing process, God used the apostles and prophets to reveal the Gospel plan of salvation and other doctrines, which are foundational to the Church. These prophetic revelations, which were part of the letters written by these apostles and prophets, were later incorporated (canonized) as the New Testament Epistles.