Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 2, No. 6 Page 15 June 2000

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

My Father’s Business:
The “Prophet” Margin

By Dennis “Skip” Francis

The mission statement of the church is in Ephesians 3:10, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”

One stated goal in the mission of the church is that of edification of the body. This is done, according to God’s business plan, with the aid of men. These men are described in Ephesians 4:11-12,

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
The “prophet” is one who is not often understood, nor given his proper due.

The prophet, in the New Testament, is one who has been given a measure of the Holy Spirit which allows him special ability to expound the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is one who is divinely inspired. This differs greatly from those who are inspired in an earthly way, such as William Shakespeare or Michael Crichton.

Divine inspiration is that which is literally “theopneustos” or God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Second Samuel 23:2 puts it this way; “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” Peter expands by saying, in 2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” In other words, the Holy Spirit spoke, but the men moved. This should dispel the false notion that prophecy was done on a “thought for thought” basis, rather than “word for word.” The purpose and intent of the prophets was to speak the Word of God to men, and this would continue until his Word was whole and complete. This time came during the life of the apostles.

Peter told us, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3), putting this in the past tense. Jude corroborates this statement in Jude 3. Since “all things” have been given, “once for all” delivered to the saints, additional revelation of God’s Word is not needed.

The apostle Paul spells out for us how we still have the authority of the prophets in our midst today. In Ephesians 3:2-4 we read,

“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).”
We still have his writings, or copies of these writings, with us today, and surprisingly accurate transcriptions of the earliest material. We can have, therefore, his knowledge (as well as that of the other New Testament prophets), if we read and study these writings today. They are jointly called the New Testament, and though translations and copies may not be “divinely inspired,” the original autographs were.

The “authority” that rested with the prophets was only in the Word of God. About Jesus, the Scriptures teach,

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” [who simply made copies of existing scripture] (Matthew 7:28-29).
It was in his doctrine or teaching that Jesus demonstrated authority. Jesus later said of himself, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus having all authority, even the Holy Spirit could not circumvent it. John 16:13-14 reads,
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
The prophets, speaking as they were moved by the same Spirit, demonstrated the authority of Jesus in revealing his words. When we read what they wrote for us in the New Testament, we can have the edifying power of those words today.

The Father’s “business” can indeed “prophet” from the strengthening power of the writings of the New Testament prophets today.

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