- Why Know Jesus?
- Rightly Dividing the Word of God
- Doctrinal Declarations of Faith
- The Providence Of God
- Fall Iinto Sin and the Corrupt State of Man
- God’s Eternal Decrees
- The Trinity
- Of Apostolic Faith
- The Attributes Of God
- Christ Jesus
- Mans Will and Free Will
- Election and Predestination
- True Faith Justification and Repentance
- Adoption and Sanctification
- The Perseverance of the Saints
- Assurance of Salvation and Good Works
- Doctrinal Studies
- The History of the Pentecostal Movement
- Errant Pentecostal Doctrines And False Apostles And Prophets Introduction
- Periods And Confirmations Of God’s Revelation
- The Foundation Of The Church
- The Baptism With The Holy Spirit and The Filling of The Holy Spirit According to Scripture
- Signs Wonders Healing And Miracles For Who And By Who?
- The Apostles The Difference Between True And False
- Real and False Prophets
- The Prophets Of The New Testament
- Personal Conclusions
- CAN A CHRISTIAN BEAR ARMS AND DEFEND HIMSELF AND OTHERS
- (Italiano) E’ BIBLICO PER UN CRISTIANO USARE LEGITTIMA DIFESA PER SE E PER ALTRI?
- The Sanctity of Life and Value of Human Life
- The Importance of the Family to God
- Roles In The Family As In The Church
- The Role of Man and the Responsibilities of a Husband
- The Role of the Woman and the Responsibilities of the Wife
- Responsibilities of Father and Mother to Teach Train and Discipline their Children
- The Responsibilities of The Children in the Family
- The Letter of Paul to the Romans Introduction
- Romans Chapter One
- Romans Chapter Two
- Romans Chapter Three
- Romans Chapter Four
- Romans Chapter Five
- Romans Chapter Six
- Romans Chapter Seven
- Romans Chapter Eight
- Romans Chapter Nine
- Romans Chapter Ten
- Romans Chapter Eleven
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 1-2
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 3-11
- (Italiano) Introduzione Alla Lettera di Paolo Ai Romani
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Uno
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Due
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Tre
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Quattro
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Cinque
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sei
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sette
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Otto
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Nove
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Dieci
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 11
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 1-3
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 4-11
- Mission Ministry
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The Prophets Of The New Testament
The prophets of the NT were in function similar but also very different of the prophets of the OT. Even if as the prophets of the OT they spoke and wrote under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the NT prophets did not prophesy as the others exactly to Israel and Judah as they did in the OT.
Prophetically, they spoke to the Jews in the transitional period during the beginning of the birth of the church as we have previously seen several times in this study.
However, we have to say two things regarding the NT prophets, the first one is that we need to understand that Scripture teaches us during the Apostolic age, the Apostles held almost without exception the office of prophet.
Some examples of this are Paul (Apostle) who several times prophesies, in vision, ACTS 27:23-24 and by revelation ACTS 20:29-30;1 CORINTHIANS 15:51-52;1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18;
1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-11; 2 Thessalonians 1-2;1 TIMOTHY 4:1-5;2 TIMOTHY 3:1-9;2 TIMOTHY 4:3-4
Peter (Apostle) prophesied about false teachers 2 Peter 2; of the Lord’s coming and the coming judgment 2 Peter 3 we can say that two thirds of Peter’s second epistle is prophetic.
John the Apostle to who was given the privilege to prophesy the Revelation of Jesus Christ, a whole book that is prophetic and the last revelation and prophecy for the church REVELATION 1:3;REVELATION 22:18-19.
James (Apostle) JAMES 5:1-6 together with other recognized prophets also considered Apostles and teachers as well.
Acts 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Please let’s notice what the word of God says. Some of these men had three recognized offices in the church, Apostle, prophet and teacher, of these were Barnabas and Saul, who was Paul, the others had at least two which are connected to each other, later on we will see what is the connection between the prophet and the teacher after the Apostolic period. In other words after that the pastors (who have the gift of teaching doctrine) and the elders (also teachers) became the offices that govern the church. Of the other people mentioned in this passage we can surmise that they were left to govern the church of Antioch as they are never again mentioned.
Then as we notice Judas and Silas were Apostles as well but also prophets,
Acts 15:32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.
We see that this passage is in accord with what Paul says is the work of the prophet in the church,
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
The second thing we have to notice is that there is a distinction between the office of the Apostle which automatically includes the ministry of prophecy and the prophet, who in the church speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
Practicallythere were two levels of prophetic ministry, the first tied to Apostolic authority and used to write Scripture and give doctrine for the church, the other a gift not tied to authority, a general gift which both men and women could have in the church, but still tied to the fact that the NT Scripture still was not completed.
We have to repeat it so it penetrates, the Scripture of the NT was not yet completed and so the prophets at that time were necessarily inspired by God to fulfill the necessary ministry described in 1 Corinthians 14:3.
It was for this reason the words of the true Apostles, their letters and words were authoritative and infallible in doctrine and theology, while the words of the prophets in the assembly had to be judged and tested to see if the content was in agreement with the Apostle’s doctrines and that they would be confirmed for the accuracy of their content.
Thislast ministry still operates today through the written word of God. In addition today it’s connected almost in every instance to the ministry of teaching and preaching of the written word.
The prophet in the church had specifically this function, he was not an oracle of judgment against Israel and Judah, he was one who was used by God for the function described in 1 Corinthians 14:3 who would speak edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
The Greek word prophesy does not mean to predict future events. The word used is a compound word formed by the word Pro and phemi that means speak in front of, or speaking before.
Prophesying then is the preaching and the interpreting or teaching of the Apostle’s doctrines, to speak God’s word before people. This is the primary function, the edification of the church through the preaching and teaching of the word of God.
The word prophet in Greek means “ interpreter” this is interesting because who has the ministry of prophet for sure is a preacher and a teacher who interprets God’s revelations, a person who explains what God reveals and how He reveals Himself in His word.
There is an interesting Scripture worth taking into consideration in this context and for today
Hebrews 1:1-2a God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son,
Christ’s Spirit has given the true Apostles and prophets of the NT to be inspired to write doctrines of divine revelation and theology, giving them also gifts of signs and wonders and healing to confirm their spiritual authority as those men who were chosen to lay the foundation of the church in Christ.
God gave the ministry of prophecy and prophets as we have seen were Apostles as well. Paul had the gift and ministry of prophet as well asothers Peter, John, actually to him was given the privilege to write the Revelation of Jesus Christ, given to him personally by Jesus. The entire book is a whole prophecy of God’s program in the last times and days.
Yes, in the Apostolic age the true Apostles practically had all the gifts and ministries of the Spirit because the church, the body of Christ was being formed through their special work JOHN 16:13-15.
They began later on to appoint pastors, elders and deacons, these three categories of men would become the preachers, the teachers of the Apostolic doctrines and of Christ. We can divide the prophets in the church in two categories.
One was a position or a ministry which had Apostolic authority, the other was not an office of authority in the church but a gift to believers in the assembly.
These men and women (with a covered head the women 1 CORINTHIANS 11:5-6 ) they had to speak what is described in 1 CORINTHIANS 14:3
They would indeed prophesy what the Spirit would tell them to speak as far as the three things mentioned because the NT Scripture for the church was not all completed, then these three things were not available in the complete written revelation of God that we have today.
Please note however, that this gift is still operational in the church through the Holy Spirit, but it operates only and exclusively through the written word. It’s God’s Spirit who places in the heart and mind of the prophet passages of Scripture that He applies to whom is in need in the measure of His grace.
There is nothing of mystical, there is no special direct revelation through a personal and subjective interpretation. Let’s remember what we studied previously in regard of the false apostles and apply it to the false prophets as well. Only because a person demonstrates signs, wonders even in a church does not at all mean it has to be God who operates. Remember what the Lord said in Deuteronomy 13, that the false prophet would have performed signs and wonders and they would have come to pass, all this to draw away God’s people. This means that a person could evidence false prophecies, signs and wonders that come to pass. Even Jesus warned us of this,
Matthew 24:24-25 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
See also 2 THESSALONIANS 2:9-10;REVELATION 13:11-14.
We have seen that in the NT only the true Apostles had real gifts of signs and wonders and mighty deeds. This office is no longer in operation, it ended when all the Apostles went to be with the Lord. God’s word even thencommands us not to go beyond what is written.
1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
Many today like to go beyond, think beyond what the written word says and they recommend themselves as apostles and prophets of God, with new and fresh and direct revelations from God, these are, as Paul put it, puffed up with spiritual pride, they deceive themselves and others, they are in grave danger.
Jesus in Matthew 7 spoke of false prophets saying this “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Let’s examine the passage together, it is fairly simple to interpret it, however, verses 22-23 I want to say are cited often out of context as they are used apart from the context of this entire passage. This passage speaks of false prophets. The whole passage is MATTHEW 7:13-23 and in its entirety it speaks of false prophets. Jesus did not change the subject and started speaking of generic false believers.
Many, who displayed signs, wonders and mighty deeds (sign of the Apostles) will say to Him in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?‘
So since the prophecies, casting of demons and mighty wonders were exclusively the work of the true Apostles, this means that these were the false prophets Jesus had talked about in the verses mentioned beforehand. These are false worksdone in Jesus’ name. So if the prophets are false their works are not real either, not done in the power and authority of God.
They deceived themselves and others, that they were doing the works of God. However, they were not elect, chosen, appointed and confirmed by God, but appointed and reccomended by themselves, these are the ones that declare and appoint themselves apostles and prophets.
Notice how they say “have we not prophesied in Your name?” Here you read their pride and their admission of guilt in saying “have we not” they want the credit for what they did but they also say “ in your name” These indeed are the ones who went around saying “ Thus sayeth the Lord” when in reality the Lord did not say anything by them.
They also take the credit of casting out demons and done many mighty works all in “ His name”
Notice the Lord’s answer, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
They did not practice God’s will by His power, in His authority , they only practiced lawlessness. If it were not serious enough sowing lies and self-appoining themselves, but they take the Lord’s name in vain, using His holy name in vain is a very serious offense.
Notice also that the Lord says He never knew them, what a difference between these and for example Jeremiah a real prophet and Paul a real Apostle and prophet.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Galatians 1:15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,
So what Jesus is saying when He claims that He never knew these false Apostles and prophets, is that they were not even real born again, regenerated believers.
These are not real believers fallen from grace, these are deceived religious persons who think they’re in God’s grace by works and performance.
They thought their works and performance confirmed their belonging to God, while in reality it’s not at all like that. Jesus says “ I NEVER knew you”, this declaration excludes that they were ever known and therefore not saved and not in God’s grace, they were excluded from the elect.
Beware prophets, sign seekers and workers, tongue speakers, your false works, prophesying and speaking does not at all confirm the presence of the Holy Spirit, but are you known by Jesus? This factis confirmed in what Jesus said in LUKE 10: 20
Jesus knows the ones He chose, for salvation and service 2 TIMOTHY 2: 19, but those who self-appoint themselves apostles and prophets are false and are those who practice lawlessness, they did not do the Father’s will, most likely because they rejected the written word and disobeyed it, elevating their false revelation and prophecies and making everybody around them abandon and disobey God’s written truth to obey their lies instead. JEREMIAH 8:8-11;JEREMIAH 23:30-32
Let’s begin to see what Paul says in the light of what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
Acts 20:29-30 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Paul uses the same exact words as Jesus does in reference to the same type of people, after my departure savage wolves will come in among you
These are the ones who introduce themselves and are accepted in the church, in other words they are not even real believers and are not a part of that local church, they are external emissaries of Satan who come in sheep’s clothing but are in reality savage wolves. Teachers, Pastors and elders should all be chosen from within the local congregation not from outside 1 TIMOTHY 3:1-13; 2 TIMOTHY 2:2;TITUS 1:5-9
We see that in both passages are used the same terms, such as “ will come in among you”.
In both passages they are called savage or ravenous wolves. Paul adds that after these have come in the church and accepted in the church ( see 2 Corinthians 11 on false apostles) these will convince weak and carnal sheep who do not apply themselves to persevering and the study of the true and sound Apostolic doctrine and to be transported into falsehood and deception, at this point some of them pushed by false doctrine and false revelations and works of the other false teachers, apostles and prophets are those who Paul then describes saying, from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
As a note of interest, in the NT there are 444 references to the word Lord, within these, never once is there a reference to a real Apostle or prophet of the NT, who ever declared “ This says the LORD”, NEVER! Only in the mention or the transcribing of OT Scripture.
However, the Apostles and the prophets of those times had the authority to say it, bu they never did. I wonder why they did not, after all, in the OT they always spoke that way. Agabus speaks as a prophet and he makes reference to the Holy Spirit
Acts 21:10-11 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’
This is the only way that God expresses Himself now, in he NT times, “ Thus sayeth the LORD” is an OT declaration, in the NT there is no indication of using this term. Therefore, when a person uses this phraseology or term to confirm that what they say comes directly from God, they are using something that was never used by anyone since the times of the OT and that is not at all a practice of the NT, and therefore is not an Apostolic tradition. What else can be said, if it is not a doctrine or a tradition of the true Apostles and prophets in the NT it cannot be real.
This confirms evermore the falsity of their revelations. These things demonstrate that these false prophets all go beyond what is written and therefore they sin of presumption and lying. Everything that goes beyond what is written in the Bible, in other words the only and true and complete, infallible, inerrant, authoritative revelation of God to His church, is nothing else but what the Bible itself calls fables.
These fables will be the bread for the teeth of those who follow the false prophets, that by the way, in the NT are actually referred to as false teachers.
2 Timothy 4:1-4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
As we had said before in the section concerning the Apostles, they and the prophets of the NT have laid the foundation of the church, the basis upon which build the church.
Now that the complete revelation of God has been entrusted to the church in His written word, there is no need for new revelations and prophecies, it is for this reason that the prophets who preside over this ministry as even the Apostles, as in the beginning of the church are no longer operative today.
Peter declares in fact a very important thing, to which, we better pay close attention,
2 Peter 1:19-21 And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
(See also HEBREWS 1:1-2 )
Peter makes the reader understand that the written prophecy is a word made sure, that it confirms their eyewitness, so as no to disqualify their experience, rather confirming that their eyewitness was genuine. However, the most important point here is the fact that no written prophecy is a matter of one’s own interpretation, it’s not subjective, there has to be a standard by which it is measured.
The standard is itself, Bible interprets Bible. If you notice however, that all false prophets almost always, erroneously interpret God’s word, and love to subjectively and privately interpret God’s word and give subjective and private interpretations to their own false revelations. The word of God cannot be falsified and erroneously interpreted and used exclusively for carnal and personal reasons. It is not of private interpretation. God does not at all give spiritual authority to those who mishandle in such way Hos word and name. These false apostles, prophets and teachers do not operate in Christ’s authority as they want others to believe.
2 Peter 3:15-17 and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,
For example, if the Pentecostal movement (which is fairly recent in origins, a little over 100 years) would be right regarding all it teaches in regard to the apostles, prophecies, revelations, signs and wonders then it would truly be useless on their part condemn the Roman church. Why? Because it is making the same exact doctrinal errors they made and still make. To place new and direct revelation given by anyone on the same level of the written word of God, upon whichwe can bet our life, is audacity and arrogance as it is spiritual and biblical ignorance.
Today, many seem to want to have prophesies spoken upon them, positions, ministries, authority. Many prophesy to others all kind of these things. That is nothing but the same as going to an astrologer to have them read you your horoscope. Even that which comes true sometimes, is it from God?
Hasn’t God instead chosen us to edify one another, helping each other to grow in His ways, to remain faithful to Him till the end, obedient to His written word, what is wrong with this? The most important ministry that the word of God commands us to have is to obey what the written word says to do with our wives, our children, husbands, brothers and sisters in the Lord and to demonstrate that the character of Christ is formed in us.
Instead, many seek the personal word of revelation, the great prophetic promise of ministry, signs, wonders, healing. Where is this doctrine taught in Scripture, is this God’s good, acceptable and perfect will for the church? What Bible are we reading? Let’s read it well, study it well and let’s learn to interpret it well. All this is not enough? Yes, do we aspire to be great in the Kingdom of God? Do we want to do great things?
Do you think that John the Baptist was a great spiritual man? Yes, Jesus said the greatest ever existed who was born of a woman; John however, never did a sign or a wonder, a miracle or a healing etc. No, yet what did Jesus say about him and about this?
Luke 7:28 “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Luke 22:26-28 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
You want to do great things for God? There is no need to seek a revelation or that a prophecy is spoken upon your life. Serve humbly every brother and sister in the love of God, deny yourself as the word of God as the true disciple of Jesus does, and we must go back to this, this is the revelation you must seek and obey in your life, God will lift up, exalt those who humble themselves as Jesus did Philippians 2
Yes, there is no difference at all between the false prophet and the psychic and the astrologer, the palm reader or that in some way prophesies future events through magic and witchcraft, the power of the occult. We must know, as Scripture shows us that demons can appear as emissaries of God and give messages apparently coming from God. Sometimes even the devil says the right things mixing them with his lies and evil motives.
Acts 16:16-18 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.
Many as this young girl with the spirit of divination and lies bring profit to themselves. Many of these false apostles, prophets, teachers have multi-million dollar ministries made by robbing the pockets of many naïve and carnal believers 2 TIMOTHY 3:6-9.
Others instead, do not do it for money but to receive in their carnality recognition and positions of power from which they can manipulate people who are doctrinally ignorant. In fact these false apostles, prophets and teachers encourage them to remain biblically ignorant so that they can teach lies and false doctrines.
Others are genuinely deceived by erroneous doctrines they have been taught by tradition and denomination, these are the ones we really have to have compassion and try to bring back to the true Apostolic doctrines.
Unfortunately, even these dear brother and sisters, who truly love God with all their heart and want to serve Him, when confronted by the truth of God’s word immediately pull up a defensive wall often fighting back with obstinacy and spiritual pride and they sadly choose to remain in the errors of their doctrines for the praise and love of man and his opinion.
For many taking instruction from the written word, in other words the Bible is not enough, in fact, often the false revelations and prophecies are elevated to the status of Scripture, the only real word of God, in fact in many cases they are even elevated above the Bible.
One stands up in a congregation and reads a Spirit led Bible passage and every body yawns Amen.
Oh, but a “prophet” stands up and gives a charismatic word or prophetic utterance, ah, they write it down and they take it to heart as a direct word of God to the church, they begin to amen all over the place and forget what was heard previously from the Bible, the “prophet” spoke that’s important, God spoke.
The other one was just a Bible passage after all not a “charismatic utterance”.
What a blasphemy, just pure blasphemy, yet it happens constantly. This grieves the Holy Spirit, and the one who does these things only deceives themselves into more and more deception. How sad, the word of God stripped of its authority and given to the word of man. Man has become God. Is it not idolatry?
I know it’s not easy to admit to have been wrong. I had to humble myself before the weighty evidence of what the word of God demonstrates and I had to change many things I thought to understand in the texts of the Bible, that were not true.
False apostles and prophets however, declare instead not to have to study God’s word and that it is not necessary to meditate it. They say it’s a waste of time, so do not study the word unless it is through their teachings and doctrines, their Bible schools and books, through the direct revelations they receive from God. They say to stay in God’s presence for hours on end keeping your mind unfruitful waiting to receive private revelations and instructions from the Holy Spirit, in a special way to pay attention to the ones they receive for you. When you often examine them and prove them they contradict the real written word of God. They claim all this is better than reading, studying and meditating the written word, but God Himself in His written word what does He tell us to do?
I am not at all saying we should not seek God’s face and stay in His presence, but not to receive private revelations, almost always they only come from the thoughts and the spirit of the person and not from the Holy Spirit. The Lord instead teaches us to read, study, meditate and obey His written word PSALMS 1:1-6; JOSHUA 1:6-9.
Let’s go in God’s presence with our Bible opened and let’s see what His word illumined by His Spirit tells us to do and how to be, then let’s obey what is written therein.
The “ spiritual ones” instead as they define themselves, they walk in the Spirit because they receive instructions directly from God, for them and the church, through fresh and new revelations of God that only those like them can receive and give.
Well, first of all we should first define what really walking in or by the Spirit really means, what does it mean to be spiritual. For now I would say that the written word, the real word, the complete and valid revelation of God given to the church from the real Apostles and prophets today is placed aside because the church needs to hear God’s new and fresh revelations and prophecies.
They say “ God is doing a new thing”. Many follow these erroneous doctrines,many accept these revelations and prophecies that do not originate from God but at least from the carnal desires of those who spread them around, if not worse.
God does not need to do a new thing, He has done all He needed to do, He has established His eternal covenant with His Son and in Him, His written word, all God’s promises are yes and amen 2 CORINTHIANS 1:20-22
God has revealed all of which the church is in need of and He did this through the men He chose, the real Apostles and prophets, they have given the church true doctrines and revelations. .
Peter fore instance did not speak of seeking for new and fresh revelations but to remember instead the words of the holy prophets and the true Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:1-2 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,
Does the Bible confirm that the prophets after the Apostolic age stopped operating or operated differently in the church and did not any longer prophesied direct revelations from God?
We have already answered in part saying that new revelations and prophecies from the biblical stand point would have to be inspired by God. God’s word teaches that all Scriptures are inspired by God, then we have to conclude that every revelation and prophecy if it is truly coming from God is inspired and would have to be written and considered Scripture.
This thing would really be problematic because it would mean that the Bible is not complete and sufficient for the church, such thing is denied by Paul himself 2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17. He says all Scripture is enough to make the man of God complete in Christ.
The second thing we must look at, but you really have to follow the logic, OK? If revelations and prophecies today were direct and inspired they would have to be considered word of God, right?
What do we call the word of God? The Bible right?
So then if these revelations and prophecies are inspired by the Holy Spirit they would have to have the same authority, infallibility and they would have to be inerrant just as the Bible is, right?
So, if this is true, these also have to be considered at the same level as the written word of God, if word of God they are. However, if they are equivalent to Scripture then it means that much Scripture that the church rd of God as word of God for the universal church, how can that be? I will tell you, there can be nothing, I repeat nothing, that can be equal to the written word. If we do this, we make the same exact mistakes that the Roman church made and continues to make, it then becomes useless and hypocritical to condemn her for the same reasons.
The canon of Scripture is a closed canon, in other words the c
hurch has been in one accord, that after the written word, in other words the Bible there would be no more valid revelations and prophecies. NO OTHER VALID REVELATION CAN BE ADDED TO SCRIPTURE.
What does the word of God teach in regard to the prophets after the Apostolic age?
We have seen in EPHESIANS 2:20 that together with the Apostles and prophets have founded the church and have completed the Scriptures.
The church is founded upon what they have written. Even this observation brings us still closer to the confirmation that after these true prophets others would be considered false. We cannot continue to build the foundation.
Therefore, the spiritual gift of prophecy in the church for the NT is not a revelation of future events of God’s will and work, it is not to bring judgment and conviction of sin as it was done in the OT, now in the church this gift operates through the preaching and the exposition of the written word of God. All this is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit through the preaching and the expository teaching of Scripture and spiritual counseling which can be referred to as exhortation, encouragement and edification moves within the written word of God for the body of Christ and administers what is necessary for all persons in accord with His knowledge recognizing the needs of the individual believers and applies the word of God to the need of every person. This is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit and no one can usurp what He must do. It is He who convicts of sin through the written word and not the kind of prophet OT style. It is however obvious that God can give discernment, knowledge and wisdom to recognize the needs of determined persons so that through the written word of God, in love give to the person that which he /she are in need of.
Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ.
However God does not reveal to us personally what exactly we have to say, but guides us instead in the Bible to give counsel and the right admonishments, give exhortation, edification and consolation through the rightly interpreted word and sound doctrine of the true Apostles and prophets.
This is the true ministry of the prophet in the church after the Apostolic age. The Lord can give us even a prophetic message to give as preachers and teachers, however He will now do it only and exclusively through the written word, correctly interpreted and taught.
Some will say this type of ministry and gift is not enough spiritual, they will say that God wants to use us powerfully as He did in the church of Acts. Why do you think that this type of working of the Lord He does not operate powerfully today? Why? Just because He does not do it exactly the way He did back then? Who is it then that is limiting His power now?
In fact the method I have delineated is a very powerful method, I believe in some way much more powerful than the one the false apostles and prophets use, the Scripture in fact says in
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Yes, it is the power of God who operates in us, therefore dear friends do not be discouraged, I also believe that is is the power of God that operates in us. However, it is God who does exceedingly and abundantly more than what we ask or think. So, I believe that God can and in fact does exceedingly abundantly more than I myself think is possible and imagine. In fact, by faith, confirmed by the fruit of the works, I know that God operates powerfully in His church, in each person He uses.
Yes, however we are the ones who are accused of denying the power of God, because we do not believe that God still operates exactly the way He did back then, in the church of Acts. We are the ones who, they say, deny the power of God because we believe that God instead of operating still through certain signs and wonders and gifts, operates through faith and prayer.
Apparently we are the ones who are lacking faith, even though spiritual gifts do not operate by faith of any person. We are under accusation because we limit God’s power, while instead I believe that we have proved this is a lie, in fact I firmly believe that the written word of God confirms that those who are lacking faith are exactly those who always seek for signs and wonders. These signs and wonders never brought God’s people to faith, in fact the opposite.
So then we can affirm the same thing in regard to revelations and prophecies. It is much easier and convenient for our carnal desires and our pride, believe to be that which we cannot be and to have the power of God “proclaiming to give the glory to God” in receiving revelations and prophecies that at the very end are only empty words and fables, and to put aside the real and true revelations, doctrines and prophecies because after all those are not as spiritual. This is blasphemy! It is the epitome of spiritual pride to claim that the written word of God is not spiritual enough. It is not spiritual enough study and meditate, follow and obey, preach and teach the written word of God? The true doctrines of Christ and of the Apostles and prophets, the truth?
After all, who is the power of God operating in us? The Holy Spirit, it is He who operates powerfully in us above all I think and imagine, If I preach, if I teach the written word in fact it is only through that power Who operates in me, I do not know at all of the individual needs of the people to whom I am preaching and teaching, I am not at all aware how God is operating until I receive testimony or confirmation of the word that was given. This method however, in opposition to the other argued here, takes away many more possibilities to fall in pride regarding what God is doing. We cannot pridefully usurp the work of the Holy Spirit.
However, the false apostles and prophets attempt to promote their personal ministry and not the glory of God, they try to attract the favor and the attention of the church upon themselves rather than on the Lord.
What do false apostles, prophets and teachers have in common? The hope that the church, the people do not examine what they teach, declare and reveal. They count on the Scriptural ignorance of the people and they always prey upon the denominational doctrines which give them liberty to promote their own thoughts and desires as the word of God. It is for this reason that a lot of them discourage the correct study of Scripture and always try to throw around threats and curses according to their own false revelations, trying to sow fear and guilt upon those who oppose them and resist them.
They claim that when you resist their charismatic revelations and prophecies you are in essence resisting the Holy Spirit and His word, because they say that what they say is God’s word. Many have the audacity, not understanding at all Scripture, to say that if you do not believe their lies and false signs and wonders, you are blaspheming the Holy Spirit, MATTHEW 12:31, while it is they who are blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
These lies come from men, yes, and women, today evermore even women, carnal and spiritually proud people. After all, is this not the same strategy of fear and guilt and discouragement of reading and studying the written word of God that even the Roman church uses?
The same threats and manipulations are used. As you see there is very little difference between their falsity and the falsity of many charismatics. They will call you a heretic and false teacher if you do not agree with their doctrines. They try continuously to shame you before their followers accusing you of being divisive in the church and to be against God because you do not agree with their erroneous interpretations of Scripture.
It is they however who foment division, because they are the ones who excommunicate you from their church and fellowship accusing you of all kinds of false doctrines.
I have never seen, in the years I have been a believer, at least in the USA, where I lived for 25 years, any NON Pentecostal or Charismatic person who ever offended, excommunicated or excluded any person who was Pentecostal or Charismatic who were part of their church, unless of course they caused confusion and disorder. I even knew of a NON Pentecostal church that allowed a Pentecostal man to be elder of their church. This would be unseen in a Pentecostal-Charismatic church.
On the other hand I have seen many Pentecostal-Charismatic persons become inflamed with anger and even what appeared to be hatred, and putting out of fellowship people who were not schismatic at all, but simply did not agree with the doctrines we are speaking about in this teaching.
I myself, in fact am not accusing personally brothers and sisters who in good faith and for other reasons believe these doctrines. As far as I am concerned believe what you want, you and me after all, have to give an account to God in regard to what we believe and teach. However, I do not have to and will not espouse the doctrines taught by your teachers, because they come from erroneous interpretations of Scripture.
You can call me heretic, schismatic and contentious, although I do not believe I am.
Instead I believe that Scripture demonstrates and confirms without any doubt that things are as they are delineated in thus study.
There are may who preach the love and unity of the church, they deceive themselves to be able to walk hand in hand and unity with other denominations. They cannot do it however, because their own pride blinds them. They claim they want to walk in love and unity but they deceive themselves, why? Well, all you have to do is to take a good look around at what was happening in the church of Corinth and multiply it by the millions today. If you are fortunate enough you will find some churches in which you will be able to walk in a measure of unity and love but you will have to be the one who will have to sacrifice all you believe, be silent at all costs, never ever speak a word as true as it might be that is contrary to the dogmas and doctrines and traditions, otherwise their unity and love quickly becomes something else.
They are not capable to have an open dialogue over differing subjects. They will never admit to being wrong. These however, think they are so spiritual because of their “charismatic gifts”while instead most of the time they prove to be the most carnal and proud Christians you can find. It was exactly for this reasons that Paul wrote the text we all read in 1 Corinthians 13.
It’s not by chance that this chapter is nestled between 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.
It is really these individuals who cannot ever admit that the Scripture of the NT, which they themselves declare confirms their erroneous doctrines, instead demonstrates them false.
Since they cannot find confirmation in Scripture, they try to discredit your person in some way, offending you or attaching themselves on things which they know of you and in some cases using philosophical methods to prove that what you are saying is false. I do not liken this to christian love, rather it seems to me spiritual pride which comes out every time you try to question their doctrines.
No,their refutations and their spiritual pride are poison they pour out on those who oppose their erroneous doctrines. This kind of behavior they display is not biblical refutation or reproof, they say we are instead false teachers, however, false teachers do other things.
They also throw away as invalid many years of post apostolic and Evangelical church history, (not Roman Catholicism), which has refuted the presence of certain gifts in the church, gifts which had disappeared with the Apostles and the subsequent church generation. In addition, many of the basics of Pentecostal doctrines where actually considered at least false and some even heresies by the early church.
However, we are the heretics, we who espouse the true orthodox, reformist, Apostolic doctrines, in other words strictly Evangelical. By the way to be contrary to Charismatic-Pentecostal doctrine is not heresy. You should really study what heresies really were and are, those which the church really condemned as such and you will be surprised.
Just as an example, Arminianism is at the base of several Pentecostal doctrines. This movement was considered heresy by the early church, a more recent version of this heresy was the movement Semi-Palagianism that is a modified version of Palagianism which proceeds from the Arminian heresy.
Semi-Palagianism is really the doctrine that is at the base of many Pentecostal doctrines in fact has contaminated the entire counsel of God and has therefore contaminated today many, many Christian denominations.
Another notorious movement Montanism was another heresy condemned by the church and it has many connections to revelations, visions and prophecies and it includes the speaking in ecstatic tongues. This movement was headed by two prophetesses that declared to be sent by Christ personally.
Obviously the church condemned this movement as heresy. You must know however that when Satan fails once, he tries again, he repackages the lie wrapping it differently, but the content is still the same and then he re-presents it. This time the package was delivered and has been accepted.
False revelations, prophecies, false tongues and women in spiritual authority positions in the church were the content once again. These things were considered heresies and false by a vigilant and discerning church, today they are accepted by a church that is asleep, that is not at all vigilant and discerning and to which is missing biblical knowledge and discernment. There is no space in this study to explain in detail these heretical movements that are connected with the church today, I do encourage you to do a personal research on these.
You really do think that all the post-apostolic generations of the church fathers, Augustin, Martin Luther, Calvin and the many countless others were false teachers and heretics because they confirmed in their teachings that the office of Apostle and prophet and signs wonders and tongues were no longer in operation? I trust them more than others who teach otherwise. Most of all I trust the word of God which confirms these gifts not to be in operation today.
Many of those Pentecostals and Charismatics who refute sound doctrine often have a behavior that is filled with hatred toward those who oppose their doctrines, instead this only confirms that they do not know Scripture very well and certainly they do not live them. They demonstrate to be filled of flesh rather than Spirit and yet they speak in “tongues” so they think to be filled with the Spirit and they only deceive themselves.
One can know Scripture even by memory, one thing is knowing, hearing, one thing is living it, obeying it, knowing how to properly interpret it and being humble enough to recognize when you at least could be wrong. Many of these pride filled people for example, not all of them are, but many, give evidence of not wanting to submit to any spiritual authority, no church, no pastor or elders, because they do not think they need to be accountable to any man they say, only to God they always trumpet.
Well, you can rest assured they will certainly be accountable to God, accountable and responsible for not wanting to obey His word that says to submit to one another in the love of Christ and to the spiritual authorities God placed them under. The person who does not want to submit to spiritual authority does not have any spiritual authority.
These are the ones who usually preach thy are the remnant of God, in other words, only them and those who obey and follow their pernicious doctrines are the only saved and enlightened ones. This is nothing but sectarianism, factions, division, that are condemned by God and therefore by sound Apostolic doctrine ROMANS 16:7; 1 CORINTHIANS 3:3; GALATIANS 5:20.
These people are carnal not spiritual, swelled with spiritual pride that manifests itself in their deceitful and deceived heart, they believe to be better, holier and more spiritual of others who are not “ Charismatic” as they are. This is the same exact problem the Corinthians had. They constantly compare themselves to other believers and other churches, to prove who much worse the others are than themselves, they never see themselves, their sins and they forget that it is only the grace of God and Christ’s righteousness that procures any good thing in them, if there is any good thing in them.
These are the ones who persecute and spiritually, emotionally and morally kill other brothers and sisters who are not “ Charismatic” like they are, spreading their lies and slander, while all along they believe to be doing God a service. There are different ways you can kill someone even if it is not physically. They kill spiritually and emotionally, as it was done physically in the past by the Roman church and it will be done still in the future, she who killed, tortured and put off true believers who accused her of being false and erroneous. This proves that the daughters of the harlot spoken of in Revelation 17 are today alive and well and they demonstrate to have the same nature and characteristics she has, those who persecute and will persecute the true believers.
This confirms in principle the prophecy Jesus made to His disciples, even though He was speaking to them specifically about Jews, however it speaks about us also, and the many who undergo this type of behavior on the part of those who profess to be brothers, those who have broken and dipped the bread together with us and betray us thinking to offer God a service.
John 16:1-4 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; (church and fellowship today) yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
Parenthesis mine, this will be however true of those who will want to truly walk in the truth of the word of God.
Let’s get back to the false prophets now.
The words that Paul uses are confirmation, together with that which the Lord said, in regard to false prophets and also that which was said by Paul and Peter in regard to those who claim to be prophets. The men who later, with an eye to the future, were labeled false teachers. Let us ask ourselves why, when the Apostles and true prophets prophesied future events they called these men false teachers and not prophets?
Can it be that they who were the true prophets of God were prophesying that in the near future those who were then considered false prophets, in other words before and during the Apostolic age, would later be addressed as false teachers?
Scripture would seem to confirm this fact. Let’s examine the concept. Does Scripture really teach us that prophecies and prophets will cease their activity? Not necessarily.
However, first of all, it is worth mentioning that both Paul and Peter do not ever refer in their writings to false prophets but to false teachers. This should make an alarm bell go off in our head.
When Jesus was speaking of false prophets, we have to realize that He was speaking, yes, even to us in a prophetic vain, but He was speaking first of all to His disciples and He was addressing them in a specific context, remember context is key to proper interpretation. The context in which Jesus was speaking and operating was Messianic Kingdom, Israel. Who could understand the concept of prophet better were Jews not Gentiles. However, certainly we speak of prophets even in the church.
It is therefore necessary to retain this in our minds, because we will see that the real Apostles make mention of the future not mentioning false prophets, rather false teachers, no one can deny this fact.
Only by reading Scripture this fact becomes evident. This is important,why? Because we can understand determined things by this fact.
The first thing we understand by consequence is that there will not be any more direct revelations but it will be the Apostolic doctrine taught through the written word the revelation for the church.
Prophecy even in the church during the period of Acts in reality is not at all considered prophecy
the same as the one in the OT, in other words considered strictly as foretelling future events, if anything this was done only by the Apostles.
Secondly, by consequence it is through doctrine we prove the true against the false and not by any direct revelation or prophecy. In other words, the prophets in the church will then become teachers of Apostolic doctrine and the gift of prophecy will be the one of rightly interpreting the written word of God, including the prophecies found therein. This operation cannot be done if not by the Holy Spirit, so it is not a thing of lesser spiritual value than the direct revelations the Apostle and prophets received at that time.
We can therefore preclude that prophecy today is not the same exact kind as the prophecy of the OT and has changed in operation but not in nature. The nature is still divine and spiritual but the operation of it has changed as it was already changing slowly at the beginning of the NT.
Let’s remember that the function of the prophets who were not Apostles and did not have the ministry of prophet, was not to announce the future or to announce new revelations but to edify, exhort and encourage the church ACTS 15:3;1 CORINTHIANS 14:3.
This is something that can be done without problem through the written word we have today. After all, even Paul told the Corinthians not to go beyond what was written.
1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
Interesting concept, going beyond what is written will make people become spiritually proud and turn one against the other. Is this not what is happening today?
So, the Scriptures in the Apostles writings as far as the future is concerned do not mention false prophets rather false teachers. Let’s see if Scripture supports and confirms this fact.
The entire chapter 2 of 2 Peter speaks of false teachers and it would be good to read it entirely, 2 PETER 2:1-22 however let’s examine in detail the first two verses.
2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
Peter uses very important words in this passage, he is first of all himself prophesying about the near future and he is saying that “ as there were false prophets” past tense, “ there will be false teachers” future tense.
Why this distinction between the two terms prophets and teachers and the past and the future?
Paul uses almost the same language
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
This passage also is a prophetic passage, Paul as well as Peter are prophesying about the future but in both cases they make mention to false teachers and not prophets.
Paul also says, “ the time will come” future tense (we live in this prophesied time) people “will not endure sound doctrine” the Apostle’s written doctrines.
These people “ according to their own desires will heap up teachers, not prophets, to turn their ears away from the truth and turn to fables”. ( fables = false revelations, prophecies, doctrines and signs and wonders)
What Peter and Paul wrote does not at all prove that prophets and prophecies can be real today as they were then. What they wrote actually excludes the importance of prophets as they were and it affirms instead the importance and emphasis of teaching in conjunction with the future in the church.
The mention of false teachers proves that there are also true teachers, it seems that in future terms the emphasis has shifted in importance, teaching has become more important than prophesying or actually has become one and the same thing. In other words teaching and prophesying have become one. It is for this reason that the preoccupation of the Apostles is against false teachers and not false prophets.
However, I will surprise some of you and perhaps even seem contradictory. I do not believe that the gift of prophecy in the church has ceased and therefore prophets still exist today.
The only reason to have said all this up to now is not to prove that prophecy and prophets do not exist today rather that they have changed in the way they operate. They do not operate any longer as they did before. In other words, the gift and the divine nature of the gift still exist in the church today and are operative however only through the proper interpretation and sharing of the written word.
We have already have spoken about the subject of the closure of the canon of Scripture, in other words the Bible and we have already mentioned that revelations and prophecies which are directly given by God as it was custom in the OT and during the Apostolic age have ceased.
They DO NOT SPEAK DIRECTLY FOR GOD as God was accustomed to do in the OT.
The office of prophet as the office of Apostle of the Apostolic church today are no longer operative and direct revelations and prophecies are also no longer used by God as they were then.
I will explain how the true prophet and prophecy works in the church today, how they should work.
The ministry of prophecy today is inseparably tied to teaching and the proper interpretation of the written word of God. Let’s remember, as we already said, that in Greek prophet means interpreter.
It is also for this reason that the Apostolic emphasis regarding the future of the church was based upon teaching and false teaching instead of prophecy. The emphasis of the church is to be upon the teaching of the complete canon of Scripture, the proper interpretation and sound teaching of the Apostolic doctrines.
I think we have clearly been able to confirm the fact that the true prophets today do not operate as the prophets did in the OT, as those who claimed with divine authority “Thus says the LORD” those who gave direct revelations and prophecies from God. We are saying that those who still operate this way today are the false prophets.
It is demonstrable that the real prophets of today, those who truly have the spiritual gift of prophecy exactly fulfill their given Scriptural NT ministry. They do this through the operation and manifestation of the Holy Spirit but they fulfill it only through and with the written word. If we truly believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God, we should not be surprised then, since we have the whole and entire revelation of God in the written word, if to give the necessary edification, exhortation and encouragement to the church we use exclusively this vehicle.
Do you think that it is less spiritual to use the Bible in order to interpret prophecy, to edify, to exhort and encourage the church? After all what was and is the true ministry of the NT prophet in the assembly? This ministry today, the preaching and prophecy and teaching operate together with the written word of God.
True prophets and prophetesses do operate today, only through the written word. The office and ministry of prophet belongs exclusively to a male and it is operated through a pastor, teacher, elder or deacon, otherwise as a spiritual gift it can be something any believer, male or female can have.
In this last case, as a gift, it is not an office and both men and women (with a veil 1 CORINTHIANS 11:1-15) can have and operate. If a brother or a sister given passages of the written word moved by God, can fulfill the ministry intended by Paul in 1 CORINTHIANS 14:3, and if the pastor, teacher, if the evangelist, elder, deacon can in their ministry still govern the church, in the evangelist’s case even plant churches, it is obvious that through them the ministry of the prophet still is in operation through the preaching and teaching of the written word.