Roy Ralph Teaching on PROPHETS/PROPHECY
There has been an increased awareness of the ministry of the prophet lately. Charisma Magazine had a whole issue on prophets and prophecy recently and several new ministerial acquaintances have asked me about prophecy and how to prophesy. So I want to try to outline some of my thoughts and produce a study on prophecy. Included in this study will be the actual outline that I have used for several years to teach on prophecy. I will give the portion of the outline first and then discuss the subject as it is outlined.
I. INTRODUCTION - PROPHETS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
A. 1 Cor. 12:28 “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets” (ch. 14:5)
1. Eph. 4:11 “He gave some apostles, some prophets . . .”
B. Four types of “prophetic” words
1. True word from God
2. False word
3. Word from our heart - encourage, edify
4. Misinterpreted word - true word but we interpret it incorrectly making it a false word
C. Three types of prophets
1. True, False, Spirit or gift of prophecy
There has been some dispute as to whether there are prophets today. Many would acknowledge the existence of prophets in the Old Testament and possibly even some in the New Testament church. Yet, are there prophets today? To answer this question let us look at the Bible and some of the scriptures that people use to say the day of prophets and prophecy is over. First Corinthians 12:28 says “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets …” Also look at Ephesians 4:11 which says: “And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (ASV). In First Corinthians 14:5 Paul says that he wished that we would all speak with tongues but rather that we would prophesy. It is evident that God placed prophets in the early church. Since God set them in the church, did He take them out and if so when?
Many preachers will use First Corinthians 13:9-10 as their basis for saying prophets are no longer a part of the church. It states: “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” This of course begs the question what has come that is perfect? Some would indicate that that which is perfect is the Bible. Which translation? There are many translations in many different languages and that is what they are – translations. Unless you are reading copies of the original Greek and Hebrew you simply have a translation and they are not perfect; translations represent the translators understanding of the original writings. This is not to say that our translations are inferior or simply the ideas and work of men. It is important to have at least one translation of the Bible and different ones if possible so you can compare the passages between the translations. This would help you to better understand the full meaning of the original.
The only other scripture that I know of that people use to suggest that prophets and prophecy has ceased is Revelation 22:18-19, which says that if any man adds to the Bible, God will add to him the plagues written in the book. Also if anyone takes away from the words of the book God would take away his part out of the book of life. True prophecy today doesn’t add to the Bible, nor take anything away from the Bible. This will all be explained later as we continue to understand prophets and prophecy, especially when we look at how to discern true and false prophecies.
Some would say what is perfect is Jesus and that is true. However, Jesus had already been resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father many years before this was written by Paul and it has been established that there were prophets in the church. So if that which is perfect is speaking of Jesus it must be speaking of His second coming – which hasn’t happened yet. As we look around we find nothing is perfect, everything and everyone has flaws. Everything and everyone is still dying because there is still sin in the earth. When that which is perfect comes there will be no sin, no flaws of character, nothing to bring about death, at least within that which is perfect. Thus it appears that what Paul is referring to as perfect has not yet appeared, which opens up the understanding that God has not removed prophets and prophecy from the church; they are still valid for today.
There are four types of prophetic words that people speak. There is the true prophetic word which can drastically change a person’s life. This is a true word from God. There is a false word, which may or may not actually come from our adversary. These are words that are meant to deceive us and distract us from what God is saying and wanting to accomplish within us and can also drastically change a person’s life. These words can come from our adversary or can be closely associated with the next type of prophetic word; a word that comes from our heart. No one has a problem recognizing that people tell the truth or at times they lie. Sometimes we speak things that are good and we hope are from God, because it is what we wish for them; but later find out it wasn’t what God was saying, it came from our heart. It is what we hope and pray for others. This is a word from our heart not necessarily from God, or our adversary. Then there is the misinterpreted word. This is a word from God that we interpret incorrectly thereby many times making it a false word and we respond in a wrong manner. We think it means one thing when it actually means something entirely different.
There are three levels or realms of prophets and prophecy. There is the true prophet, which indicates there is also a false prophet. (It amazes me that people accept there could be fortunetellers, etc. but deny the existence of true prophets. For this study we will not focus much on the false prophet or prophecy only on the reality of prophets and their function today. Later we will look at the difference and show how to tell if a prophet or prophecy is true or false.) There is also the gift of prophecy and the Spirit of prophecy. In part two of this series we will look at these three levels or realms of prophets and prophecy in more depth.LikeCommentShare
2 people like this.