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We are often accustomed to reading prophets' stories in the books of the Old Covenant. These men and women have mostly been intermediaries between God and the people.
It is important to understand the difference between this time and ours, today in a period of grace, and the consequences that flow from it.
Before the cross and since the fall, men have lost that close relationship with God that Adam and Eve had before they sinned.
During the Old Covenant, humans had no possibility of being born again, of having their spirits regenerated and sealed by the Holy Spirit, as Ephesians 4: 30 says. It was simply their faith in God that gave them access to salvation, but God did not come to dwell in them through His Spirit as He does for a born again person today.
The prophets and prophetesses were those who had this permanent connection with God, they could receive thoughts, messages from Him for the people.
These prophets predicted events that for some are not yet all fulfilled. At other times in history, they gave words of knowledge, revelations to kings like David, but also to people from the lower class like Anne, Samuel's mother, for example.
Throughout the Old Covenant, God's people were as connected with God through these prophets.
Their role was broadly to give the thought of God, to write predictions from God, called prophecies, which concerned the times of that era but also the end of this earthly world.
Today everything is written and recorded in the Bible. God gave all the general prophecies He wanted for this world and concerning the human race until the end of time. No writing outside the Bible can be authoritative in matters of prophecy or faith.
Revelation 22: 18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
There is therefore nothing more to add in this time of grace regarding the end of time and future events other than what the Bible already tells us in the prophecies it contains.
This is simply to show that God has already spoken about the events. The only words that could be given will only be confirmations of what the Bible already says about prophecy. That is, any prophecy of the end of times will always refer to another one already contained in the Bible.
Today it is no longer necessary to have prophets as in the Old Covenant, making the link between God and the people. This function as it is described throughout the books of the Old Testament is now over.
Quite simply because since the cross a more than major difference has occurred.
Today God has restored this lost connection with men through the new birth. We have the possibility of receiving the Spirit of God who is Holy within us in a permanent way.
No one born again today can say that he (she) has received more or less than others. We all received exactly the same thing when we were born again : the same power, the same Spirit, the same authority, the same faith, etc...
Paul said that it is quite possible that all Christians can prophesy.
1 Corinthians 14: 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.
Of course this example was given in order to correct a negative attitude in a local church, but nevertheless shows that in Paul's thought it was not utopian that all Christians could prophesy.
He confirms this a few lines further down in the same book.
1 Corinthians 14: 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
It is now clear that all Christians, without exception, can prophesy.
Would this mean that because some Christians do not prophesy, the fact of prophesying is not available to them?
Not at all!
A born-again person who chooses not to prophesy does not prevent the fact that he or she has the potential to do so. God doesn't give anything for nothing. The potential He puts inside us is made to be used.
We can all without exception receive thoughts, words of knowledge, messages from God.
You can't prophesy without being a prophet.
Some may say: "But Franck, why does this same Paul say in another passage that God gave some people as prophets? ».
It is very easy to get an answer to this question. If we take the passage from:
Ephesians 4: 10-15 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the [a]edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
We might have the impression that Paul says that Jesus by His Spirit gave only some Christians the power to be prophets. The mistake that many make, and even those who teach, is to read only verse 11 of the same passage.
Ephesians 4: 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
It is obvious that this single isolated sentence will lead most people to think that there are Christians who are apostles, other prophets, other evangelists, other pastors, and other teachers.
Some have even developed a whole hierarchy in the body of Christ today that follows this single verse 11.
What a mistake!
If we take up the context of this complete passage quoted above, Paul tells us that Jesus gave gifts to men.
Verse 11 in the AMP translation is much more explicit.
Ephesians 4: 11 And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct],
These are therefore gifts that Jesus gives. We also learn that these gifts are only intended to edify the saints, that is, the Church, those who are born again only. Paul says it in his explanation; these gifts are made to build up the body of Christ, to ensure that Christians are no longer tossed around by false doctrines, so that they can all reach the same maturity as Jesus, so that they can all express the totality of what God has given them.
But then, would God have ordained certain people as prophets today?
No, that's not what Paul says!
When Paul speaks of apostles, prophets, doctors, evangelists, pastors, these are gifts. The gift of the apostle, the gift of the prophet, the gift of the doctor, the gift of the evangelist, of the pastor.
I don't have to have a prophetic gift to be able to prophesy!
Just take the gift of the evangelist, for example.
If some Christians were only to be evangelists to build the Church, it would not make sense.
This would mean that only a handful of Christians can speak about the Gospel, being evangelists. Moreover, how could an evangelist preaching the Gospel of salvation build up a person already born again. It doesn't make sense either.
The answer is quite different.
Each of these gifts mentioned above is for the edification of Christians only, that is a fact.
In the case of a gift of prophecy or prophet, it is a born again person who has received a particular gift to help his brothers and sisters to express prophecy. The same applies to all other gifts.
If, then, we remain on the subject of prophets, today in the time of grace, there are no more prophets as they were found in the Old Covenant. This is simply because God has made us prophets. We are all prophets of God. That is why God helps us in this, He regularly gives gifts to some Christians so that all can become prophets as He planned in the new birth.
We now understand that there is no question of having a person who calls himself a prophet, and who would give prophecies about people, keeping them in a passive state. A person who claims to have a gift as a prophet today must have as his sole and only purpose to bring the people he teaches to a level equal to or higher than his own, and not to keep them in a lower status.
In light of this, it is now easy to see that it is just as ridiculous to call oneself a prophet so-and-so or apostle so-and-so as to say Christian so-and-so.
If your name is Peter for example, you do not call yourself "Christian Peter", it would be lacking in humility. The same is true for those who call themselves apostles or prophets, etc...
We are all called to become apostles, that is, envoys,
We are all called to become prophets, that is, people who receive words from God.
We are all called to become evangelists who speak of salvation around them.
We are all called to become pastors, who take care of others.
We are all called to become doctors in order to teach others at our level.
What a strong and powerful Church!... if the whole body of Christ in the world would finally recognize this pattern that Paul has given us, instead of creating a hierarchy that is not necessary.
Would this mean that in the Church of Christ today there should not be all these gifts?
The gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and doctor are very important and the Church needs them.
The problem is when Christians consider that there are those who are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers on one side, but position themselves on the other side. When they think they are the people, and there are the elites on the other side. When they think that there are spirituals, and that they will never be able to reach this level. When they have not understood that the goal for them is to become an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and doctor.
We see too many people who position themselves below these people who have these gifts, or who claim to have them.
There is no hierarchy in the Church of Christ, we are all at the same level. Some have positions of responsibility because of the gift(s) they have received, but no one is more or less important than the other. No one received more or less than the other.
That is why, and in regard of the subject that interests us today, we are all called to prophesy as prophets that we are.
If you are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, you are called to prophesy as powerfully as any prophet or prophetess of the Old Covenant, we have nothing less than they had in their time.
Our TRGN ministry is here to help you achieve this goal if you wish.
Bye for now.