Life of the Prophet
In the Old Testament, the prophet would guide the king, therefore the people, by speaking the will of God, and many times the will of God will include correction, judgement and warnings. Prophets were often ignored in the Old Testament, while even back in those days among the true prophets you found many speaking deceptions and lies. Today, nothing has changed, because God does not change (Hebrews 13:8).
Prophets are still called to lead the corporate church by speaking and declaring the will of God to the leaders (who are like the modern day kings of old). Prophets still speak to believers. Still today what the prophet utters may contain correction or judgement, or it may speak of encouragement, direction or wisdom. Prophets still speak to nations, or even to a multitude of nations, declaring the will of God not just unto the Church but unto secular leaders as to warn, to guide, to direct and to declare the heart and mind of God. Thus from the old to the new, nothing has changed in regard to the prophet.
Many will say that the prophetic of the New Testament is different to the days of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel, simply because we have a very narrow understanding of the role of the prophet. As the prophet was in the old so he is under the New Covenant. Still today, many are saying that no one should really be saying “so says the Lord”, but rather to say “that I feel led that this is what the Lord is saying …” We are completely misunderstanding the role of the prophet.
To the matter of what is a real prophet, consider that a prophet is a spokesperson for God. The prophet admonishes, warns, confirms, encourages, intercedes, teaches and counsels. His primary function is to speak the heart, the mind and the will of God in order to bring into alignment what has been out of alignment according to God’s will, truth and Kingdom. A prophet is called to stand in the council of the Lord. He stands before the living God. Having stood before God he is sent to stand for God, before his people and speak His word. To prophesy is to communicate the mind and heart of God to a person, a group of people or a territory; therefore, prophecy is linked with the promise of God over our lives. God's promise is an announcement of His plan of salvation and blessing to His people. A promise embraces both declaration and deed.
Prophets in our time will bring the word of the Lord to the corporate church, to spiritual leaders (as Ezekiel spoke to the shepherds in Ezekiel 34) and to the believers. Prophets will give direction and vision in these situations, so that God's people know what is happening, and what they should do. This speaks of wisdom, so they may know the way ahead. For example, the prophet Gad provided guidance to David and showed him how to avoid trouble. But the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth (1 Samuel 22:5).
Prophets can give direction to those who are seeking the will of God. Sometimes the prophetic word will be for the church as a whole or for the leadership of the church. The prophet thus admonishes, intercedes, teaches and counsels. He encourages, edifies and so builds and plants. Importantly he stands on the walls to see what the Lord is doing that he may call the Body as a corporate or the believer to respond. He may even call nations or secular leaders to heed the Word of God.
The office of the prophetic has often been shrouded in mystery, or it has been misinterpreted or misunderstood over many years. Truly, it is clear that for a long time the prophetic has been either shunned in the church, or it has become absolutely snowed under by misconceptions, distortions and falseness. For a long time, especially in the advent of the Roman Catholic Church, the prophetic office was completely shunned
and suppressed. It sparked to life again during the early 1500s with the Reformation and gained
momentum with the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. While this is all good and well, the
devil also realised the dangers of the prophets taking their rightful place again. And so today we
are inundated and overwhelmed by so many “prophetic” voices, yet many of these voices are not
even speaking as the Lord leads.
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Ezekiel 1: The Prophet Is Called
4 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[a] you;
I [b]ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
7 But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”