Dear Pastor Ron:
In our previous article we saw how the Bible introduced prophecy as an integral way in which God related to His people through prophets. The prophets gave God's people much information concerning how God wanted His people to live that the world might recognize the importance and superiority of God's teachings to humanity. In looking at prophecy in the Scriptures we started with those that dealt with the coming Messiah. It was always God's purpose that His people should understand these prophecies so when the Messiah came they would welcome Him. Sadly, as we know, the Jewish leaders rejected the Messiah and consequently they lost their status as God's special people, God's missionaries, to take the gospel to mankind.
This privilege was now passed on to the Christian church. Jesus said to the Jewish leaders in Matthew 23:28: "Behold your house is left unto you desolate." Jesus also made this clear when He told them in Matthew 21:43 that "the kingdom of God shall be taken from [them] and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." The question we ask at this point is, did the prophetic gift end when Jesus left His disciples and returned to heaven? In other words, does the Bible allow for prophecy and prophets in the New Testament dispensation? If the answer is yes, then we should find a church today that has this gift. But first let us see if there's any validity to the prophetic gift being found in the New Testament church.
Here's what we have concerning the prophetic gift in the Christian church: In Romans 12:6 the apostle Paul writes: "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether, prophecy, let us prophecy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches on teaching;" in 1 Cor. 2:7-11 Paul speaks about the manifestation of the Spirit of God among the churches for the benefit of the membership; and one way in which the Spirit manifested itself was by enabling certain individuals to manifest certain qualities, and one of these qualities was the ability to prophecy, verse 10. Later on in the chapter, verses 27-31, Paul again speaks of the different offices God has given to the church, and again one of these offices was the office of prophecy, verse 28. The epistle to the Romans therefore, tells us that the gift of prophecy was indeed a gift that God had given to the NT church. In His epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 7-13, Paul once more speaks of the gifts God has given to the church for the purpose of strengthening, unifying, and educating the membership. In verse 11 we read that the second of these gifts was the gift of prophecy.
The Bible therefore establishes the legitimacy of prophets, or a prophet, in the NT church; and this is in harmony with God's past dealings with His people throughout the history of mankind, He always utilized a prophet as a main spokesman or woman to inform humanity of His wonderful gift of salvation; and also to warn them of how to avoid evil and how to continue in good works. May God give you faith in the validity and assurance of His written word. In my next article we will look at the pageant of world history as displayed in biblical prophecy; we will begin with the prophecies in the book of the prophet Daniel.