3-28-2020 THE PROPHETIC
What does being prophetic really mean?
OT (all references Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
5012 (1) naba (nawbaw) prophesy, speak or sing by inspiration (predict or in speaking)
5197 (1) netaiym (netaweem) speak in inspiration as falling droplets
5029 nebiy (nebee) a prophet
5030 nabiy (nawbee) prophet, inspired man
NT (all references Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
5578 (3) philologos (filologos) argue, as a philosopher
4396 prophetes (profaytace) inspired speaker, poet, prophet
Prophet utter divine inspiration, gifted with more than ordinary spiritual or moral insight, foretell future events, leading spokesperson for a cause or event, spiritual seer (no visible facts or material evidence)
Jer. 1:1-19 Jeremiah is called to proclaim God’s judgement (and hope) upon Israel
Note V5 I knew you and have ordained you
V6-7 I will give you what to say
V17-19 Speak what I tell you, I will protect you
Amos 7:1-17 Amos is given a word to carry to Israel
Note V12 O seer, go prophecy elsewhere
V14-15 I was a shepherd when God called me (qualilfications??)
Luke 2:36-38 Anna, from tribe Aser, prophesies Jesus is the redeemer
Note V37 Fasted and prayed in the temple night and day
Acts 21:10-12 Agabus prophecies Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem
Understand, that just being called a prophetic (or calling oneself a prophet) doesn’t make someone a prophet.
God’s prophets are called (by Him) and anointed (by Him) to do His work. Read through both the Old and New Testaments and see that the prophet is given a specific task or a specific word. As with Jonah, it could be a single task for a single people or multiple people or ongoing tasks as with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel or Daniel.
Examples from the bible demonstrate Gods’ prophets, their characteristics and qualities.
The judges preceded the kings and God would raise them up to save Israel from an oppressor. God called them and gave them a task. Some of the judges included Othniel who delivered Israel from the Canaanites (Judges cptr 3), Deborah later inspired Israel (again) against the Canaanites (Judges cptr 4), and Gideon who delivered Israel form the Amalekites and the Midianites (chptrs 6-8) and of course Samson who was used to deal with the Philistines (Judges chptrs 14-16). All called by God for a specific task.
After the death of Joshua, Israel had no monarch guiding them, rather God raised up judges. Israel clamored to be ‘just like everyone else’ so God gave them what ‘they’ wanted, a king, Saul (1 Sam. 9:1-2, 10:1). Then after Saul, God raised up David to be king and gave the people His man (1 Sam. 16:1-13, 2 Sam. 2:3, 2Sam. 5:12). A contrast in ruling style (check it out) – Saul and David - and then there were all those kings who followed. In king Saul, God gave the people what they wanted, in David, God gave them a true man of God or what Father wanted.
I mention the judges, not because they are considered ‘prophets’, they weren’t (not exactly), but they did perform certain tasks before the people for which God anointed them (you make the call).
Saul and David were the first two kings of Israel and though Saul and David warred against each other (before David became king), David wouldn’t do harm against Saul because while Saul was king, he was God’s anointed (1 Sam. 24:4-6).
Father puts people in their positions whether anybody acknowledges it or not (Dan. 2:20-22). It is God who raises up and takes down (Psalm 75:7). And unlike Saul, David was not a head taller than everybody else. In fact, he may have been a bit shorter than most, the ‘average Joe’. David was a shepherd. He was humble and knew how to take care of his sheep. He killed a bear and a lion in defending those sheep (1 Sam. 17:34-46). He knew how to praise and worship God (1 Chron. 16:1-43). David sought direction from God and then did it (2 Sam. 5:19-25). And He knew how to pray (2 Sam. 12:12-24). After all, he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
And there were more prophets than Jeremiah and Amos, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Micah and Malachi. These are just some whom we remember most.
So let’s take a look at some of the qualities of the men and women of God.
As I said, prophets are called of God.
Pharaoh, feared the strength of the Israelites so he ordered all Hebrew male children to be slain at birth. Yet, the midwives, fearing the Lord, saved the babe Moses when he was born (Exod. 1:1-22). Yet only three months old, Moses was put in an ark of bulrushes and set in the river where Pharaoh’s daughter found him and took him for her own. Though raised in Pharaoh’s court for forty years, Moses fled to Midian. Then he returned to Egypt, forty years later, to bring God’s children out of bondage. Called for a specific task? While in Midian, Moses defended Jethro’s daughters and ended up tending their sheep (Exod. 2:15-21). When Moses encountered God in the burning bush on the mount, he humbled himself, acknowledging the sovereignty of God (Exod. 3:1-6). Moses sought God’s direction (Exod. 3:13-15). Was Moses in communication with the Almighty? Did signs and wonders follow Moses? Read Exod. Cptrs 7-12 and count them, all ten plagues. Through these examples and more we see Moses constantly seeking God’s direction.
Dare I mention Samuel, whom God chose from even before conception? Hannah prayed that God would give her a son, and if He did, she would give him back to God. He did. She did (1 Sam. 1:1-28). Considered the last judge of Israel, Samuel judged all his life (1 Sam. 7:15). After anointing David to be king, while Saul yet reigned (1 Sam. 25:1), Samuel died. As well as obeying God’s Word and anointing kings, Samuel brought God’s word to t the people giving them direction (1 Sam. 7:1-11).
Isaiah was a learned man and was apparently able to relate across many cultural barriers but preferred his own oppressed people (Israel) and lived in the 8th century BC . His father, Amoz, interfaced with kings and may have been a prophet himself (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Isaiah). God calls Isaiah to be a prophet and though Isaiah considers himself an unclean man, he accepts God’s cleansing and then the task set before him (Isa. 6:1-9). Some of Isaiah’s prophecies include the birth of our Lord and who He is (Isa. 7:14, 9:6-7, 11:1-10, He also spoke of the evil Babylon brings upon Israel and then the destruction of Babylon (Isa. 13:1-22).
Deborah, apparently, judged Israel for forty years between 1107 and 1067 BC (Dictionary of World Biography: The Ancient World), but, according to archeological evidence, it may have been 1200 to1124 BC (Jewish History: Deborah the Prophetess – Chabad). She prophesied the death of Sisera, general of Canaan’s army and with his death ending the Cananite oppression of Israel. Deborah gave God’s direction to Israel’s army and prophesied that a woman would be Sisera’s demise . Jael fulfilled this prophecy and, with the death of Sisera, Israel gained victory over king Jabin and the Canaanites (Judges 4:1-24).
The son of Zacharias and Elisabeth was John (who was called the Baptist), the son of a couple past child bearing age. An angel of God appeared before Zacharias, as he was in prayer (in the temple) and explained the birth and the name and calling of the would-be son (Luke 1:1-22), God’s calling of John. The unborn John, leaped in his mother’s womb when greeted by Mary (the soon to be mother of Jesus) who came to tend Elisabeth in her final days before John’s birth (Luke 1:39-43). John would be called the prophet of the highest, bringing the knowledge of salvation and remission of sins to the people (Luke 1:76-77, John’s task). God’s hand was on John as He had already given him his calling. John preached baptism and repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3:1-3) and the coming of the Messiah (Luke 3:4-6). John was a simple man (Matt. 3:1-5). He prophesied the coming of Jesus (Luke 3:16-19), and of course, it was he who baptized Jesus (Luke 3:16-17, 3:21-23). Now John, continued to preach until his death at the command of Herod (Matt. 14:1-12). And remember that John told his disciples the he must decrease as Jesus increased (John 2:26-36). Not only did John pave the way for our Lord Jesus, he understood his role in the scheme of events.
Anna was an elderly prophetess who declared (prophesied) Israel’s redemption through Jesus (Luke 2:36-38). She was a widow who served God, not leaving the temple, serving in fasting and praying. Hmmmm. Wonder if she might be considered the first ‘nun’? A clue to her age – she had been a widow for 84 years. Think about it. She married 7 years from her virginity (@10-13 years old) so she may have been 17 – 20 years of age when she married her husband of 84 years. She was most likely over 100 years old (add ‘em up @12 + 7 + 84!) AND she spent those last 84 years fasting and praying in the temple. WOW! Is that devotion?
Tradition implies that Agabus may have been one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent out (Luke 10:1-17). He may very well have been one of the hundred and twenty in the upper room in Acts chapter two. We see Agabus twice in the book of Acts. Our first encounter was when he had come, with other prophets, from Jerusalem to Antioch @ 40 AD. He prophesied a world-wide famine which came to pass during the reign of Claudius Caesar, 41-54AD (Acts 11:27-29, http:// www.spiritandtruth.org /teaching/Acts_by_Tony_Garland/36_Acts_11_27). Scholars tell us that apparently there were four famines during Claudius’ reign. The next prophesy was when he indicated that if Paul went to Jerusalem, he would be bound (Acts 21:10-13). And Paul was (Acts 21:31-33).
There are more prophets and prophetesses mentioned in the scripture. Take note that they were men and women of devotion, prayer, obedience and action.
They all knew the Lord. They fasted and prayed. They sought God’s direction. They were all called to a specific task(s) and they were all obedient to the Word of God. Many performed miracles in the name of the Lord.
And, by the way, we haven’t even mentioned Elijah who, in his duel with the prophets of Baal, called fire from heaven and burned not only what was on the altar, but dried up the ground around it (1 Kings 18:20-38). Miracles?
There was the miracle of Daniel in the lion’s den (Dan. 6:16-23). A miracle? How many men do you think could be in the same place as hungry lions and survive? And if you remember, Daniel was given the prophecy of our Lord Jesus and His ministry (Dan.21-27). He interpreted dreams before kings: The image of gold, silver brass and iron and clay for Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:28); the writing on the wall with king Belshazzar (Dan. 5:25-30; and the miracle of the lion’s den with king Darius (Dan. 6:16-23). But Daniel knew his place, or relationship with God and let the king know exactly from Whom the interpretations came (Dan. 2:28).
The apostles also displayed prophetic qualities. Peter had the vision of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-44). And, check it out, even Cornelius (a common man had a vision). Peter reminds us that Jesus said that in the last days “… God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophecy, your young men shall see visions and old men shall dream dreams. Upon my servants and handmaids I will pour out My Spirit in those days and they shall prophecy … (Acts 2:17-18, also see Joel 2:28). In case you’re wondering – that’s us!
Peter and John healed a lame man in Jesus’ name (Acts 3:1-9). Paul cast out devils (Acts 16:16-18). Even after Jesus ascended, miracles followed believers!
I now mention the sons of Sceva lest we forget that we not only ‘do’ things in the name of Jesus, but a prophet also has to walk in the power of the living God (Acts 19:13-16). Jesus said He would give us the Holy Ghost (John 14:16-19, Acts 1:8) and did it (Acts 2:1-18). Back to the sons of Sceva. They tried to cast out a demon in Jesus’ and what did the demon say? “I know Jesus, I know Paul, but ‘who are you’ (paraphrased)? When we know Jesus, the demons also know us and they know whether or not we have the power of God in our lives. Amen? The seven sons of Sceva did not and got their butts kicked by one (though demon possessed) man.
Above all, it is God who gives the prophet what to speak and what to do. In prophecy, the words of the prophet will ALWAYS be in agreement with the Word of God. They have to be, God has given them!
So, not only will a true prophet display God-given qualities and characteristics, the prophet will also have power to do things in the name of Jesus (Col. 3:17). The prophet, in prophecy, will always speak God’s Word, that is, whatever he says will be consistent with scripture.
A prophet’s life includes fasting, prayer, obedience, devotion and hearing (learning) and putting God’s Word into action. He is in continual communication with God. He knows how to stand up for what God his given. He knows how to praise and glorify God. The prophet is called and anointed by God (prepared) so he (she) can do what Father has called them to do.
So, how do we know a prophet? Get the idea?