This is from The Untainted Gospel blog:
The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.
Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.”
The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him “Man of the year” when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan!
The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always been that of recovery.”
The prophet is God’s detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him.
He has no price tags.
He is totally “otherworldly.”
He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.
He marches to another drummer!
He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration.
He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind.
He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a “thus saith
He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of
He lives in “splendid isolation.”
He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.
His message is “repent, be reconciled to God or else…!”
His prophecies are parried.
His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.
He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.
He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!
He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with
epitaphs when dead.
He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few “make the grade” in his class.
He is friendless while living and famous when dead.
He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint
He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of
Life to those who listen.
He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years.
He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation.
He announces, pronounces, and denounces!
He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.
He talks to men about God.
He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men.
He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.
He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in
He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual.
He has passion, purpose and pugnacity.
He is ordained of God but disdained by men.
GOD’S MEN ARE IN HIDING UNTIL THE DAY OF THEIR SHOWING FORTH. They will come. The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history.
There is a terrible vacuum in evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable.
Copyright 1994 by Leonard Ravenhill
The Spirit of a Prophet
Josephus on John the Baptist
The Life of the Prophet IS the Warning
This is from the Singapore Christian blog:
Why are so many churches desolate, poor and in ruin. According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing in his book ‘The Ministry of God’s Word‘, it is because they lack proper ministers whom the Lord can use to deliver His Word.
One basic problem in the church is the lack of proper ministers of the word. This does not mean that God’s word is rare or that the vision or light is unclear. It means that there is a shortage of men whom God can use. God desires that the spirits of prophets be subject to prophets. Who are the prophets to whom the spirits of the prophets will be subject? Can the spirits of prophets be subject to those who walk according to their own will, who give ground to the flesh, and who are stubborn in their mind and emotion? If a man does not bear the mark of the cross in his spirit, he is a wild and proud man. He may have suffered years of discipline, but he is not yet defeated. The Lord’s smiting hand may have been on him once, twice, or even ten times, but he is still not defeated. In spite of the Lord’s repeated chastisement, he is still unyielding. Such a man proves himself to be a useless vessel. Is the problem before us a shortage of vision, light, or the word? No. It is a shortage of prophets whom God can use.
[Indeed], the problem today lies entirely with the ministers. There is no scarcity of vision, light, or God’s word. The problem today is that God cannot find proper ministers. Many times God’s light ceases to be visible to others when it is put into our mouth. Many people speak about the Holy Spirit in their messages, but others do not touch the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, they touch the flesh. Many people speak about God’s holiness, but others do not sense any holiness in them. They only touch a frivolous spirit. Some speak about the cross on the platform, but others can sense that they have never passed through any dealings. There is not even a trace of the cross in them. Some like to speak of love, but only temper, rather than love, is expressed through them. All of these cases speak of a basic problem – something is wrong with the ministers. If all the preaching on this earth today were in the principle of ministry, the church would be very rich. It is unfortunate that there is very little of God’s word despite all of the preaching! This is the basic problem in the church today. Without ministers, there is no inspiration and no revelation. With many people, the more they preach, the further their speaking is from being an inspiration, from being the release of any light, and from being qualified to be called revelation. The problem is with the preachers; they are not the ones whom God can use. God cannot use such men, yet He does not want to speak alone. This is a problem. He has the word, yet He does not want to release this word by Himself. He does not want to be the minister of the word; He wants man to be the minister of His word.
Brothers, God will not speak by Himself. If ministers cannot speak His word, what will be the condition of the church? The church is desolate, poor, and in ruin because human elements have not come up to the standard of God’s word. If God can find a person who has been dealt with by Him, who is broken, and who is prostrate on his face, God’s word will flow through him. We are looking all the time for God’s word, but He is looking all the time for men whom He can use. We are looking for God’s word, while He is looking for ministers. If we are unwilling to be dealt with, we will not be able to work for God. We must not think that such dealings are optional. We should not presume that, after hearing a certain number of messages, we can release the same word. No! If a person is not proper, his message will not be proper. Man can hinder God’s word. The Holy Spirit is not released through the word alone. When God’s word comes to us, we must be free from all hindrances. We must be broken, and we must bear the mark of the cross. Our spirit must be a smitten spirit. God can only use such persons, and the Holy Spirit will only flow through such persons. If the Holy Spirit is locked within us, the hindrance and frustration is our outer man, our emotion, and our temperament. When such things are present within us, surely God’s word cannot flow through us. Even if we deliver a wonderful sermon, in reality it is nothing but words, teachings, and doctrines; there is not the word of God.
This is from the blog kevin lotz:
34 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah:
35 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“See, I will break the bow of Elam,
the mainstay of their might.
36 I will bring against Elam the four winds
from the four quarters of heaven;
I will scatter them to the four winds,
and there will not be a nation
where Elam’s exiles do not go.
37 I will shatter Elam before their foes,
before those who want to kill them;
I will bring disaster on them,
even my fierce anger,”
declares the Lord.
“I will pursue them with the sword
until I have made an end of them.
38 I will set my throne in Elam
and destroy her king and officials,”
declares the Lord.
39 “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam
in days to come,”
declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 49:34-39 NIV)
Today’s text is the last of the prophecies against the surrounding nations before we begin the prophecies against Babylon (chapters 50 – 51).
Today’s passage is about Elam, the small country located in modern-day Iran. Susa, its capital city, lay directly north of the top of the Persian Gulf. Elam’s borders extended around the eastern side of the Persian Gulf (see close-up map here; see larger regional map here).
The timing of this word from the Lord is very accurate – early in the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah (597 BC). This is important, as Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took over this area in 596 BC. Elam had existed as a country until 640 BC when Assyrian king Ashurbanipal took over the land.
Historically, Elam was known for its military might, specifically its archers (v. 35). The Lord promised to break Elam’s bow, signifying His conquering of its military power. As a sign of His conquest, the Lord promised to establish His presence there (v. 38). Incidentally, the capital city of Susa was often the winter home of Persian kings, but the Lord was laying claim to the land and the city now.
While the Lord did promise to destroy Elam, He also promised to one day restore its fortunes (v. 39).While Elam was not a direct threat to Israel or Judah, it was in the Lord’s radar and part of the larger story of kings and kingdoms in ancient Middle Eastern history.
So what is the significance of today’s passage? What faith lesson can we draw from this ancient text in our modern day life and culture?
One surprising connection is that the Elamites were mentioned in the group of people who heard the Good News at the day of Pentecost (Acts 2, specifically verse 9). Yes, the Lord had scattered the Elamites to the four winds (v. 36). But He also preserved their culture and language some 600-plus years until they could hear the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2, specifically verse 8).
May we remember that God’s time frame is not like ours. Just because an event does or does not happen in our lifetime does not mean God does not care or that he is not working.
May we remember that the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the God of eternity and transcends space and time.
May we rejoice and worship with Mary when she learned that she would be the mother of Jesus the Christ-child:
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
(Acts 2:46-55 NIV, emphasis on verse 50 mine)
This is from inspirationfromthewordblog:
When Miriam and Aaron opposed Moses, the LORD said to them, “If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” (Num. 12:6)
The Hebrew word mar’âh is used in this passage, and transliterated into English as ‘a vision’. It means ‘a mode of revelation; in the sense of a mirror’. Mar’âh can refer to anything, either literal or figurative, that is seen or perceived, which reveals and reflects back a message from, and/or a characteristic or attribute of, God.
‘Vision’, in English, means ‘the act or power of seeing with the eyes’. The term ‘a vision’, however, relates only to that which was seen, not the action itself. A vision is an experience of the mind that naturally begins with sight — for whether the vision’s image or scene is transmitted via the eyes, or is simply registered directly in the mind — of necessity something must first be seen.
In that context, consider the phrase frequently uttered by the prophets of the Old Testament: ‘and the word of the Lord came to me’. It would be consistent with God’s statement in Numbers 12:6 to assume that the ‘word of the Lord’ often came in the form of pictorial representations (visions and dreams) of the message God wanted to convey. Pictures are the simplest form of communication, and they precede words: because when learning a language, we are first shown pictures of objects, then we are given the word(s) that is/are associated with them. Pictures and words both express meaning, but pictures are superior in that they can be understood universally, while words are language specific. And to a certain degree, a prophet receiving a vision in this manner can be made analogous to a person watching a video presentation; so the value of this method of communication is readily apparent.
However, there are also instances of God sending an angel as a messenger to speak for him; and Hebrews 1:1 informs that God disclosed his thoughts to the prophets in many ways, at different times. So, with all of the various ways that God can communicate, why are there seemingly no prophets among the Lord’s followers today? Does Christianity have no need for prophecy anymore? This can by no means be the case, for Romans 12:6 states, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.” Furthermore, we are told, “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.” (1 Cor. 12:28) Paul ranks prophecy as the second highest function within the body of Christ!! He also says we ought to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy, and that he wishes everyone in the church prophesied. (1 Cor 14:1&5) Should anyone reasonably assume then that a need for so important a role no longer exists?! God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so if the manifestation of prophesy is nearly extinct today, it is a reflection of our own failure and inadequacy — but that is a different subject that cannot be explored here, so I will simply draw attention to the implication of the words “earnestly desire” and move on.
At this point, it would be remiss to not return to and conclude the rest of the thought from Hebrews 1:1. Picking back up in verse 2, “…but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” This indicates that the means by which the Father communicates with man has changed. Prior to the Lord’s first advent, communication from God came in diverse forms. When Jesus was on the earth, God was then speaking directly through his Son, who was the preexistent Word. Now that he has been resurrected, God speaks via the gift of the Holy Spirit, in combination with the revealed word of Scripture. This change in the manner by which God communicates does not bring the need for prophecy to an end in the present day, it merely changes how prophecy is conveyed.
Based of the meaning of mar’âh, a prophet of the Old Testament would reflect back to the people what God had revealed by the vision. The vision itself was always sharply impressed upon the prophet’s mind, even when its meaning was obscure. It was rendered in such a way that it appeared to their mind with the same clarity and distinctness as that which is visible to the eye, so that they could speak with certainty and conviction. In a sense, the vision acted as a light to the prophet’s mind, revealing the things of God that would have been otherwise imperceptible; since vision is impossible in the absence of light. The prophet then functioned as a mirror, reflecting the light of that vision back to the people. Before the promised Messiah was revealed, visions and dreams served in his stead, but today the Lord is the Light of the world, by whom we are made to see.
The Father’s disclosure of his plan for the salvation of man through his Son was completed with the Book of Revelation. It would seem that all He intends to reveal regarding the end of days has already been spoken. It would appear that visions and dreams have had their end — perhaps not on an isolated, individual basis — but at least as far they concern any messages intended to be delivered on a national or worldwide scale. Yet although there are no new revelations regarding salvation, in the general sense of those conveyed by visions, it is still true that not all of the revelations from Scripture have been made clear: and this is why the gift of prophecy is still essential today.
Prophecy is not only predictive, it is also interpretive. This can be shown by the statement found in Dan. 9:1-2, which says: “In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes… I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” The prophecy he refers to is from Jer. 29:1-24. Its message was for the all of the exiles who lived in that time, and it retained its relevance to its intended audience up until the command to return to Jerusalem was given. But a prophecy, whether it be given for guidance and instruction, or to serve as a warning, is without value unless it is understood — just like the gift of tongues is only useful when it is interpreted. Therefore, Daniel, a prophet himself, was given understanding by God so that he could act in accordance to the dictates of a prophecy that had been given previously to another of God’s servants. As a prophet, he was also given the power to interpret: as when he translated the king’s dark dreams. Likewise, he received visions himself, that spoke of events far into the future — and angelic beings supplied the explanations in an obscure manner — not for his own benefit, but for the sake of those who would live during the age when the visions would attain their relevance and fulfillment. That which was veiled would only be made plain at the appropriate time. Since the events to which some prophecies allude have not yet occurred, and since all of their meanings have not been fully understood, it stands to reason that the interpretive component of prophecy still has relevance today.
The interpretive aspect of prophecy is essentially a process of converting something hidden — a meaning that is unseen and incomprehensible –into something that is now clear and readily understood. This idea evokes a further discussion of sight, because understanding how light converts the invisible into the visible can aid in comprehending how the phenomenon of understanding a vision is made possible. The eye sees, the mind reasons, and the heart understands, as stated in Isaiah 6:10 and elsewhere. Sight is the action whereby the eyes take in whatever is reflected back and revealed by light. The information the eyes receive is processed in the mind, and the brain then attempts to define what was seen, provide context from past experience, and attach meaning to it. The mind then relays its analysis to the heart, submitting its conclusions for judgement. The heart then renders its verdict as to whether the mind has determined accurately, or falsely — and the communication continues until the two are of one accord.
This process is common to all, both the believer and the unbeliever alike, but it is important to note that definitude of the heart’s judgment can only be had when it is given in the presence of the holy spirit, since God alone sees all things as they truly are — and it is only by His spirit that man can know the mind of God, and see as He sees. The Lord Jesus, the Christ, is both the Word, who spoke in days past to the prophets in the light of visions and dreams, and the present Light of the world, who reveals the hidden things contained in the word of scripture. He is the one who sends forth the Holy Spirit, which teaches righteous judgment to the hearts of all those into whom it is sent; and it is by this same spirit that the prophecies of old were uttered. It should not be imagined that the passage of time has rendered the Lord’s spirit mute. The ability to see in a physical capacity is a gift given by God, which he provides to all but a few. The ability to see in the spiritual sense — that which can be called insight, discernment, or wisdom — is also a gift of God, but its dispensation is far more rare. Its treasures are only discovered by those who eagerly desire and earnestly seek them. Those who truly ‘seek first the Kingdom and its righteousness’ will have such things added to them, and more.
The prophet of the Old Testament would receive the Lord’s message or instruction in a vision or dream — they could clearly see it in their minds. One could say they received the spiritual word by physical sight. This is fitting because the Word of God had not yet been sent, and God’s word (Scripture) had not been completed. A prophet of the modern era is the beneficiary of revelation his predecessors did not have access to. Therefore, they receive insight by the Light of the Word (as Christ dwells in them): by contrast, a case of spiritual sight coming through the physical word of Scripture. The prophets of old had faith in what they saw — they believed the vision — and thereby communicated new revelations to the people. Today, the prophet must believe the word — and have faith in the unseen things of God — depending upon the Lord to provide insight into prophesies which are still not fully understood, though they were spoken of long ago. The need for spiritual insight is more urgent today then ever. Remember that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19:10) May God inspire the hearts of all those who love Him to set aside their concerns for the things of this life, and may He fill more of His children with an earnest desire to be granted the greatest spiritual gifts — which He makes readily available to those who seek.
This is from the blog Bulletins from Baxter:
When Elijah draped his mantle over the shoulders of Elisha, Elisha startled Elijah as much as Elijah startled Elisha!
By now Elijah might have been expected to be shockproof. He had battled victoriously with the 400 prophets of Baal and he had fled a woman’s wrath. The Juniper Tree Experience was fresh behind him. But there God had laid three unusual duties upon him. One –anoint a new king in Syria and another in Israel and “Anoint Elisha to be prophet in your place.”
When Elijah reached the farm where Elisha was plowing, he went out into the field and in a very significant but simple ceremony, he draped his old leather mantle over the shoulder of Elisha. Elisha immediately grasped the significance –he had been chosen to succeed Elijah.
What surprises God has in store for those who minister in his service. I don’t know what Elijah thought would happen there that day, but he seemed a bit surprised that his action was taken so seriously.
Elisha wanted only to go and say his goodbyes. Elijah cried, “Go back again, for what have I done to you.”
Elisha did an astounding thing: he killed the oxen he was using to plow. He boiled their flesh for food WITH THE YOKES BEING THE FIREWOOD! Then he fed the gathered people. Even Simon Peter did not burn his boat! He just left it. Elisha built immediate finality into his decision.
That’s the key to Elisha’s coming success, he made a one-hundred-percent-decision when he surrendered to God’s plans for him. It is no wonder he later received a “double portion of Elijah’s spirit.” BL
Scribes and Prophets
This is from the Life is Worship blog:
“Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and a silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened. It might well be a wonderful revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a short time, long enough, let us say, to get acquainted with their own souls, and to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God. The experience, if repeated often enough, would do more to cure our ulcers than all the pills that ever rolled across a desk.”
Scribes and Prophets