The Genuine Ministry Office Of The Prophet

We live in a time where the prophetic office is under the spotlight because of many abuses that have been witnessed in the handling of this office.


The New Testament prophet is God’s spokesperson. He or she is the human medium through which God speaks to his church. John Bevere, in his book Thus Saith the Lord? (1990), suggests that the prophet’s obligation is “to speak by divine inspiration. It is the presentation of God’s message for an individual, group, nation, or generation.”

Written By Phillip Chidavaenzi
Although any believer can operate in the simple gift of prophecy (that is, forth-telling under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), not all are called to the office. A prophet operating in the ministry can tell the hidden things in a person’s life and what will likely happen in future if certain things are done or not done. One cannot desire to operate in the office of the prophet. You can only be placed in the office by the Holy Spirit.

The prophet is able to supernaturally identify the ministries and gifts in others. It’s also the role of the prophet to act as a watchman, giving spiritual direction and alerting the church to any kind of danger. Prophets are generally bold and outspoken but a true prophet also shows humility and is amenable to counsel: “If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”(1 Corinthians 14:37).

It is part of the prophet’s ministry to confirm, exhort and comfort the believers, but it also extends to warn and rebuke where there’s error. A prophet foresees the future. Agabus forewarned the church at Antioch that a great dearth was coming upon the world. The church at Antioch then sent relief to the brethren in Judea acting on that prophetic instruction. The dearth came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:27, 30).

According to Gordon Lindsay in the book, apostles, prophets and governments (1991), “true prophecy ever points to Christ, His deity, His ministry, His purpose in coming into the world, and to His return to earth”. It is, therefore, worrisome when one observes the manner in which many young prophets being raised in Africa conduct themselves and the manner in which they often carry out their ministry work. Many of them appear as if they’re more interested in drawing attention to themselves rather than using their gift to point men to Christ. I’ve also realised that a lot of them aren’t amenable to correction. They delude themselves that since they’re prophets, they can hear directly from God and you cannot tell them anything.

Can getting congregants to eat snakes, grass and flowers, to drink petrol and jumping up and down on their stomachs while they are in deep sleep or spraying them with doom (insecticide) under the guise of healing point men to Christ? Anything done in the church that does not bring glory to God and point men to Christ cannot be of God.

Recently, a South African prophet stirred the hornet’s nest when he was shown spraying congregants with a poisonous pesticide under the guise of healing. Although many claim that they will be merely fulfilling God’s instruction, the danger is that such kinds of practices hardly draw people towards God, but the focus would be on the prophet and their manner of operation. Bevere wrote that “we have been so afraid of despising prophecy that we have neglected judging it. It is important we learn to recognise or discern the true from the false… We cannot accept the false as true because we are afraid of rejecting the true as false; we must learn to separate the good from the bad.”

Earlier, another Zimbabwean prophet stirred controversy after claiming that Jesus was going to descend on the Kopje in Harare to have a braai with him. He further claimed that he’d been called to finish off the ministries of Daniel the prophet —whom he called his spiritual father —and the Apostle John, whom he claimed aborted his assignment midway. These are some of the things that make outsiders look at Christianity with suspicion. At the end of the day, focus is centred on the prophets rather than Christ whom they’re supposed to represent. Scripture encourages us to lead a life “bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everybody involved in the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11, MSG).

The prophetic gift, when used rightly, can bring blessing, deliverance, healing, restoration and breakthrough. But when the gift is polluted, it wreaks destruction, confusion and manipulation. Abuse, however, happens when there’s widespread tendency for self–glorification. Mature prophets rarely tell of their supernatural experiences unless if it’s absolutely necessary.

Operating in the prophetic office, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll “see” or “know” everything. You can only know and see that which God shows you. Even if you’re prophetic, you’re still a human being and therefore not omniscient. This is scriptural. A few years ago, a young boy disappeared without trace during the Harare Agricultural Show. Some people queried that if the prophets in Zimbabwe were genuine, why couldn’t they reveal the whereabouts of the little boy? This is warped reasoning that demonstrates ignorance about spiritual matters.

Prophets can’t know everything because they’re not God! And it is God who decides what He reveals and what He conceals: “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” (1 Corinthians 13:19).

Some prophets, however, abuse their office and end up prophesying to people even when God has not revealed anything to them. A prophet can prophesy out of their own spirit and even do it accurately because they’ve become so used to flowing in the prophetic. But they’ll not be speaking the mind of God. According to Kim Clement in the book, Secrets of the Prophetic (1993), “a prophet is not a diviner of future events. God uses him or her to express what He wants to say, not what someone wants to hear… You don’t need a prophet for every decision of your life… God communicates directly with His people. But He may send a prophet to confirm what He has already spoken to you in your secret place of prayer” (pp64).

Source - www.thestandard.co.zw

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