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What Is a Prophet?

Mark Howard
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Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism

Recorded

  • June 12, 2016
    9:30 AM
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Father in heaven I thank you so much for. Your Holy Spirit and all of the gifts of the spirit. That work in your church to bring us to maturity and readiness for the coming of Jesus Father as we gather here today I pray the Spirit of truth would be dissin to truth the Spirit that inspired the prophets would give us understanding about the prophetic gift and would help us to become more confident in these things that we hold to be true from your word so bless us now for we ask it in the name of Jesus and for his sake and them. I'm going to start out this is not on the screen where I'm going to start out here today but this is I want to share with you a little quote from an article that appeared in Christianity Today. February five one thousand nine hundred ninety S. been a little while and actually it was revisiting how many of you here are new to the seven they have in church let me ask that OK how many of you are not in the seventy having a church at all you're just visiting here OK now if you're new to the seven having a church you may not have heard the name of Desmond Ford how many of you know that name Desmond Ford now Desmond Ford was an administrate scholar back in the late seventies and early eighties that brought up criticisms against the evidence church and Ellen why they were not new with him I just want you to know that the kind of things people ask about Ellen White and questions people have that you might read on the Internet and people saying we just discovered this is things have been around for over one hundred years there around Ellen White's day which is a surprise to some people today they've been answered over and over and over again but the enemy knows that if you've never heard that before and he can throw something at you to trip you up he's going to do it it doesn't matter how long it's been around arguments against God and the atheistic argue. It's arguments for in favor of evolution against creationism these have been around forever as well so with some of these things now this this thing with Desmond Ford in some of these accusations that came out in the eighty's are were addressed in an article in Christianity Today and I don't have a date for that article called The Truth About seventy Adventism And so this article in one thousand nine D. was called the recent truce and then you have that recent ad it was just revisiting an older article that they had about Abu Anas And here's one of the things that they bring up in this article. It says traditional Adventism rests squarely upon the authority of Ellen G. White. Traditionalist strongly defended distinctive Adventist beliefs especially those that receive their stamp of approval from Mrs White's prophetic gift some among traditional Avonex emphasize her writings to the degree that they become the infallible interpreter of scripture using them as a short cut to Biblical understanding of the main accusation here is that administration don't study the Bible they listen to what Ellen White says and that's how they come up to all their conclusions and I'm going to tell you that that is a false statement. However this is been perpetuated I mean it still goes around it still circulated today the same kind of arguments and accusations this was in one nine hundred ninety that sixteen years ago. February of one nine hundred ninety. Sorry twenty six years ago I was thinking late night anyway yeah don't worry I didn't do too well in math actually was a good mass didn't but. Many OK So let me finish let me go back to that again. Yes some among traditional avenues emphasize her writings to the degree that they become the infallible target of scripture using them as a short cut to Biblical understanding many of these traditional evidence were however deeply disturbed by charges of plagiarism when it was discovered that significant sections of Mrs Wright's were writings realized too heavily on other Christian writers and we're going to look at some of those accusations but I think that the heart of it is is this type of mentality that Seventh Day Adventists really don't get their beliefs from the Bible they get them from Ellen White and so when we do a series like on lock revelation and we go through all of these things and then at the end of the series and that's usually how it is at the end of the series we talk about the remnant church one of the identifying characteristics of the remnant church according to the Bible is that if that church will have the gift of prophecy then that you know that raises flags for people and for good reason because as far as we hear about prophets in Christianity Today you hear about Joseph Smith with the Mormon church and and similar types of individuals who in most cases are viewed as people better kind of above the Bible they came in with newer lights and they came in and they like the Bible says this but I'm coming to fix all the problems in the Bible and so I can understand why a person would have a little bit of of concern but I'll say this for example with my series on a lot revelation here and I know it's been this way throughout the state of Michigan and beyond where those meetings are any time we do a meeting an evangelist meeting on the Book of Revelation and whatever everything I taught was from the Bible I never brought anything from Ellen White into the meetings until I think I had the last meeting I had some quote that Ellen White made in reference to the Bible in fact one I'll share with you later where she is very clear in her understanding the Bible is the rule. Not her writings or any other thing and so everything we taught was from the scripture and I just try to encourage people you know everything you heard where do you hear it from they know because they've been I make people look it up in the Bible when we're going along isn't that right OK But having said that you know it's still person gets on the Internet they get their friends pastors whoever else I've had people who had friends in their church or pastors give them a stack of papers like this to say this is about as oh I read this. So because of all that I'm going to tell you that I think the main reason that this these accusations even get any traction is because most Christians and I'm going to quote a lot I'm going to include a majority of seven they have in a sin that don't understand what the Bible says about prophets How can you possibly compare or evaluate a prophetic ministry when you don't even know what a prophet is according to Scripture if the Bible is our rule of faith if I'm testing everything by the Bible then don't I have to know what the Bible says about a prophet How can I test a prophet if I don't know what a prophet is according to the Bible so today we're looking at what the Bible says about prophets what the Bible says about prophets now the first thing I want you to do is go with me to let me even ask the question. If I were to just go to the normal job or Jill on the street now ask him what a prophet was what do you think they would say. Hey son somebody who can tell the future a fortune teller type prognosticator somebody who knows who tells the future OK and that is a common understanding outside the church and even inside the church in fact there's a saying it's from the book of Amos were Amos says I'm not a prophet nor the son of a prophet and some of us. I could I've said that a number of times as a pastor I'll say that you'll hear other pastors sometimes use that reference because it comes from the book of Amos and I'll say something like I'm not a prophet of the son of a prophet but the way things look to me this is what's going to happen and I always say it in context of foretelling the future so my point is simply this that even for those of us who are Bible believers we often turn to times think of a prophet in terms of somebody who tells or foretells the future but that's not what the Bible says a prophet is no one should go to the Book of Exodus we're going Exodus Chapter four. Exodus Chapter four. I'll tell you something about campaigning seminars how many of you have been in seminars that went over today. When over time over time when you spect to get out well good this will be your first. I'll tell you for me can mean there's always more to crowd in than you want the things you want to say and I'm just thinking to myself here I'm not going to spend a lot of time but I want to interject this just so you know I'm coming from my family my mother and father were first generation Seventh Day Adventist OK My my my. They both came from a from nominal backgrounds my mother's my grandmother and my mom's side was in the Pentecostal Church and the holy rollers in that when I say that I mean if you're of a penny to persuasion there are some that are more. Enthusiastic and I say than others and it actually scared my grandmother growing up to the point where she didn't go to church anymore and so I wouldn't say she was a nonbeliever but she didn't go to church and that's how my mom was raised in that home and my grandpa there had been an alcoholic for a period of time and I praise the Lord he kicked that habit and reform but they never went. Back to church neither my grandmother my grandpa so that's how my mom was raised my dad was raised in a Christian home too but did not go to church on a regular basis and it was actually a. Bible worker who had come by our literature evangelist who came by my grandma's on my dad's side and began doing Bible studies that my grandmother learned about the seven they have in his faith and by the time that was happening my dad was seventeen eighteen nineteen and that age in age range and he says he still remembers his mom talking about this lady who came by and she was talking about the Sabbath being on Saturday and my dad's a Democrat this crazy Saturday of the Sabbath Sunday the severed body knows that and so that was a background my. Somehow my grandma. A couple or somebody that this Bible worker knew connected a younger couple in the church Carolyn go Paulson with my mom and dad and they gave personal Bible study and that's how my mom dad became seventy Evans when my mom and dad got divorced when I was about six years old and my mom remarried and then my mom and stepdad who I lived with left the seven they have Mr Steering this Desmond Ford crisis with all these questions about Ellen White and everything else and so I was about fourteen years old and I was out of church life altogether until I was about twenty six years old and so we weren't going to church anywhere and when I came when I began when the Lord began converting me and him bringing me back into contact with himself I went to a lot of different churches evaluating trying to check things out but you can bet I had a lot of questions on this topic this is why I'm teaching this I've taught this in a lot of places on the gift of prophecy this comes out of my personal study to get answers for myself because this is why my parents left this church and when I was deciding which church to go to the Sabbath is a hard thing to get around folks. I'm going to tell you people I know people coming here I don't know about the Evans church because they teach some things are going to but what are you going to do with the Sabbath we know it's the sin I say that the Sabbath is one of the clearest things and so that's where I was I was like well you know once I you know about the Sabbath is kind of hard to ignore it that this Ellen White thing I wasn't sure about and so this is where this study came from my own personal study just so you know a little bit my background I don't know everybody's background here but I'm telling you I'm not coming from some place that I've always believed this and I just took it for granted I wrestled with this and it was scripture that convinced me that this teaching regarding the gift of prophecy along with all the other teachings of the Bible truth this is the truth that God has given for this world for these last days to prepare for the coming of Jesus now Exodus Chapter four. This is where God calls Moses to lead his people to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go I want you to go to verse fourteen with me I'm not reading the the all the detail here you can go back and read it but when God asked Moses to go and talk to Pharaoh Moses panicked. Then I kind of like that. Because what that tells me is when I panic when God asked me to go tell somebody something I'm in good company right so and God has as let me ask you has God told you guys to go and tell anybody about him. I'm to see if you're paying attention this last weekend with. Yes he have the great commission of Jesus is go teach all nations that's not just the pastors that's all of us you get nervous when the Lord tells you to go witness to somebody you haven't talked to before maybe somebody even you have also to Moses So Moses begins backpedaling in the Lord the Bible says Moses says Lord I know what I'm going to say I don't know what to say I'm not a good I'm not a good talker is what he basically says in the Lord's. It's Moses who made man's mouth. Is not a good. If you made man's mouth I'm not I the Lord now look you go and I'm going to teach you what to say you know God says the same thing to you and me. He's not a respecter of persons Well this is where we are in verse fourteen. Well let's look at verse thirteen. Verse thirteen when God says to Moses I mean look I want to get into another sermon here when God says the Moses Go on be with you I'll speak through you Moses says in verse thirteen zero zero My Lord please send by the hand of whomever else you may send in other words he says Lord send anybody but me. Verse fourteen so the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said is not Aaron the Levite your brother I know that he can speak well and look he is also coming out to meet you when he sees you he will be glad in his heart and those first fifteen now you shall speak to him and put the what words in his mouth and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and I will teach you what you should do verse sixteen so he shall be your spokesman to the people and he himself shall be as a mouth for you and you will be to Him as God Now don't miss Ses as Moses you're going to be like this is going to be like your god and your brother's going to be your spokesperson he's going to be your mouth. And your god and so you put the thing you give him the ideas and he speaks them. Or you with me so far. You follow what it's saying. Look at look at look at look at Exodus Tepper seven now. So who did he say would be his mouthpiece. His brother Aaron OK Notice Chapter seven of Exodus. One. X. of the seven verse one so the Lord said to Moses see I have made you as God to Pharaoh an error in your brother shall be your prophet. So very simply just comparing Scripture with Scripture what is a prophet according to the Bible. Profit is a spokesman for the Lord. What is the characteristic introduction of the prophets messages one of the prophets always say. The US say of the Lord right because they were spokes persons interesting we enough the Hebrew word for prophet is this word Nabby you know what it means spokesman Greek word translated prophet in your bible is this word perfect ace you know what it means one who speaks forth or a spokes person both in the you prove in the Greek language is the word for profit is a spokes person so a prophet is not somebody who foretell the future not that they don't but not all prophets or told the future Moses was a prophet there was a lot of future there were some things that he for Told the future about the greatest of the prophets according to Jesus was who. John the Baptist and we don't have record of John the Baptist for telling the future everything John foretold was now the present day for him but Jesus called him the greatest of the prophets so from a biblical standpoint a prophet is a spokesperson for God The Prophet is the human wink that communicates messages from God to His people. Are you following them now I skipped over some stuff here that I want to go back to the Bible tells us that in the last days. We will see a manifestation of the gift of prophecy not just in the last days because it's one of the spiritual gifts I'm not going to look this up right now you can write them down there are four spirit. Who gives this in the Bible how many or OK there any fees and for there in first Corinthians twelve there are two of them in first Corinthians twelve you'll see him there on the screen and in Romans Chapter twelve Those are for spiritual gifts lives and the gift of prophecy is the only gift mentioned in all four lists That's not to lessen any of the other gifts it's just an interesting interesting fact hey it's one of the gifts of the spirit I want you to go to fees and for with me. If you choose for is a great Hassett. A really resonated I don't know how many of you heard elder Brewster the other night when he said you know this is my favorite passage and he said. Usually the passage I'm in is always my favorite passage. I do then why I have a lot of favorite passages this is one of them. If Eason's for. And we're going to look at verse. Eleven. Now that he himself here is speaking of Jesus Christ when He ascended to says he himself gave some to be what. Apostles some profit some evangelist and some pastors and teachers. For the eclipsing of the saints for the work of ministry for the edifying of the Body of Christ now I'm reading in the New King James what is edify I mean have you ever heard of an edifice it's another word for building right to edify is to build up the body of Christ which is what. US or the church OK And so I just want you to notice that all of these gifts that were mentioned were given to equip the Saints to train the Saints to minister and to build up the body of Christ. Notice first thirteen till we all come to the unity of the thing. And of the knowledge of the Son of God to a perfect man to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. What is that describing. The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ what what when do I come to that point. I mean that's that's up here isn't it in other words the measure of this is down at the end of time you know the reason I'm bringing this up is to say what the Bible Stelling us is that all of these gifts just mentioned will be in the church until this thing happens now another way of putting it is simply this The Lord gave the gifts to the church for the church to finish the work God gave the church to do and until that work is finished I.E. getting the Gospel to the world the gifts are going to be in the church it would make no sense for God to take away the gifts that he gave them to do the work that isn't done yet. So you guys give me the two o'clock response. I just want to make sure you got there so the point is the gifts why did God give these gifts of the Spirit to help us to do was. Give the Gospel to the world and hasten the coming of Jesus right so would it make any sense for him to take any of these gifts away until that work is done no because that's why he gave them now this may be. Maybe you're just saying of course I'm going to tell you there are a lot of Christians that will say that at least the gift of prophecy is no longer in the church you'll read these websites and you'll hear things if you haven't believe in it give the prophecy was done once the bible was closed it's not true that some of the Bible says if I want to be a Bible believing Christian let me tell you this the reason I be. Even the gift of prophecy is because I believe in the Bible the Bible Loman or he will say you guys believe in the Bible and the gift of prophecy No I believe in the Bible and I believe we give to prophecy because of the Bible. I would need to believe in it but the Bible say is that among the gifts of the Spirit is the gift of prophecy and that that gift is going to be in the church until the end of time I want you to know is verse fourteen. Were sportin says that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about. By every What wind of doctrine by the trickery of men in the coming craftiness of deceitful plotting now. In other words I'm going to come back to bat I just want that to be there I'm not going to come back and read for again so I want I want that in your on your radar screen OK so the gifts are going to continue until Jesus comes these four eleven And the Bible says are going to be a special manifestation of the gift of prophecy in the last days of Revelation twelve this should be review for many of you some of you should be able to quote this pretty well Revelation twelve seventeen These are the characteristics the Bible gives for God's last eight years now I didn't invent this and the Seventh Day Adventist in right to this part of the Bible OK just reading it trying to understand it and the Bible says in Revelation twelve seventeen the dragon speaking of the devil we see that in verse nine the dragon wasn't a member seventeen but we see who the dragon is a Bible spells it out. The dragon wasn't raised with a woman that is a church and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring who what keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ a lot of people go to like to go to Revelation fourteen twelve and I'm OK with that talked about having the faith of Jesus and we want to have the faith of Jesus but that's not what Revelation twelve seventeen says Revelation twelve seventeen says they have the testimony of. Jesus Christ if we compare I want to what you look at two verses with me one is Revelation one thousand ten. Revelation one nine hundred ten The Bible says this. And I fell at his feet to worship Him John speaking about the angel who was showing him these things you'll see that moment I felt his feet to worship him but he said to me See that you do not do that I am your fellow servant in of your brethren who have the what. Testimony of Jesus worship God for the testament of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy and I've had people argue this and I've read this on line of reading and I ave groups in form as groups say oh no this has nothing to do with the gift of prophecy the spirit of prophecy is just the general spirit that that Christians have of loving Jesus and that whatever OK. Well we can clear this up. Not that it isn't clear already a testament of Jesus is The Spirit of Prophecy but if there was a question as to what this is referring to I want you to hold your finger there go to Revelation twenty two verse eight. And you're going to see it you're almost thinking you're going to think you're reading the same thing over again for a minute. Revelation twenty two verse eight says now I John saw and heard these things and when I heard and saw I did what they'll down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things then he said to me. Don't do it for I am your fellow servant Now hold your finger there and go back to Revelation one thousand you can see all the same stuff there nineteen verse ten I felt his feet to worship he said don't do it I am your fellow servant in notice an expert in I am of your breath when and who are these brother and their brethren who have the testimony of. Resists in one nine hundred ten. Right in Revelation one nine hundred ten near nine hundred ten. Revelation one thousand and I am of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus but if you flip over to twenty two eight nine Everything else is the same but here he says I am of your brethren who do. So who what is the testament of Jesus or who are the brethren who have the test when in Jesus the prophets What is the testament of Jesus it's the gift of prophecy the Spirit of Prophecy very plainly from scripture the Bible's telling us that the last day church is going to have a special manifestation of the gift of prophecy and when I say special not that is different but that it is especially needed in the last days we're going to talk about that more probably tomorrow than today I just want you to understand that if you're a Bible believing Christian and you're like you know I'm not sure about the Adventist find Go find the church as a gift of prophecy keep the commands of God knock yourself out. I'm going to tell you right now I've been there done that you're not going to find it anywhere else you're going to find it. I won't even go into Revelation fourteen in the messages the three angels I'm trying to connect that with all he's not going to hear that anywhere else either I'm just telling if your Bible believing Christian and you try to follow the Bible where it's telling you to go here you could end up in this place. One of the characteristics of the last A church this Gift of Prophecy what is a prophet problem is a spokes person or God something else I want you to note is that the prophet is what I call God's modus operandi that simply means it is mode of operation of choice if you go through Scripture you will find that God has spoken to people in many ways through the Bible there have been face to face communications that God has had with people God has spoken through dreams not just the Prophets a person who gets a divine dream isn't necessarily a prophet there was an ancient king who had a divine dream. Right his name is never can is or and he's not a prophet but he had a dream from God right Pharaoh is an ancient king who had a dream from God but I was clear was a dream God but he wasn't a prophet but God has spoken to people through dreams God has spoken to people through the year I'm in the thumb him and I bring that up because there's a specific passage where when King Saul went to the Witch of Endor for information the Bible says the reason he went was he trying to get ahold of God but God would not speak to Him The Bible sister dreams or by your Him or by the prophets which is simply saying those were three clear ways that God chose to speak to his people he wasn't speaking that way and so Saul went to a place where God never spoke to people thinking that was a good idea which is another story. So the year I'm in the family in were actually stones that were on the breastplate of the High Priest and God actually communicate through those stones either emitting light or clouding over and he would use that as a means of communication but simple point is there are different ways God communicated but if you go through your Bible and you want to know what's the way God communicated with his people most of the time it was through providence that was his method of communication of choice you go all through the Bible God's communicated through the prophets in fact look at the. There's a couple passages there when you look at X. three eighteen go to the Book of Acts with me. And you'll find that this is not a new thing or New Testament thing or just an Old Testament thing in Acts Chapter three. Verse eighteen Matthew Mark Luke John acts. The Bible says in verse eighteen but those things which God For told by the what mouth of all his prophets who foretold it. Know who foretold it. God foretold it how through the mouth of right spokespersons in the mouth of his spokespersons the prophets. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all his prophets that Christ would suffer he has thus fulfilled look at verse twenty one whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets when. Since the world began look at the Gospel of Luke and if you Mark Luke chapter one verse seventy. You see something very similar to that. Verse seventy. Luke one verse seventy. Says as he spoke by the what mouth of his holy prophet you have been since the world began so this is not a new thing for God This is how God has chosen to speak I'm not going to look up Amos chapter three where THE BIBLE SAYS Surely the Lord God will do nothing unless you reveal his secret to his servants the prophets OK And again this is just saying of all now book this is God God can communicate Everyone's you can get all upset about it I can get upset about I can say Lord I mean direction I want you to spell out the clouds in some kind of sick message to me I want you to give it to me it was bought above voice or whatever I can I can do that all I want but you know there's going to be the ultimate choice lies with God. God's going to choose how to communicate with his people and it's up to us to listen and over and over and over God's method of choice throughout Scripture has been the province. The gift of prophecy. Now. Let's look Hebrews one I need to look at Hebrews one because here is one is a passage that a lot of critics use to say that there are no more profits. In our day. In actually has the exact opposite but will see this in a moment after one starting in the first verse. Hebrews one says God to you at various times and in various ways spoke in time passed to the fathers by you the profits just following our M.O. here that's our modus operandi that's what M.O. means has in these last days spoken to us by his son who he is appointed heir of all things through whom also he made the world's Now there are I've read a number of things where people say well here it's plain the Bible says in times past God spoke through the prophets but in the last days you can speak by prophets a more he spoke through a son well that's not Paul's point at all when you read Hebrews chapter one and there's one real glaring reason that we know that because there is this book that comes after the writing of Hebrews in chronological time like he was written about sixty seventy eighty and then this is book called revelation that was written about ninety by a prophet. Kind of hard for prophets right after Paul was making this very clear point according to some critics is there not going to be more profit but books by the way John the prophet after this and God still using the of the prophecy so Paul's point here and here it isn't that they're not going to be more prophets Paul's point was that all the prophets were God's method of communication but the clearest method of communication that has ever existed was the communication that came through Jesus Christ the Son of God That's the point here but the point is not that there won't be more profits because we have more profits after the book at him we have more prophets that go all the way through the New Testament era. So this is God's method of communication of choice now something else that you need to understand as it says here the Bible lot of people think about this the Bible is the collective teaching of the prophets. Some people say I don't know if I like the. Your prophets I'm just going to stick with the Bible here's a newsflash for you the prophets wrote your Bible. Knew where that that's where the Bible came from a profit was a spokesperson for God inspired by God to communicate messages from God we're going to find out in a moment that not all prophets wrote in the Bible but all who wrote in the Bible were prophets a prophet was somebody inspired by God we'll talk about inspiration later this week as well so the problem is look at a couple passages for that let's go to Matthew twenty six verse fifty six. Matthew twenty six and verse fifty six. Notice how Jesus refers to the Scriptures. Matthew twenty six. Verse fifty six. Jesus says but all this was done that the what scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled scriptures means the Writings writing to the profits of what the Bible is OK let's look at another when there let's go it let's go to Romans chapter one Romans chapter one verse two. No incidentally on that Hebrews text. Another one that's helpful to let us know that we there are going to be more profits Well Jesus told His followers to be aware of false prophets. Now why would you tell somebody to be aware of a false prophet unless there was true prophets so the implication of Jesus himself is going to be more profits after me Jew in full both the Apostles John and Paul first that's only in five we'll look these up when we look at the test of a prophet and first jump or talk about testing the prophets or why we need to test prophets if there are going to be more profits going to seven of saying well we'll look at more that So Romans chapter Romans Chapter one Verse two notice what the Bible says here. Let's read one to call says Paul a bondservant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle separated to the gospel of God which he promised before through His prophets in the what Holy Scriptures where the prophets speak in the Holy Scriptures look at Romans Chapter sixteen verse twenty six. Romans sixteen verse twenty six see the same thing. The Bible says will certain verses twenty five now to Him who is able to establish you cording to my gospel in the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest and by the prophetic scriptures of the King James says the scriptures of the prophets same concept made known to all nations according to the commandment of the everlasting God for obedience to the faith etc etc The prophetic scriptures are the scriptures of the prophets of the writings of the Prophets a point there simply is the prophets wrote the Bible OK so you can't separate the prophetic ministry from the Bible because the Bible is the result. Of the prophetic ministry Peter talks about the prophetic word same thing prophetic word doesn't always mean always foretelling the future it means it came from prophets and that's what it's talking about there now. The prophet is a spokes person for God and according to the Scripture we have the Godhead the Father the Son in the spirit which one. According to the Bible know. Is the one who is communicating through the prophets now we can say is Holy Spirit because it's the gift of the Holy Spirit. But I want you to look at first Peter chapter. One No but yes first Peter chapter one verse ten. First Peter chapter one and verse ten. I'm going to refer you back here in just a moment I want to find the page there before I read this though first Peter one starting in verse ten we just read. In Revelation. That the gift of prophecy or the Spirit of Prophecy is also referred to as the what. Testimony of who knew that kind of gives it away doesn't. It is the testimony of Jesus it means it's coming from you but let's see this in first Peter you'll see a confirmation for that right here in first Peter chapter one verse ten now Piers talk about the plan of salvation that he's preaching and he's trying to give people some confidence that he's not preaching some new doctrine but this is what all the prophets of we're told. Verse ten he says of this salvation but do the prophets have inquired and searched carefully who prophesied of the grace that would come to you searching water what manner of time the spirit of the do the Spirit of Christ who was where in them who is that them. The prophets searching wonder what manner of time the spirit of Christ who is in them was indicating when he the Spirit of Christ testified before hand the sufferings of Christ in the glories that would follow. So here's says that the Spirit of Christ was in the Who profits and he was testifying now if a person is testifying you might say they're giving their testimony who is in the prophets giving his testimony Jesus so you can almost say that the gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus oh hey so we got it again right here just like in the Book of Revelation point. But I want to make here the point the Bible's making to you and me that we need to be very clear on is when a true prophet of God speaks whose voice are we hearing we're hearing the voice of Jesus so I have some I get the thing I'm a New Testament Christian your church teaches give to prophecy and I just believe in Jesus say if you believe in Jesus you're going to hear the voice of Jesus you're not going to be rejecting the voice of Jesus and if you reject a true prophet of God That's exactly what you're doing. According to the Bible a prophet is a spokesperson for God specifically God the Son Jesus Christ OK the prophetic ministry has always served as the voice of Jesus to His Church now there are three types of prophets I want to run by you here so that you understand something of the nature prophets Once again you know challenge that that I've run into with people that people run into when they hear about Ellen White as they say well wait a minute Ellen White is suppose she's supposed to be a prophet I don't know are women allowed to be prophets so that's a question that needs to be answered in Scripture right so here's the thing if I'm going to take Ellen White or anybody else who claims to be a prophet and I want to test them I've got to be able to test them by something in the scripture if there's nothing in the scripture about it then I have no grounds for believing it so if there are for example if there was never a woman prophet in the Bible that gives me reason to say odd woman prophet I don't know because God never called a woman to be a prophet OK There was never a woman priest in the I take that back there was one woman priest in the by our name was Jeff Bell and she was a priestess of bail not of God So you know I that's something a young going to I had a guy tell me once I don't know about your church because see you have a woman prophet and there were women leaders in the Bible Well you know big differ because we have women prophets in the body. And so that's why I want us to understand what types of prophets are now another question comes up is well how can Ellen might be a prophet because all these bible prophets I mean they all wrote in the Bible you know Ellen White is part of the. You know also how you know and these kind of things well the reality is that not all the prophets of the Bible did write in the Bible. So the first type of prophets we have here is what's called at least in theological terms a literary That means they wrote something canonical that means their writings were included in the Bible literary canonical prophet that means it's a prophet who wrote something that was included in the Bible now some examples these are very well known and should be to us Moses David is a Jeremiah Daniel Hosea Joe These are people who wrote they were prophets who wrote in the Writings are in the Bible. But there are also literary non-canonical prophets according to Scripture that is prophets who wrote but we don't have any of their writings don't know what happened to them. God did not see fit to put them in the Bible. Some of them itto Nathan in a high if you read side Chronicles nine twenty nine it tells you that there were writings of these people these profits but we don't have any we don't have a book of itoh in the in the Bible or a book about high Asia. Shem Maya was a prophet who wrote Elijah The Bible talks about a letter that Alija wrote what we have Paul's letters most of all we have Peter's letters but we don't have a life his letters I really kind of would like to see the book of Elijah but we don't have it for whatever reason God didn't see to put it to put every prophets writings in the Bible so just because a prophet didn't just because a prophet wrote something that wasn't in the Bible didn't mean they were a prophet of God. Also doesn't mean they were a lesser kind of prophet one of the greatest prophets was Alija of Old Testament times but his writings aren't HE WAS THERE IS writings were included but we know he did write something according to scripture and of course you could probably guess the third kind is a non literary non-canonical prophet nonliterary means they didn't write anything and obviously could include. Writings of the Bible because to our knowledge they didn't write anything as far as a I mean I'm sure there were things in their life but not as far as the testimony of counsel to someone and some examples are in Iraq and GAD and you lie sure and Agabus and we could put Nathan the Prophet up there to write me Nathan was a pretty print now. I'm not I'm not talking as much about prophetic authority today but I will throw this out we're going to explore this further. There's an idea that circulates among some people even Seventh Day Adventist that you know some prophets were more important than others and some prophets had more authority than others depending on how much they wrote how big their books were whatever OK that's a big mistake to make and I'll tell you I'll give you one example when King David sinned. And in half and committed adultery with another man's wife and that woman's husband killed on the battlefield and then for the next year went around them patting himself on the back like he didn't do anything wrong. God finally sent to him a prophet you remember the name of the prophet he should because I just gave it Neda the prophet did Nathan write any books of the Bible. OK from some people standpoint we would say Well Nathan he wasn't he was he was he wasn't as important a prophet David himself as a prophet. So. By today's reckoning at least from some people David could have said look Nathan I appreciate you coming and talking to me but look I'm a prophet to your prophet I'm more important than you are I'm a King also and thanks for the good advice but I'll choose to do otherwise but David didn't treat the council Nathan that way Diddy. David treated the council Nathan as the voice of God Save the soul and so the Bible doesn't give degrees of prophets you can't rate prophets based on what they wrote I'm just sharing with you from a biblical standpoint some prophets wrote. It was included in the Bible some prophets wrote it was including the Bible some prophets were nothing but they were all prophets of God all to be reckoned. As the voice of God to the people they carry their messages to now in addition to this there were women prophets we have for example Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron who were both prophets what a family a family prophet said Be Wow Deborah Isaiah's wife husband wife prophet team that can be an interesting I wonder if there's ever any dinner conversation it was something like honey I have a message from the Lord for you you know that's interesting to me because I have a message from the Lord for you do Wow Anyway Bible says I say three that is wife of the prophet is there Philip's four daughters for example so we have evidence in the Bible of women in the service prophets and then there were prophets who were contemporaries that means they were all prophets at the same time Moses Miriam Mary Aaron and Miriam at the same time Isaiah and Mica served at the same time Jeremiah is E.Q. and then you were all prophets at about the same time period in the New Testament and I asked Paul Silas Judas Agabus and fields for daughters in John S. not that Eunice it was hanged or Judas. That was that was another Judas and anyway you can read about it I don't have the text reference there but these were contemporaries they served at the same time OK So these are just some this just some information on biblical prophets now I want you to get this clear one of the primary functions of prophets always in every age was to point people back to scripture OK in the prophets the goal of the prophet in the good the the rule of the prophet and the reason for God sending the prophet was not to create some new thing in fact the Bible uses the term let's look at it in eyes eight you're familiar more than likely with Isaiah Chapter eight. If not you should be very good verse so we'll get more familiar with it I say eight verse twenty. In verse twenty. The Bible says here to the law and to the testimony now from what we've looked at so far what you think testimony refers to. Testimony of Jesus right gift prophecy I want you to understand you'll find this this terminology in one of these two forms the law in the testimony or the law in the prophets OK one way or the other you'll find this there is. It's a companion ministry of find it throughout the Scripture Old New Testament Bible says on the road to mass Jesus wrought with the disciples the beginning of Moses and all the prophets Bose's was the law of the law in the Hebrew mind when you're reading it right here in Isaiah the word in the Hebrew is Torah. The word Torah in Hebrew mind was the first five books of the Bible Genesis Exodus The Because numbers Deuteronomy written by Moses the Torah the word Torah does anybody know what the word Torah means. It means instruction. The instruction of God So understand this to the Hebrews those writings of Moses were the basic foundational instruction that God gave his people how he wanted them to live you think they always followed it I shouldn't ask you that if you read if you read anything in the Bob you know they didn't follow it all the time any more than we do and so what happened is the prophets would be sent to do what do you think. Point them back to the instruction I was the idea it wasn't to create something new but here's the instruction no no no you guys are oh yes we are following it right in like in Malakai where the Lord says you rob me we're in here we rob you you've done this we haven't done that we're we done that right here oh right so the profits were to put. Them back to the instruction that they claim to follow but they weren't following. And I don't care if you talk about Isaiah Jeremiah Daniel Joel or any number of them. The prophetic message while it may have included some element for that present time and some specific instructions same with Alan White the force of the message was pointing back to the instruction of God The Bible has always been the foundation and the in the prophets that came as a contemporary on the scene will always point to the collective Scripture as the foundation of faith and so to the law and to the testimony to the instruction to the prophets if it speaks not according to this there's no light in it so somebody new comes along and says well this is one teacher what do you do you compare to along the prophets. And any contemporary prophet that comes on the scene has to be tested by the word. That was a roll of the prophetic ministry I want you to notice the statement Ellen White's Pen She says I recommend to you dear reader my writings read them study them know them know she says the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. The rule that is that you did this your standard I want you to study this is the rule of your faith and you practice follow it understand it live by it notice by that word the Bible we are to be judged God has in that word here promised to give visions in the last days does the Bible tell us is going to be give to prophecy active in the church in the last days that's all she's saying so if I'm going minus we're not making it my rule in my instruction can I can I do that and yet disbelieve in the gift of prophecy in the last days no because then I'm just disbelieving what the Bible says and that is mean right from this outset that I have to accept Ellen why does that gift but I've got a son it's going to be somebody. If we're living in the last days it's somebody because that's what the Bible says that's what she says that by that we're going to be judged God is in that word promise to give visions in the last days why did he give Why will he give visions in the last days the gift of prophecy notice not for a new rule of faith. But for the comfort of his people so in certain aspects to bring to light and speak to things that we see happening around us that the Bible doesn't speak specifically about to help us to be comforted to know that God still in control and to correct those who air from Bible truth. And that's something that if you read through the Bible you'll find that that was always the case with the prophets. A problem I want to tell you the prophet the prophets job was a miserable job. OK I'm not a prophet I'm a pastor and it can be a miserable job and I'll tell you why because what too many church members do is they see a human being standing in front of them telling what to do in the cross or arms they get don't you know I'm not going to do that and they don't realize that a minister also serves as a mouthpiece for God and that is we were infallible I don't want to compare a minister with a prophet what I'm saying is can you imagine being a prophet and God says you're going to go give this message and basically tell these people that what they're doing is wrong oh that sounds like fun doesn't it because when you tell people they're doing wrong they love to hear that don't they. Read the book Jeremiah says the prophets in the priesthood all the people I'm sorry the the rulers in the priests and all the people said let's get this Jeremiah let's take him and kill him because he discourages the people. Was no fun being a prophet Elder White said it won it one point in her ministry she said I'd rather die than ever have another vision. Because she knew if I have a vision I'm going to have to tell somebody some counsel from God to them and they're going to hit me in the thinking and came for me and I'd just rather die. And perhaps you had to give bad news to somebody before and you know a little bit of what that law. Can you imagine it being your fault. And maybe it is maybe the somebody here who does the hiring for your company oh but that's you know that was the role of the prophet to point to people now does it give encouragement and hope and other things but in there a big part of their role is to point people back to Bible truth where they were off track. In Test matches for the church via five she says the testimony speaking of her writings are not to be little the Word of God good to exulted and attract minds to it. And again in the book great controversy in the introduction this is by Ellen White She says the Spirit was not given the Holy Spirit nor can it ever be bestowed to supersede the Bible so the holy spirit and spiritual gifts and she was combating a mindset that has existed and still exist I've met Christians they were like no man I don't even read the Bible the Spirit leads me Ono No the spirit doesn't lead you contrary to the word because this is the sort of the Spirit this is a product of the Holy Spirit as well so she's make this point the spirit was not given nor can it ever be given or be stowed to supersede the Bible for the scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested not just teaching the teaching experience if your experience is contrary to the word then your experience is wrong the word is right as you possible says in Romans let God be true in every man a liar and so Ellen White was very clear in her ministry different from other alleged or self-proclaimed prophet she didn't put herself above the Bible but always put the Bible above herself and pointed people to the Bible bat's that's biblical that's what we see all the prophets biblical prophets doing. And last thing I want to look at here I'm going to do this briefly is talk about a function there are a lot of functions we could talk about with the gift. I mean prophets lead they brought comfort to God's people they lead in the organization of God's people missionary endeavors I mean Paul and Barnabas were set aside by the church and then there would be prophetic Council that would come in and help to decide where to send missionaries and where to put their energies and you'll find all these kind of things with the gift of prophecy but one of the things that I think is most important and this is bringing us back to the seasons for is the role of the Prophet in bringing in maintaining unity in the church in times of doctrinal confusion and here's what I mean by that so we all go by the Bible the Bible is my rule of faith the Bob's Your rule of faith we all follow the Bible only what happens when we're all read the same Bible and you say well I don't see it that way that's your interpretation this is my interpretation this here is interpretation that's her interpretation and so here we are and the Bible should unify us in the know are Christians Barlow right row united together only we're not united at all and yet we all claim to be following the Bible well this is happened throughout the ages where what happens then Biblically. In other words in the Bible what did they do when the people who read the Bible didn't agree with how the Bible read well we have an example did you know that in the book of Acts Chapter fifteen. In Acts Chapter fifteen there was a dispute in the New Testament church over whether new believers should be circumcised or not you wear that Matthew Mark Luke John X. X. fifteen and I'm going to do this like I said quickly I just want to give the main point you can get more of it later. And so you have this dispute over whether people the new believer should be circumcised or not no one group said that they should be and you know what I can give you Bible texts that support that God told his people in ancient Israel if somebody of the nations wants to come and keep passover with you you can read about this in Exodus twelve they've got to be circumcised. Otherwise they can't they can't partake of you with with with you if they're going to join you they've got to be circumcised OK but then I can go to Isaiah Chapter fifty six For example I think it's fifty six where God says all they need to do is honor meek obey my laws and keep my Sabbath and I'll accept them. So one group says hey look this is what the Bible says and this is what I believe the people need to be circumcised other group says no I'm reading over here and I don't think they need to be circumcised as long as the faithful to keep and obey God keep his laws. So what do you do well here's what the New Testament church did first thing they did which I'm really impressed with is they came together to a general conference session which is really what they did now. There's a lot of want to say and I don't have time. But I'm going to tell you something we're prideful human beings. And sometimes. Some of you here may despise committees I guess I'm in a lot of meetings and I don't like a lot of meetings but sometimes meetings are good for you if for no other reason this reason that sometimes you have to submit to a decision of a group. Sometimes it's good not to have your own way. You know so here you know it rather than know what happens today in Christianity is if we don't agree were to say OK well you know if we're both You're Navitas and I'm going to go become a reform seven then minister all start my own thing I'll become a reform Presbyterian we're going to start our own A Many get all these branches and visions but here when they didn't agree they said you know what let's come to the all come together and let's study this out in less decide so we can be on the same page because it's not going to look good if we claim to be followers of Christ and we can't agree. So they came to Jerusalem to church headquarters. And the Bible says in verse six now the Apostles and elders came together to consider this matter and when their. Had been much. I love this if you've ever been in like a church business meeting where people didn't agree I mean this is like yeah when there's been much what dispute Have you ever had a meeting like that I'm in meetings like that well you know people are sharing their And I believe in this way and I believe this way but everybody had their say when they've been much dispute though this Peter rose up and said to them Men in Graz when you know that a good while ago God chose among us that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe me so god who knows the heart acknowledge them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. And made no distinction between us and them purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear but we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we should be saved in the same manner as they. Want to pause there and just get clear on this. After they've all had a discussion of both sides of this issue the Bible says Peter stands up and he says Men and brethren you know. So right away we know he's talking about something that everybody in the early church was aware of this is an event that they all knew about which means it's probably an event we know about if it was this big an event that they all knew it's probably recorded and it is where in scripture do we know where God said Peter aside to give a to give a message to the Gentiles except the Gentiles and you think of a place. I'll tell you can read this in different non Avodah scholars and they're agreed on this not having a scholars not having a scholars will tell you the same place Peter's referring to. Accept the ten where you have the she came down right you saw the unclean animals and he was crashes head afterward because he didn't know what it means even all you've been joking. And know what it means if you can eat anything but it wasn't clear to Peter that way and Peter thinks about it next step then it comes to me is our God to show me not to call any man common or unclean you remember that. And then when Peter met with the house of Cornelius the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were uncircumcised OK that was the issue at hand and here's what I don't want you to mince they're both studying the Bible the Bible's rule of faith. When they're both study the Bible but they have different interpretations of the Bible. How was the matter solved. What happened in the situation with Acts chapter ten. God showed him out. By a vision. So Peter in prophetic authority stands up refers to a vision that God gave him and said Look God clarified this issue by a vision is he contradicting scripture no he is using the vision God gave to clarify the teaching of Scripture right here in the Bible. And when there was a dispute among God's Bible believing people about what the Bible was intending to say God used the gift of prophecy to bring unity. Yes. I haven't even thought what why you ask. Ya I haven't given a lot of thought to it. In support of what the poll was already in support of Peter's position before this he was one who had contention. Yeah not sure I haven't given thought they were asking for if I thought Romans came after this experience but one thing we do know if you read through Acts fifteen is that when Peter stood up. I want you to see the. Don't miss this part Peter stood up and shared this experience he had and then Mrs verse twelve all the multitude kept silent listen to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God works through them among the Gentiles and after they had become silent James answered saying and the missis many brethren listen to me Simon has declared how God is the first visit of the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name and with this the what. Words of the prophets agreed just as what it is written so he would just take Peter face though Peter shares the vision he had he said you know what that is what the prophet said in the Bible the Bible agrees with Peter says and so we see here the role of the gift of prophecy as it says and if Eason's for bringing God's people to a unity of the faith you member has said so that we are no longer tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine what is doctrine mean teaching are there a lot of whims of teaching blowing around today you think God wants us all scattered either in yawn or understandings when Jesus is about to come and go so they give all the gifts of the spirit including the gift of prophecy or given to help God's people to come to a unity of their understanding on scripture now we're going to expound on this a little bit more tomorrow but I just want to get this in quickly here that you so that you could see from a bible standpoint at the gift of prophecy was something God used to bring unity now let me just put it this way I'll close with this let's just imagine that we were in a room you know you've been to board rooms or something let's see what can we do. Let's say we're in a company and we're all it we're all on a committee as corporate buyers for a company that's going to buy a new fleet of cars or something or the other. Maybe we don't know what. Kind of cars are getting rid company cars OK so one of us is a big Ford person other person the big Honda person somebody isn't Chevy person and somebody that one diet person and whatever and we're you missed heated debate because we can't come to a oneness. What is the what is the only real way we're ever going to come to a one this in this mean everybody's given their good points for well this is why I think the boards of the best well that's great but you know on a stillness track record here yeah I know but the Hyundai's are are less expensive and they have just about the same and whatever else we're all but what's the one thing that's going to have to happen and there is just one. That will bring unity. OK compromise what's going to lead us to come to that compromise why am I going to why I'm going to going to compromise to your position Mary if I feel strongly about mine. OK a spirit of humility but I want to make a good I mean I just want don't want to defer for deferment sake I want to make the right decision listen to me carefully. The maker of the car so we have all the makers in and they come and talk to us we're like OK that's pretty interesting we still have our Here here's the thing that's going to this is what it's going to take. If we could get. Some voice of authority that we all respected. Regardless our independent viewpoints then we would have the potential of deferring to that voice of authority OK Now listen that's what the Bible is to us as Christians we all come as Christians with different opinions don't we so how do we come to one is because we come to the Bible and if we really are wanting to be faithful to follow God there are certain opinions look as when I became a Christian there are certain pins I had I had to let go because I took the authority of scripture and I said it's right and I respect and value him believe it and therefore if I'm in contradiction to it I'm wrong OK. Now that's the role of scripture but. What happens in that situation where we're conflict over Scripture if there was a voice of authority that we accepted you know a person came in that we all respected as being like the expert on cars and came in and said look this is what you want to get we don't be like. OK OK We're going to go with this because this person knows. That's what the prophet has historically been to the church in every age never to take the place of the Bible but the prophet was a voice of authority people reckon the prophet is the voice of God and when the voice of God spoke then the only pitted the opinions had to be yielded. She asked if that's the case why did they give Mark time because we don't like to yield our opinion sister we like to have it our way so anyway I just we laid a foundation here today on what the Bible you know and there's I mean we could go in-depth on a lot of things about prophets but this is just a thumbnail sketch for what the Bible says about prophets in general I Britain I mentioned a little bit of Ellen White but primarily today we're just looking at Bible prophets just the whole concept of the gift of prophecy now tomorrow I want to go into the relation of it's it's different if I want to compare Jeremiah with with Peter Paul now because they're all in the Bible but now what do I do with N L N Y who comes along and she's not in the Bible and then I have the Bible. Is she another Bible that's what other people say that Ellen why you guys have a cell why she isn't of the Bible you get the Bible but you got all right also is that the role she plays What what role does she play especially in light of the fact that I say a prophet would be a voice of authority will so as the Bible so she's the same voice of authority as the Bible what do we do with that that's what we're going to talk about tomorrow. Thank you for your attentiveness today at the two of. Doc hour you're a good class and. I hope to see you tomorrow let's have a word of prayer as we close Father in Heaven Father I thank you so much for the word of truth I thank you for the gift of prophecy in every age as well as the other spiritual gifts that help us to equal that equip us to finish the gospel work that you've given us to do in the service Father we want Jesus to come soon we want to be found faithful we know that the enemy is stirring up every wind of doctrine and we don't want to be sidetracked so we pray now Lord for you continued guidance and blessing as we continue this week to seek to gain a clearer understanding a biblical understanding of the gift of prophecy and how to relate to it I just pray that the Spirit of God that inspired the prophets would give us clarity and a firm foundation in these things I ask that you would bless each one to hear it all of the different seminars that we are attending be with the speakers be with the evening speakers may your spirit be poured out in an abundant measure here that we would be revived to such an extent that what we gain here in our relationship with Christ would just be overflowing as we leave can't meeting and people would be drawn to Christ because they see Christ in us for this is our prayer in his name and for his you know. 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