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The Requirements For The Office Of A Prophet

Posted by Job on July 7, 2007

This is in part inspired by my attempts to expose false charismatics like Prophetess Juanita Bynum (see link). It has nothing to do with anything personal that I have against Bynum; rather she is a person who manages to represent so many of the negative issues affecting the popular charismatic movement. No, this is not going after her because she is a woman; I have seen nothing in the Bible that would tend to preclude women holding the office of prophet, but instead have seen evidence to the contrary (Exodus 15:20, Judges 4:4, 2 Kings 22:14, 2 Chronicles 34:22, Nehemiah 6:14, Isaiah 8:3, Luke 2:36, Revelation 2:20. Why include the reference to the false prophetess Jezebel in Revelation 2:20? Because I perceive that reference, even if only in a very limited fashion, to be a contrast to legitimate prophetesses and prophets. Had the fact that there were never supposed to be female prophets in the first place, it would have been listed as a major part of the problem as did Paul in his speaking against the confusion that resulted from women preachers). And no, this is not an attack on the charismatic movement itself. I personally speak in tongues, have had visions in dreams, have experienced faith – healing, and this weblog is devoted to spiritual warfare, including the literal casting out of evil spirits (essays on HOW TO FIGHT DEMONS, The Purpose Of Warfare, When A Demon Attacks Your Mind, plus categories demon of the day, spiritual deliverance, spiritual deliverance techniques, and spiritual warfare with more on the way as my I continue my studies in this area). I also include materials from ministers that have made extensive contributions to spiritual matters, such as Adrian Rogers, Derek Prince, Andrew Wommack, as well as at times making references to the contributions of people like Frank and Ida Mae Hammond and Smith Wigglesworth. So the notion that I bear some grudge against charismatic Christianity is untenable. But like everything else in Christianity, charismatic activity must be based on a solid foundation, and there is no foundation other than Jesus Christ as revealed to us in contextual translations in the Bible that is established to be true by the works and testimonies of multiple witnesses. Even Jesus Christ Himself during His earthly ministry based His works and teachings on things established in scripture and by the prophets. So, my goal is to demonstrate how so many of these people are in their teachings, ministries, and lives in contradiction with the Bible, which must be the final authority in all matters. So, here are the five Biblical qualifications for a prophet. See how many of these that our modern prophets – and those who are given to frequently making prophetic statements – like Bynum, Kim Clement, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, etc. And no, I am not a cessationist: I do believe that the prophet office exists in some form today. But people should realize that the primary purpose of the prophet office today is the same as it was in the early church and in the Old Testament: to glorify God by acting as a servant among them and helping to meet their needs in practical and everyday ways. So, here are the requirements:

1. A prophet must be an Israelite. (Born again Bible – adhering Christians, being spiritual Israel, thereby qualify)

2. Prophets must speak not of their own accord or in their own name or any other, but in the Name of the Lord only.

3. Prophecies must be consistent with prior revelation.

4. Prophecies must not encourage idolatry or any other sin.

5. All prophecies must come true.

Anyone who fails on any of those points is not a prophet, and we should reject people who claim to have been placed in this office by God but do not measure up from our midst. What of Christians who prophecy at times, who fail on any of these 5 points (especially the prophecy not coming true part) but make no claims regarding having that office or gift? That may be another matter; if God forgives such a person that gives a false utterance and then repents then Christians certainly should. But if you have the title, then you have to live up to it, and further even Christians that are prone to giving false prophecies but do not carry the title of prophet should not be trusted.

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21 Responses to “The Requirements For The Office Of A Prophet”

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:3 notes:
    KJV

    3) But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

    The term to offer “prophesy” took a bit of an adjustment after Jesus and those who lived in the lifetime of Christ passed away. Which is why Hebrews 1:1-2 notes(KJV):

    1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

    2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

    The apostles told of some things to come via the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. However, since them, I can’t say there has honestly been anyone who fully and consistently meets the criteria of a “prophet” as viewed of the OT prophets and the apostles.

    We are told that in the future 2 great prophets will come in Revelation 11, but of course there are lots of other things that will occur in that time.

    For now, all I’ve seen are people who claim to be “prophets” and are not. There have been momentary miracles, where someone might know of something, that has been noted in our time, like times when a Christian is told not to get on a plane that later crashes. But other than that instance such an individual is not a true “prophet”. And today people prophesy like mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:3, but none fits the standard of “prophet” noted under the old covenant and certainly none meets the actions noted in Revelation 11. Today I see people who are prophesying and/or teaching, as in people who have the gift of prophesy as in the 1 Corinthians 14:3 form, not gifted in “future telling” unless they are mentioning what is found in scripture.

    So basically what I’m saying is, usually anyone claiming the title “prophet” today is someone I typically run away from and my suspicions are confirmed with their failed form of fortune telling.

    • Ray Brown said

      IC. You are falling into a talking points situation here and you are not taking the Whole Council of God, into consideration. To let you know my background, I WAS an independent. fundamentalist, Cessationist, Dispensational, KJO Baptist. THEN God got a hold of me and would not stay in the doctrinal box I had learned to place him in.
      NOW, getting to the crux of your statements. Where is there a specific time given that any of the offices will cease, BESIDES 1 Cor 13:9-10? This is a VERY subjective couple of verses, and probably does NOT support your view as well as you think it does. If you compare Revelation 10:7 with 1 Cor. 13:9-10 you will find that mystery or the partial knowledge is NOT about the Bible or the death of the last Apostle but about coming to the FULL knowledge of Christ, even Peter gave us a clue to this in 2 Peter 3:18 for the church has NOT grown to the full stature of Jesus yet. How can I say this? For there are still fightings and disputings among us for all sorts of spurious reasons, (mostly pride that “our” particular doctrine is the correct one.) Believe me, when the GOD of this Universe slaps you down, all you can do is lay there and ask for forgiveness for your past pride and seek not to be prideful any longer.
      Here are some things you should consider, at the end of his FREEDOM, and before his prison ministry, Paul met some prophets. Agabus and his daughters. This is much later than Acts 9, which I adhered to.
      I will grant you this, the gifts of the Spirit are NOT being done correctly in most churches. If we do not base our practices as they are plainly laid out in scripture, we are being extra-biblical.
      In Christ Jesus,
      Ray

  2. Independent Conservative: Yep, I knew while I was composing this one that you would be motivated to respond :-)! My basis for believing that the office of prophet still exists is not so much because we had prophets in the Old Testament, because I am adamant that a lot of the things given in the Old Testament should be viewed in the context of what was given to Israel to set them aside from other nations so that God could use them to bring Jesus Christ in the world. With that respects, God may have been dealing with other nations during the Old Testament times, and as such the Old Testament may not even be the full record of God’s dealings with mankind. There are actually hints of this in the Old Testament itself. King Josiah, for instance, went up against the ruler of Egypt, and Necho warned him not to oppose him on the battlefield, because God told Necho to go fight, and if Josiah interfered with his doing God’s business, Josiah would fall to Necho on the field of battle despite Josiah being the righteous ruler of God’s elect nation. And that very thing did happen. Thus, it is impossible to say that the true God of the universe did not speak to and guide Necho in this matter. (Did God deal with Necho prior to this and after this? Who knows!)

    So, my basis for believing that there are prophets in this dispensation is solely due to the fact that it was explicitly listed as an office in the five – fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 12:28). Now, people claim that the office of apostle ceased because it was a foundational office with specific requirements. (However, it is often not mentioned that there were plenty of people about that met those requirements more fully than did Paul, who by his own admission was not with Christ at any time during His earthly ministry and was not a witness to His resurrection … a fact that the legion of Paul bashers never ceases to be shy in bringing up, and in claiming that the true teaching of Jesus Christ through the actual apostles were lost and replaced by the Catholic Church who instead followed the “self – made apostle” …. the revolutionaries, gnostics, liberal Christians, etc. claim this.) I have not seen any benefits of entering that debate at this time, especially since the most prominent people going around applying that title to themselves in this day are Oneness Pentecostals (though people who were once oneness have now adopted Trinity while keeping their titles and the “apostolic” names of their denominations and the “apostolic” organizational structure, and oh yeah they still hang out with the trinity – deniers because of the historical and organizational relationships that they do not want to end) and MORMONS. But I will say that no convincing reason has been given for the reason why the office of prophet no longer exists. Not that the reason why there are no more apostles has been convincing (because as stated before, no reason can be given that would not also exclude Paul, who let us remember was not included among the 12 names that are on the great pearls in the gates of New Jerusalem in Revelation), but the reasons why there are no more prophets given are generally along the same lines as people who claim that ALL charismatic activity ceased in the early church.

    The problem is that (unlike that of apostle, where we had Paul’s activities as a guide, and to a far lesser extent actions of evangelists, preachers, teachers, etc.) there was no examples given in the New Testament of how the office of prophet was filled in the early church, so we have no template for how that office should be filled today. It is the job of people like me who believe that the office still exists to A) explain how it should be filled in this present day and B) expose those people who are claiming to be in that office when they are not. Thus far, it is far easier to do B) than A) for obvious reasons, but addressing A) is something that I intend to do at some point.

  3. Rudderman said

    alot of what said is true, but i don’t don’t understand how you believe that you are qualified to earnestly contend for the faith when you don’t scoff at “holiness or hell” doctrines. You are what Jude calls those who turn grace in lasciviousness. You brand everyone false for every bit of error(some not a major points of contention)and you are guilty of one of the most damnable heresies of an unsanctified (in lifestyle) hope of salvation. utter foolishness!

  4. Rudderman: We are saved by grace. Only God is holy. Were “holiness or hell” true, we would all be going to hell. That was the point of the law, remember? To show us our own unrighteousness? Answer this question: how holy was the thief on the cross? Yet he is in heaven. And I suppose you are someone who insists that Trinity is not a major point of contention? Of course you are. And incidentally, I do not brand everyone false for every bit of error. Most doctrinal disputes I specifically avoid getting involved in and do not even mention, and others while I make my dissenting opinions known, I specifically state that I honestly do not think that they are foundational issues, something that will make a person an apostate or heretic. So in your attempt to condemn me, you condemned yourself by making false charges. Claiming that I call grace into lasciviousness … don’t you realize that I talk about lasciviousness frequently on this weblog, and have TWO entries dedicated to the demon of lasciviousness? Did you even bother to do a search of my weblog on that topic before you made yet another false accusation? So that makes you guilty of two lies against me just in the course of making your entry. So, if your holiness or hell doctrine was true, you would have lost your salvation (or be well on your way to) and would have to go on some three day fast or maybe offer a sacrifice or something. So yes, I do praise God for the grace that opened up the doors of heaven for YOU and allowed your false charges against ME to be forgiven. Thank you.

  5. Well no other apostle had any problems with Paul and Peter worked with Paul to arrange how to minister to Gentiles. So I see no reason to have a problem with him as an apostle.

    I’m sure during the time before John the Baptist, in the 500 years of zero prophet activity prior to his arrival, I’m sure there were some interesting discussions.

  6. IndependentConservative: Yes, I very much count Paul as an apostle. As you can perhaps tell, I am a HUGE FAN of Paul :-). I was just using him to illustrate that the current definition of apostle that is used by non – charismatic (or should I say non – apostolic Pentecostal) churches would exclude Paul. And as for John the Baptist, describing future events did not seem to be a part of his ministry even in the strictest of terms (he foretold the coming and ministry of the Messiah in his day, but that was revealed prior by Daniel plus but Jesus Christ was already born, and John did not reveal the identity of the Messiah in advance), yet God said that He was the greatest of all prophets. Perhaps that should instruct us as to the role of the prophet in this dispensation: to bear witness of Jesus Christ and to call people to come to Him for repentance and remission of sins.

  7. I think we have agreement.

    You know I’m just leery of the folks who enjoy granting the title to themselves :-) .

  8. dutchy said

    i find what you have said above quite interesting and enouraging but i do have a question i have been identified as having the gift of the “office of a prophet” by five people in my church one of them being the pastor. As you said above i don’t understand the calling and the gifting. If you could please give me advice on the calling and understanding and wether its for real or not and the requirements

  9. Floyd said

    Greetings!

    I enjoyed reading your points. I agree with them all in that the line up against the backdrop of Scripture.

    I wonder, though, about your point on predictions. Kim Clement and many others have uttered many predictions which definately did not come to pass. But does this necessarily mean that they are false prophets, or simply that they may be spiritually immature Christians or budding prophets who have inadvertenly uttered inaccurate prophecies?

    How does one distinguish between a juvenile prophet and a false prophet, especially in light of the fact that today’s prophets and prophetesses do not begin their lives and ministries in the context of ideal conditions like the prophets and prophetesses of antiquity who had the crucible of spiritually ideal surroundings in which to develop their prophetic powers? Such as Samuel’s school for prophets called Naioth in the city of Ramah, or Elijah’s schools for prophets in Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho, and Elisha’s later additional school in Jordan, which provided the ideal context for training for the prophetic office? Could it not be the case that the absence of these types of schools in our day and age can leave men and women who are genuinely called to the prophet’s office wide open to a myriad of mistakes in both intepreting and delivering authenitic oracles from God?
    Thanks for considering my questions, and I eagerly await your response. Till then, remain blessed.

    Floyd.

    • Iron sharpens iron said

      Classic case: Jonah.

      Regarding school? The Harvard School of Prophets – The Wilderness of the Dark Night of the Soul. :-(

  10. Someone with sense said

    You are Heretics. REPENT!!!

  11. Isaiah*Dawson said

    Hi, My name is Isaiah. My name (as spoken by my mother, and countless witnesses) was given by The Father to me, i am 22 now, and i must say alot of things have changed, i am much closer to the father than i have ever been, and now i notice that alot i see, and say returns accurate, i read 1st Samuel (first prophet of Israel) and saw it wasnt until little Samuel Judged his Mentor Eli, that he became what we call a “true” prophet; at 12 years old. For everything he said came true.
    People must understand that you must be created for the job; The Prophet bestowed the Crown of Israel to the respected houses (judah, benjamin) which we know as Saul, David and his sons.
    I was created to carry a different sound, such as everyone. I speak confidently for i hear what i know is “TRUTH” in my heart. Anyone like me who is finding who they are in Christ, keep searching, and ye shall find.

  12. Timothy E Phillips Jr said

    We do exist and there is nothing we can do about it. Yes i meant we. If you have the Gift you know.You don’t use it, it uses you.

  13. Eric said

    are there prophets today? everything they say comes to pass exactly like they said? is what they are speaking being recorded and added to the cannon of scripture? if they are a true prophet then everything they say can never be challenged for it would be right out of the mouth of God. please get a clue its not hard to figure out. its the same ol charismatic deception.

  14. Lisa said

    I Cor. 13:9. We know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away with.

    I Cor. 12: (read all)
    vs24b…But God composed the body…vs25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

    vs28 – God has appointed these in the CHURCH(!) [Birthed our of Christ's, the second Adam, side].

    We’ve got to come together. The world is beating “us” (as the body) up. We win the ware but right now we are losing the battle and partly or mostly because of in-fighting.

    Christ said, I pray that they will be one as He and the Father are one. Get over the I know it all syndrome. None of us know it all. If such an one falls restore him in the faith with brotherly love. You can be a servant of the Lord and fall. And you can be restored, not that they all have been or are willing to confess they were wrong but..it is possible.

    Christians are so called (1st at Antioch) because they were “like Christ.”

    Vs 31 But earnestly desire the best (or greater) gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. And then he goes into chap. 13. The MORE excellent way.

    Maybe they were desiring the greater gifts in obedience to scripture as I, too, have and in some measure God has bestowed upon me the gift though I do not walk in the office, (we prophesy in part). However, yes at some point she fell.

    1 Corinthians 14:5 KJV
    I would that ye all spake with tongues, but RATHER that ye prophesied.

  15. Ricky said

    Some in this discussion have taken prophetic qualifications rather lightly, as though it were a intellectual exercise without real-world effect. Please allow me to make this concrete by sharing an experience.

    It is now several years ago that I was falsely accused of abusing someone’s child. At the time, I worked in our Sunday school classroom (with 3 other people) blessing kids 2 – 4 years old. Since the accuser was one of the pastors on staff, the top 3 leaders at the church believed the accusation… until they spoke with me and countless witnesses around me. The police did not believe it, no one else believed the ridiculous accusation.

    Enter a woman with probably 25+ years of experience as a “prophetess”, someone who was a well-known and respected member of our church. This person claimed that God told her I was guilty. (!) To make matters worse, I’d been truly abused at the hands of a pastor in my childhood church. Take a moment to imagine the pain of being falsely condemned for perpetrating something you were actually victimized by. Do you think that woman’s words did no damage, that I should just chalk it up to her being a “prophet in training” and laugh it off?

    At that time of my life I had nothing; blessing those kids was the only way I had of serving God and showing I loved Him, and I so desperately needed that. (And the children needed my blessing too because I was the only man serving that age group at the time.) My health began to suffer from the stress of it.

    From that point on — because the poisoning effect of the prophetess’ word on members who were not in a position to properly evaluate it — I did not work in any aspect of children’s ministry, actively avoiding it until recently when exhorted by the senior pastor, and even then I only acceded reluctantly.

    False prophecy cost me a large part of my life, prevented me from doing that which God had set before me, and deprived those whom God had intended to bless through me.

    Why do you think the original biblical punishment was so severe for having a prophetic word not “prove out”? Those who want the candy (the title or respect or influence coming from prophecy) seem these days to feel entitled to avoid bearing the consequences of not walking with humble discipline, or simply of being wrong.

    While you do your scripture-slinging debate, please remember that your points of view have “boots on the ground” consequences: you are discussing whether it is okay for someone to speak falsely or inappropriately in the name of God.

  16. Ntg said

    It’s nice not to judge people, the bible says judge not and you will not be judged. God can use anyone, and Juanita has imparted the lives of many,she is my mentor I don’t care what people say. Also remember Joel Osteen
    God can use anyone even people you don’t know. He can even use non Christians in your life, don’t judge people on their weakness.
    1-God used a donkey to speak to a prophet
    2- God used rahab the prostitute to save the people of Israel
    3-God used mud and spit to heal the blind man’s eye
    4-God used a little boy to feed 5000 people
    5-God used pharaoh’s daughter to take care of baby Moses and in other words move to 6
    6- God used the enemy to take care of his children
    God is not a respecter of persons.
    God can bring good out of anyone. Don’t put God in a box.
    Move away from preconceived ideas.
    Stay open God can show up in another way.

    • Ricky said

      But God did NOT use anyone to speak fiction as Truth (as in, truth from Him). This is very dispiriting to see, right after my actual experience of getting creamed by a prophet speaking falsely, this post saying essentially, “I don’t care what the evidence says about this person, I don’t care how it affects others, I don’t care whether it contradicts God’s prior revelation; I’m just going to believe anyway.” That, my friends, is a recipe for catastrophe.

      • culluts said

        Ricky, all I can say is…Nothing! Why? because my mouth is open, but I am speechless!!! What a horrible experience! What in the world are you supposed to do about that? What did the church do, what did they say to the woman? Did she have to give an account for what she said about you/did to you? Was she silenced or praised for exercising her “spiritual gift”. She is dangerous!

        My experience with a christian friend who believes she is a prophet could have cost me jail time and my relationship with the Lord. Her “word from the Lord” was diametrically opposed to everything I was hearing in my spirit when I talked to the Lord about my situation, alone, without her. When she realized that her “prophesy” would not come true, she couldn’t even speak, she had to hang up the phone. She was so arrogant, the next time I spoke with her (the next day I believe) she told me the Lord told her that her first prophesy was not wrong. (the situation had to do with me losing my job. She said the Lord told her that I would not be fired. As it turned out I was on the list to be laid-off and I was laid-off.) What difference does it make? Fired or laid-off? Bottom line, I was to be out of a job, unemployed!!! So, according to her, God plays semantics! Needless to say, I had to scratch her off of my list of prayer partners. And you wouldn’t believe this but, at the time I was spiritually, emotionally and physically weak …I actually took steps following her advice, that’s the part that would have landed be in jail! I am so thankful to the Lord that he gave me the courage to listen to Him!

        People speaking as prophets for God when they are not, is DANGEROUS!!! Each of us need to have a personal relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit on our own. We need to hear from God for ourselves.

    • It’s nice not to judge people, the bible says judge not and you will not be judged.
      This scripture is related to making unrighteous judgment against a person. We are to judge righteously.

      Scripture reads: For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?1 Corinthians 5:13

      Yes we judge those who are within the body whether they are man or woman.

      But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.1 Corinthians 5:13

      God judges those outside the body of Christ (the Church).

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