It is because of these differences that Heb.1:1,2 shows us that God no longer speaks to His people of future events through prophets. But, now uses prophesying solely to edify, exhort, and comfort His people.
In this message I wanted to follow up on why God does not speak through prophets to His people in these last days by looking at the passages in 1Cor.12 and 14 that time did not permit in the 1st part of this message.
If we look carefully at the context in which Paul uses the term in the New Testament, we will see that his use of prophesying in his teaching about spiritual gifts carries a very different meaning and calling than it had in the Old Testament.
In these chapters Paul is explaining spiritual gifts and how they are used in the church. And in several verses he refers to the gift of prophesying. This may seem contradictory to some when you read that there is a gift of prophesying in the New Testament. While God says in Heb.1:1,2 that it was only in times past that He spoke through prophets. And that now in the New Testament He has spoken through His Son.
But, when reading about this gift in these chapters we find that this gift is not the Old Testament office of prophet that was used to speak to the people concerning what God was going to do in the future. Rather, it is a New Testament ministry gift whose use is solely for exhortation, edification, and comfort concerning what God has already made known to us in His word, the Bible.
Think about what Old Testament prophets were known for. They spoke to the people of Israel, and to nations like Egypt that enslaved them, saying things that angered many of them. So much in fact that the prophets were more often than not hunted down and killed by the people they were sent to prophesy to.
Does this sound like what Paul is saying in 1Cor.14:3 that prophesying is for where we see the gift brings "exhortation, edification, and comfort" to the church? No. This is why it is very important that we understand these things in the context in which they are written. And that we do not simply read the word prophesying and force the same meaning and function on it that it had in the Old Testament.
And even when Old Testament prophets spoke of good things God would do for Israel it was always conditional. But, this is not how New Testament prophesying speaks. The edification, exhortation, and comfort they speak of is theirs without conditions. Because it is the goodness of God, not severity, that leads men to repentance in the New Testament.
But, why? Why the difference? Because in the times of the New Testament we are not under law but under grace as Paul said in Rom.6:14. Under the law God told Israel in Deut.28 if you will then I will. Because it was a conditional covenant. But, as we see in 2Tim.2:13 under grace God says, "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
This is Because the New Testament is unconditional. Works were required to receive the blessings in the Old Testament. But, works are not a requirement for receiving the blessings in the New Testament. So when we hear prophesying today we need to remember that it's only purpose is to "edify, exhort, and comfort" the church.
Because Jesus for whom the Old Testament prophesying was done has come. So there is no longer any need for the preservation of the seed of man Gal.3:19 tells us of to insure a Messiah whose humanity would be exactly the same as all men. As well as being fully God.
This is why we see Paul saying in 1Cor.14:1-5 that we are now to, "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."
We also see in Acts21 that prophesying was a gift that even women were given. Showing that the New Testament gift could be for all who sought for it just as Paul said. And not an office held only by men as was true in the Old Testament. Yet another difference we find between Old and New Testament prophesying.
The Old Testament office of prophet has men speaking what was generally doom on those for whom the prophecy was meant. Which is why the prophets were more often than not killed for their prophesyings. Because the people did not like what they were hearing.
And by law if a prophet ever got it wrong he was to be killed. Because if they were really prophets of God what they prophesied would necessarily always came to pass. And if not then they were false prophets because they did not speak for God. Yet another difference between the prophets of old and those who claim to be prophets today.
But, the New Testament's prophesying is a gift that Paul says all men should "follow after" because it's operation is one that brings exhortation, edification, and comfort to the church. Just as Paul says interpretation of tongues does. And has nothing to do with foretelling future events not already laid down in the Bible, as was the work of the office of prophet in the Old Testament.
This is why I said Heb.1:1,2 shows that God DOES NOT speak to His people through prophets "in these last days". Because even though the New Testament gift Paul speaks of in 1Cor.12,14 is translated prophesying. The context shows that their's is not the Old Testament office of prophet that foretells future events that are not already written down in the pages of the Bible. Things 1John2:27 says we have no need that any man teach us. But, prophesyings are the gift that encourages and comforts and exhorts the church.
The danger we find ourselves in if we allow ourselves to believe prophesying today is the same as prophets in the Old Testament is that this would mean that God's revelation to man is not complete with what is written in the pages of the Bible. And we will find ourselves tossed about by every supposedly new wind of doctrine through claims of future events the Bible prophets never claimed as Paul said in Eph.4:14-16. Making us as those who Paul also said in 2Tim.3:7 are "ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth".
And just as Jesus said, this and that supposed new revelation by prophecy from these so called prophets will have us running to and fro believing "lo he is here, or lo he is there". But, only by being faithful to the word of God will we be kept from being deceived by them. And we will recognize truth about Jesus when we hear it.
God's revelation is complete. There is no need for prophets to add anything to it. And if we will believe the plain language of the Bible we will not be deceived by those of whom Jesus said in Mt.24:4,5, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come IN MY NAME, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."
This is how you can know that anyone coming to you in Jesus' name saying he is anointed as a prophet with special revelation about future events not already laid down in the Bible is likely not from God. For there is no such office in the New Testament church. But, only those who have the gift of prophesying that Paul says is for the sole purpose of bringing exhortation, edification, and comfort to the church. A gift that Paul said is available to everyone who believes just by seeking prophesying.
Why? Because it is through His Son Jesus Christ that God speaks to men in these last days. And He speaks to us directly through the Holy Spirit that lives in us. Not through prophets foretelling future events not already laid down in the Bible as God did in times past. And now we know these things because we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. Leading us into all truth.
The indwelling Holy Spirit that in Eph.4:20 Paul tells us "seals" those who have trusted in Jesus "until the day of redemption". An indwelling that brings the Holy Spirit's continual communion with our spirit that was birthed in us when we first believed. A communion that is expanded "from faith to faith and glory to glory" by our diligently seeking God in His word.
This is the reward Heb.11:6 speaks of when we diligently seek Him. This is the "more grace" James speaks of when we humble ourselves before God. More of Him through the spirit that has made us children of God and heirs to His kingdom.
The words in this message are words of edification, exhortation, and comfort, are they not? So this is what prophesying in the New Testament sounds like.
And if you have never trusted in Jesus you too can be made an heir to God's kingdom. And this reward can be yours too. When you will confess Jesus is Lord. And believe that He has raised from the dead. Only then will you be saved. Made spiritual by having a new spirit birthed in you by being born of His Spirit.
Delivering you from mortality to immortality. Having the first fruits of the spirit birthed in you now. And the last fruits of the immortal body that can not be touched by the corruption of death that Jesus said He has prepared for you to receive at the resurrection.
So trust in Jesus to receive His gift of eternal life to live in His kingdom where there is no more sorrow or death. Turn from your idols to a loving and personal relationship with the one and only true God. The very thing God created you for.
Do this... and I will see you there or in the air!
This message can also be heard at: Rumble