Purpose of the Prophets

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 18

???? Philip was later found again in Caesarea, where Luke records that he now was an ?evangelist,? they who originated first in Jerusalem.? Time had passed but time finds Philip faithful to his calling.? Blessed of God, we see Philip had four virgin daughters ?that prophesied.? Acts 20:8-9?? Entering the house of Philip, Paul had his third visit to Caesarea, for now Philip had preached the gospel in Caesarea for almost 20 years.?

???? We find the word ?evangelist? used by Luke in this text.? The word evangelist is a translation of a compound Greek word made up of eu, meaning well or good, and angelos, a messenger.? We need to look real close at this word!!? Perhaps, the title was given to Philip because of the type of missionary work he did, that he was located in a certain area and field of endeavor.? What about the rank of the office of an evangelist?? Immediately the question must be faced whether the listing of offices in Ephesians 4:11 is one of descending authority.? If so, the office of evangelist is next in order to that of apostle and prophet.? This in turn raises the question of the evangelist?s position in relation to that of elder (pasturing teacher).? Even if we insist that Ephesians 4:11 lists the offices in the order of descending authority, we never teach that the office of evangelist gives him absolute authority as some of our brethren have taught of the elder!!? The word seems to imply the evangelist was one who proclaimed by word of mouth the glad tidings, the good news, the Gospel.? The office or function of evangelist is mentioned two other places in the New Testament, Ephesians 4:11 and 2 Timothy 4:5.? From these limited sources, the following implications have been drawn: first, it is not easy in every case to distinguish between the activities of an apostle and an evangelist, but it is easy to distinguish between the evangelist and the eldership.? Evangelist was the name given to the writers of the four Gospels.? Two of those were apostles, too, you might remember.? The distinction between apostle and evangelist then might be given in this little formula: all apostles were evangelists but not all evangelists were apostles!!

???? Apostles and prophets were not limited to one congregation, where elders are.? Prophets and evangelist were commissioned to all churches within in a given area.? This seems to be what distinguished Philip from Peter and Paul.? The listing of this office is then geographical in nature!!? A question then has to be asked.? Is an evangelist or prophet (preacher) under the oversight of elders, or an ?outside advisor to the elders? when he is serving with any given congregation.? How were the evangelist appointed?? Evangelist, from the beginning received their commission from the churches, and not directly from Christ, as did the apostles of Christ-see Acts 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:14? This can be shown from the case of Timothy in which the hands of the eldership were laid on him for the purpose of setting him aside for the work on which he was embarking, and by parity of argument from the case of Philip.? Paul laid hands on Timothy evidently to impart to him those spiritual gifts which in that age were necessary in order to enable him to fulfill the commission which he had received from the church through the hands of the elders, 2 Timothy 1:6.? Was the office of evangelist temporary (like the office of apostle), or permanent (like the elder and deacon?? Timothy was told to commit the Gospel to faithful men, who in turn would be able to commit it to others, 2 Timothy 2:2.? This has properly been taken as a prerogative for setting aside evangelists-preachers chosen among the members of the church, by the church, not just the eldership, who showed an intense love for Christ during the mature age of the church, that they might fulfill their lives. ??Preach the Word,? resounds from the halls of eternity for such men!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 17

Some might object to calling the ?seven? in Jerusalem prophets.? Remembering ?He set some in the church; first apostles, then prophets?Ephesians 4:11, tells us WHEN this was done??when He ascended!!?? When Jesus ?rode on a cloud to the Ancient of Days,? Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 1:11, ?He was brought near before Him.? And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom? as we hear the words of the Ancient of Days; ?Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.? A scepter of righteousness (the standard of acceptance in Thy kingdom is obedience to the commands of Thy covenant) is the scepter of Thy kingdom.? Hebrews 1:8-12? Much to the chagrin of the pre-millennialism, God, the Father calls the Church of Christ, CHRIST?S KINGDOM.? Christ IS NOT COMING BACK to ?set up a kingdom? when returns the second time!!!!?

???? So, in the early church at Jerusalem, we see the apostles delivering the rules and regulations of the new covenant and prophets preaching the message, getting to the hearts of the listeners.? Stephen lost his life and Philip went to Samaria, then to the Eunuch, and finally, Luke records him being in Azotus, then Caesarea. Acts 8:40? ?To some this sounds like a filler that Luke used?read on!! ?Philip was raptured to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Azotus (near the site of ancient Ashdod, about 20 miles from Gaza).? It was about 60 miles from Azotus to Caesarea.? The plains of Philistia and Sharon are included in this area, as are many towns including Lydda and Joppa.? Perhaps, we can trace some of the effects of Philip?s evangelistic work in the appearance later in Acts of flourishing churches in both these towns (see Acts 9:32; 36).? It was a field of evangelism sufficient to occupy many years of Philip?s time.? Evidently, it seems Philip made this his headquarters from this time, on.? It was at Lydda that Peter, by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, healed Aeneas and at Joppa (Japho in Joshua 19:46, famous for its visit by Jonah) that he raised Dorcas from the dead using the same command Jesus used in Mark 5:41.? It was from Simon?s house in Joppa that Cornelius sent for Peter!!? With this kind of notoriety, no wonder Cornelius bowed down to worship Peter!!? By the way, it is recorded that a bishop from Azotus was present at the councils of Nicea (where Constantine (the first Papa of Roman Catholicism) divided the Church of Christ causing the Roman Catholic church to break from our fellowship in 314 AD) and then at another council at Chalcedon at even a later date! ???

???? The next mention of prophets of the New Testament is in Acts 13:1-4.? It might be that three of these brethren are well-known to the church, today, the others are not.? Saul and Barnabas, we know. It is said that Niger, meaning black, was none other than the son of Simon, the Cyrenian who carried Christ?s cross. Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26??? Then, there was brother Lucius; known for being the first member of the body of Christ to bring the gospel to Antioch, Acts 11:20.? Finally, there was Manaen who was brought up with Herod the Tetrarch (Herod Antipas, who killed John the Baptist).? He was said to have literally been a foster brother of Herod who had grown up in the castle with him!!? ?It is said of the effort of these prophets that ?the hand of the Lord? was with them.?? This phrase frequently was used in the Old Testament of the mighty manifestations of the power of God in behalf of His people.? This was the same phrase that was said of Philip in Samaria in Acts 8:5-8 as he ?confirmed the Word?!!? As David was king before he sat on the throne so Saul of Tarsus work was made successful by the providential working of the Almighty which Saul had to wait to do?SO??then departed Barnabas for to seek Saul?!! ?Saul had waited, now was the time.? Some have never learned this lesson!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 16

When Philip went to Samaria in Acts 8, under what authority did he journey?? He was not an apostle for he had not been with the Lord from the baptism of John (see Acts 1:22)? Some venture among us that Philip had this special gift through the ?laying on of the apostle?s hands,? but did that empower Philip with his message?? Both Philip and Stephen had had this ?laying on of hands? but so did Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas.? Did anyone hear of these other brethren prophesying or working miracles as did Stephen and Philip??? Did the ?laying on of the apostles hands? authorize the prophets message (Acts 6:8 and 8:6) or did the miracles not function as in our preaching, today, when we use a book, chapter, and verse to prove the delivered message??? Is there any record that Philip when at Azotas or as he went through until he came to Caesarea, not work miracles to sustain-prove his message??? I have some of the best in helps on the book of Acts, but none of them prove what I cannot find in the text.? Did these brethren receive this ability to speak from the ?laying of the apostle?s hands??

Is it not interesting that these brethren were already in an established function and were known as ?the seven? as the apostles were known as ?the twelve????? Don?t forget that the seven filled a void in service the apostles could not, should not, and did not attend!!? It is said of Stephen, as well as the other brethren, that they were qualified, already ?full of faith and of the Holy Ghost? BEFORE the apostle?s hands were laid on him, this was a requirement laid down by the apostles!!

I have read many of our brethren who taught these men to be the ?first deacons?!!? This makes no sense, for these men to have been deacons; there first were seven (this always means perfection).? This is not just a coincidence, nor was it luck.? The apostles were delivering the ?word of God? and it has been inferred by some that they were the only ones preaching the gospel at this time?this cannot be sustained, these men were ?full of the Holy Ghost??? If these brethren were the ?first deacons? then all deacons thereafter would have to be full of the Holy Ghost BEFORE THEY WERE APPOINTED IN EVERY CONGREGATION, something that is not even mentioned for the elders!!? They would be better qualified than the eldership under which they were serving.? They would have been set in the church BEFORE any elder would have been, they would have to been married men with children, there would have had to have been elders before them or they could not have been schooled in the art of working with the families of the church (these men were also ?full of wisdom,? again, a qualification that the eldership does not have), and there would have been no greater degree (1 Timothy 3:13) to which these deacons could have attained for they were already BETTER QUALIFIED than any elder they could have served under!!? Finally, there would have been deacons before there were elders?the word ?elders? was the synechtoche (a part standing for the whole) that the Holy Spirit had Paul and Barnabas ordain in every congregation on their second visit to the new congregations of the Lord, Acts 14:23.? So, without too much effort, we are in enough trouble making these men ?deacons?!!? What we are not in trouble with, though, is that these men were qualified, known as qualified, and were classified, were already functioning WHILE, AS, DURING the time the apostles were giving the ?Word of God? to the assembly!!? James did not send someone like Barnabas to check on their message as he did in Acts 11:22-23.? Let me introduce to you the first mentioning of the prophets, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, a like group that was in the church at Antioch in Acts 13:1-3!!? It had to begin first, at Jerusalem, remember?!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 15

We have come to the end of a study which I hope has been interesting and informative to you.? I am sure someone else has done a better job with this in other times in the history of the Church.? Prophets are mentioned in the New Testament with little or no elucidation.? They receive no understanding from the readers of God?s Holy Book.? That they were ?set? in the church as were the apostles, evangelist, pastors, teachers, etc., so there must have been a need they fulfilled.? Like the many other things we use in the New Testament Church (unleavened bread as an example), their background comes from a study of the Old Testament understood by its early readers.? If the ?pattern? shown Moses included this office/work, so must its ?reality!!? ??Not apart of ?that which was perfect,? this position existed in the dispensation that existed immediately ?for our learning.??

???? They were not ?apostle apprentices? and were never ?checked on? by the apostles or the churches from which they were sent as in Acts 11:23, but often functioned simultaneously with the existing church or apostle and did the preaching in that place (as we see the prophetical work in the study of Stephen, in Acts 7.? It was not coincidental that the Jews found Stephen; he was on the debate team that ministered for the church at Jerusalem!! Acts 7:9; 13:1-4; 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus).? Some Churches of Christ don?t even consider debate; much less have a team training as ?the defenders of the faith.?? They are afraid of hurting feelings and not defending the great God who died for them!!? They don?t study denominationalism and its damnable lies so they can defend the precious, pure ?river of Life.!!? Like the apostle Paul, Stephen was ?set for the defense of the gospel? and it cost him his life, not just his relationship with his denominational mother-in-law!! 1 Peter 3:15; Psalms 139:17-24; Philippians 1:12-19; 3:18-20? ?????????

???? These brethren had a role or function in the church that has been amalgamated by ?love advocates? and the ?feelings-oriented.?? They were in a fight for their lives and the existence of the Church of Christ; they were soldiers, not cowards!!? They had to get the brethren ready for the ?wiles of the devil? for the week to come and were ?charged? (this is the stirring up of the heart commanded of God to the prophets) by the apostles to do so!! 2nd Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:5-11 ??The church of the first century and all other centuries have to ?fight, the good fight of faith,? not put the brethren to sleep in the pews, entertain their children with gold fish, or put on a musical!! ???The Holy Spirit called out- named those who had this job to perform, and these prophets did not set down after 15 minutes of preaching or be fired!!? Some even ?continued until midnight!!?? The baton has to be passed on; we do not have to re-light the torch if it has continued to burn bright in the hearts of the preachers/prophets of God!!? God pulled the plug on the church at Laodicea. They were fat and happy on their way to Hell. Jesus said the preacher would not ?earnestly contend and defend the faith once delivered to the saints!!?

???? When Peter ?lifted up his voice? in Acts 2: 14; his message came from a heart that had already been put in prophet gear ??Neither Satan nor all the demons of Hell; not even his wife,? his mother-in-law, or a good paying job) could stop him!!!? He couldn?t stop until they crucified him upside down!! ?There was no aire of a funeral home or a comedy routine; sinners repented and saints held on to their seats fearing the Lord would return and they would fly off to glory before the preacher had finished his message!! Preachers, baptize your message with the fire-power of the Holy Spirit.? If your audience is made up of members of the Church of Christ, it won?t bother them; the Holy Spirit lives in them!!
If not, maybe they will repent and be baptized SO the Holy Spirit will move in!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 14

The major problem with Saul as King was his tendency to ?do as he wanted, or as he felt in his heart!?? With the bad situation in Israel with the idolatry on the rise and the depletion of the prophets except Samuel, Saul would have been the very replacement needed to buffer the waning love that should have been shown Jehovah God.? Saul was a bitter disappointment.? When David came on the scene, a ?man after God?s own heart,? obstinate Saul furthered his contempt for the plan of God by trying to stop the plan God had in mind from the beginning of what we know as ?time.?? This plan was the sending of His only begotten Son to reign over His people.? David was the next step in that plan.?

???? In 1 Samuel 3:1 we learn that the word of God was rare in the days when Samuel was a child.? The rise of the companies of prophets during his tenure as ?the? prophet and the designation employed in 1 Samuel 19:20 for Samuel teach us that Samuel was self appointed over them.? Again, with the downfall of the sanctuary at Shiloh and the Ark of the Covenant being taken away by the Philistines, the presence of God in the midst of His people was not existent.? (Shiloh, a city in the tribe of Ephraim about 13 miles North and east of Bethel, was the city with the isolated hill which could easily be defended either against the Canaanites or the Philistines.? Here, the children of Israel under Joshua assembled after the first phase of the conquest of Canaan and set up the tabernacle, thus making Shiloh the capital city of Canaan under the theocracy.? Here, it remained till the days of Samuel, about 400 years later, when the Ark of the Covenant was removed in a battle with the Philistines as mentioned in 1 Samuel 4:3.? From here the Ark of the Covenant wandered until the days of Solomon?s Temple.? From the time of the removal of the Ark, Shiloh gradually lost its importance, and especially when David made Jerusalem the capital of the kingdom.? This loss of importance was principally because God ?forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which He placed among men.? Psalms 78:60? ?In the days of Jeremiah, Shiloh was in ruins. Jeremiah 7:12,14)

???? After the death of Samuel the prophetical bodies seem to have died out, not to re-appear until the time of Elijah and Elisha (and then only in the northern tribes).? There were no hereditary demands on these groups in any period.? Furthermore, they then received a new designation, namely, ?sons of the prophets.?? ?Much has been studied about this group, the word ?son? did not intend to express actual son-ship but a close association such as might be understood by a term like discipleship. When the great writing prophets appeared on the scene, the ?sons of the prophets? disappeared.?? ??????????????

???? ?When Saul went to ?arrest? David, he found himself, again, ?fighting against God.?? God had moved on, Saul was king in name, only (as some congregations, some in their marriages), waiting the appointed time so all would know just who are the dead!! ?The Spirit had already LEFT Saul, saints/men who are alive in Christ and continue to be unequally yoked with the dead (those who have turned away from God and denied the Christ who bought them) CAN be destroyed IN THIS false association!! ?The living church/saint sometimes gives up in despair, spiritually and changes the message or leaves the church.? God had had enough of Saul. ?God?s heart was with the king who would bring righteousness physically and spiritually to this world.? What are we to learn from this example of 1 Samuel 19:19-24, but another great truth-?if God can give up on someone, should not His children do the same??? Some eldership can not see or ?mark? the true sinner, but they can ?mark? the innocent who the guilty destroy along with their saints/children who have to live in that mess.? Our faith must be in God!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 13

???? In 1 Samuel 19:19-24 we have another incident to study.? Fearing the hand of Saul, David fled and came to Naioth.? Word was then brought to Saul, who sent messengers for the express purpose of arresting David.? They sought to follow out his bidding, and saw a company of prophets who prophesied, and Samuel was standing as one appointed over them.? The word which expresses Samuel position in the group was as one appointed over the prophets may have the meaning of ?one who appointed himself.?? Samuel may have been the only recognized voice of God in these days.?

???? ???When they had seen the body of prophets, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also engaged in prophesying.? Here, again, we must emphasize that it was not contact with the company of prophets which produced the condition of prophesying, but rather the coming upon the messengers of the Spirit of God.? When this was made known to Saul, he sent a second group of messengers, and the results were the same, and this was followed by a third group.? Saul determined to go himself!!? The Spirit of God came also upon him, and as he went, he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah.? There is no mention of Saul first meeting the company of prophets and then prophesying.? The purpose of Saul?s going was to arrest David.? The Spirit came upon him, and He constrained Saul to continue the journey, prophesying.? ?

???? Saul stripped off his garments and prophesied before Samuel.? It is implied that all those who prophesied stripped off their garments as they prophesied.? The action is expressive of the ecstatic condition in which the prophets were placed by the overcoming power of the Spirit of God.? Of Saul alone, it is related that he fell down naked all that day and night.? From this we may infer that in this particular act Saul was alone, and that there is a reason why this was so.?

???? It is not without understanding that some of the fake demonstrators in religion have read this account, for they have tried to immolate the actions of Saul in tearing off their clothing.? It was not common for a man to come under the power of the Spirit in that day as it is today.? The seizure of the Spirit was more powerful in the case of Saul than in that of the messengers, for Saul had more stubbornly resisted the will of God.? This tells us Saul was made to recognize that God was far more powerful than man and to resist God?s willed was pointless.? The over whelming influence which came upon Saul was evidently designed to control him so he would not struggle ?against God and so to subdue him and break his hard heart.? ?God was in control!!

???? Samuel had a stronger position as prophet to any other that had been up to this time.? It was during Samuel?s lifetime the sanctuary at Shiloh was removed, the Ark of the Covenant was taken away by the Philistines. ?The only representative of God was Samuel.? With the fall of the sanctuary and the attendant priesthood, there arose a serious situation in Israel.? Idolatry and apostasy made their appearance, and there was need for a strong leadership that would protect God?s rights to this nation.? It was necessary that Israel be brought to know its situation.? No one stood in a place of higher respect as a servant of God than did Samuel and it seems logical that it was he who brought into being the bodies known as ?schools of prophets.?? Although they worked under his direction, he probably did not live with them (1 Samuel 7:17).? When these schools of prophets met it was to prophesy together, not teach each other.? Protected by God, the prophets and their assistants carried on the work of God without interference!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 12

The ?new heart? given to King Saul, I believe, made him a better man, husband, king, and servant of God, but it is not the ?new heart? we receive after we have come forth from the watery grave of baptism?we have been given something BETTER!!? Was there an actual change to Saul?s heart?? Yes, I can see when reading the text there was, but from this incident did Saul become a different man??? No, because he turned down the direction and leading of the Spirit of God.? The purpose of the ?new heart? was to make him capable to rule God?s people, Israel.? Saul showed over and over again a stubborn to do it his way!!?? What was the necessity of the Spirit on Saul?? He would be able to act as a king should act, have a greater appreciation the capacity of leadership should bring and its effect on his people, have a greater ability to carry out the duties and demands of kingship, and be able to be what he had been chosen to be.? If he had recognized the extent his person now had on the sons of Israel, he would have ?quaked in his boots? seeing the lack of preparation for such a work.?

???? It is true of us today!? We enter marriage with no courses to take to determine it successful, fatherhood and motherhood with no previous experience, and the body of Christ turned inside out because of sin.? How can we expect to be successful??? In Christianity, each ?new born child? receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.? Many do not know why, some do not think it as important as it is, but when this example is re-told. It brings far more understanding.? With the Spirit, a greater appreciation for obedience becomes real.?

???? When Saul came to Gibeon, the band of prophets was there to meet him.? The language seems to imply that the prophets were there for the purpose of meeting him.? The Spirit of God then rushed upon him, and he prophesied in the midst of the prophets.? It was as though Saul had actually become one of the prophets.? To the eye of the beholder, there would have appeared no difference; ?and behold, with prophets he prophesied,? 1 Samuel 10:11? Whatever the precise nature of this phenomenon may have been, Saul also was partaker of it.? He would here at least in no wise have been distinguished from the other prophets.? Whatever the nature of the ecstatic inspiration which had come over the other prophets and under the influence of which they probably gave expression to the overflowing feeling that filled their hearts, it had come also upon Saul.? It must be noted that this was not mere contact with the prophets which brought about such inspiration; it was the onrushing of the Spirit of God!!

???? When the people who had known Saul saw him, they asked, ?Is Saul also among the prophets??? The very asking of such a question supposes that the p0revious life of Saul had been quite different.? Saul was ONE of the last whom they might expect to find in the company of prophets.? One of those who were present then asked concerning the prophets ?And who is their father??? This question has been interpreted in various ways.? Probably, however, it was just asking whether the father of the prophets was also a prophet.? In other words, did the gift of prophecy come upon these men by way of inheritance?? Was it theirs as a birthright?? The questions would imply a negative answer.? The prophets did not receive this gift by way of heredity.? Rather, it was a free gift of God ?Who bestows it upon whom He will.??? Since the prophets themselves did not receive it, must we be surprised that Saul has also received it??? If God could and did freely bestow this gift upon the prophets, could He not also bestow it upon such a one as Saul, who up to this point had shown a disposition alien or at least indifferent to that of the prophets?

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 11

As king, Saul had no preparation.? When he left the presence of Samuel, God had prepared for him a means of governing the nation of Israel.? Samuel had told him he would meet a band of prophets and the Spirit of God would come upon him ?and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.? 1 Samuel 10:6?? Many are the confusing thoughts coming from Bible scholars about the reason Saul received the Spirit.? Verse 9 gives the answer so clearly we cannot but help to understand.? ?And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.?

???? Usually, when studied, the anti-type of this incident gives us great information.? There are many who do not understand the effects of the ?gift of the Holy Spirit? on the newly ?born again? child of God after baptism, if, in fact they believe there is any effect at all!!? As with Saul, so with the new born-they are not prepared for the journey of faith about to be undertaken! ?As with Saul, so with us, we need help!!? The forgiveness of sins brought about by the burial in water will not prepare us for the life in Christ.? The incident we are studying with Saul gives the best explanation I have seen for the purpose of this GREAT gift. ?In the example, Saul had been looking for the donkey of his father-not the kingship of Israel.? He had wondered all over the place looking for the animal.? His heart was truly in the right place?but to prepare him for kingship his heart was not prepared. ??Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying ?Tomorrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over My people Israel, that he may save My people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon My people, because their cry is come unto Me.? 1 Samuel 9:15-16?? Saul was coming to see Samuel, but about an entirely different matter, Saul was looking for his father?s donkey!! ?

???? On the day of Pentecost the Jews had gathered together to celebrate one of three religious observances of their religion.? Their purpose was celebrate the harvest of food they anticipated by planting.? God was going to start the Church of Christ in Jerusalem, that day.? They were totally unprepared for that that was coming!!? Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit preached them Jesus.? 3,000 men obeyed the gospel, their sins were forgiven, and they were added to the Church of Christ by the founder and head, Jesus Christ.? Leaving the company of the apostles, this group of believers would not be able to ?continue faithful unto death.?? God gave them a gift that would allow them to be what they had become!!? As with Saul, there was celebration afoot that day.? The prophets were coming down from the high place with psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe.? ?Then they that gladly received the word were baptized.?? ?And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied? or ?when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, ?What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets??? ??????????????

???? Unfortunately for Saul, like Simon Magus-his heart quickly turned again to the corruption from which it had been delivered.? Saul went on to attempt the murder of David many times as did his counter-part Simon.? Simon, as history records, hounded Peter the rest of his time and it was at the bust of Simon Magus, on the Appian Way that Paul the apostle was beheaded.? Simon Magus had become a ?god? in Rome.?

???? No one is trying to equate the ?new heart? of Saul to the ?new birth? of the saints of God, but there WAS a change that took place, for a while.

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 10

After Samuel had anointed Saul, he announced to him that when Saul came to the hill of God where the garrison of the Philistines was, he would meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place.? In several passages in both the books of Samuel and Kings, we read of bands of prophets or sons of the prophets.? What is the meaning of these terms??

???? To properly understand this question, it is important to recall that in the time of Moses the seventy elders received of the Spirit which was upon Moses. ?The nation had complained, and Moses gave utterance to the thought that the office which had been placed upon his shoulders was too heavy for one man to bear. Numbers 11:14 ?The Lord knew of Moses? burden. ?He commanded seventy men, known as elders, to assist Moses, and sent the same Spirit on them as had been upon Moses.? When the Spirit was diffused among the seventy, they spoke in tongues to convince Moses and the nation that they were suitable for the work which lay before them.?

???? When the time of Judges had come to its close, Samuel stood forth almost alone as the messenger of God.? He was true to his office, 1 Samuel 3:19-21 and served in the ?transition from Judges to Kings.? As Moses had lesser power of the Spirit when it was diffused among the seventy, so the bands of prophets or sons of the prophets had lesser amounts of the Spirit than did Samuel. ?So when Saul met these bands of prophets, he was meeting a group that all together had about the same degree of control of the Spirit as Samuel.?

???? It was told Saul that when he come to the hill of God, he would encounter a band of prophets.? The prophets were a ?band? or ?company? and were altogether.? They were descending from the high place.? We are not told why they were descending, and there is no point in concluding that there was at the high place the seat of a school of the prophets.? Possibly they had been on a pilgrimage.? They were accompanied by musical instruments, and this may have been indicative of a festive occasion. ??It is not clear as to why they been to the high place, nor why they were at this time descending.? That these men were under the influence of the Spirit of God, there can be no doubt, for it is said to Saul that when he meets the prophets, the Spirit of Jehovah will rush upon him and he will prophesy with them. 1 Samuel 10:10?? The result of the rushing of the Spirit was typical of the prophet.? God?s Spirit came upon the prophet, and the result was that he prophesied.? The source of this information was Heaven.? Who could but think, then, that the message was anything but exhilarating and ecstatic.? Aided by the presence of music, the message was not self-imposed nor self-induced as with those who think themselves inspired, today.? It is without a doubt that when the Spirit of God thus came upon a man, that man was in an abnormal condition.? There was resting upon him a Divinely imposed compulsion so that he could not but speak forth and sing the wondrous works of God.

???? For the condition of Saul, it was told that he would turn into another man.? This phenomenon is further described in 1 Samuel 10:9.? It would was not regeneration, for that includes all the soul to change. This was a work on Saul without permanent results, like a passing fancy. ?It was not preceded by a passing away of old things.? The heart with its sinful, rebellious nature, would remain, and, did remain until his death.? Saul was to become a different man, in that he would now have the ability to act as a king should act.? He would have a wider vision of the duties that were required of a king, and he would receive the capacity to carry out those duties.? He would be a greater man that before.

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 9

If we are to arrive at a proper conception of the function of the prophet (nabhi), we must look to its meaning in actual usage: ??and I shall place My words in his mouth, and he will speak unto them all which I command him.? Deuteronomy 18:18?? Here, the function of the prophet is that of declaring the Word which God has given.? It may be mentioned that in this context even the false prophets acted as did the true.? Even the false prophets spoke forth a message, and the writer of Deuteronomy presents the criteria of means which the words of false prophets may be distinguished form those that are of the true!!? When Moses complained about his lack of ability to speak, the Lord declared that Aaron his brother would speak for Moses: ?I know that he surely can speak.?? The entire function of the prophet is that of speaking.? ?And thou shalt speak unto him, and thou shalr place the words in his mouth, and I shall be with thy mouth, and I shall teach you that which ye shall do.? And he will speak for thee unto the people; and it shall be that he will become thy mouth, and thou shalt be come his God.? Exodus 4:15-16?

???? In this likeness the call of Jeremiah tells us with even more implicidness: ?And thou, thou shalt gird thy loins, and thou shalt arise and thou shall speak unto them all that which I shall command thee.? Jeremiah 1:17? To note the similarity between Deuteronomy and Jeremiah is striking.? The function which Jeremiah is to discharge is that of speaking the words which God gave him.? It is thus also noteworthy to acknowledge that the prophet, himself, understood the ramifications of his work.? In Jeremiah 1:5 it was noted that even before Jeremiah was born God had declared him to be His messenger!!? ?Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee; and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.?? This also sounds like the statement of the apostle Paul; ?And when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother?s womb, and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen?? Galatians 1:15-16a??

???? When Jeremiah heard the announcement of his call, Jeremiah cries that he does not know how to speak. ?Intentionally, Jeremiah knew the work of a prophet was speaking!!? The thought of him speaking seemed to bring fear to his heart.? The prophet was to speak the ?mind of God.?? When a time came that the Jew was to go down to Egypt in Isaiah 30:2, they who failed to consult the mind of God were said not to have consulted ?His voice,? or that of His prophet. Isaiah 30:2? ?In other words, to consult the mouth of God is equivalent to consulting the prophets of God.? In 1 Kings 8:15, Solomon blesses the Lord ?which spake with His mouth unto David my father.?? The reference appears to be to the remarkable promise given to David through Nathan the prophet and recorded in 2 Samuel 7 ??For God to speak with His mouth and to speak through His prophets is the same thing!!

???? Now we come to the New Testament where the same office is mentioned.? Do we have the same function?? Were those who were called prophets in the New Testament charged with the same work?? It has not been that long ago that we studied this office/function and found them ministers of the gospel, preaching the good news of the kingdom of Heaven.? In Ephesians 4:8-13 we find them definitely mentioned as a apart of the structure of the New Testament Church in the miraculous age-do they exist in the age of perfection?? ?Were men like Philip, Timothy, Titus, and Stephen of this stripe?? Did they preach a message that ?pulled at the strings of the Heart? unlike that of the apostles?? Were they men of higher linguistic abilities that were designed ministers of exhortation?