Tag: gospel preacher

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 8

Another common term mentioned many times in the Old Testament for prophet was man of God.? This term emphasized his holy calling, moral character and divine ministry.? The term is used quite early in Old Testament writings, for instance for Moses, Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha. Deuteronomy 33:1; 1 Samuel 9:6; 2 Kings 4:9 ???

???? Servant of the Lord.? This title stresses the close and holy relationship between God and His faithful messengers.? It is used of the prophet Ahijah in 1 Kings 14:18.? God frequently speaks of ?My servants, the prophets? in 2 Kings 9:7; 17:13; Jeremiah 7:25; Ezekiel 38:17; Zechariah 1:6; Amos 3:7??? This appellation has confused many.? It is this name that sets the proper direction of the book of Revelation.? Many never see this book as a testament of the Almighty vindicating the death of His only begotten Son picturing the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ.? Since they misconstrue the message of Revelation, the misconstrue the message and often think the message of Revelation concerns the second coming of Christ when, if fact it is about His first coming.? They also never look back to the work of the prophets for a definition of the figures-symbols-signs used in that great book of vindication.? See how this explains the message and content of the Book of Revelation!!? ?The revelation (taking off the cover, 1 Corinthians 2:9) of (not from, but about) Jesus Christ, which God (the Father) gave (this was His role in perfecting-bringing to completion, the plan of salvation-the agreement between Christ and the Ancient of Days, John 7:16-19; Acts 2:22-28) unto Christ, to show (vindicate, explain what and why Christ suffered and died such a horrible death, 1 Timothy 3:16) unto (by) His servants (prophets, men of God, messengers of the Lord-same term we are now studying as referencing the prophets) things (events) which must (the AMEN, or as God would have it, had just been completed) shortly (in the three and one half year ministry of Christ): and He (God, the Ancient of Days) sent and signified (used the signs and symbols used in the writings of the prophets) it (this message) by His angel (special apostle who had seen these events commonly discussed and understood in Paradise when he died at Lystra) unto His servant (same term-same qualified messenger as the Old Testament prophets, Amos 3:7) John (the apostle the believing Jew would most likely listen to).? Who bare record (qualification as in 1 John 1:1, not the angel who gave John the message, but the angel who could verify the message as being true) of the word (message) of God, and of the testimony (John 5:38-39) of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw (John had witnessed as one of the twelve).? Revelation 1:1-2?? To not understand who the servants were causes many to miss the message of this great treatise of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!!? If you miss the direction of the first chapter and the first two verses of ANY book you miss the message of the entire book!!

???? Messenger of the Lord.? The same Hebrew term (mal?ak) is used for both messenger and angel.? As the angels of the Lord are His spiritual messengers (these are men not spirit beings), so too, His prophets were the messengers of His revealed word.? This term defines more exactly what the servant of Haggai, for instance, was employed to do, namely deliver the messages of God.? Haggai is called the Lord?s messenger-Haggai 1:13.? It is used of John the Baptist, Malachi 3:1 and the prophets generally, 1 Chronicles 36:15-16.? In Isaiah 44:26, both servant and messenger are used explain this function.?

???? So, we see how each appellation explains a function of the prophet of God!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 7

There are many names we see used for the office of the prophet.? Some places he is called an angel of Yahweh as in Haggai 1:13, or a shepherd, or a servant; other places he is called a watchman.? These terms are figures of speech rather than appellations.? Three general ideas are ours regarding the use of these terms.? First, there is no definite succession of dates at which the various terms describing the prophets came into use.? It is generally understood that these terms were and are used interchangeably.? Each term has of course its own definite meaning.? A man who had certain supernatural gifts was called man of God, prophet, seer, or beholder.? One term may have been at certain times current, rather than another, but all four of the terms were current from very early times.? Second, these terms are applied to persons who are better known in some other capacity than as prophets, but who exercised prophetic gifts.? Some of these, as Moses the lawgiver or David the king, stand very high in the prophetic ranks.? Other men like Joshua and Solomon, Ezra, and Nehemiah were in this classification. ??Thirdly, these ?terms are applied to persons who were prophets only in a secondary sense.? There were pupils or disciples or assistants of the men who were strictly prophets.? We see as we study a term called ?companies of prophets? or ?sons of the prophets.?? These men were banded together into organizations under great prophets as Samuel or Elijah, men who were, by the way, recognized as disciples of Isaiah.? A person of this type may naturally be spoken of as a prophet or a man of God, especially when he is sent by his superior on some prophetic errand.? The secondary prophets were at times much more numerous than the primary prophets, and it sometimes becomes important to distinguish between them.

???? Some assert that the prophet and his function was merely a frenzied utterance, and that primarily the prophetic gift as conceived was an unimportant function in reaching the minds through the hearts of those who heard them.? To this rebuke of the servant of God, the offense is immeasurable.? Their role in meeting the needs God had intended is circumvented and denied.? That there is no ground for this as there is not for many other thoughts some of the ?learned? have offered? When speaking to Moses concerning his role given him in stirring up the children who had been in slavery when in Egypt, God said: ?See, I have made thee as God to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.? Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh.? Again, in Exodus 4:16: ?And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people?he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God.?? With this highly vaulted position, the prophet exercised great importance in the period of the Old Testament.? Amos cried out; ?the Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?? Amos 3:8 ???The primary function of the prophet was to prophesy, that is, to speak the message which God had revealed unto him.?

???? Terms used as descriptive of the prophet must be defined, an example is the term ?seer.?? The ?seer? was the same as prophet.? ?Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he said, Come, and let us go to the seer; for he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a Seer.? 1 Samuel 9:9?? ??O thou seer, go, flee thou away into the land of Judah?and prophesy there.? Amos 7:7.? ??Sometimes the terms were used together as in 2 Samuel 24:11; ?the prophet Gad, David?s seer.?? ?The acts of David the king?are written in the history of Samuel the seer, and in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the history of Gad, the seer.? 1 Chronicles 29:25.

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 4

Dead externalism in religious practice and mechanical routine in religious thought has caused the downfall of most groups in religion. This is the reason for the new influx of the ?music programs? and ?Pop worship services? in today?s denominational scene. People tend to think of ceremonies as effective in themselves and come to identify the Word of God with those ceremonies. The prophets, realizing that this erroneous viewpoint had already led the people into dead externalism, desired to do nothing which would foster this thinking, such as an undue use of the name Law. Accordingly, they proclaimed the message contained in the Law, without often employing the name, Law. In keeping with this explanation is the fact that the prophets did speak repeatedly against dead externalism in the sanctuary services. Isaiah 1:11-14; Amos 5:21-24 This answers as to why the prophets were not the same as the priest and Levites who taught the Law as a ?lesson? instead of the vibrant exclamation of God?s demands. When the worship services become more of a stage performance and not a vibrant exclamation of faith in Jesus Christ– something is dead somewhere and there is NO place for the Spirit of God to enter these proceedings!!
It is true that though prophets are recognized in the Law, they were not legally prescribed (noted as a necessity) as were the priests. The reason may be found in the point just made, that prophets excited the spirit of urgency in keeping the Law while the priests taught what the Law demanded. They got the heart and soul into the thought of obeying God. Reformers, after all, are needed because of an abnormal situation. The Jewish tabernacle service had wandered away from the proper course and it needed to be brought back to it again. They needed to be reformed to what they once were or at least to what they should have been. The Law was laid down for the ideal and in that ideal state the people could be expected to follow its teachings, but when as was set forth by the priests, the worshippers had tired of its presentation. So then, prophets were a development of sort of an ?emergency squad? and this kept them always at odds with those who never intended to obey God in the first place. It is in keeping with this fact that the recognition given prophets in Deuteronomy 18 does not refer to them in this role of reformers, but only as recipients of divine revelation to answer the questions of the worshipper. Their worship had not been ?in Spirit? and had grown tiring.
God told Jeremiah ?I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among My people, that thou mayest know and try their way.? Jeremiah 6:27 Jeremiah was to be as strong as a tower and a fortress evaluating their hearts, making judgments to determine if they were pleasing to God. The crier would of course follow the Law but the listener had to be made to see if he was acting in a way that was pleasing to his Maker. What would be the state of affairs if men were not in check and that often? Would just a reading of a text do that job? Would a ritual get to the hearts and minds of the worshipper causing them to evaluate their standing with the Holy One of Israel?
Again, the prophet served as a ?watchman? among their own, pointing out the proper conduct and warned of judgment and punishment that might have been overlooked. ?Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning from Me.? Ezekiel 3:17 God intended the prophet to sound the clarion call so man would not ?die in their sins? It was vital in God?s sight to give this warning call in the face of danger; if He gave the warning and the people did not heed, when they plunged into their death, it would be at their own hands!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 3

A final example to illustrate the need of illustrations is when Jeremiah saw two baskets of figs before the temple of the Lord, Jeremiah 24:1-10.? The one basket had ?very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe,? and the other had very bad figs, ?which could not be eaten, they were so bad.?? The good figs are described as those that were ?first ripe;? figs that were the first harvested (at the end of June) were a prized fruit.? This God pointed out in Jeremiah concerned the captivity again, but this time in a different sense.? The difference concerned the precise time when Jeremiah saw the figs.? The time was just after Jehoiachin had been taken captive and Zedekiah had been put in his place.? (It is to be remembered that none but a descendant of David was to set on the throne?Zedekiah was not of Judah).?

???? God said the good basket of figs represented those who had just been taken away.? God would set His eyes on these for good in their captivity and bring them again to their own land in due time.? He would build them and not pull them down; He would plant them and not pluck them up.? In contrast, those taken away would suffer hardship would become a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places where God would drive them, vs.9.? It was a greater blessing to have been taken captive than to have been left in the deserted land.

???? There is a problem that some have voiced and not understood concerning legalism and spiritualism in the Lord?s Church.? The rise in the past 20-40 years of charismatic movements within the Church of Christ should have concerned some of our brethren to a study of just what was causing such a crescendo of emotionalism coming many times in the Colleges where future preachers were being trained!!? In the 17th century the dead worship of Episcopalians gave rise to the extreme emotionalism of the Wesleys, John and Charles, who were Episcopalian priest writhing in the pulpit trying to put a little ?life? in the preaching. ?The results were that they started the Methodist Church.? The latest ?Boston Movement? among the Lord?s people is caused by the same problem?spiritless preaching!!? We must concern ourselves with great emphasis on the teaching of the Word but not to omit the spirit and thrill that must accompany that delivery.? As has been mentioned, the prophets URGED the people to conform their lives to the Law with heart-stirring examples.? The writing prophets have much for us to hear.? Amos cries, ?Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, ?Bring and let us drink.?? Amos 4:1?? Isaiah proclaims ?Woe, unto them that decree unrighteous decrees?to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!? Isaiah 10:1-2?? ?Come, and let us return to the Lord? Hosea 6:1?? Micah pleads, ?Hear ye now what the Lord saith?? Micah 6:1? They went after the HEART with the truth embedded in the message.

???? The prophets plead the cause of the Lord.? Samuel?s came early in life, when he was called upon to tell Eli God?s judgment upon his wayward household (1 Samuel 3:1-18).? His persistent reforming efforts with the people were crowned with success in a clear decision for God on their part at Mizpeh (1 Samuel 7:1-14).? The ?man of God? urged reform to Jereboam (1 Kings 13:1-10), Hanani did the same with Asa.? 2 Chronicles 16:7-9? ?In preaching, the prophets had no ?dead externalism? or acted like robots, they got to the ?heart? in the matter!!. Isaiah 1:11-14; Amos 5:21-24, they allowed the Spirit in the message!!? Truth and Power, delivered, uncovers man?s sins and demands repentance!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 2

Exploring the purpose of the prophets

Read more →

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers?

Exploring the purpose of the Old Testment prophets

Read more →