Tag: preaching

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?

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

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The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers?

Exploring the purpose of the Old Testment prophets

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