Old Testament Prophetic Ministry (In Light of the New Testament)

I’ve met a number of folks who claim that they are Old Testament Prophets, who most of their time spouting condemnation and death. I’m not convinced that the Old Testament is the right place to find the standard for New Testament ministry, but certainly, there are outstanding lessons to be learned therein.

If you want to be an Old Testament Prophet, then may I encourage you to take Ezra 6:14 as your standard:

“So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

This is a good picture of prophetic ministry: building the people up, helping them to continue what was a very long and arduous task (rebuilding the city’s walls under substantial persecution).

Let me say it more bluntly: the success or failure of the people of God can in many cases be *directly* tied to the success or failure of the prophets who are speaking into their lives.

If the people to whom you are prophesying are not more successful after hearing from you, more prosperous after your ministry than before, then you are not successfully performing the work of a prophet of God.

(It’s OK. If you’ve been spouting judgment and criticism, if people have withered under your ministry, then you can repent – change your way of thinking – and start over!)

Ezra 5:2 shows it from another point of view:

“Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.”

I’ve known so many self-proclaimed prophets who seem to set them up to oppose the church. Some have been pretty clear about their opposition, while others, condemning every flaw and error, pretend that they’re helping the church. I must speak plainly: our job is NOT to accuse the brethren; someone else has that job description and his end is a lake of fire; I don’t wish to work with him, if for no other reason, I don’t wish to share in his reward!

Father has a great emphasis on this statement: “And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.”

Prophets, it is our job, it is our duty, to be “with the church” and to be “supporting them.” Tearing them down doesn’t qualify. Descrying every fault & failure doesn’t qualify.

Note that this is *not* a call for a starry-eyed Pollyana view of the church or its leaders! It means that our ministry is to “be with them” and “support them” even if they’re as weak or error-prone as we are.

Our job as a prophetic people is to strengthen and encourage the Body of Christ so that they can do the job to which they are called. It is our job to be with them, supporting them, even if they are doing a work to which we, ourselves, are not called. We are called to support them as they obey their calling.


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