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A Look at Prophecy #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 31, 2022 8:00 am

A Look at Prophecy #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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March 31, 2022 8:00 am

If the Holy Spirit no longer bestows the same gifts of healing and tongues as were evident in the first-century church, what about the gift of prophecy- Does God still speak through individuals today- Pastor Don Green will answer that question here on The Truth Pulpit.--thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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What was the biblical gift of prophecy? What was biblical prophecy? And who was the biblical prophet?

And we want to just make this basic and simple. If the Holy Spirit is no longer bestowing the same gifts of healing and tongues as were evident in the first century church, what about the gift of prophecy? Does God still speak through individuals today? Pastor Don Green will answer that question here on the Truth Pulpit today as he continues teaching God's people God's Word. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright and we're moving further into our series, The Holy Spirit Today, with part one of a message titled, A Look at Prophecy. And Don, what's in store for us in this message? Well Bill, it seems like every question that we face in this series, The Holy Spirit Today, has an element of controversy to it.

It's certainly very consequential. My friend, we must know the answer to this question. Where does God speak to us? Where is His Word and His authoritative truth to be found? To know the truth, you need to know where to look for it. We're going to answer that question with clarity on this broadcast if you'll stay with us on the Truth Pulpit.

Thanks Don. And friend, let's get started right now in the Truth Pulpit. Today, we come to our third and final aspect of dealing with signs and wonders as we take a look at prophecy. As we take a look at prophecy. And what we want to do today is to examine the gift of prophecy in light of Scripture. And we're going to follow the same pattern that we have in these prior messages. We looked at the nature of healing and the nature of tongues and then we looked at the biblical limitations on them.

The things that would restrict and guide our understanding of them. We're going to follow that exact same pattern as we look at prophecy. Now, as we've done all along in this series, in these types of message, a look at healing, a look at tongues. Now we take a look at prophecy.

We want to follow a three-part outline here. And first of all, we want to consider the nature of biblical prophecy. The nature of biblical prophecy. And as important as the issue of healings and tongues are, and it's critical for us to have looked at those, the case can be made, the argument can be made that this issue of prophecy is even more critical than those two combined. Because they deal with the issue of where does God speak and who are we to listen to and what are we to follow.

And so we want to ask this question to start out with. What was the biblical gift of prophecy? What was biblical prophecy?

And who was the biblical prophet? And we want to just make this basic and simple. And as I say that, it reminds me to just make this point to you. There are many books written on all of these issues. And so, as I've said in the past, we realize that we're just dealing with an introduction, but we're dealing with things that we believe that if you take some of these basic principles and apply them, they can guide you through anything else that you might see in result. In other words, we know that we're not being exhaustive in this.

To be exhaustive in it would take many more months of messages on these same themes. But we believe that there is clarity and there is simplicity that can guide us in our understanding. So who was, what was the office of a biblical prophet? The biblical prophet in simple terms was a spokesman for God. He was a spokesman for God. He was a man on whose lips were the very words of God. And you can see this as we go into Scripture now, we can see the concept laid out for us in the book of Exodus chapter 4, and I invite you to turn there as we just see the nature of what a prophet did and how a prophet was speaking for someone else.

The words of someone else were on his lips. Exodus chapter 4, beginning in verse 14, says this. You'll recall that God had called Moses to speak on his behalf. Moses says, Lord, I'm not up to the task.

I'm not an eloquent man. I'm slow of speech and slow of tongue, it says in chapter 4 verse 10. And the Lord said to him in verse 11, who has made man's mouth or who makes him mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

Now then go, even I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to say. But he said, please, Lord, now send the message by whomever you will. Now, look at verse 14.

Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses and he said, is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

Now watch this. You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth and I will teach you what you are to do. Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. Aaron was going to be the mouthpiece for Moses in these encounters. Moses was going to put his words onto Aaron's lips, as it were, and Aaron would speak on behalf of Moses so that Aaron in speaking was representing what Moses himself would have said if he had simply done it, if he had the eloquence to do it.

Aaron was going to be a mouthpiece for him. Now, keep that in mind and look over at chapter 7 verse 1 and you'll see this clinched with the idea of the office of a prophet. In Exodus chapter 7 verse 1, the Lord said to Moses, see, I make you as God to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. Aaron will be your prophet. Aaron will speak your words on your behalf.

What Aaron says will be a reflection of what you are saying. And so, the idea of a prophet is that he is one who has the words of someone else in his mouth. In true biblical prophecy, God put his words in a man's mouth. When a prophet was speaking on behalf of God, he was speaking God's words for him.

That's the simplicity of the idea that we're addressing here. And so, biblical prophecy, beloved, was the accurate proclamation of inerrant revelation received directly from God. Biblical prophecy was the accurate proclamation of inerrant revelation received directly from God. Biblical prophecy was the accurate proclamation of inerrant revelation received directly from God.

And we're going to develop this here. Now, God has left for us today, we have the writings of several biblical prophets kept for us in Scripture. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, and the rest of the twelve minor prophets. And what were these prophets doing?

They were speaking to contemporary issues of their times. They were calling people to repent of their sin, and they warned them of coming judgment if they refused. And so, in this era before the completion of the canon, God had his spokesmen proclaiming his word, and they were the mouthpiece of God to God's people in that day. As they did that, they also spoke beyond their times and spoke of the coming Messiah and gave the prophecies that predicted centuries in advance the arrival of Christ in his first advent and spoke beyond that to his second advent, which is still future to us today. They had a lofty office, they had a lofty task, and God spoke through them in order to give revelation to his people in order to guide, instruct, and exhort and rebuke his people through these men who were acting as his mouthpiece. And so that's what the prophet did, they spoke the words of God. God put his words in their mouth and they spoke them. Now, that comes with a challenge.

It was a challenge back then, slightly different challenge for us today. The challenge was that there were false prophets as well. There were men who claimed to speak on behalf of God, but who really didn't. They would say, thus saith the Lord, but their mouth was filled with lies.

God had not spoken to them. And this was a problem throughout the history of Israel. Let me just give you a couple of passages from one of the later prophets in the book of Jeremiah just to give you a sense of the problem and the danger that was present during the ministry of the Old Testament prophets. In Jeremiah chapter 6, Jeremiah chapter 6, in Jeremiah chapter 6, verse 13, we see that there was an ongoing problem of men claiming to speak for God when they really didn't. Let me say that again because it's the same problem today, men claiming to speak forth the words of God when in fact they really didn't.

In chapter 6, verse 13, you see God saying, Jeremiah 6, verse 13, from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain. And from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of my people superficially saying, peace, peace, but there is no peace. You have men claiming to be prophets dealing with the people falsely. You have men speaking falsely saying, there will be peace from God. There is peace with God, all is well, when in fact all was not well.

God's judgment was coming, but they were saying that there was peace and that all was fine. Look at Jeremiah chapter 14 also in verses 13 and 14. You can just make note of that little parallelism, Jeremiah 6, Jeremiah 14, verses 13 and 14 to give you just a couple of reference points about false prophets and the problem of false prophets among the people of God in Old Testament times. Jeremiah chapter 14 beginning in verse 13, Jeremiah 14 beginning in verse 13 says, Jeremiah speaking, but, ah, Lord God, I said, look, the prophets are telling them, you will not see the sword, nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place. Jeremiah says, Lord, you're giving me a message of judgment, but there are these others claiming to be prophets who are saying this.

What's the answer in the midst of this confusion? Verse 14, then the Lord said to me, the prophets are prophesying falsehood in my name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them.

They are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility, and the deception of their own minds. The people who needed to follow, who wanted to follow God, needed to know who are we to follow? How are we to discern the true from the false when you have two different groups of men that are both claiming to speak for the Lord but saying contradictory and mutually exclusive things?

How are we to know? And the problem of confusion there leads us to realize that we need something, we need an external standard by which to judge these things because we can't simply take the man's word for it. We can't simply take a man's word for it, oh God spoke to me, oh really, well let me write it down and what did he say? We're not meant to be that gullible because people speak and claim falsely as we're going to see more in New Testament passages in just a moment, it was going to be a reality that there would always be men claiming to speak for God whom God had not spoken to at all.

And it is so vital for you to recognize and to make that distinction in your mind. The people in the Old Testament needed to know who to follow and what had God done? God had given them sure standards for discernment, God had provided them with what was necessary to discern the truth. That brings us to our second point as we look at the limitation on biblical prophecy. The limitation on biblical prophecy, the limitation on biblical prophecy, beloved. As you read Scripture, you see that early on, even in the days of Moses, God gave clear tests to verify claims to prophetic authority.

First of all, he required the messages to have complete theological accuracy, complete conformity with prior revelation. And for this, I want you to turn back to the book of Deuteronomy chapter 13. Deuteronomy chapter 13, and we're just going to look at, we're going to look at three discernment tests, we're going to look at one passage each and look at the way that God had laid down requirements to help the people know. In Deuteronomy chapter 13 verse 1, it says, if a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true concerning which he spoke to you, now stop right there, stop right there, and realize how vulnerable the situation was with the condition that God is laying down here. Man rises up and claims to be a prophet, and he does a sign, the wonder, and it comes true concerning which he had spoken. I'm a prophet, boom! And a sign takes place. And you would think, especially in today's charismatic circles, something like that is a guy to be believed, that's a guy to follow, he'd proven it with a sign, right?

But go on and keep reading. What does he then say? What then is his instruction to the people of God, saying, let us go after other gods whom you have not known and let us serve them. Oh, he's introducing falsehood, he's introducing false worship, he's got the sign, but he's teaching error. He's teaching and pulling them away from the true God.

What's the response to be? Verse 3, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul. The greatest commandment, part of which is going to be shown in the way that his people exercise discernment. Will you follow false teachers just because they show you a sign?

You're being tested. When that happens, God said to Israel back then, it's the same today. Verse 4, he says, you shall follow the Lord your God and fear him, and you shall keep his commandments, listen to his voice, serve him, and cling to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk.

So you shall purge the evil from among you. Even if a so-called prophet gave a sign, he could not contradict Moses. If he did, if he called people away from God unto idols, he was to be put to death. This idea of theological accuracy, of biblical orthodoxy was to be enforced upon pain of the death penalty, beloved. God is not messing around on these issues of who his true spokesmen are and what the standard is to be. And so that even a sign was not proof that a man spoke for God if his teaching was aberrant, if he led people away from the true God who had revealed himself in the exodus from Egypt.

Upon beloved, let this weigh on you upon pain of the death penalty. That is how seriously God views it all. And so there is this, there is this test of theological accuracy. Apparently God required of prophets complete prophetic accuracy.

When they said this will happen in the future, there was a standard of 100% accuracy that would verify them and one mistake would be the end of it all. Look at Deuteronomy chapter 18, Deuteronomy chapter 18 beginning in verse 18. God says in Deuteronomy 18 verse 18, I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you and I will put My words in his mouth.

See the theme again? Just the clarity and the simplicity of what the prophet was to be and do. And he shall speak to them all that I commanded him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. You may say in your heart, how will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? How do we know, God, when a prophet hasn't spoken from you because he claims to speak in your name? How are we going to be able to distinguish the true from the false?

It was a critical question 3500 years ago. How are we going to know? Verse 22, when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him. Verse 20, that prophet will die. Verse 22, you don't need to be afraid of him. Don't follow him.

No matter how he threatens you with his words, don't be afraid of him. Don't listen to him because the fact that his prophecy did not come true which he offered in my name is surefire proof that he does not speak on my behalf. And so God required complete prophetic accuracy. Any failure of fulfillment showed the man to be a false prophet, mark it upon pain of the death penalty. Complete theological orthodoxy, theological accuracy upon pain of the death penalty. Complete prophetic accuracy upon pain of the death penalty. Beloved, I've got more to say here but I want you to just kind of step back with me, take a deep breath with me here and realize how from the very beginning, how seriously and how sacred the boundaries were that God placed around his prophets to ensure that only his true spokesman would be the ones that his people listened to.

People were to die over violations over this. God is not messing around. To claim to speak in the name of the God of the Bible is a matter of great severe consequence. That is not to be done lightly.

That is not a casual thing like saying, oh, should we go to Waffle House or to IHOP for breakfast today? Oh, by the way, God told me this, no, no, no, no. There is a sacred, separate, holy realm established from which a small circle of men and within a very small and circumscribed circle, men would speak in Bible times and no one else was to go there. It should fear that God's standards here and the holiness with which he treats his revelation, the holiness with which he takes and the severity with which he looks upon men who would presume to speak new revelation in his name should cause everyone to fear and tremble and quake. We do not lightly say, oh, the Lord told me such and such. No, no, life and death matters are at stake here according to God himself. It's important to note just how seriously God takes obedience to his word.

If someone speaks a word in God's name without 100% fidelity to prior revelation and 100% prophetic accuracy, death is prescribed. Pastor Don Green will complete his message, A Look at Prophecy on our next broadcast as he continues our series, The Holy Spirit Today. Join us then here on The Truth Pulpit.

Right now, though, here again is Don in studio with some closing thoughts. Well, I hope that The Truth Pulpit is a source of strength to you as you live for Christ, and if it is, would you do us a favor? Would you return the blessing by dropping us a note at Look for the Contact Us link in the upper right-hand corner. Your brief greeting can assure that we keep the broadcast on this outlet as we continue to minister to you. Thank you so much, and God bless you. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word, here on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-13 18:51:55 / 2023-05-13 19:00:52 / 9

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