Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holy Apostles and Prophets Part 4


We have already determined that the apostles and prophets Paul refers to in his epistles are only those who are in the body of Christ.  Paul is the chief apostle (as is Peter in the kingdom program), and there are secondary apostles under him.

The gift of prophecy was needed during the early part of Paul’s ministry.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-20
Quench not the Spirit.  Despise not prophesyings.

1 Thessalonians is an early epistle written by Paul before he had received and recorded the complete mystery of Christ.  So how would the saints understand the mystery like we can?  They couldn’t read about it; but they had two things: prophets in the body of Christ and Paul’s prophetic ministry.

Paul talks about the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 13.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

The apostle Paul had every spiritual gift.  There was nothing that the Spirit of God gave to any man that Paul didn’t also have, and more.

2 Corinthians 12:4
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Paul alone could speak the tongue of angels.  When Paul was caught up, he heard and understood the language angels speak in heaven.  (When on earth, angels communicated with man in human languages.)  Paul could communicate with anyone in the universe.  He could speak in any language/tongue of man; and he could speak with angels in their language.

So we see in 1 Corinthians 13:2 that Paul was a prophet.  Not only were there other prophets in the body of Christ, but Paul devotes an entire chapter to the operation of that spiritual gift.

1 Corinthians 14:1-5
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

Paul was telling them to ask God to give them this gift of prophecy.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Like the church today, they desired to speak in tongues but they didn’t know how to use them or that the purpose was for edification.  Paul said to forget that; but rather desire to prophesy (i.e., speak forth) the mystery of Christ in their own language to the church the body of Christ.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Paul tells them that they should want to have the gift of prophecy to be able to edify people in the doctrine of grace, the mystery of Christ.

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

Colossians 4:3
Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

There were women in the body who had the gift of prophecy; they just couldn’t use it in the church.

1 Corinthians 14:34
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

When Priscilla and Aquila ministered as a couple, Priscilla could also communicate the doctrine; she was a believer.

Acts 18:26
And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Romans 16:3
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:

God wants women to understand this information too.  But women couldn’t teach in a leadership capacity in authority over men in the local assembly.

There are other women in the bible who were prophets.

Exodus 15:20a
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron

Judges 4:4
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

2 Chronicles 34:22a
And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess

Nehemiah 6:14
My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.

Luke 2:36a
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser

These women were prophets because men were not taking the leadership role that they should have.

Paul functioned as a prophet by communicating doctrine.

Romans 16:17
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned [from Paul]; and avoid them.

1 Timothy 4:6
If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

1 Timothy 4:16
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

2 Timothy 3:10
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

There were other prophets in the body of Christ besides Paul.

1 Corinthians 14:37
If any man think himself to be a prophet [if you think you have the gift of prophecy], or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

One of the main functions of a prophet was not just to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ verbally; but it was to actually determine what was scripture and what wasn’t.  It was to point to something that was written and say, ‘This is scripture.’  The bible wasn’t put together by some church council (in Rome); it was ‘canonized’ by prophets in the body of Christ in Paul’s day.

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