Thursday, March 09, 2006

Shortage of Prophets

One reason that tyranny has been so serious in the twentieth century is the lack of prophets in the nations. There have been no prophets challenging political rulers to obey the law of God. Many rulers do not even know that they are required to serve God, or that he has put limits on their jurisdiction. God can only act against evil rulers, if he has a prophet to speak out his challenge and warn of his judgements.

Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothingwithout revealing his plan to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:10).
God will not bring sanctions against wicked rulers unless their sins are clearly understood.

God does not like to send judgement against the leaders of a nation, unless his prophets have announced it. If prophets have not announced the judgement in advance, the rulers will not understand that it was sent by God. They will not realise that the calamity is the consequence of their sins. They will assume that it is just another tragic event. Some rulers may even use the trouble to expand their powers. If judgement is not announced in advance by the prophets, its purpose is diffused or lost.

Isaiah 16 describes a number of kings and tyrants, who were brought down from the place of pride and power by the shaking of God. He gave relief from suffering and cruel bondage by destroying the aggressive and oppressive rulers. God was able to stretch forth his hand and accomplish his purpose, because prophets like Isaiah had prophesied against them (Isaiah 12-23)

The worst thing that can happen to a nation is the have no prophets. Psalm 74 is the cry of a people suffering under tyranny.
We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be. How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them! (Psalm 74:9-11).
The Psalmist feels like his nation is in a hopeless situation. It is being ruled by tyrants and God’s hand of judgement against this injustice is being held back. The Psalmist knows that God has power to destroy the wicked ruler, but while there are no prophets this is unlikely to happen.

This lack of prophets is a still a problem in the modern world. Prophets to the nation will have to emerge in the church first, but the modern church has been unwilling to release this gift in the church. The prophetic ministry has been stifled in the church, so prophets to the nation have been unable to develop. The absence of the prophetic ministry has impoverished the church, but it has had even more serious consequences for the world. Tyrants have been able to rule with impunity, as God’s hand of judgement has been held back, hidden his garment, the church.

1 comment:

Contributers: said...

Wow Brother,
Respectfully, I don't know where to begin. I think you are taking isolated incidents from the Old Testament, and trying to fit new testament prophetic ministry into that mold. Your concept of the Prophet's ministry as being that of confronting world leaders, where do you find New Testament backing for your definition? Anna was listed as a New Testament prophetess--but by your definition she wasn't one. She prophetically discerned the baby Christ entering the Temple, but she confronted no world leader. Agabus was clearly identified as a N.T. prophet, and prophesied many things that came to pass, but confronted no world leader. Paul was a prophet and a teacher before developing into the Apostolic ministry God had for him. But in either his prophetic role or his apostolic role he did not go around deliberately confronting world leaders. He didn't march into Herod's palace and say, "Thus saith the Lord..." He did eventually find himself before two or three national and world leaders, but it came about as a part of his judicial appeal. And when Paul was before Herod and later Ceasar, the Bible mentions not one word of him specifically warning the leader that natural disasters and the Judgment of God was to come against them personally or against their entire nation because they did not heed his preaching of the Gospel. Baranabas was a N.T. prophet, yet he warned no world leader of impending judgements. You write that there is a shortage of prophets. Could it be that God's definition of a prophet is different than yours?
You said also that the Church stifles prophetic ministry, and that "prophets to the nations"--whatever that term means, "can't develop." I can't think of any prophet Old Testament or New that had some opportunity just "given" to them to prophesy. John the Baptist for instance, didn't march into Kings' courts. Nor did he passively wait for preaching time to be offered him at the local synagogue or in the Temple. He went out into the wilderness and preached out there until people came to him.
Prophets confront Kings--If GOD tells them to. They prophesy of Judgment--if God tells them to. Prophets give out the message and revelation that GOD gives them. Paul gave out his revelation, of the depths of the innner workings of the Gospel, of righteousness by faith, etc., for the majority of his life, never confronting a leader until the last few years of his life. Yet by your definition, none of the majority of Paul's many years of fruitful ministry was actual prophetic ministry.
Kenneth Hagin ministered as a prophet for 67 years, not once confronting a world leader, the reason being that God never told him to. Hagin--for example--prophesied and gave forth the message GOD told him to give. "Go and teach My people faith." And he focused on bringing forth balanced teachings on various Charismatic subjects, and publicly prophesied a number of things that indisputibly came to pass. He laid hands on people to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and quit counting how many had been filled through his ministry when the number reached 10,000--in the early 1950's. He laid his hands on people to be filled with the Spirit for 50 more years after that. But by your definition, he was no prophet because he confronted no national or world leader.
The Old Testament prophets prophesied judgment, and the coming of the Messiah, because they had little else to prophesy, due to Israel's many backslidings and unfaithfulness. The Law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Could it be that the prophets ARE out there, prophesying grace and truth, mercy and love, repentence and forgiveness, and because they are not screaming judgment at world leaders, you are just overlooking them? I've had the privilidge to know a couple of prophets in my life. One prophesied for 60 years, and has gone to be with the Lord. The other has prophesied and moved in the things of the Spirit for 40 years. Neither one has spoken to a national leader, much less a world leader. Both had countless healings, miracles, and numberless words of wisdom, words of knowledge and prophecies that came to pass. Again, respectfully perhaps your definition of a prophet and God's definition of one, are considerably different.
Just my thoughts. I'm ready to listen to yours now.
Kind Regards,
Brother Mel

Just my thoughts. I'll be glad to listen to yours. :)