There are some people who claim that the office of the New Testament prophet ended in the first century after the writing of the New Testament. Their reasoning is that, “Everything we need is in the word of God, so why do we need prophets?”
Not Everything is in the Word of God…and God has made Provision
I’m going to make a shocking statement, so don’t freak out! Not everything we need to live our lives effectively For Yeshua is written in the word of God. Let me explain. Back in 1998, I had two opportunities. In the first, we had the opportunity to move to Ukraine to teach in a Messianic Jewish Bible College. A few months before we were scheduled to leave, Dr. Michael Brown, a dear friend and mentor, asked me to join him at the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry. At the time, there was a genuine revival taking place there. We had visited several times and the presence of God was so palpable. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and that wasn’t to go to the former Soviet Union but, rather, to join Dr. Brown in the revival.
I could not open up the Bible and find the answer I needed. God, by his Holy Spirit, had to speak to me. Without going into detail, I had a very vivid dream (Matt. 2:13, Acts 2:17) where God told me to not go to Pensacola. He told me that if I went, I would lose my Jewish calling. In the dream, He challenged me to love my calling as a Jewish believer in the same way that I love my wife. At the time, I despised my calling as a Jewish believer. I just wanted to be a normal evangelist.
About two years later, after I had gone through a theological journey to solidify my calling as a Jewish believer—to reach my people and teach on the Jewish roots of the faith, God amazingly gave me almost the exact same dream but with a twist. He told me that I was now secure in my Jewish calling and that He could send me to Brownsville to teach. Both dreams were extremely clear and vivid, and, in both dreams, God gave me information that I could not find in the Bible.
But We Are Talking About Prophets
I am sure that many of you have had similar experiences. Some might say, “Wait a minute, Ron! That was God speaking to you, and you’re talking about prophets.” Well, the reason I was on my way to Ukraine was because a prophet had looked me in the eye (about a year prior) and said, “God has called you to go to Ukraine.” When he said this, the presence of God jumped inside of me and I knew it was of the Lord. But, of course, we continued to pray and sought confirmation—which we received.
That’s one of the differences between the Old Testament prophet and the New Testament prophet. In the New Testament era, we do not just take the word of a prophet at face value. We test it against the word of God and the witness of our own spirit. We seek God and, at the end of the day, we have to follow our own conscience, not the word of a prophet.
Coronavirus and Prophets
Today we find ourselves in great need of the voice of true New Testament prophets the same way that Agabus (Acts 11:27-28) predicted the famine and the disciples were able to help to their brothers in Israel. We are in the midst of, what some are calling, a worldwide pandemic. Where is the word of the Lord? Not surprisingly, many of the more famous “prophets” have been silent. I have to say, it’s much easier to prophesy over an individual than it is to prophesy during a worldwide catastrophe; the stakes are higher. You (the prophet) will be (or should be) held accountable. Also, the Bible says that we should prophesy according to our faith. Before you open up your mouth with a potential word from the Lord, you should make sure that you truly believe it is that—and not just a path to popularity. (Oh, the stories I could share!)
Three Prophetic Words
During the past few weeks, I have heard three prophetic words that bore witness in my spirit. I submit them to you below.
My colleague, Asher Intrater, shared with our congregation a few weeks ago from the Passover story. The key to stopping the plagues in Egypt was Pharaoh allowing the children of Israel to worship the Lord. China, the epicenter of this plague, is a nation that persecutes believers. Iran is the same and has also been hit hard. Asher as he shares here
One of the things that confirm whether or not a prophetic word is from God is: did the prophet see it coming before it began? The reason that Pharaoh listened to Joseph is because he was able to tell him his dream, not just interpret it. Rick Ridings , a friend and prophetic voice from Jerusalem, saw this coming a few months ago and talks about it here.
I do not consider myself a prophet, and that’s not just me being humble. I really do not, and most certainly not on a worldwide level. But, like all of us who love the Lord, I seek to hear his voice. On this past Saturday, I asked Him if there was something that He was saying regarding the coronavirus. I immediately sensed that He was telling me that we all needed to be ready.Challenging times are coming to our world, as prophesied very clearly in the New Testament. The Bible speaks of famine and earthquakes, of betrayal and brother against brother. It also says that, during this time, many will become offended or disillusioned and leave the faith. It is essential that we are ready for times of great tribulation; ready to live by faith, even as Elijah did for the three and a half years when it did not rain. I spoke about this in this video. If you have a gospel that says you will never suffer or go through tribulation, it is not the gospel of the Bible (James 1:2-4). Just look at the life of the apostles. They walked in the presence and power of God, but also went through great tribulation.
Now, more than ever, we need true New Testament prophets who have the word of the Lord. However, it is not exactly the same as in the Old Covenant.
New Testament prophets work in fivefold ministry teams and are accountable to that leadership.
In the New Testament, everyone can prophesy, not just prophets.
If you make a mistake, you will not be stoned to death. Certainly, Paul was not telling all the Corinthian believers to risk their lives by prophesying. Because of a fuller revelation of God in the New Testament, and because we all have the Spirit of God inside of us, we can weigh and test prophetic words in a way that they could not in the Old Testament. The people of Israel were utterly dependent on the word of the prophet.
May the Lord give us grace in these challenging times and raise up true prophetic voices, humble and broken, with a love for God and for His people.