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1. Introduction

The prerequisite teaching to the Ministry of the Prophet is New Testament Prophecy, where we learn about the four types of prophecy and other essential prerequisites. After New Testament Prophecy is the gift of prophecy which includes the spirit of prophecy.


A. Personal Experience

God called me to the ministry of the prophet in 1985, after having started operating the gift of prophecy in 1984 in small meetings and churches. I grew steadily in this prophetic ministry until I was speaking in churches of 1400 persons by 1986 and prophesied to a church of 5000 people by 1991. However, there is a difference between being called and being chosen. To be chosen requires faithfulness to our call and our relationship with God. Showing myself faithful to the gift and character needed in the prophetic, God chose me in the office of the prophet to the nations in 1994. In the same year, He called me to the apostleship, which started in its full expression in 2019.


2. Grace of the Prophet

In the Gift of Prophecy, we find that the gift of prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, the prophet is a gift, but not of the Holy Spirit. The prophet is a gift of Jesus. The Greek word charis means a gift.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:7

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:11

There was an increase in the release of prophets in the 1980s following the charismatic movement. Some Pentecostals and charismatics had a good understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit but did not grasp the importance of the gifts of Christ.


3. Importance of the Prophet


A. Second only to Apostles

According to Paul, the prophet’s ministry is considered the second most foremost ministry in his writing to the Corinthian church.

And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third
teachers.

1 Corinthians 12:28

Some have said that this is not a rank of importance. However, the original text is exact and definite in placing a position of prominence. Having said this, we must never forget the words of Jesus Christ, that whoever wants to go higher must have the heart and actions of a servant:

And He (Jesus) sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to
be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 9:35

B. Foundation of the Church

The prophet is as essential to the church as the pastor because with Jesus as the cornerstone, the apostles and prophets are the church’s foundation!

having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Ephesians 2:20


4. Not all Are Prophets

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, makes it clear that not all who want to be prophets may be prophets:

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? And are all teachers?

1 Corinthians 12:29

The answer in the context is a resounding No! Although I rejoice when someone responds to an altar call to be a prophet, I know that the majority will not make it to being a mature and effective prophet. There are several reasons for this. One reason is the road from being called to being chosen, as we will shortly read about in Paul’s life.


A. Limitations

There are no limitations on gender for who may be a prophet. We find women prophetesses in the New Testament church:

Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.

Acts 21:9

And neither is there a restriction on age, as we see in the life of Jeremiah, one of the four “major” prophets:

Then said I:
“Ah, Lord GOD!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
But the LORD said to me:
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,

Jeremiah 1:6-7


5. Paul: An Example of the Prophet


A. Paul was a Prophet Before he was an Apostle.

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:1

We know he was a prophet, not just a teacher, because late in his life, he correctly prophesied the outcome of the shipwreck.

Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

Acts 27:25-26

B. Called or Chosen

We have different teachings on this subject. I will provide the links to each step Paul needed to go through to become a prophet and eventually an apostle. Firstly, God calls us into the kingdom of God. He desires that we step out in faith and respond to His invitation. When we choose to respond correctly, He accepts us as a son or daughter.

However, being called into a ministry gift is only the journey’s beginning. The result is God choosing us to operate in the gift in its fulness of power, grace and wisdom.


C. Paul’s Road From Called to Chosen

Let’s look at a New Testament example of being called until chosen for Paul to be a prophet. His journey starts with His conversion in 33CE, three and a half years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.


D. Paul’s Conversion

33CE: Paul, still called Saul, is born again on his way to persecuting Damascus’s churches.


E. Called to Apostleship

33CE: Paul travels to Damascus and receives his CALL to be an apostle.


F. Wilderness

34CE: Paul travels to and lives in Arabia.


G. Return to Civilisation

36CE: Paul returns to Damascus


H. Revelation Shared

36CE: Paul then goes to Jerusalem for a fortnight.


I. Into the Wilderness Again

In God’s view, Paul is still not ready for the ministry of the prophet or apostle. Therefore in 37CE, God leads him to be a tentmaker in Tarsus for approximately 7 to 8 years.


J. Ministry of Teaching

In approximately 43CE, Barnabas seeks out Paul in Tarsus, where he receives a platform for teaching.


K. Paul’s Mercy Ministry

In 44CE, Agabus prophesied the famine throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Greece, and Italy. It was so severe that the church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas with funds to help the church in Jerusalem.


L. Return to Antioch

Sometime between 44CE and 47CE, after they had fulfilled their ministry of mercy, taking finances to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch.


M. Ministry of the Prophet

The first time Paul, who is still called Saul, is referred to as a prophet is in 47CE:

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:1

Therefore, it took Paul between 14 to 15 years (33CE to 47CE) from God’s call to his choosing. Being called to be a prophet does not mean we are a prophet. It takes many years to develop the character necessary to walk into that office.


6. Training the Prophet


A. Sons of the Prophets

In the Old Testament, we find that Elijah had four companies of prophets, many of whom were hoping for the mantle to pass to them. These were in Bethel, Jericho, Gilgal and the hills of Ephraim. We see that Antioch had several prophets operating:

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:1

The mantle indeed passes from person to person (my spiritual father, a prophetic apostle, laid hands on me two weeks before his death in 2001). However, Jesus was a prophet, and I believe we can receive His anointing by spending quality time with Jesus. We know He was a prophet because he precisely prophesied the temple’s destruction in 40 years, as we discover in our eschatology series.


B. Gift and Character

By nature, a gift is a gift, so we can receive it any time Jesus decides to give it. However, developing a character takes time. Because the prophet’s character is essential, we have separate teaching on this subject.


C. Gift of Prophecy

The first step to developing the prophet’s ministry is operating in the gift of prophecy, limited to encouragement, edification and comfort.


D. Sphere of influence

It is always the plan of God for us to grow in our influence. We may be a prophet over a church. If we are faithful, God may promote us as a denomination’s prophet. Then after that, we may be a prophet for a people group. Then from there over a nation, and from there over a continent.


7. Equipping the Saints


A. Furnishing the House of God

The primary responsibilities of the prophet are the same as all the ministry gifts, as found in Ephesians 4.

for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting

Ephesians 4:12-14

The word equipping in Greek is:

καταρτισμός katartismos; meaning complete furnishing

From the word furnishing, we get the idea that the prophet has a role in making the house of the Lord into a home where God and man dwell together. Abiding is central to the New Covenant that God abides in us and us in Him. We found elsewhere the importance of abiding, which brings glory with it.


B. Mending Nets

Once we look a little closer at the word for equipping, we find the Greek word artismo means to mend or repair. We see this word in Matthew:

Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,

Matthew 4:21

In other words, it is not for the prophet to do the fishing; it is for the prophet to repair the nets to empower the church to do its work! Although I have seen tens of thousands come to Christ, it is more valuable to God that, as a prophet, I focus on training others to do the work of the ministry.


C. Raising Prophets.

Proof of being a prophet is the ability to raise other prophets. We produce disciples of Jesus who will carry our anointing.


8. Displacing Principalities and Powers


A. Mystery of his Will

In Fellowship of the Mystery of His Will, we learnt that the prime responsibility of the church is to display to principalities and powers the authority to overcome these spirits. Each of us has an anointing from the Holy Spirit to do both these things, and the prophet is no different.


B. Spiritual Warfare

The prophet will co-labour in spiritual warfare as we see in the case of Jehosophat:

(King) Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“Praise the LORD,
For His mercy endures forever.”
Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

2 Chronicles 20:20-22


9. Spirit of Elijah


A. Is it For Today?

John the Baptist fulfilled Elijah’s promised physical return in 30CE.

But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

Matthew 17:12-13

Although John the Baptist was the physical manifestation of Elijah, the spirit of Elijah still rests in the prophetic church today. So what can we learn from Elijah that still applies to the present-day church?


B. Exposing False Prophets

Elijah’s famous defeat of the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel is an example of a prophet’s responsibility in this area.

Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.

1 Kings 18:19, 40

So there will be times when a prophet will be called upon to expose prophets that do not declare the truth.


C. Defeat of Religious Spirits

On the same day, Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.

1 Kings 18:30

Today, the prophet may be called upon by God to make a stand against religious spirits robbing the church of its freedom. An example is the “apostles”, who say that we must celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem to prevent famine from coming upon our land. Yet Jesus fulfilled the law, and neither Paul nor Peter, the two leading apostles of the time, mentioned this “requirement” during the famine of 44-47CE.


D. Raising the Dead

A prophet may have the ability to raise the dead:

And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.

1 Kings 17:21-22

I prophesied to a Christchurch pentecostal church in 1999 that they would raise the dead. They did not believe me, so 36 hours later, there was a person who died right outside the church building just as I was driving past. God allowed me to raise him from the dead.


E. Influence the Natural Environment

Elijah was able to break the three-and-a-half-year drought:

and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.”
So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”
Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.'”
Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.

1 Kings 18:43-45

Several times I have seen God stop rain or wind at a command. There was a time when we were concreting an ornamental waterfall and fish pond. I had an unbelieving man working with me, and it started to rain, ruining the concreting work. I loudly commanded the rain to stop, and it did. When it happened a second time and stopped at my command, the man working with me said, “He listens to you, doesn’t He!”

I encourage you to step out in faith. Just because you do not get it the first time does not stop you from trying. I am yet to be successful walking on water, although I have tried a few times!


F. Supernatural Provision

Elijah was able to bring forth food by a declaration supernaturally; prophets today can do the same:

For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.'”
So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

1 Kings 17:14-17

G. Seeing into the Spirit Realm

Elisha, the spiritual son of Elijah, could see clearly into the spirit realm. Because of his servant’s fear, he asks God to show him the spirit realm:

So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:16-17

I have seen the spirit realm on many occasions. From time to time, I will see angels. An example of my seeing into the spiritual realm was in 2018 when I was about to preach in Islamabad. Before the meeting, I wondered how I would lay hands on the thousands wanting Jesus to heal them. I thought the best idea was to command healing to flow. Suddenly, I saw this heavy spiritual cloud roll back from covering Islamabad as I prayed. I knew then that God had given me the city. This was the first time I had ministered in Islamabad, so it was a smaller meeting of 2-3000. As a result, 1200-1800 accepted Jesus, and God instantly healed hundreds where they stood. Following the meeting, some travelled six hours to testify how they had been pronounced whole by doctors.


H. Defeat of Jezebel

Elijah was unable to defeat Jezebel because he was in fear of her. However, he prophesied her demise:

And concerning Jezebel the LORD also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.”

1 Kings 21:23-24

Which is precisely what happened:

And when he had gone in, he ate and drank. Then he said, “Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.

2 Kings 9:34-35

I. Breaking Control

We have seen how Elijah and Elisha broke the control of Jezebel and Ahab over the people of Israel. Ask any respected prophet what they hate the most. Almost invariably, they will hate controlling spirits as much as religious spirits. Before I share my testimonies, I would like to emphasise the length of time it takes for character development before God allows a prophet to operate at this level. If we do not allow the time to develop this character, we can either cause much damage or enter into deception and pride. People who operate at this level of the prophetic office must understand the difference between foretelling and forth-telling. We talk about this difference in the study of New Testament Prophecy.


J. Exposing Cults

Breaking control can be seen in the example below of two cults where severe sexual abuse was happening. God used my prophetic gift to bring about the collapse of both of these cults.

I was ministering in a church close to where the cult, Camp of David, was set up. This cult was based on futurist eschatology, predicting the Antichrist and Armageddon’s coming. While I was ministering, the prophetic anointing came upon me. I stopped the meeting and approached the pastor of the church. I told him that God had given me a word that Camp David was about to be exposed and open up. He agreed with me that I should bring it, which I did. Prophesying in this manner caused quite an upset in the church, some saying how dare I predict such a thing. However, within 48 hours, sexual immorality and control within the community were on the nation’s largest newspaper’s front page, and shortly after, the captive people within the community started to leave. Prophesying like this is an example of forth-telling.

An example of foretelling is when Christine and I spent three and a half years near Gloriavale, another controlling cult. Its leader, Neville Cooper, spent time in jail for sexual abuse. Because he had an area in his life of unrepentant sin, sexual misconduct was still rampant in the cult.
In 2016 I foretold Neville Cooper’s death would happen in 2018 if he did not repent, as well as Gloriavale leaders losing control over the people in the community. As I predicted, his death occurred that year, along with the opening of Gloriavale starting the same year, following increasing media and legal action being taken.


K. Breaking the Power of Barrenness

The prophet can speak into being that which is not there in the physical. We see this portrayed in the life of Elisha when a barren woman is predicted to bring forth a child:

Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.”
And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!”
But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her

2 Kings 4:16-17

I have had the pleasure of seeing this happen on more than one occasion. I had been prophesying over a couple, saying, “you are about to have a child”. They looked at me strangely because they had been unable to have a child for many years. Sure enough, a year later, I go back back to their church to find they have a child according to the word of the Lord!

In New Testament Prophecy, we find that prophecy is declaring the goodness and intent of God and speaking into existence things that are not evident yet!


10. Prophets and Apostles

In the Old Testament, we find prophets and kings working together. This changes to prophets and apostles in the New Testament.


A. Foundation to the Church

As we have already seen, the prophets and apostles are the foundation of the church:

having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Ephesians 2:20

B. Paul and Barnabas

One of the primary functions of the prophets is sending and establishing ministry gifts into their place in the kingdom of God. We see this happen with the sending of Paul and Barnabas as apostles.

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 13:1-2
C. Prophets Foretelling for Apostles

We also see that Agabus could foresee what would happen to Paul in the future. Agabus had proven himself accurate regarding the coming famine, so he deemed it necessary to warn Paul that he would suffer persecution if he went to Jerusalem.

When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'”

Acts 21:11

However, this did not deter Paul, who was willing to die for the gospel.

Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 21:13

D. Prophets Putting People into Leadership

It is common for a prophet to see where a leader fits in the body of Christ. However, unless the prophet holds a leadership position within the realm of the upcoming leader, it is not for the prophet to put that person in leadership. It is for the apostle, or the person responsible for the oversight of the church, to make the final decision and timing of placing into leadership.


11. Summary

  1. The ministry of the prophet is different from the gift of prophecy
  2. The ministry is a grace from Jesus, not from the Holy Spirit.
  3. It is second in importance only to the apostle, as the foundation of the church, with Jesus as the cornerstone.
  4. Training prophets takes time, requiring a call from God and character development until finally, they are chosen by God as a prophet.
  5. Along with the other ministry gifts, the prophet’s central role is to equip the saints.
  6. By moving in the spirit of Elijah, prophets will move in the miraculous.
  7. Prophets and prophetesses work with the apostles to advance the kingdom of God.

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© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/Dr Neville van Eerten 2022

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