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The School of the prophets: God's rules


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#1
Michael V Pardo

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Its opportune that I'm currently reading the books of the Law and in Deuteronomy at this time, so that some things are still fresh in my mind on this topic, and the Lord has been only too willing to show me what I've seen before and more for the sake of the edification of His church. Whether you believe that the "prophetic gift" is still active or not, we want to know what God says about prophets and specifically what He says about His own. We'll look specifically at what is said in the New Testament as this is given for the edification of the church and with explanation regarding what the Old testament scripture says, and we'll go back to the Old testament to "fill out" our understanding.

First lets consider what God says about His word and its application with regard to what is possibly the greatest objection of the "institutionalized church" (a term I use for any denomination that draws authority in part from dogma as opposed to scripture and orthopraxy derived solely from tradition.)

1. Is the Bible complete and if so, does this mean that God no longer speaks to His people?

This question is at once the source of argument in such a discussion as well as the key to understanding any of the arguments which follow.

Perhaps we can answer this question to our own satisfaction by breaking it up into smaller questions. So what does scripture say about itself? What does it say about God speaking to men? How does it define prophecy and what does God consider legitimate prophecy? What is God's reason for speaking to us?

so: 1a. What does scripture say about itself with regard to prophecy?

The first thing that I can remember hearing about scripture in regard to its completeness from a pulpit (and more than one as this has become a widely accepted dogma) is that the Bible, as the word of God, is a complete work in that its purpose is to reveal God in the person of His Son, Jesus called the Christ, and also gives us all the information that we need to live godly lives. I actually agree with this one and my contention is that prophecy serves a larger purpose in the congregation of believers when you understand that we are not simply saved for our own sake, but are called to serve in the body for the purposes of Christ. So, how do we get there from scripture?

The earliest argument that I've heard about the completeness of scripture is derived directly from the last book of the Bible, the book of the Revelation of Jesus (the) Christ. This book of scripture, attributed to the Apostle John (though supposedly not written with the same degree of linguistic skill as the gospel and letters also attributed to John) comes with both blessing and curses associated with it. The curses are as such: 18.  I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19.  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18-19

The first question that we have to ask is what do these 2 verses actually refer to? The first pulpit that I heard teach about this (as well as others) made the claim that the book of the Revelation, being the last book of the Bible, gives these verses application to the entire Bible, and therefore to add anything to the accepted Cannon of scripture or to take anything away is anathema to Christ?

The problem with the argument is that at the writing of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, there was not yet a formalized and accepted Cannon of New Testament scripture, which was agreed upon at a later date by the leadership of the church. The verses really only apply to the book of the Revelation itself, and in this regard the book of the Revelation is a closed book. We can now ask, what about the rest of scripture? What else has God said about His word?

The most extensive writing about the word of God as found in the word of God is found in Psalms 119. Without copying and pasting the entire psalm lets look at parts of it as it relates to the discussion. First, verse 9 gives us one fundamental purpose of the word of God which we can verify repeatedly throughout scripture: How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping {it} according to Your word.

The verse tells us plainly that purity is directly related to living according to God's word. God has a concern for our purity and has given His word to help us to be pure in His sight.

 

Verses 17-19, still concerned with the keeping of God's word, reveal a major impediment to our understanding and doing it: 17.  Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word. 18.  Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. 19.  I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.

These verses reveal to us that though we may have physical eye sight, we may yet be blind to what God's word is saying and need God's grace and good will to see and understand what His will is for us.

 

Verses 26 through 31 show us that repentance is confessing our own way to God and turning to Him to follow His word: 26.  I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes. 27.  Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders. 28.  My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word. 29.  Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law. 30.  I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances {before me.} 31.  I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!

 

Verse 89 speaks to the permanence of the word of God: Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.

There won't be any arguing over scripture in heaven, God's word is accepted by all as the truth.

 

Verse 102 requires special attention: I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You Yourself have taught me.

While the prophets tell us that under the New Covenant we shall all be taught by God, the only person that could make the claim of verse 102 and be completely truthful in it with regard to life on earth is Jesus Christ Himself, but as His body on Earth there is the expectation that we will perform as He does to the extent that He empowers us to do so.

 

Verse 104 reveals to us a cause for our own reaction to false teaching (and mishandling of scripture): From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

To clarify my statement, allow me to rephrase verse 104 according to its meaning: I hate every false way because I get understanding from your precepts. In other words, I hate every false way because they cause misunderstanding of God's will.

 

Verse 105 describes the word of God in a functional way: Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Using allegory, God describes His word as that which reveals to us where to place our feet and where we are going.

 

Verse 144 also gives testimony to the endurance of God's word: Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live.

Here we see that the word of God (His testimonies) remain as He is, entirely righteous for ever, and that in understanding them we may live (forever). We consider biblical revelation progressive from the earlier books to the later books, but what was said in the beginning remains true in the end.

 

Verse 160 also speaks to the eternal nature of God's word, but makes an important point when considering scripture and its meaning: The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Its relatively easy to take some scripture out of context and to misinterpret its meaning, making it untrue. The truth of God is found in the summation of what He's said, not in bits and pieces. Those that neglect the entire counsel of God and cling to pieces of it, are bound to misunderstand the message.

 

While psalms 119 remains one of the richest testimonies to the word of God itself, what does the law say with regard to adding to or subtracting from God's word?

In chapter 4 of the book of Deuteronomy, which is a summation of the law and a remembrance of the wilderness journeying of Israel, God says through Moses:  "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2

This is quite similar to what we find in the curses of the book of the Revelation, though it speaks specifically to God's commandments. If you make the first part into a question rather than a statement, you can recognize that the latter part is the answer to the question: Why shouldn't you add to or take away from God's commandments? So that you may keep them. Jesus rebuked the pharisees and scribes for this very thing: 9.  And He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
10.  "For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother'; and, `He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 11.  "But you say, `If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban (that is, dedicated to the temple)''; 12.  "and you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13.  "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.'
' Mark 7:9-13

 

We haven't covered everything yet with regard to even our first sub-question (1a. What does scripture say about itself with regard to prophecy?) and will continue to look at what God has to say about prophecy and His servants, but for now we have plenty to discuss (or argue about if that's your bent) and I'll stop here for comments, questions, additions and subtractions (we're discussing scripture, not writing it.)

Take care and God bless.


Edited by Michael V Pardo, 06 February 2017 - 12:55 PM.

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#2
Stranger

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Michael V. Pardo

 

Yes, the Bible is complete.  It says all that God wants it to say.  It doesn't say all that God knows.  It says all God wants us to know. 

 

Anyone who claims to be a 'prophet' had better not be in contradiction with the revealed word of God. 

 

Stranger


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#3
Michael V Pardo

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Michael V. Pardo

 

Yes, the Bible is complete.  It says all that God wants it to say.  It doesn't say all that God knows.  It says all God wants us to know. 

 

Anyone who claims to be a 'prophet' had better not be in contradiction with the revealed word of God. 

 

Stranger

This is a rule we haven't covered yet, but first we should say that anyone who claims to be a "prophet" should first at least make the claim of being born again of the Spirit of God and a disciple of Jesus the Christ. That is, since the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of prophecy, only those who have believed and received our Lord could possibly be a true prophet. e.g.: the prophet Mohamed couldn't be a true prophet, because he rejected the claim of Christ's parentage and didn't believe in Christ's resurrection.

I've heard a number of pulpits try to define what a prophet is and how to distinguish God's spokesman (in a given situation) from a liar. They've generally gone to the books of the law for God's definitions, but I've yet to hear an entirely accurate description as men who don't believe that the gift is still given aren't going to spend much time trying to understand it.

So, what does God say about prophecy and prophets?

The search engine in my bible study software finds the word prophet used the first time in chapter 20 of Genesis and specifically with God identifying Abraham as a prophet to Abimelech in a dream. I don't find anything in the book of Genesis that tells us why God identified Abraham as a prophet. If we believe that Moses wrote the books of the Pentateuch (the books of the law) then we have to consider that Moses either recounted the story of Abraham from a history recounted by his people or by the direct revelation of God. The scripture gives us no example of Abraham telling anyone about his experiences with the Lord, though we assume that he taught his children what he understood, and we have nothing written by the man revealing God's word or will to people. The fact that we have no such record doesn't mean that Abraham never spoke for God, but at this point Abraham doesn't look very much like what we typically call a prophet.

I've mentioned Moses as the one who wrote the books of the law, but he was also known as God's prophet to Israel for all generations since the Exodus. So lets look first at the time that Moses was commissioned by God to return to Egypt and bring the tribes of Israel out of bondage there. In chapter 3 of the book of Exodus we find Moses busy with shepherding a flock of sheep, take notice of a bush that appeared to be in flames, yet was not being consumed by the fire. When he approached this unusual sight, God started speaking to him, first identifying Himself as God and the God of Moses' ancestors. He then told Moses what He would have Moses do and He gave specific instructions as to what Moses should say to the elders of the tribes of Israel: 15.  Moreover God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: `The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' 16.  "Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, `The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, "I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; 17.  "and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.'' ' Exodus 3:15-17

You'll notice that the word prophet isn't used here, but knowing that Moses was a prophet, what did he do as a prophet? In this passage we have Moses visited by God (appearing to him), spoken to by God, and ordered by God to say specific words to His people Israel. In the same passage we also see God giving Moses the power to perform some signs as proof of his authority and we see God telling Moses that He, not Moses, was going to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt by all His wonders which He would do in their midst. In summary we could say that God called Moses (to be His prophet), God equipped Moses with a message to speak and signs to perform, and God sent Moses to the elders of Israel and to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Some theologians would call this pattern (which is repeated) of God calling someone, equipping that person, and then sending that person to speak on His behalf that of making an apostle (a sent one), but the New Testament scripture distinguishes between Christian apostles and Christian prophets, so we must be missing something with regard to the purpose or job of the prophet. Hopefully we'll get there in time.


Edited by Michael V Pardo, 07 February 2017 - 02:10 PM.

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#4
Stranger

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Michael V. Pardo

 

 

I'm not sure what you are trying to say.   God definitely called Abraham a prophet.  (Gen. 20:7)  Therefore, he is a prophet, irregardless of your understanding as of why, irregardless of your definition of a prophet.  If your definition doesn't fit with Abraham, then your definition is wrong.  

 

With Moses we have a clear definition of what a prophet of God is. Where?  (Exodus 4:15-16). Because Moses was afraid of his own ability to  speak, God gave him Aaron to speak for him.  And Aaron became a prophet of Moses because he would speak that which Moses wanted to speak.   " And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what he shall do.  And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of  God."

 

Now, if you want to identify the 'prophet'  in the Church today, recognize this.  No one likes the prophet.  The prophet doesn't come bearing the news you 'want' to hear.  He brings the news from God.  And because of this he is never popular; never politically correct.  More often he is despised because of the message he brings.  The prophet is a very lonely individual, but one who must be alone, must have that solitary existence to be content.  

 

Stranger


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#5
Michael V Pardo

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Michael V. Pardo

 

I'm not sure what you are trying to say.   God definitely called Abraham a prophet.  (Gen. 20:7)  Therefore, he is a prophet, irregardless of your understanding as of why, irregardless of your definition of a prophet.  If your definition doesn't fit with Abraham, then your definition is wrong.  

 

Actually the problem is that there is no solid biblical definition of what a prophet is, only examples of them. My point in looking at Genesis 20:7 is that Abraham is identified as a prophet by God and we want to know what makes a prophet, a prophet (we already know who makes a prophet a prophet.) We're trying, among other things here, to give a real definition of the term prophet, not one that came out of some seminary or dictionary. We want to know what a prophet does, so that when we see someone do what a prophet does, we can know that the person is a prophet.

I've heard prophet defined as someone who receives a message from God to proclaim that comes true, and a false prophet defined as one who gives a message from God that doesn't come true. The definition doesn't hold for Jonah, because Nineveh was not thrown down 40 days from the proclamation of Jonah (though it was eventually destroyed). And this definition doesn't fit what God has said about false prophets:

1.  "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
2.  "and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you comes to pass, saying, `Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them,'
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 know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3

So, according to this particular passage in Deuteronomy, a false prophet can sometimes perform signs or wonders that actually do come true or happen, and can even be sent or used by God to test His people. Please remember that when God tests people it is for their benefit, not for His (He already knows what's in their hearts and minds, as well as exactly what they will do.) In other words God tests His people so that they can see their own faithfulness or lack of it.

In the book of Isaiah, God tells us a little more about identifying the false prophet:

19.  And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,'' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20.  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:19-20

Isaiah's language is somewhat poetic and not readily understandable to those who are unfamiliar with what is meant by "the law and to the testimony." That term actually refers to the scripture, and in Isaiah's day that was mostly the books of the law and the early books of the bible. Isaiah was speaking to the practice of "mediums and wizards" as we would to our modern day psychics, the pay to pray prophets of our day. The point of the verses is that if the "mediums and wizards" have nothing to say from scripture or in agreement with scripture, this is because there is no light in them (that which illuminates our way.) In other words, seeking answers from psychics is pointless as they can offer nothing that will help us in our need and can only mislead, while we should always seek God for our concerns (through prayer, godly counsel, or both.) The verses point to scripture as the answer to the issues of life, and primarily to seeking God, but they focus on what was actually being done by some in God's congregation, both then and now.


Edited by Michael V Pardo, 08 February 2017 - 12:25 PM.

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#6
Stranger

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Michael V. Pardo

 

Perhaps you and others want more than God is willing to give.  God said Abraham is a prophet.   Perhaps that is a definition  of a prophet, one who God declares to be a prophet.   It's His choice. 

 

And one who is a true  prophet of God will not contradict the already revealed Word of God.   The prophet speaks for God, not himself as a prophet.  If God is inclined to spare Nineveh for another time, that is His decision.  The prophet simply gives what he has been given.  As Jonah did.  

 

As I said earlier, the prophet comes with the 'plumb bob'; the 'plumb line'.  And no one likes the prophet.  

 

Stranger


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#7
lforrest

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Remember the false prophets that were used to lure Ahab to his death. They heard from a lying spirit sent by God. But Micaiah, who was known as a Prophet of the Lord, spoke directly from the Lord revealing the plan.

Jonah knew from day one that God was threatening Nineveh so they would repent. That is why he ran, in the hope that God would destroy them.

False prophets have false visions and give lying divinations. So those can not be from God. A real prophet must have true visions and divinations with God as the source.
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#8
Stranger

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Remember the false prophets that were used to lure Ahab to his death. They heard from a lying spirit sent by God. But Micaiah, who was known as a Prophet of the Lord, spoke directly from the Lord revealing the plan.

Jonah knew from day one that God was threatening Nineveh so they would repent. That is why he ran, in the hope that God would destroy them.

False prophets have false visions and give lying divinations. So those can not be from God. A real prophet must have true visions and divinations with God as the source.

 

Why wouldn't the lying spirit be considered a prophet of God?

 

Stranger


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#9
lforrest

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Why wouldn't the lying spirit be considered a prophet of God?

Stranger

Micaiah was the prophet of God. He didn't speak as directed by the lying spirit. When he did repeat their lie It was because he was told to by the messenger and feared the king. But he did tell the truth once pressured to do so.

The other prophets were only there to tell Ahab what he wanted to hear.
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#10
Stranger

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Micaiah was the prophet of God. He didn't speak as directed by the lying spirit. When he did repeat their lie It was because he was told to by the messenger and feared the king. But he did tell the truth once pressured to do so.

The other prophets were only there to tell Ahab what he wanted to hear.

 

The lying spirit said what God wanted him to say.  Why wouldn't he be considered a prophet of God?

 

Stranger


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#11
lforrest

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The lying spirit said what God wanted him to say.  Why wouldn't he be considered a prophet of God?
 
Stranger


Maybe only humans can be prophets.

Also, the lying spirit came up with the idea and what to say, God approved the plan.
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#12
Stranger

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Maybe only humans can be prophets.

Also, the lying spirit came up with the idea and what to say, God approved the plan.

 

That lying spirit would take and influence a human form.  So, why wouldn't he be considered a prophet of God.  He was bringing the message God wanted him to?

 

Stranger


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#13
lforrest

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That lying spirit would take and influence a human form.  So, why wouldn't he be considered a prophet of God.  He was bringing the message God wanted him to?
 
Stranger


The way I understand it the lying spirit didn't take human form. He spoke in the minds of the false prophets, whom parroted the message as though it came from God himself.

The false prophets likely listened to many spirits, and I doubt God would speak through them himself if they are so tainted.
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#14
Stranger

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The way I understand it the lying spirit didn't take human form. He spoke in the minds of the false prophets, whom parroted the message as though it came from God himself.

The false prophets likely listened to many spirits, and I doubt God would speak through them himself if they are so tainted.

 

Did the lying spirit bring the message that God wanted him to bring? (1Kings 22:20)

 

Stranger


Edited by Stranger, 08 February 2017 - 02:08 PM.

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#15
Deborah_

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Actually the problem is that there is no solid biblical definition of what a prophet is, only examples of them. My point in looking at Genesis 20:7 is that Abraham is identified as a prophet by God and we want to know what makes a prophet, a prophet (we already know who makes a prophet a prophet.) We're trying, among other things here, to give a real definition of the term prophet, not one that came out of some seminary or dictionary. We want to know what a prophet does, so that when we see someone do what a prophet does, we can know that the person is a prophet.

I've heard prophet defined as someone who receives a message from God to proclaim that comes true, and a false prophet defined as one who gives a message from God that doesn't come true. The definition doesn't hold for Jonah, because Nineveh was not thrown down 40 days from the proclamation of Jonah (though it was eventually destroyed).

 

It's more complicated than just whether or not a prophecy 'comes true'. 

God often sent prophets to warn the people of what would happen if they didn't repent. Usually they ignored the prophet, and the threatened disaster did happen. But if they did repent (as Nineveh did), then it wouldn't happen. See Jeremiah 18:1-10


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"In your hearts revere Christ as Lord." (I Peter 3:15)

 

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#16
Deborah_

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That lying spirit would take and influence a human form.  So, why wouldn't he be considered a prophet of God.  He was bringing the message God wanted him to?

 

Stranger

It's the human being who is the prophet. But behind the prophet is a spirit of some kind. We are told to 'test' or 'weigh' prophecies (I Corinthians 14:29), but this can also be described as 'testing the spirits' (I John 4:1) .

One individual prophet can sometimes speak the truth and sometimes lie (I Kings 13).


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"In your hearts revere Christ as Lord." (I Peter 3:15)

 

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#17
Stranger

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It's the human being who is the prophet. But behind the prophet is a spirit of some kind. We are told to 'test' or 'weigh' prophecies (I Corinthians 14:29), but this can also be described as 'testing the spirits' (I John 4:1) .

One individual prophet can sometimes speak the truth and sometimes lie (I Kings 13).

 

Indeed.  This is why the prophet never contradicts the revealed Word of God.  That younger prophet in (I Kings 13) was specifically told by God the conditions unto which he was to return.  The older prophet lied to this younger prophet and led him to sin against God.  

 

The younger prophet had the Word from God as to how he was to act.  This older prophet should have not mattered to him at all.  He should have ignored  all that he said as it contradicted the Word of God to him.  

 

Interesting isn't it.  Both are prophets of God.  One brings the truth, one brings a lie.  Both sent from God.  (2Thess. 2:10-12)  " And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

 

Stranger


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#18
lforrest

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Indeed.  This is why the prophet never contradicts the revealed Word of God.  That younger prophet in (I Kings 13) was specifically told by God the conditions unto which he was to return.  The older prophet lied to this younger prophet and led him to sin against God.  

 

The younger prophet had the Word from God as to how he was to act.  This older prophet should have not mattered to him at all.  He should have ignored  all that he said as it contradicted the Word of God to him.  

 

Interesting isn't it.  Both are prophets of God.  One brings the truth, one brings a lie.  Both sent from God.  (2Thess. 2:10-12)  " And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

 

Stranger

 

It seems more likely that the older prophet lied of his own volition.  James 1:13


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#19
Wormwood

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I think the Scriptures do provide very specific descriptions of what a prophet is and how that prophet receives information from God (and how they do not!).

Below is a fairly extensive, but not comprehensive, list of verses pertaining to this subject.  Notice that in almost every one of these descriptions of the prophet's call, one of three things happens:

1.  The prophet has a powerful vision and SEES a vision of heaven or of the throne of God and is spoken to directly through that vision.

2.  The prophet has a powerful dream in which God SPEAKS to them, revealing God's plan for the people.

3.  The prophet HEARS an audible voice that is unmistakeable.  In fact, Samuel thought someone was calling him and needed another prophet to inform him that it was the Lord.  Also, the "man of God" received a very specific and direct word from God that was so specific that God killed him via a lion for not leaving immediately after his prophecy.

 

Also, notice that in these definitions of what a true prophet is and what a false prophet is, we see the following:

1.  A true prophet actually hears/sees a message from God.  A false prophet prophesies out of their imagination.

2.  A true prophet's words are specific and will come to pass.  A false prophet's predictions often are not and do not.

3.  God's messages to the prophets were "secrets" or revelations that were not known to others.  God revealed his hidden plans and purpose through them.

 

As a result of these very poignant and incredibly descriptive texts, I think it is clear that a prophet is one who has a heavenly vision, is spoken to in a dream, or hears an audible voice from God that reveals God's secrets and undisclosed revelations for his people concerning specific, upcoming events.

 

A prophet is NOT someone who speaks from their own spirit or presumes words from their own imaginations or impressions.  Rather, these qualities are used to describe a false prophet.

 

Please see the texts below and make your own judgement concerning the definitions and descriptions of these prophet's roles and how they received their messages....

 

  “And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream.” (Numbers 12:6, ESV)  

 

   “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20–22, ESV)   

 

  “And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.” (1 Samuel 3:8–9, ESV)  

 

  “And as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back. And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ ” And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body.” (1 Kings 13:20–24, ESV)  

 

  “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18, ESV)  

 

  “And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.” (Jeremiah 14:14, ESV)  

 

  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:16, ESV)  

 

  “How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart,” (Jeremiah 23:26, ESV)  

 

  “Her gates have sunk into the ground; he has ruined and broken her bars; her king and princes are among the nations; the law is no more, and her prophets find no vision from the Lord.” (Lamentations 2:9, ESV)  

 

  “Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:3, ESV)  

 

  “When this comes—and come it will!—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”” (Ezekiel 33:33, ESV)  

 

  “I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets gave parables.” (Hosea 12:10, ESV)  

 

  ““For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7, ESV)  

 

  “The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.” (Habakkuk 1:1, ESV)  

 

  ““On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive,” (Zechariah 13:4, ESV)  

 

  “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1, ESV)  

 

  “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”” (Jeremiah 1:4–5, ESV)  

 

  “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1, ESV)  

 

  “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” (Daniel 2:19, ESV)  

 

  “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”” (Hosea 1:2, ESV)  

 

  “The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom: We have heard a report from the Lord, and a messenger has been sent among the nations: “Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”” (Obadiah 1, ESV)  


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#20
Michael V Pardo

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It's more complicated than just whether or not a prophecy 'comes true'. 

God often sent prophets to warn the people of what would happen if they didn't repent. Usually they ignored the prophet, and the threatened disaster did happen. But if they did repent (as Nineveh did), then it wouldn't happen. See Jeremiah 18:1-10

Thank you for your participation in the discussion and yes your statement here is entirely true. I always found it a little puzzling that the Lord has used prophets to make conditional proclamations, knowing that the conditions wouldn't be met. We see this at least as far back in scripture as Moses and the books of the law. What I didn't say about Jonah, as I'd hoped for some "participation" in that line of thought, was that Jonah, though a prophet, acted self willfully from the moment that God called him to go to Nineveh and right to the end of that book. That is, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and Jonah headed in the opposite direction. God brought Jonah back to shore by the means of a great fish and through 3 days of what had to seem hopelessly awful and humbling, yet when Jonah walked to Nineveh and began preaching, he changed the message and left out repentance completely, actually hoping to see Nineveh destroyed. We are reasonably sure that Jonah behaved this way because he already knew that God would use Assyria to punish Israel for her transgressions. I believe that the point of the book was that God's love extends to the whole world, not just to those whom He called as His chosen people and that repentance brings deliverance to anyone under judgment.

Given what we just shared, it would seem that the major purpose of the prophet is to (be used to) turn people to God and His way. There is more that can be said about this, but the point of guided discussion is to get the participants to reach their own conclusions rooted in the truth of scripture. This is why I'm not giving complete explanations according to my understanding. Understanding changes with spiritual growth (which is another thing which we can thank the Lord for.)


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#21
Michael V Pardo

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Michael V. Pardo

 

Perhaps you and others want more than God is willing to give.  God said Abraham is a prophet.   Perhaps that is a definition  of a prophet, one who God declares to be a prophet.   It's His choice. 

 

And one who is a true  prophet of God will not contradict the already revealed Word of God.   The prophet speaks for God, not himself as a prophet.  If God is inclined to spare Nineveh for another time, that is His decision.  The prophet simply gives what he has been given.  As Jonah did.  

 

As I said earlier, the prophet comes with the 'plumb bob'; the 'plumb line'.  And no one likes the prophet.  

 

Stranger

True enough, but if God wasn't willing to give this information, why would he give any of His children the desire to know it?

You said, "the prophet speaks for God, not himself as a prophet" and this is true when the prophet is speaking as a prophet, but it would be foolish to think that everything that a prophet said was coming from God (and we see in Johan an example of taking away from God's word.)


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#22
Michael V Pardo

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I think the Scriptures do provide very specific descriptions of what a prophet is and how that prophet receives information from God (and how they do not!).

Below is a fairly extensive, but not comprehensive, list of verses pertaining to this subject.  Notice that in almost every one of these descriptions of the prophet's call, one of three things happens:

1.  The prophet has a powerful vision and SEES a vision of heaven or of the throne of God and is spoken to directly through that vision.

2.  The prophet has a powerful dream in which God SPEAKS to them, revealing God's plan for the people.

3.  The prophet HEARS an audible voice that is unmistakeable.  In fact, Samuel thought someone was calling him and needed another prophet to inform him that it was the Lord.  Also, the "man of God" received a very specific and direct word from God that was so specific that God killed him via a lion for not leaving immediately after his prophecy.

 

Also, notice that in these definitions of what a true prophet is and what a false prophet is, we see the following:

1.  A true prophet actually hears/sees a message from God.  A false prophet prophesies out of their imagination.

2.  A true prophet's words are specific and will come to pass.  A false prophet's predictions often are not and do not.

3.  God's messages to the prophets were "secrets" or revelations that were not known to others.  God revealed his hidden plans and purpose through them.

 

As a result of these very poignant and incredibly descriptive texts, I think it is clear that a prophet is one who has a heavenly vision, is spoken to in a dream, or hears an audible voice from God that reveals God's secrets and undisclosed revelations for his people concerning specific, upcoming events.

 

A prophet is NOT someone who speaks from their own spirit or presumes words from their own imaginations or impressions.  Rather, these qualities are used to describe a false prophet.

 

Please see the texts below and make your own judgement concerning the definitions and descriptions of these prophet's roles and how they received their messages....

 

  “And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream.” (Numbers 12:6, ESV)  

 

   “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20–22, ESV)   

 

  “And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.” (1 Samuel 3:8–9, ESV)  

 

  “And as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back. And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ ” And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body.” (1 Kings 13:20–24, ESV)  

 

  “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18, ESV)  

Thank you for your contribution to the discussion. I've been avoiding giving lists of scripture with specific references as they tend to require that a person go to each reference and read the entire passage in context to actually be sure that the verse makes sense. In John's gospel we have a statement which is troubling in the full context of scripture, because if we believe it, we have to re-evaluate what the scripture is saying in many passages of the Old testament: No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. John 1:18

This suggests, that even when we see passages that refer to Old testament saints seeing God, including those that speak about Moses talking to God face to face, they are referring to a limited interaction with "the only begotten Son".

I would agree that the prophets received most of the revelation in dreams and visions, but Moses was a clear exception in that regard. My mom, may she rest in peace, had dreams of seeing God or something like her conception of God speaking to her with a specific message, yet I don't think she was a prophet. I do know that she had a longing desire to see Jesus and perhaps that's why she had such dreams. When we consider what Moses revealed of God, through "face to face" interaction with God, we might be able to see that most of the revelation of the person of God came to us from Moses. The Prophets gave us many messianic passages, but most of what they said came from the books of the Law as a reiteration, application, and a call to repentance and consequently they revealed very little about the person and will of God that was new.

Did any prophet add to the law? Even Jesus, The Prophet proclaimed by Moses, and Himself the word of God made flesh, didn't come to add to the law, but to magnify it and fulfill it. People unfamiliar with the Old Testament often seem to think that Jesus was bringing some new and revolutionary teaching to the world, but Jesus was teaching the law in the power of the Holy Spirit, revealing God's grace from the same texts that teach God's holiness, justice, and judgment.

I've read through your own statements defining what a prophet is and isn't and while they are partially true, they are clearly not all true in every instance given in scripture. In mathematical terms they fail the test of being a tautology. Making a broad characterization that doesn't hold true for every instance, is a common means of thought, but also a common source of error. This is the reason for the discussion in the first place, misconceptions.

As an aside to the conversation, let me say that in a "forum" with various and diverse posts on multiple topics, we will typically choose to participate in a conversation that we have some personal interest in. The fact that we already have a personal interest means that we enter the conversation with preconceptions and this is just as true for the originator of the topic as those who participate. My goal in this endeavor is not to change your mind or anyone's mind for that matter, but to allow God to reveal through His saints which things we believe that are true and which are error, not by consensus but by the illumination of His word, and the unification of His body.

I deleted most of the scripture in the quote section, but found the last quoted verse of special interest because of the word "restraint." I wouldn't build a doctrine on one verse of scripture, but the verse brought to mind 2 Thessalonians 2:6 and meat for another discussion elsewhere in the forums.


Edited by Michael V Pardo, 09 February 2017 - 10:20 AM.

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#23
Stranger

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True enough, but if God wasn't willing to give this information, why would he give any of His children the desire to know it?

You said, "the prophet speaks for God, not himself as a prophet" and this is true when the prophet is speaking as a prophet, but it would be foolish to think that everything that a prophet said was coming from God (and we see in Johan an example of taking away from God's word.)

 

One is a prophet because God so declares him a prophet.  Can that prophet speak contrary to what God wants him to say?  Of Course.  But, he is still a prophet of God.

 

Where in Jonah is there an example of Jonah taking away from God's word?

 

Stranger


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#24
lforrest

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It is interesting that God's character means he never lies. Anything he says will surely come to pass. I makes it difficult to explain these examples of his manipulation. It must be manipulation because it is also written that God doesn't change his mind.

If he said Nineveh is going to be overthrown in 40 days that is what should have happened. Perhaps God considered the evil spiritual influences over Nineveh, and when they repented those were overthrown. So God is no liar, even if he manipulates others by withholding information.

This is why I don't believe in lying by omission. But it is possible that it exists if there is a prior agreement to reveal important info to an authority. Since there is no authority above God he is under no obligation to tell anyone anything.
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#25
Stranger

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Iforrest

 

God is a God of love and mercy also.   For Him not to destroy Nineveh was perfectly within His character, for Nineveh repented.  

 

Stranger


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#26
lforrest

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Iforrest

 

God is a God of love and mercy also.   For Him not to destroy Nineveh was perfectly within His character, for Nineveh repented.  

 

Stranger

 

If God does whatever he wants why did Jesus have to suffer and die on a cross?  He could have said to the devil, get out, and saved everyone without Jesus needing to die.  But God said,"without blood there is no remission of sins."  


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#27
Wormwood

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Michael, thanks for your kind reply.

 

This suggests, that even when we see passages that refer to Old testament saints seeing God, including those that speak about Moses talking to God face to face, they are referring to a limited interaction with "the only begotten Son".

 

 

I agree that the "visions" of God were in some way veiled.  Since the "only begotten Son," is part of the Triune God, then I would say that even if it was the reincarnate Jesus that was being seen, he was not seen in his full glory, as you infer.  Even Moses' face to face interactions with God were clearly veiled in some way, because God tells even Moses that "no one can see my face and live" (Ex. 33:20).  Yet, clearly these visions were glorious ones that were so real that the prophets could quote exact messages declared from God.  

 

I would agree that the prophets received most of the revelation in dreams and visions, but Moses was a clear exception in that regard.

 

 

Yes, Moses was a prophet, of sorts, but is also distinguished from prophets in that God spoke with him in a more direct fashion.  Moses seems to be unique in this way.  I certainly would not argue that a prophet, to be genuine, must have the same types of interactions with God that Moses had!  :)

 

Did any prophet add to the law?

 

 

I am not sure what you mean by this.  No, the prophet's role was not to add further revelation to God's Law.  I believe the Law was given in a complete manner and was not intended to be subject to ongoing revelation.  The prophets, rather, spoke directly to the people about God's plans for Israel and his judgments on the people as a result of their sin.  Most of the prophets proclaimed God's grief over the people's sin and warned of specific judgments if the people did not repent.

 

I've read through your own statements defining what a prophet is and isn't and while they are partially true, they are clearly not all true in every instance given in scripture. In mathematical terms they fail the test of being a tautology. Making a broad characterization that doesn't hold true for every instance, is a common means of thought, but also a common source of error. This is the reason for the discussion in the first place, misconceptions.

 

 

Can you provide some specific Scriptures that show exceptions to the definitions and descriptions I provided?  Where do you see a prophet in the Bible receive a revelation from God through a means other than a vision, audible voice or dream in which God speaks to them?  


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#28
Wormwood

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It is interesting that God's character means he never lies. Anything he says will surely come to pass. I makes it difficult to explain these examples of his manipulation. It must be manipulation because it is also written that God doesn't change his mind.

If he said Nineveh is going to be overthrown in 40 days that is what should have happened. Perhaps God considered the evil spiritual influences over Nineveh, and when they repented those were overthrown. So God is no liar, even if he manipulates others by withholding information.

This is why I don't believe in lying by omission. But it is possible that it exists if there is a prior agreement to reveal important info to an authority. Since there is no authority above God he is under no obligation to tell anyone anything.

 

forest,

 

First, I don't think it is accurate to say God doesn't change his mind.  It seems Moses changed God's mind on multiple occasions through his prayers.  I understand this poses challenges to clean theological boxes regarding divine immutability, as it does mine as well, yet I think the Scriptures indicate that our prayers really do move God and do not simply fall in line with God's predetermined plan.  I am not a proponent of Open Theology, but I do think there are situations of God being swayed through the prayers of his people...and even the people of Ninevah.  l think the verses you are thinking of regarding God not changing has more to do with his faithfulness and plan of salvation, and not so much that God can't relent if people cry for mercy.  I mean, if this is not the case, than we have to really begin to question the narratives of the OT where God relents, changes his mind, sends deceiving spirits to prophets, and even praises and saves a prostitute for lying about the Israel spies.  I think these issues don't always follow the black and white theological constructs we enjoy.  Which begs the question, if you have someone hiding in your home and authorities come knocking on the door so they can kill the person simply due to their race or background...is deception the best way to honor God and his will?


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#29
lforrest

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forest,

 

First, I don't think it is accurate to say God doesn't change his mind.  It seems Moses changed God's mind on multiple occasions through his prayers.  I understand this poses challenges to clean theological boxes regarding divine immutability, as it does mine as well, yet I think the Scriptures indicate that our prayers really do move God and do not simply fall in line with God's predetermined plan.  I am not a proponent of Open Theology, but I do think there are situations of God being swayed through the prayers of his people...and even the people of Ninevah.  l think the verses you are thinking of regarding God not changing has more to do with his faithfulness and plan of salvation, and not so much that God can't relent if people cry for mercy.  I mean, if this is not the case, than we have to really begin to question the narratives of the OT where God relents, changes his mind, sends deceiving spirits to prophets, and even praises and saves a prostitute for lying about the Israel spies.  I think these issues don't always follow the black and white theological constructs we enjoy.  Which begs the question, if you have someone hiding in your home and authorities come knocking on the door so they can kill the person simply due to their race or background...is deception the best way to honor God and his will?

 

God can be moved but he also knows that he will be moved by his foreknowledge.  But when we pray we have no knowledge of God's plans except a general idea from his word.  If we didn't pray God would know that in advance as well.  Whenever God relents, he has known he would do so beforehand. So he placed Moses in his way and made Jonah go to Nineveh.  As for the deceiving spirit and Rahab, it appears God has no qualms with getting willing people to do the dirty work to accomplish his plans.

 

Rahab was righteous despite her lying, not because of it.


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#30
Stranger

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If God does whatever he wants why did Jesus have to suffer and die on a cross?  He could have said to the devil, get out, and saved everyone without Jesus needing to die.  But God said,"without blood there is no remission of sins."  

 

First of all, God does do whatever He wants.  Because what He wants is always righteous.  

 

Second of all, once within the framework of angels and fallen man, He must do, again,  according to His righteous character.  Thus requiring the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

In other words, God is doing what He wants.  And what He wants required the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

And, concerning Rahab, would she have been guilty of murder for telling the truth about the spies?   For they definitely would have been killed.  Or does your self righteousness make you feel good before God for telling the 'truth' and letting them die?   It's a hard world we live in....isn't it?

 

Stranger


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