HE GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN (published in 1992)
Foretelling vs. Forthtelling
In a previous chapter, we saw that one difference between Old and New Testament prophets is that New Testament prophets don't guide or direct believers…..
However, God may occasionally use New Testament prophets to foretell future events, too, through the word of wisdom.
[TODAY MORE THROUGH KNOWING AND UNDERSTANDING THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE - Kerth Hunt]
Under the Old Covenant, a major part of the prophet's ministry had to do with foretelling. Many times the prophets of the Old Testament would preach to the people and then begin to prophesy, foretelling about the coming Messiah. Then they would take right up where they had left off, preaching inspirationally to the Israelites about following God.
[THEY WOULD PREACH THE TRUTH OF GOD ABOUT SIN, REPENTANCE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEN FORETELL WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO WOULD NOT TURN AND FOLLOW GOD’S WAYS - Keith Hunt]
Some people think a major part of the prophet's ministry under the New Testament is also to foretell future events. However, that is not the main part of his ministry, although that could manifest occasionally as the Spirit of God wills.
[THE NEW TESTAMENT PROPHET STILL MAINLY TEACHES AND PREACHES THE WORD OF GOD REGARDS SALVATION, SIN, RIGHTEOUSNESS, REPENTANCE, LIVING THE WAY OF THE LORD; THEN AT TIMES SHOWING WHAT THE PROPHETIC WORD OF THE LORD IN THE BIBLE HAS TO SAY FOR END TIME EVENTS, LEADING UP TO THE RETURN OF CHRIST - Keith Hunt]
Diversities of Anointing
It's important to understand that in each ministry gift there are diversities of anointings. For example, as I said, some prophets minister more in the preaching anointing. Other prophets minister more in the teaching anointing.
Also, some New Testament prophets were not used in the word of wisdom at all. In other words, they did not foretell anything; they were more preaching prophets as was John the Baptist.
John's prophetic ministry consisted of preaching repentance and baptizing folks. We have no record in the Bible that he predicted or foretold any future events except: ". . . There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose" (Mark 1:7).
The Bible also says that Judas and Silas were prophets, but we see no foretelling in their ministries either. The Bible doesn't record that they gave anyone personal messages either. The Bible says Judas and Silas ". . . exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them" (Acts 15:32). In other words, Judas and Silas preached the Word to the people and encouraged them in the ways of the Lord.
On the other hand, some prophets were used in the word of wisdom, as was Agabus. By this we can see the diversities of anointings even within the prophetic office.
You realize, of course, that it is the word of wisdom operating in the prophet's ministry that enables him to foretell future events because it brings a revelation about an event that will occur in the future, or about the plans and purposes of God.
[AND TODAY I BELIEVE IT IS FOR SOME PROPHETS TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE, AND SO FORETELL END TIME EVENTS; SOME WILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO CLEARLY UNDERSTAND HOW TO LET THE BIBLE INTERPRET ITSELF - Keith Hunt]
However, the word of wisdom manifests only as the Spirit wills. And even though a prophet's predictions come to pass, the final proof that he is a prophet is that his prophecies line up with the Word of God (Deut. 13:1-5).
But the main emphasis of the prophet's ministry in the New Testament is on forthtelling — preaching or teaching the Word by inspired utterance. Even under the Old Covenant, the prophets didn't always prophesy about the future. That was manifested, of course, but they were mainly preachers — prophet preachers.
Actually, if you'll read about the prophets of the Old Testament, you’ll find that the prophets' public ministry consisted mostly of preaching. In fact, many of the supernatural manifestations in their ministries occurred privately on an individual basis, not to the entire group or congregation of people.
We find an example of the prophet's ministry in demonstration privately in Elijah's ministry, as he ministered to the widow woman at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:9-16). The cruse of oil and the meal barrel just kept miraculously pouring out oil and meal (1 Kings 17:14). That miracle was done privately in the widow's house.
[BUT THERE WAS LARGE SCALE PROPHETIC EVENTS DONE BY ELIJAH; MOST ARE VERY FAMILIAR WITH HIS COMBAT WITH THE BAAL PROPHETS AND THE FIRE FROM HEAVEN, TO PROVE ELIJAH SPOKE AS REPRESENTING THE TRUE GOD - Keith Hunt]
When Naaman was healed of leprosy, it wasn't done in a public service. Elisha didn't even go out to see Naaman. He just sent his servant out to speak the word of the Lord to Naaman: ". . . Go and wash in Jordan seven
times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean" (2 Kings 5:10). Naaman was healed, but it wasn't done publicly.
Naaman was so grateful to be healed, he wanted to give Elisha gifts of silver and gold and changes of raiment. Elisha refused to receive them. He had enough sense to know when to take gifts and when not to; he wasn't money-minded.
But Elisha's servant, Gehazi, ran after Naaman, lied to him, and received the gifts. Naaman was so thrilled to be healed of an incurable disease, he gave Gehazi twice as much as he asked for. But by a word of knowledge, Elisha found out about it and pronounced the judgment of the Lord on Gehazi — the leprosy of Naaman.
All that was done privately, not publicly (2 Kings 5:25-27). Elisha was in his own house; he didn't do that before a congregation of people.
[BY AND LARGE THIS IS TRUE, BUT NOT ALWAYS—— THE TWO PROPHETS DURING THE LAST 42 MONTHS, WILL PREACH IN JERUSALEM AND DO MIRACLES - Keith Hunt]
Prophets Don't Know Everything
There's something else in this passage I want you to see about the prophet. Prophets don't know everything; they only know what God reveals to them.
For example, Gehazi would not have followed after Naaman if he'd thought Elisha knew everything. If Elisha knew everything through spiritual gifts, Gehazi wouldn't have been so foolish as to take silver and clothes from Naaman.
[SOME LIKE HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG KNEW THE BASIC OUTLINE OF PROPHETIC EVENTS OF THE END TIME; BUT HE CERTAINLY DID NOT KNOW KEY EVENTS TO WATCH FOR, IF HE HAD HE WOULD NOT HAVE TAUGHT THAT THE END OF THE AGE WOULD COME IN HIS LIFE TIME; AND HIS RIGHT HAND MEN (WHO WERE NOT PROPHETS) ALSO TAUGHT ARMSTRONG WAS THE ELIJAH TO COME AND THE AGE WOULD END IN HIS LIFETIME - ALL PROVED TO BE FALSE PROPHETS WHO COULD NOT SEE THE MAIN SIGNS LEADING UP TO JESUS’ RETURN, AND TILL THOSE EVENTS COME TO PASS CHRIST WILL NOT RETURN - Keith Hunt]
….. But people need to realize that the prophet can't turn spiritual gifts on and off as he wants to.
The Word of Knowledge Operating Privately In the Prophet's Ministry
We can see an example of the word of knowledge operating privately in a prophet's ministry in this passage in Second Kings. Elisha said to Gehazi, ". . . Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? ..." (2 Kings 5:26). Elisha was alone in his house when the word of knowledge occurred.
This was a word of knowledge because it revealed a certain fact known to God — that Gehazi took silver and clothes from Naaman. It came through the gift of discerning of spirits because Elisha saw this in the realm of the spirit.
That's what Elisha meant when he said, "My spirit went with you when you joined yourself to Naaman's chariot, and I saw what you did." Elisha was a seer; he saw into the realm of the spirit when his spirit went with Gehazi. But even then, these spiritual gifts were in operation privately. Also, Elisha confronted Gehazi privately……
The operation of spiritual gifts — the word of knowledge and the discerning of spirits — is something that happens by the power of the Holy Spirit. Just because the devil can do some things doesn't negate the genuine move of the Holy Spirit. Just stay with the Word. God can top anything the devil is doing.
Much of the time the miracles God performed, through the Old Testament prophets were done on a one-to-one basis. Once in a while God did use the prophets publicly, as in the case of Elijah with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:17-40)……
And some folks think when there is not a public display of manifestations of the Spirit all the time in the prophet's office, that means they are not in operation……
Look at Jesus' ministry to the woman at the well. That was a private encounter. He confronted her privately by a word of knowledge when He said, ". . . thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly" (John 4:18)……
However, the prophet's main ministry in public is still to preach or teach the Word of God to people under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That's true for both Old and New Testament prophets.
The Word of Wisdom in the Prophet's Ministry
In the New Testament, we do have two scriptural examples of the word of wisdom operating in a prophet's ministry as he foretold future events. These examples occurred in the ministry of Agabus.
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth [drought] throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
In Acts 11, Agabus prophesied about a drought that was coming. His revelation accurately predicted a future event, but it didn't lay any additional doctrine of the New Testament. Agabus wasn't in the same class as the foundational prophets.
Also, the word that Agabus brought did not provide direction or guidance to the Church, except to prepare believers for what was ahead. He wasn't prophesying about which doctrines should be preached or that people should submit to his ministry.
Acts 21 also shows Agabus standing in the office of the prophet as foreteller.
AGIS21: 10, ll
And as we tarried there [in Jerusalem] many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
Agabus gave forth a word of wisdom which he received from the Holy Ghost. He told Paul what would happen to him in Jerusalem. We don't really know that Agabus brought forth this word of wisdom to Paul spontaneously through the vehicle of prophecy. By using the expression, "Thus saith the Holy Ghost," Agabus may just have been reporting what the Holy Ghost had already said to him previously.
Through the office of the prophet, God sometimes tells people what is about to take place to help prepare them for things that are ahead. But notice that Agabus was not telling Paul whether or not to go to Jerusalem. In other words, Agabus was not giving Paul guidance or direction about what Paul should do. Agabus was only reporting what was awaiting Paul if he did go to Jerusalem. Paul had to make his own decision about going to Jerusalem.
Actually, the Holy Spirit just witnessed or confirmed what would happen if Paul went to Jerusalem. We notice in Acts 20:22,23 that Paul seemed to have already been made aware of this personally by the Holy Spirit….
The Private and Public Operation Of the Word of Wisdom
…… these supernatural manifestations occur spontaneously as the Holy Spirit wills.
The Revelation Gifts In Operation Privately To Warn People
There are times God will reveal to a prophet something that is going to happen so the prophet can warn the people involved……
…..Probably ninety percent of the time, the prophet's ministry is in demonstration privately. Sometimes the Lord will instruct a prophet to go tell the person what the Lord has shown him, and sometimes He won’t…..
It is dangerous to intrude into another man's office. And, really, the Body of Christ has not had the respect and reverence for ministries, gifts, and manifestations of the Spirit we ought to have. We treat the things of God too lightly……
Be careful who you read after. Be careful who you follow after spiritually. Make sure you are following ministers of the gospel only as they follow Christ. Be sure they are rooted and grounded in the Word of God.
I could give you other examples of those who went into the same doctrinal error as the one they studied extensively after. They took upon themselves the same type of ministry, or the same spirit, so to speak, as that other person.
That can be good or bad depending on which spirit the minister yielded to — the Holy Spirit or evil spirits.
Some way or another, whoever you follow after spiritually, or study after extensively, the "anointing" on that person will become a part of you. Whatever spirit is involved with them, will get involved with you.
If you feed on their teaching extensively and they are in doctrinal error, you can get taken up with the same spirit and the same error. If a person is in doctrinal error, he is being motivated by other spirits than the Holy Spirit.
[THIS CERTAINLY HAPPENED WITH HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG AND THOSE WHO FOLLOWED HIM, WITHOUT QUESTIONING IF HE WAS TEACHING ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD. THEY GOT TIED UP WITH HIM EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY SO MUCH, THEY COULD NOT DICERN WHEN HE WENT OFF INTO ERROR AND FALSE DOCTRINE. THEY COULD NOT SEE, AND MANY OF THEM STILL ALIVE, STILL CANNOT SEE, WHERE ARMSTRONG DIVERTED INTO ERROR AND WAS MOTIVATED BY OTHER SPIRITS THAN THE HOLY SPIRIT - Keith Hunt]
Just follow God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, and be rooted and grounded in the Word for yourself. You can read after others, of course. But don't get taken up with the same spirit they have if they are not walking scripturally in the light of God's Word.
These are examples of foretelling through the word of wisdom in the prophet's office to privately warn someone. Also, the word of wisdom occasionally operates through a prophet in public to prepare people for what is ahead.
However, keep in mind that the main emphasis of a New Testament prophet will be forthtelling — preaching or teaching the Word of God.
YES FORTHTELLING, PREACHING AND TEACHING THE WORD OF GOD IN TRUTH, WITH HUMILITY, WILL BE THE MAIN TRUNK OF THE TREE MINISTRY FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT PROPHET OF GOD. SECONDLY THEY WILL HAVE CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROPHETIC WORD OF THE LORD AS GIVEN IN THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE.