The Eagle Way No 9

The New Testament Prophet
“And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul(Acts 11:27-30).
Agabus is an example of the “office” or “ascension gift” in the New Testament. (Ephesians 4:11, 12) And He Himself [Christ] gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. V12, for the perfecting [equipping, making fit, making fully qualified for service] of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ.   
A prophet is a spokesman for God, one who speaks forth by divine inspiration, moved by the Spirit of God and hence a spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation. 
This role differs from the manifestations “phanerōsis [an expression of] the gift of prophecy in the life of the believer (1Cor 12:7).  A prophet [pro, “forth” and phemi, “to speak”] therefore, entails a Christ – appointed ministry of a person rather than the Holy Spirit – distributed gift through a person. 
In the New Testament, this office was not sensationalized as it tends to be today. 
Such an attitude is unworthy, both in the prophet and in those to whom he miniseries, and is certain to result in an unfruitful end. Paul the apostle was addressing such assumption of the prophetic office when he issued the challenge in  If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37, 38).
  The spiritually minded will receive Paul’s instructions with apostolic authority. Those who reject them are responsible for the consequences of their ignorance. There is a calling for submission to spiritual authority rather than self-serving independence.
The office of the prophet cannot be taken lightly. There is nothing in the New Testament  that reduces the stringent requirement for serving this role and ought to be regarded seriously, as written in (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ “And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

Prophecy is nothing to be “experimented” with, for souls are in the balance in the exercise of every ministry.

Further wisdom may be gained by noting that on biblical terms there is more than one type of ministry by a prophet. The measure for us is the remarkable predictive gifts of prophets like Daniel, Isaiah, Zechariah, and John. The other traits of the prophetic office are seen:
1)    Preaching– especially at a national or international level (John the Baptist)
2)   Teaching– especially when unusual insight is present and broad impact is made in serving God’s people (Ezra).
3)   Miracles – as remarkable signs to accompany a prophet’s preaching (Elijah).
4)   Renewal – as with Samuel (1 Samuel 3:21; 4:1) or that called for by the psalmist and by Amos (Psalm 74:9 and Amos 8:11, 12).
This incident of Agabus resulted in effective action by the church rising to meet a challenging situation. This is a valid test of the prophetic office and calling. It is for edification and not for self promotion, but to build, enlarge, forth-tell and foretell into the body of Christ whether locally or globally.