Postal Registration No. KL/TLA/220/2011-13 News paper Reg. No. KERENG/2007/22479
JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014
Date of Publication : 31/12/2013
Vol. 07, Issue No. 1 & 2 January - February 2014 | Hebron, Kumbanad, Kerala | www.revivemegod.org
GIFT OF PROPHECY
Printed, published and owned by Major V.I. Lukose (Retired), published from P.O. Box 31, Hebron, Kumbanad, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India and Printed at Viani Printings, Ernakulam, Kerala, India. Editor: Rev. Dr. John K. Mathew
The gospel finds its place in men, women and children to the extent that the Holy Spirit plants
and enlivens His written Word in their hearts. He does this in a number of ways. One of those ways is through the prophetic word. True prophecy is the Word of God coming through a human messenger. This has both potentials - strength and weakness. Some people say that we should dispense with prophecy because of the potential for false prophecy. But this is like saying we should stop eating because of so many foods that prevent good health. Even as we learn to distinguish nourishing foods from less nourishing foods, we can learn to discern true prophecy from false, so that true prophecy will become an enormous blessing for all. The truth is, we all need prophetic words. True prophecy sustains and nurtures us. True prophecy gives life, encouragement, warns us of danger, puts us on the right path, and dispels the lies of Satan. True prophecy takes us beyond our own thoughts, renews our minds and transforms our lives. The prophetic word is prompted by the Spirit of God and is rooted in true revelation (1 Corinthians 14:30). It becomes fallible if the prophet has faulty perceptions and interpretations. But prophecy is one of those gifts that can improve with time and practice as the prophet grows in his walk with God. Therefore, we should not despise prophecy, otherwise we stifle the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20). What are the marks of a true prophetic word from God? How can we distinguish true prophecy from false? First of all, true prophecy glorifies God and Jesus Christ as the Way, Truth and the Life. True prophecy never contradicts scripture. It draws us into closer relationship with the God of the Bible. It never rationalizes with sin. It encourages greater trust in God and His ways. It promotes unity and love in the body of Christ. It humbles us before God and before one another. It edifies, encourages and brings hope. All these things are present with true prophecy. God wants to communicate with His children. What a miracle that He chooses to do so through flawed people! This is truly a measure of His grace that we should not stifle. I have personally benefitted from prophetic words, and I know from experience the blessing that true prophecy can be. I know of many others who can speak of that same wonderful experience. At the same time, I know of those who masquerade as prophets for the sake of personal gain. Such people can do great harm as they spread lies in the name of God for the sake of recognition and attention. Beware the so-called “prophet of God” who is greedy and prophecies for money, is manipulative and is given to worldly pleasures! The truth is, a true prophet will not often be loved by others because he loves God more than life itself. A true prophet does not seek popularity. His word will oppose the world, so the world will hate him. The only people who love the true prophet are those who hunger after God and His truth. When they hear the truth coming through God’s human messenger, they are set free. True prophets are not sinless, since prophecy is a gift of God’s grace to sinful people. But true prophets don’t rationalize sin in themselves or anybody else. True prophets are humble about their human abilities and glorify the grace of God and the work of Jesus Christ above all else. We must fulfill the Great Commission by every means the Holy Spirit gives to us. True prophecy expands the body of Christ as it applies the written Word to life and ministry. The completion of the Great Commission depends upon its wise use among the people of God and those whose hearts He is preparing to receive His truth. Let us not prevent prophecy, but may we seek this gift and use it wisely for His glory. ******* Father God, how I need the powerful truth of your Word to me! In your Word is life, truth and freedom. Fill me with your Spirit day by day. Teach me to know your voice and your ways so well that I may increasingly experience the blessing you intend for me and those I love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
(Affiliated to India Bible college and seminary)
Graduates, Faculty and Guests march in procession Convocation Speaker: Rev. Dr. C. Lalhlira addresses the graduates
MBC Choir presents special song Part of the friends and well-wishers at the graduation service
Choreography by MBC students
Awarding of certificates by the Principal
Rev.Dr.Lawngthang presents scholarship award
Special song : The Leprosy Mission India Choir
Rev. L.M. Andrew, Principal, welcomes the guests and gives a report
2013 Graduates with Faculty
Mr. T. B. C. Zaithanpuia, a gospel singer, renders a beautiful hymn.
renewing and enriching life Vol.07, Issue No.1&2 January-February 2014
A magazine that will enrich and renew your Spiritual life and give Christian perspective on current events.
CHAIRMAN PASTOR T. S. ABRAHAM VICE-CHAIRMAN PASTOR Dr.T. VALSON ABRAHAM MEMBERS BRO. JACOB THOMAS BRO. SUNNY KODUMTHARA EDITOR PASTOR DR. JOHN K. MATHEW ADMINISTRATIVE EDITOR PASTOR SAJU JOSEPH ASSOCIATE EDITOR MRS. STARLA LUKOSE MANAGER PASTOR T.J. ABRAHAM CONTRIBUTING WRITERS JUNE THOMAS ANN ABRAHAM PUBLISHER, PRINTER & OWNER MAJOR V. I. LUKOSE (Retired) HEBRON, KUMBANAD, PATHANAMTHITTA, KERALA. PRINTED AT VIANI PRINTINGS, LISSIE JN., ERNAKULAM, KERALA PLACE OF PUBLICATION KUMBANAD, PATHANAMTHITTA, KERALA - 689 547 DESIGN Beam Design S2dio Ph: 0481-2563554 firstname.lastname@example.org
PROPHETIC VOCATION AS ‘ALL-EMBRACING’ MISSION:
Pastor Dr. John K. Mathew
(MISSIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE BOOK OF JONAH)
Rev. Phinni Joseph
TRUE PROPHETS vs FALSE PROPHETS Dr. C.T. Luiskutty
Women and Prophecy
JESUS: PROPHET PAR EXCELLENCE
Maturity and Discernment in exercising Prophetical Gifts
PROPHECY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
(role of women in this ministry)
Mrs. Mariamma Thampy
Dr. Kris A. Jackson
Rev. Thomas Mathew
Pastor P. T. Thomas
POSTAL ADDRESS P.O. BOX. 31, HEBRON, KUMBANAD KERALA, INDIA, PIN - 689 547 Phone: 0469 - 2664075, 2665855 Mobile: 94476 08954
The views and ideas expressed in each article are those of the writer. - Editor
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Perseverance leads to Perfection Dear revive, Through perseverance God wants us to be mature, complete and lacking nothing. What Dr. Benjamin George writes in revive from his personal experience must inspire us to give up laziness and disappointments in our lives. He writes that it is not pure joy to encounter trials. God wants us to count it pure joy, for good reasons! He wants us to persevere in the midst of difficulties. Through them His expectation is that we might mature and become complete, lacking in nothing. In short, God wants to see us conformed to the image of His Son! Let’s strive for this experience in all of our lives.
Kunjumon George Pathanapuram
Challenges of life Dear revive, The Editorial and all the articles in the previous revive magazine were very challenging to the readers. Most of the people today are soon dissatisfied with life when they face difficult situations and problems. This truth is well stated by Rev. Dr. John K. Mathew in his editorial. As he truly says, “it takes perseverance to face the challenges of life”. The Christian life is a difficult journey. There are not only deserts but also shadow of the valley of death. The trials on the way are not to destroy us but to perfect us. Abraham patiently waited twenty five years to experience the fulfillment of God's promise in his life. Just as Apostle Paul says we have to rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. Also there is nothing parallel to the life of Job in history. His life was intolerably miserable. Apostle James writes about him, “As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered”. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. Through these and many examples the Lord teaches us the great lessons of success in life through perseverance. May the readers of revive succeed through this great virtue! Nirmala Joseph Mangalore
Good Example of Simeon Dear Editor, I appreciate revive for the wonderful theme of ‘perseverance’ the last month. The example of Simeon for perseverance is very meaningful and effective. It was not perseverance for some ephemeral reasons. It was for attaining eternity. Rev. Dr. Valson
Abraham brought this truth well to the attention of the readers in his “Just One Minute…” To be blessed is not only to be happy, but also to enjoy a taste of eternal life now, even as Simeon did. This blessed person is not an ideal person, but a person in flesh and blood. If we hold out to the promises of God, we shall have them. Perseverance proves that we have real faith. “Whatever trial or temptation we face, our chief test is to trust God through it all. To trust God permits us to become trusted by God, to possess His matchless gifts in this life and the next. When we have passed the test - we would receive the "crown of life” which means eternal living, fullness and fulfillment, order and peace, plentitude and joy. It is to know & learn something from the Garden of Eden even in a fallen world of disappointment and death. What a joyful experience the people of God can have in this life itself. Let this be our experience too. Let us pray for the same. John Idicula New Delhi
The Power of God Dear revive, Dr. K.G Jose in his article in revive tries to relate ‘perseverance’ to the power of God. He says that perseverance is remaining in the power of God; it is not the fiery, headlong running in the course, nor the rapid, hurried stroke in the boat, which means victory; the person who stands on what is called staying power, who endures to the end wins. Perseverance is the only triumphing grace. It is the strength of the conviction, the power of vision and perseverance. As Dr. Jose says the Lord builds character in us through integrity checks. Vision, mission and ministry flows from character. Our character matures in the Lord depending on how we respond to these checks. Integrity checks are there throughout life. God is doing
His job of character processing in us. It may be a direct call to obey the Word, handling a relationship problem, submission to authority, financial integrity and sexual fidelity and so on. Character is the person in his inner life. May God help us to prove ourselves having perseverance in our lives… Susan Skaria Atlanta
Tireless in Doing Good Dear Editor, The article of Dr. Domenic Marbaniang focuses on the significance of doing good works in Christian Life. Generally people get tired of doing good works when there are bitter experiences in life. But the Bible encourages us to not get tired of doing good; because if we don’t lose heart, we will reap the reward in due time. The example used here to prove this truth is very appropriate. No farmer gives up hope because he doesn’t see the harvest a week after he has sown the seed; he knows that the seed has its time. They say that the Chinese bamboos, when planted, display no sign of growth for many years; however, in the due time, they suddenly shoot up to gigantic height. All through those seemingly unproductive years, they had been taking deep roots under the soil. If we persist, we will see the fruit. The key is: “taking root”. There are times when God is just sharpening the axe, in order to use it at a specific point of time later. A piece of very serious advice is also given by the writer. If one is continuing in sinful practices, one must immediately repent and turn around. As the writer warns let’s not waste time by allowing sin to waste our time. Also let’s decide to replace sinful practices with godly and good actions because every action sown will bear a reward. Varghese Kurian Trichur
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Pastor Dr. John K. Mathew
he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers."(Eph.4:11) According to the Scriptures the first position of church leadership is the office of the apostle. There are those who say there are no more apostles in the world. For them all the apostles died out with the original twelve. In fact apostleship was not confined to the original twelve disciples. There are at least twenty five apostles mentioned in the New testament alone and there are apostles in the church today. Likewise there are people who deny the existence of the office of the prophet in the New Testament age. But the scriptures clearly state that the second ministerial office is that of the prophet. It is written about the Antioch church that "In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers; Barnabas Simeon called Niger, Lucius, of Cyrene, Manaen and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting the Holy Spirit said set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them". Agabus made two tremendous prophesies, which came to pass exactly as he predicted. John the beloved is an outstanding prophet, to whom God revealed almost everything regarding the end time, which is about to be fulfilled. It has to be mentioned with equal importance that the gift of prophesy is widely misused and deteriorated to a level of fortune telling. The reason is that people forget God's purpose of the office of the prophet. God never gives anything without a purpose. In Ephesians 4:12-16 after listing the five major ministry gifts to the body of Christ, the apostle Paul stated the nine fold purpose of these ministries to the church." to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may built up, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ". When God calls an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a pastor, or a teacher; It is for one purpose: The perfecting of the saints! None of them has to do with inward and selfish motives. Each has to do with the life of Jesus pouring out of those who posses themâ€“ giving of ourselves, blessing others, and helping others. The whole structure of Christianity is built upon the concept of blessing others. That is what Jesus and the salvation message are all about. In the words of Lester Sumrall, Perhaps there is nothing so exciting as prophesy. In these last days we must have the prophet's ministry at work among us. All kinds of people will be reading the stars and predicting the future. The devil will be out to fool as many people as he can regarding the future, so God's people must take their place against him. Let the ministry of the prophet be heard in the land.
â€œThus Says the Lordâ€? The
whole structure of Christianity is built upon the concept of blessing others. That is what Jesus and the salvation message are all about.
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Rev. Phinni Joseph Faculty, India Bible College & Seminary
of Jonah is more a personal sketch of a prophet than prophecy itself. This book is significant for its dramatic presentation that increases the curiosity of its readers.
Prophecy and the prophetic movements are central to the Old Testament. The Prophets spoke to the specific life and times of the people of Israel. The central historical frame work for the prophetic movements can be
traced from the eighth to the fifth centuries (B.C.E). The roots of prophecy are deeply embedded in Israelâ€™s history and in the culture of the Ancient West Asia. The literary prophets bring three historical phases into focus. The first category includes those of the
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Neo-Assyrian period (Amos, Hosea, Micah and Isaiah). The second group of prophets is composed of those of the Neo-Babylonian era (Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Ezekiel, and Obadiah). During Persian period, the third group brought hope to the people (Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah, Joel and Malachi). The pre-exilic prophets came to warn of impending judgment. The exilic prophets wrote to assure the people that God would restore them to the land. The post exilic prophets wrote to assure the people that God would deal with the restored community according to the same principles. As we outline the prophets we find that they all have the same basic ingredients: Warning of impending judgment because of the nation’s sinfulness, description of the sin, description of the coming judgment, a call for repentance and a promise of future deliverance.
The Prophet The English word 'prophet' is derived from the Greek 'prophetes' which is a compound of pro and phetes (to speak). Thus, prophet means speaking ‘in front of’, ‘on behalf of’ or ‘beforehand’ etc. Thus a prophet is not only one who foretells the future but also one who speaks in the name of God and one who stands in front of an audience to address it. The Hebrew word used for prophet is nabi. There are different etymologies suggested for this, the Arabic nabaa (to proclaim or announce); hence, prophet is a 'spokesman' or 'speaker', as an agent of another person. Or Hebrew root, nabha ‘to prophecy” (flow, boil up, bubble forth etc. so pour out the words). It can also be from an Akkadian root nabu, which implies the meaning ‘one who is called by God’, or ‘one who has a vocation from God’. The common synonyms used for prophet in the Old Testament are 'roeh' (seer) and hozeh (visionary). In I Sam.9: 9 roeh and nabhi are used as identical words. Another important term that is used for prophet is ‘man of God’ (I Sam. 9:6; 2 Kings.4: 9; I Kings.12:22). Ahijah is addressed as the servant of the Lord (I Kings.14:18; 2 Kings.9:7; Jer.7:254). Thus, the prophet has the task of receiving the message from God through revelation and speaks forth the message to the people. They spoke to their own times and situations interpreting current events of history in the light of God’s will and the Law and also predicted the future destiny of God’s people.
The progressive nature of Israelite Prophecy Prophecy is the mediation and interpretation of the divine mind and will. The means of prophetic
communication were dreams, visions, ecstatic or mystical experiences etc. The Israelite prophecy traces the origin to Moses (Num.11:24-30). Moses is called as nabi in the Pentateuch as with Aaron (Ex.7:1, Num.12:2-8). In the book of Judges, 4:4, Deborah is called as nabia. The major function of these ecstatic prophets seems to have been to stimulate patriotic and religious fervor. They have become a group as in I Samuel 10:6-8; 10-13. They were known as sons of prophets, members of prophetic guild, prophetic disciples etc. (I Kings.20:35; 2 Kings.2:3; 5:22). The ecstatic experience served as the climax of prophecy and was often induced by mutual contagion through dance and music. They served as disciples or apprentices under some noted prophets or sometimes as private individual (2 Kings.4:1). They can be found attached to the sanctuaries as cult prophets (I Kings.19:1; 2 Kings.22:14-17; Amos.7:10) or court prophets (2 Sam.7:1; 12:1; 24:11; I Kings.1:8) .They wore distinctive garb of hair cloth (2 Kings.1:8, Zech.13:4). The ecstatic experiences transformed the prophet into another person (I Sam.10:6). Samuel is represented on one occasion as leading a band in ecstatic prophecy (I Sam.19:20ff). Both Elijah and Elisha are associated with sons of prophets as master and leaders. Elisha makes use of a customary device to induce ecstatic seizure (2 Kings.3:15). Prophets whose name appears on the head of each book are known as writing prophets (literary prophets) or classical prophets. We see a narrative of the prophetic call, the experience of the divine presence plays a prominent role in their life. The classical prophets are messengers of Yahweh (Isa.44:26; Hag.1:13), Servants of God (Isa.20:3; Am.3:7) and shepherds (Jer.17:16). These prophets were highly individualistic thinkers. The Classical prophets stressed the social morality and ethical monotheism. They emphasized that the God of Israel has a moral will and only by leading a holy life can the people please their God.
The Prophetical book of Jonah The book of Jonah is more a personal sketch of a prophet than prophecy itself. This book is significant for its dramatic presentation that increases the curiosity of its readers. The reader is posed with the questions such as; what was the reason for the flight of Jonah from the presence of God? How did Jonah survive in the belly of the fish? Why did God spare the Ninevites? Why Prophet Jonah did retaliate when God has shown favour and saved the repented Ninevites? This book also brings us interesting theological insights about God, human being, and God-human
pre-exilic prophets came to warn of impending judgment. The exilic prophets wrote to assure the people that God would restore them to the land. The postexilic prophets wrote to assure the people that God would deal with the restored community according to the same principles.
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in a dramatic way and he reached there and preached that in 40 days Nineveh shall be overthrown. Upon this message of judgment the Ninevites repented and God’s favour was shown to them. However, this gracious act of God was resented by Jonah. The story of Jonah serves us with biblical paradigms of prophetic vocation to the world at large.
Broken Humanity as the Target for Prophetic Mission
a broken humanity in Nineveh that lives without God. Their actions indicated godlessness and sin. The humanity that is represented in Nineveh is only good for rejection and judgment in the sight of God.
relationship. It portrays the caring nature of God that nurtures people even when they are away from God. The broken humanity and its desperate need for God are beautifully illustrated in this book. The prophetic messages that we find in the Old Testament not only condemn wickedness and sin but also demands of the people repentance. Hence, repent and return to God are main prophetic themes that we find in almost all prophets. The primary mission of Prophet Jonah was to the people of Israel (2 Kings.14:25). Jonah’s mission in the 2 Kings seems to be of that kind, calling people for a return to God and also to exhort them to remain faithful to God. However, the prophet received an unusual call to go to another nation, to the city of Nineveh. The city of Nineveh was a famous, well-built, prosperous city at that time. Along with its prosperity, the city was also known for its wickedness. The conduct and behavior of the people implied brokenness and godlessness in their actions. In this context the prophet was summoned with a vocation to share God’s message of repentance with the Ninevites. Jonah was not comfortable with his mission. His fear of the city, the long distance travel, and personal inhibitions led him to flee to Tarshish instead of going to Nineveh. However, he was led to the city
We see a broken humanity in Nineveh that lives without God. Their actions indicated godlessness and sin. The humanity that is represented in Nineveh is only good for rejection and judgment in the sight of God. It is for that people God appointed Jonah to preach the message of repentance. In Nineveh we find humanity without God, without the fullness of life and justice. The common humanity that we share today is also broken and destined for judgment from God. The experience of brokenness can be seen at all levels of our contemporary existence. It is evident in personal, family, social and religious life. At times we are aware of this brokenness in us but most of the time we avoid recognizing them. God’s message comes to all of us to examine the brokenness that we carry with us. At the same time we are chosen to witness and share the message of restoration and hope with others around us. We are summoned to witness our faith that can transform and change the lives of many around us. Our witness can motivate many to enliven their mind, body, and spirit as it leads to an experience of restoration. The prophetic task today for all of us is to work with God in this act of redemption so that persons and communities can experience God and the blessings of fuller humanity.
Exclusivism as the Distorted Face of Prophetic Mission Narrow passion is the biggest hindrance to share one’s faith and commitment to others. Though Jonah was a prophet by name and profession he was reluctant to take the message of salvation outside of his ‘convictions’. This shows the narrow passion of the prophet for mission. A prophet who delivers God’s message to his own people now refuses God’s direction
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and he assumes that “I can only be a witness to my own people”. This is an exclusive theological idealism that reflects in Jonah’s mission. Jonah developed his own likes and dislikes in relation with his prophetic vocation. Jonah was reluctant and resistant to understand the message of God intended for the entire humanity. It shows his distorted ideals for the betterment of humanity. The narrow passion held him back from sharing the message of God to the Gentiles. Jonah’s narrow passion is much more evident in chapter 4. He preached for about 40 days; his message was clear; Nineveh will be destroyed in 40 days. In this unusual message there is no space for repentance and redemption. But when the people repented and God favored them, the prophet was very angry, upset, and frustrated. He began to argue with God. He was so angry that he asked God to take away his life. A prophet who receives his direction from God expresses his confusion and lack of direction. His expressions strongly indicate that at the moment he was a suicidal person. He was away from people, sitting in an isolated place. All the classical characteristics of “clinically depressed person” are found in this description. There is narrow denominationalism and churchism even today that destroys the unity and the purpose of Christian mission. As we received the commission from the Lord to take the gospel out into the world, let’s be committed not to limit its scope. Gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses the entire humanity and it is for the salvation of people from every tongue and tribe.
All-Embracing Vision of Prophetic Mission Jonah’s had a commission for a significant mission. But his vision and clarity of objectives seems to be a major problem. He is lacking commitment to the common good and the betterment of all people. We do not find a deep sense of commitment in Jonah to see the redeeming act of God in human communities for uplifting them from brokenness. He did not recognize the significance of repentance and redemption of the Ninevites. He did not even think that there are a great number of children and infants along with the flocks of cattle. In fact the prophetic mission implies the entire creation of God. He could have taken the credit of being the prophet to this nation and thank God for using him as an agent of transformation. But his vision and commitment was so displaced and narrow that he could not think in those terms. He expected God to act upon his message of condemnation. When our vision could not embrace the whole humanity, it is hard to visualize anything for the
common good and for the building up of the community. The passion for mission we see in persons and groups with narrow interests lack the commitment to take ‘the whole Gospel to the whole humanity’. It is easy to note distorted enthusiasm and displaced vision in their ideologies and actions. Faith sharing is for building up and not for breaking down; not to condemn but to save; not to kill but to give life; not to reject but to accept; not to destruct but to strengthen; not to destroy but to hold and support. But today instead of facilitating faith for building up what we see around us is shattering of lives and communities. Instead of sharing, shattering the humanity in the name of God, religion and faith has become the hallmark of this age. The prophetic mission of taking the gospel to the world must embrace the whole humanity and even the non-human creation. Today’s society is characterized by victims of violence, people living in constant threat and fear, those living at the margins of the society; people suffering with terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS, a community that is prone to hatred and exploitation; the people who struggle for food and also city centers that expresses themselves with worst forms of lifestyle. They live in abundance and facilities of a high-tech society but without God’s interventions and challenges in their lives. This is the time for the church to be on the move inspired by the Word, taking the message of restoration, wholeness and forgiveness to this broken humanity. The church is yet to realize its prophetic vocation as “allembracing mission”.
of sharing, shattering the humanity in the name of God, religion and faith has become the hallmark of this age. The prophetic mission of taking the gospel to the world must embrace the whole humanity and even the non-human creation.
Soulish believers are inordinately curious. For example, simply for the sake of knowing what the future holds do they try to satisfy their curiosity by studying thoroughly the prophecies of the Bible.
Watchman Nee january-february 2014
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Dr. C.T. Luiskutty Writer, preacher and teacher among Pentecostals, he is the former Professor of Engineering and Physics at the Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also teaches on the â€œHour of Hopeâ€? a Television Bible study on Power Vision
prophet is one who speaks in the place of God and either warns, condemns, corrects or comforts the hearers.
According to Ephesians 4:11-14, God has given prophets to the church along with apostles,
evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints so that they will be ready for the work of ministry and thus the body will be edified. The Pentecostal revival of the 20th century gave a new thrust to this ministry in the church. While the Old Testament is replete with stories of prophets, in the New Testament there are very few examples mentioned. While some argue that the ministry of prophets ended in the first century, others give undue emphasis on a prophetâ€™s role, sometimes, not knowing the true relevance of it to the New Testament church. The Pentecostal position is that prophecy is a genuine gift of the Holy Spirit given to the New Testament church and is valuable today for the body of Christ. Since this is genuine and valuable, there is the possibility of counterfeits and it seems that there is an abundance of this in the present Christian world. A true prophet is one who speaks in the place of God and either warns, condemns, corrects or comforts the hearers. Usually their admonitions of warning and condemnation were not received enthusiastically and the prophets faced the anger of political and religious authorities and the unrepentant people. Prophets like Jeremiah,
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Ezekiel and Hosea had to endure physical discomfort and persecutions as they brought the word of God to His people. True prophets of God were sincere men and women who were commissioned by God and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Most of them had to pay a high price to fulfill their call and anointing. Their mission was not to satisfy the curiosity of people, but to fulfill God’s purpose. People have always been inquisitive to know what would happen in the near future. Some people claimed to have special power to forecast future events and came on the scene in order to satisfy the natural curiosity of gullible people. They satisfied the curiosity of a wicked people by uttering things that would please the hearers— often for material gain or for fame and prestige. Others were used by the devil and empowered with supernatural abilities of forecasting. These false prophets always worked against God’s plan and directed them away from the way of God and to destruction According to Charles Swindoll, true prophets of God had the following characteristics: 1. They were uncompromising individuals. 2. They stood alone when the nation or society was immersed in moral decay and chaos. 3. They were God’s mouthpiece. 4. They were men of rugged determination. 5. They were men of prayer and communion with God. 6. They were men of absolute obedience and dedication. 7. They were outspoken critics of evil. 8. They revealed future events. (The Living Insight Study Bible: Charles R. Swindoll—General Editor) In the Old Testament we see many prophets who had the characteristics mentioned here. Jeremiah was one of the most prominent prophets of God. Jeremiah prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah during the reign of Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah (Jeremiah 1:3) When all the prophets of the time were encouraging the sinful people to continue their lifestyle by saying that Babylon would not come against them or other kings would come to their rescue, Jeremiah prophesied to an erring nation that God’s anger was against them and as a result they would have to go to Babylonian captivity (10:17-25). His uncompromising nature is evident throughout the Book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived in an era when the king, the religious authorities and people in general were
immersed in moral decay and chaos. He began his prophetic ministry in the time of Josiah who was a righteous king. But the kings who ruled after Josiah were wicked and the nation indulged in deep sin and Jeremiah, who was a true prophet, says, “I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation.” (Jeremiah 15:17 ESV) He had the moral strength to stand alone in a wicked world. A prophet is the one who speaks on behalf of somebody else. When Moses confessed at the time of his commissioning that he was not capable of speaking to Pharaoh or the Israelite leaders in Egypt in a convincing manner, God said that his brother Aaron would serve as his prophet (Exodus 7:1). A person is a true prophet of God only when he speaks on behalf of God, exactly what God wants to communicate at that moment. Jeremiah, who confessed his youth and inability to fulfill God’s calling, was told, “I have put my words in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1:7-9). Because of the commission he received from God, he was able to proclaim “This is what the Lord says” (Jeremiah 2:5). Jeremiah was persecuted in many ways. But in all situations he remained faithful and determined, not because he trusted his natural abilities but because he knew that he was fulfilling God’s commission for his life (1:6-9). In the midst of continuous opposition from the rulers, religious authorities and common people, Jeremiah always stayed in communion with God. He repeatedly says, “The word of the Lord came to me” and “Hear the word of the Lord.” Like Job, he went through some feelings of being forsaken by God, but God spoke to him and reassured him by talking to him about the restoration of Israel at a future time (see 12:1-4; 16:14-21). From a natural point of view, Jeremiah might have been tempted to go along with the majority so that he would be accepted and honored by his people. But as a true prophet of God, he had no choice but to speak only what he heard from God. He was always obedient to proclaim what God asked him to do. God told him to remain unmarried to fulfill his call and he remained obedient. His dedication to God was proved in many adverse circumstances. Jeremiah was a fearless critic of the evil that prevailed in the society. His prophecies begin with the lamentation of God about the condition of His people by saying, Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain
who confessed his youth and inability to fulfill God’s calling, was told, “I have put my words in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1:7-9). Because of the commission he received from God, he was able to proclaim “This is what the Lord says” (Jeremiah 2:5).
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prophets of God, Jeremiah’s mission was not limited to crying out against the present evil; he proclaimed the consequences of their attitude and actions.
of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:12-13 ESV) This critical attitude against the wickedness of the chosen people and resulting punishment of exile are echoed throughout the book of Jeremiah. As other prophets of God, Jeremiah’s mission was not limited to crying out against the present evil; he proclaimed the consequences of their attitude and actions. He predicted their exile. However, his message contained hope for the future as he predicted the future restoration of Judah and Israel (Chapters 30-33). The Bible talks about many false prophets. On some occasions they were in the majority and they had vested interests in saying things in the name of God when they did not hear from God. One example is seen in 2 Chronicles 18. Jehoshaphat, the righteous king of Judah, aligned with the wicked king of Israel, Ahab, and planned to go to war against Ramothgilead. Before setting out for the war, Jehoshaphat wanted to enquire the word of Jehovah. Ahab gathered the prophets and enquired of them and in unison they encouraged the kings to engage in war and promised victory. The king of Judah seems to suspect their unanimous prophecy and asked Ahab whether there were any more prophets in the land. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.” (2 Chronicles 18:7 ESV). From what followed, it could be concluded that Micaiah was the only true prophet of God in the land. It is only natural that he never prophesied good concerning Ahab who was a very wicked king and displeased God in every way possible. What was the motive of the false prophets? They wanted the wicked king’s approval and, probably, rewards and prophesied accordingly, not what they received from God but what was advantageous to the king and, consequently, to them.
Probably the most notorious false prophet mentioned in the Bible is Balaam (Numbers 22-25). He was a pagan and, apparently, had superhuman power in that his blessing and cursing were effective. Without going through his story in detail, let us examine his attitudes and actions that would shed light on his character and give us a hint as to why he is considered a false prophet. 1. He was greedy. Though he knew Israel was God’s chosen people, he made himself available to the enemy of Israel to curse them in order to satisfy his greed. (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11) 2. He was timid. Rather than dismissing the emissaries of the Moabite king Balak, he lodged them overnight and tried to get a message to please the king even after God revealed His plan to bless the Israelites. 3. He was disobedient to God. God said, “You will not go” (Num 22:12); the angel of the Lord said, “Your way is perverse (reckless)” (Num 22:32). Still he insisted on going. 4. He was double minded. On one hand, he wanted to do only what God allowed; on the other hand, he insisted on doing what was against God’s will. In other words he wanted to serve God and mammon (Matt 6:24). 5. His confession was not sincere. God’s anger was kindled against him because he went (22:22); God’s angel rebuked him. His response was, “If it is evil in your sight, I will turn back (22:34). This is the confession of a false prophet and an insincere believer. 6. For the reward promised to him, he really was ready to curse God’s people. But what came out of his mouth was different only because God put blessing in his mouth (Deut 23:4,5; Nehemiah 13:2) 7. When his desire to curse the people of Israel did not materialize, he advised Moab’s king Balak to seduce the people into both sexual and spiritual adultery (Numbers 25:1-2; 31:16, Revelation 2:14). 8. His desire to die the death of the upright (23:10) was never fulfilled (31:8) because he never was upright. The Christian church, especially the pastors and leaders, should have the spiritual discernment to distinguish the true prophets from the false prophets. Jesus said that toward the end of this age, “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). (Contd. on page 25)
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Mrs. Mariamma Thampy Wife of Pastor V. A. Thampy (Founder President, New India Church of God), is the President of the women's ministry of the church. During the past 43 years in christian ministry, the Lord helped her train and equip hundreds of ladies for the same. A writer, charismatic speaker, Mrs. Mariamma Thampy also hosts a Malayalam Christian TV program. In 2010, she was honored at the Hillsong Colour Conference in London for her sacrificial and committed work among women in India. Today, she travels across the globe, ministering and leading thousands to the Lord.
There was a time when women were
looked down upon and treated without any respect. They were considered as tools, merely meant t o s a t i s f y m a n ’s needs and look after the children. There is no doubt that this attitude was the work of the devil. He always wanted to push women down. It started from the very beginning of creation, when he heard God saying, “the seed of the woman will crush the head of the devil”. When Jesus Christ came into the world, He saw the pathetic condition of women and Jesus was the first to lift them up. Women were also followers of Christ along with men. They helped Jesus in the ministry, they were allowed to sit at His feet and learn from Him. Whenever a lady cried and approached Him with a need, Jesus stood there and told her not to cry and also met her need. We know how Jesus did
not hesitate to give the Good News to Mary – a woman, after His resurrection. Jesus did not care whether it was a man or a woman that He gave the greatest message, the Gospel, that “Jesus Christ is raised from the dead”, to a woman who was AVAILABLE. The love of God pushed her to the graveyard, overcoming all the fear of her surroundings. Even today our Lord is looking for people who are available, whether it is a man or a woman. As we read in the Word, there was no difference in Christ on the day of Pentecost, where men and women were praying in the upper room, to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Jesus told His disciples: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria
Thousands of people, including people like Paul Yongi Cho and Benny Hinn came to the saving knowledge of Jesus over the years, through the ministry of ladies.
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ladies have pioneered so many churches in the backwater areas, coastal villages and the Malabar regions of Kerala. Today, even in other states like Andhra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, our women workers visit homes during day and pray for the families together at night.
and to the end of the earth”. It is applicable to everyone, irrespective of gender, age or caste – the power from on high is for all. To share briefly about myself, I had the privilege of receiving the Lord as my personal Saviour in the year 1968. I was 19 years old and a college student studying for my Bachelor’s Degree in Science. I was so filled with the love of God. On 9th March 1969, I was filled with the Holy Spirit when I was alone in the upper room of our house. Within a few minutes, Lord filled me with great power and I started speaking in tongues. The anointing was so powerful, nothing was able to stop me. Soon after I finished my studies God began to talk to me. There were sixteen prophecies through sixteen different people - all within three months. Wherever I went there was a prophecy for me. Every one of them was the same, telling me that the Lord is calling me to work in His vineyard. Everything that is happening now in my life was prophesied to me 44 years ago. “If you follow me I will use you across the nation of India, give you thousands of souls, and use you to train many young people, send you around the world as my witness, make you sit in the places where Kings and Queens sit “. I was able to see all these things being fulfilled over the years. Our God is a faithful God and He always keeps His promises. When I obeyed the Lord, He brought into my life a man who loved Jesus with such a passion that he left everything for the sake of the Gospel. I soon realized that we both shared the same vision about being in the ministry and were ready to do so with total surrender, commitment and concentration. It was in 1970 that (Late) Pr. K. E. Abraham solemnized my marriage with Pr V A Thampy. When I look back I can tell you from my experience, nothing can stop a lady from doing the ministry if she has got a burden and passion for the perishing souls. A lady worker or evangelist has a place of her own in Christian ministry. She has to be under the care, protection and leadership of her husband. We can also do ministry behind the scenes. Intercession is a ministry that the Lord has given mostly to ladies, which no one can stop. This is the greatest of all ministries. At our place we have a 24 hours prayer tower for ladies above 30 years and we have a prayer going on here round the clock. Over the years, God has enabled me to lead thousands of souls, through personal evangelism. Apostles filled the whole Asia Minor with gospel within a year through visiting homes. That ministry is my greatest passion-visiting homes and sharing the Gospel. God gave me a great burden
to train young girls who are called for the ministry and as a result of that, we started a ladies Bible school in 1983. One year of teaching the Word, with practical training in the afternoons. They are sent to visit homes -they do this as they are sent out in two’s during the afternoons . Once they are back at night, we have chain prayer from 10pm to 5am. During Saturdays we used to go to unreached villages, as a team, with packed lunches. During the day we visit homes and in the evening we would conduct open-air meetings. With this kind of training, they are ready to go to the mission field after one year. Our ladies have pioneered so many churches in the backwater areas, coastal villages and the Malabar regions of Kerala. Today, even in the other states like Andhra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, our women workers visit homes during day and pray for the families together at night. When there is a group of people ready to take water baptism, we shift the girls away from that location. We now send a pastor instead. Our ladies do the hard work until a breakthrough happens in a new place. I usually say that when you see a building, nobody sees the basement, but see only the building. That is what our ladies are doing – they lay the foundation for the building. Prophecy and gifts of the Spirit are great help
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for the ministry by women. In my life, I have personally experienced hundreds of people getting delivered from demonic bondage and oppression, over the years. This has opened doors for the whole family to get saved and churches to be planted. Thousands of people, including people like Paul Yongi Cho and Benny Hinn came to the saving knowledge of Jesus over the years, through the ministry of ladies who were strong in their love, compassion and Word of Knowledge. Prophecy is a powerful tool that can be used for the ministry. But we should examine it and take in the light of the Word of God. I have been led by the Holy Spirit many times to go to different homes and meet different people. God reveals to me and shows me people and places in visions, which help me to be more effective in Christian ministry. Churches were even pioneered through this. It will be great if we ladies can spend time in the presence of the Lord, hear from Him and operate accordingly. We women have got a big role in the lives of our children. From the time we conceive a baby we have the huge responsibility of praying for them, and after the birth to bring them up in the ways of the Lord. As mothers, we spend more time with
the children, and we can influence them through our love, being a good example, providing proper guidance and above all through our prayers. In Proverbs 31 we read, “ her candle never goes out at night” which stands for prayer. Then we read “every one in her house hold will have scarlet robe” which shows the robe of salvation. If there is a praying mother, her children will never get lost. So many mighty men and women are the products of praying mothers. We have four children-two boys and two girls.Over the years, I had dedicated one day a week to fast and pray for them, that the Lord will use the four of them in a far deeper way than when they were all praying. God will definitely hear the prayers of a mother. Now all four of them are in full time ministry, doing a deeper ministry than us. Our oldest son Biju is in Mumbai and our youngest son Binu is in Kolkata, two most needy cities of India, reaching the most unreached and along with that doing charity work like feeding street children, rehabilitating drug addicts, rescuing prostitutes and so on. Our daughters are in Kerala and in Goa and are involved in missions and charitable works like orphanages and working among AIDS victims and so on. My dear ladies, our lives are worthwhile and we have a lot to offer. Let us rise
have got a big role in the lives of their children. From the time they conceive a baby they have the huge responsibility of praying for them, and after the birth to bring them up in the ways of the Lord.
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Dr. Kris A. Jackson Preacher, Bible Teacher, Branson West, MO, USA.
is more practical than mystical. The office gift can be predictive in nature but is normally more a forthtelling of the wisdom and insights of God than a foretelling of future events or of mysteries unknown to man
As Amos, one of Israel’s great statesman from twenty-eight centuries ago, confessed, “I was no
prophet, nor the son of a prophet” (Amos 7:14), in writing on the subject of prophets and prophecy, I must admit to the same. There are an estimated 600,000 pastors and chaplains in the United States without venturing estimates for other countries, but no survey would dare estimate the number of prophets in ministry. How would a prophet be defined? Some denominations claim the ministry of prophet went out with the First Century. Others acknowledge the prophetic ministry but hold the gift at arm’s length. Another segment of the church chases prophetic “words” much like the Athenians who “spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). I will never forget one particular woman, lingering long after the altar call in a revival meeting, who nervously asked, “Do you have a word for me?” I had just preached for an hour under a strong anointing expounding nearly a hundred scriptures, had she missed the many “words” already spoken? We must never minimalize the Word in our yearning for “words”. Plus I would suggest shying from those who demand a title of authority,“Apostle This”,“Prophet That” or “Bishop So and So”, etc. I know many men who are apostolic who do not wear a nametag designating them as Apostle. The same with prophets.The
present church may be better served if we would speak of prophetical ministry or prophetic voices rather than categorizing the individual minister as being a prophet. There were, however,“prophets” in the Book of Acts (Acts 11:27), Judas, Silas and Agabus(Acts 15:32, 21:10) as well as the mention of prophets extended onward into the coming Tribulation (Rev 16:6, 18:24). If we can’t quickly define what a prophet is, we can surely agree on what a prophet is not. The anointed vessel is not a personal “guru”, spiritual “coach” or religious figure who spends sixteen hours a day “lost in the Spirit”. Prophecy is more practical than mystical. The office gift can be predictive in nature but is normally more a forthtelling of the wisdom and insights of God than a foretelling of future events or of mysteries unknown to man. Most“mystics” turn out to be big “mistakes”.Paul taught that God has set within the church the office gift of prophet which is to function not only for the establishing of the Church but through the entirety of the Church Age (Eph 4:11-13, 1 Cor 12:18). The gift is not exclusive but works in harmony with the foundational ministry of the apostle, as the two gifts of apostle and prophet are nearly always mentioned together (Luke 11:49, 1 Cor 12:28, Eph 2:20, 3:5, 4:11, 2 Pet 3:2, Rev 18:20). Guidance and governance go hand in hand.
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Though we can testify of prophetic abuse and misuse, there is no reason to run to the opposite extreme and reject prophecy altogether. Paul admonished, “Do not despise prophecies” (1 Thes 5:20). If prophecy rubs a person the wrong way the simple solution is to turn around! In the United States churches are considered “nonprofit” organizations, unfortunately many of them are “non-prophet” as well. Jesus said prophets are not without honor except in their own country; I am afraid prophets aren’t honored enough in any country.“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward…” (Mat 10:41) The reward is the anointed word he or she speaks – “Believe in the Lord your God,
and you shall be established; believe his prophets, and you shall prosper” (2 Chron 20:20). When speaking of “the” Prophet there is only One who qualifies. Jesus is “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession” (Heb 3:1). As He alone is “the” Apostle He also is “the” Prophet. Christ is the premier prophet, the prophet par excellence. Fifteen-hundred years before Christ, the Lord told Moses – “I will raise up for them a Prophet like
you from among their brethren, and will put my words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him” (Deut 18:18,19). Both Peter and Stephen quoted that passage applying the words to Jesus Christ (Acts 3:22,23, 7:37).When Jesus said “it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33) He affirmed that He was a prophet. When the blind man who was healed by Christ was interrogated by the Pharisees, he testified, “He is a prophet” (John 9:17). After feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes, the people agreed, “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world” (John 6:14). Again, when Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son from the dead “fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, a great prophet has risen among the people” (Luke 7:16), not because of what He said but because of what He did. A prophet’s walk is more telling than his words. Jonah is called a prophet but there is nothing in the book that bears his name that can really be called prophecy. His whole life was a prophecy, not just the words of his mouth. Similarly, because of the witness of Jesus’ life “the people took Him as a prophet” (Mat 21:46). The two disciples on the road to Emmaus discussed “Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in word and deed before God and all the people” (Luke 24:19). Here “deed” is of equal weight with “word”, and the life lived “before God” was as much the ministry of the prophet as what was seen before “all the people”. The woman at the well responded, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (John 4:19). Hardly an uneducated guess since He had just read her life biography, being married to five men and living with the sixth. Prophets know what others do not know, not because they are hyper-spiritual but because they live close enough to God to hear His whispers. “The secret of the Lord is with them those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant” (Psalm 25:14). Prophets are private men, praying men, precise men and prescient men. When the harlot poured ointment on Jesus’ feet the Pharisee host murmured, “this man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). As prophet, Jesus did “know” the condition of the woman’s
are private men, praying men, precise men and prescient men. Prophets know what others do not know, not because they are hyper-spiritual but because they live close enough to God to hear His whispers.
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is the Prophet, Par Excellence, but not as a historical figure to applaud or an encyclopedic entry to study, but as Administrator of the prophetic gift throughout the Church Age, to follow and mimic.
life, but prophets aren’t necessarily sent to warn, judge or prophesy doom and gloom, as prophet, Jesus came to display the love of God. On another occasion when the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus “caught in the very act” of adultery, rather than grab a stone and join the execution party, Jesus stooped and wrote words in the dust of the Temple floor. Whatever He penned with His finger convicted the men, from the eldest to the youngest, who dropped their stones and hurried for the Temple exits. There, His ministry as prophet was redemptive for the accused, condemning for her accusers. The work of the prophet is not to stone but to save. As premier prophet Jesus was God’s final word to mankind. God has “in these last days spoken to us by His Son", period, there is nothing to add (Heb 1:1).Now “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev 19:10). In other words, all prophetic inspiration today must agree with His Name and Nature. Christ is the Message for this Mess Age. We don’t have space here to discuss the prophet’s message, the process is rather elementary, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear
the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me” (Ezek 3:17). To hear the word “at my mouth” one must draw very near. The prophet listens then hastens. More important, however, than the message is the man. If the message and the man aren’t in harmony then the audience will be confused. We would hope that the prophet has intelligence but if choice must be made we would prefer he has integrity. Ministries normally overlap, there are evangelistic apostles, prophetic evangelists and apostolic pastor-teachers, etc. Jesus wore the High Priest’s miter but also the hats of every other office gift. So in the Sermon on the Mount He was speaking as an Apostle laying out the constitution of the Kingdom. Most of His parables were spoken from the heart of the Great Evangelist. Christ, the Chief Shepherd or “pastor” spent three and a half years loving, molding and training the Twelve. Many of His followers referred to Him as “Good Teacher” because He flowed in a special anointing to break down the will of God into simple instructions and admonitions. But He also made clear, predictive utterances that confirmed Him to be a prophet, the Prophet like unto Moses, who would be sent into the world. The Olivet Discourse from Matthew chapter 24 and its echoes in Mark 13, Luke 17 and 21 map the Church’s and Israel’s future, predicting events that could not have been conceived of in His day, but also offering warnings, guidance and strategies which if obeyed will bring deliverance to those to whom the prophecies were sent. Most of the substance of His prophecies had supporting scriptures from the Law, Prophets and Psalms. Jesus didn’t just speak “off the cuff”. He may have had fresh light on old scriptures but the content of everything He said could be confirmed by the Word. Jesus knew what was in man, He perceived the reasonings of men’s hearts, He prophesied His own sufferings, death and resurrection and walked out God’s purposes according to what had been revealed to Him, as prophet. He is Model for every ministry. Jesus not only shares valuable lessons for us to learn, He is the whole curricula. As His followers we have the right to seek a measure
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of His prophetic anointing for ourselves. John said, “And of His fullness we have all received…” (John 1:16) Christ is “the” Prophet but Moses shared Christ’s heart when he declared, “Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” (Num 11:29) Christ is the head of the Church. The anointing is on the Head and runs down to the skirts of His garments, meaning that every member of the Body receives a measure of His anointing, which is a prophetic anointing. “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure” (John 3:34). Christ has all the measure of the
Spirit, “in Him dwells the all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. Of His full measure He gives to every individual believer “grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” so that all believers can unite together as “a perfect man” according to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:7,13). Yes, Christ is the Prophet, Par Excellence, but not as a historical figure to applaud or an encyclopedic entry to study, but as Administrator of the prophetic gift throughout the Church Age, to follow and mimic. Paul encouraged, “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Cor 14:1).
a heart rendering incident, a seven year old Christian boy, Anugrag, fondly called as Anmol was brutally killed on Nov 17 in Tadi-Obri, Dungerpur. According to our correspondent, Dr. John Dayal, Anugrag never return home after he left his home at about 10 a.m. to attend Sunday school. On Monday, Harish Gemethi, Anugrag’s father submitted a petition of a missing person at Sadar Thana after friends and relatives were not able to find him after a frantic search. The same day about 4 p.m., Anugrag’s body was found in a small pond. His face was mutilated beyond recognition, his throat slit, his left leg toes chopped off and his skin pulled off from his right hand besides other injuries in the body. "The Christians constantly face strong opposition in the area where Anugrag was killed. We feel sad that such atrocity has been meted out to an innocent boy." Father Rev Jose P.S told EFI News. Anugrag's father, Harish accepted Jesus Christ in 2003 and the Hindu extremists have been threatening to kill and harm his family for the past ten years they have been a Christian, reported our source. Area church leaders submitted a letter to the chairman of the state minority commission to arbitrate the case of severe brutality against the Christians and give justice to the bereaved family. Police registered an FIR but no arrests had been made at press time. Kindly pray for consolation and peace for bereaved family and for the murderers of this heinous crime to be brought to justice.
Prophecy and miracles argue the imperfection of the state of the church, rather than its perfection. For they are means designed by God as a stay or support, or as a leading string to the church in its infancy, rather than as means adapted to it in its full growth.
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Rev. Thomas Mathew Faculty, Faith Theological Seminary, Manakala
are the authentic and authoritative messengers of God in Earth. Prophecy can be directed to an individual as well as to whole community, whole nation and even to a generation.
has equipped each member of His Church with unique spiritual gifts to help the church grow. Paul while instructing the Corinthian church about the spiritual gifts in I Corinthians chapter 12 and 14 begins with the statement that “I do not want you to be ignorant of the spiritual gifts” (12:1). The Corinthian church was desperately in need of instruction for spiritual gifts. The main cause of today’s retardation in the growth of the church is ignorance, immaturity and lack of discernment in exercising the spiritual gifts. The ultimate aim of all spiritual gifts is to edify each individual, edify the whole church and to bring glory to the name of God. The inappropriate handling of spiritual gifts will result the opposite of it. In this article I would like to explain prophecy as a spiritual gift and suggest some guidelines for the effective use of prophecy as a spiritual gift for the edification and for the growth of church.
only predicting the future but also is a word for the present. The prophets receive personal inspiration about God’s purpose in a concrete situation. God uses them as His spokesmen to address the church, of its disobedience and exhorts the church to its original purpose. The Bible says that “prophet is a fool”…. (Hosea 9:7) in the sight of others. People may consider the words and actions of a prophet as foolishness. Prophecy is a communication gift as well as a motivational gift. The purpose of prophecy in the church may be for giving comfort, warning, encouragement, edification as well as message of judgement. It’s the prophet who brings glory to the church. Prophets are the authentic and authoritative messengers of God in Earth. Prophecy can be directed to an individual as well as to whole community, whole nation and even to a generation.
SOME GUIDELINES for EXCERCISING PROPHETICAL GIFT
Let us begin with the question “What’s prophecy”? And “What’s the purpose of prophecy in the church”? According to Peter Wagner “the gift of prophecy is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely anointed utterance”.(Wagner, 2001, 200.) The meaning of the Greek word used for prophecy means to ‘speak forth’ or ‘to speak for another’. Prophecy is not
Paul in I Corinthians 12 says that “you must not be unaware concerning spiritual gifts”. So it’s clear that proper awareness is needed for the healthy use of spiritual gifts. The Corinthian church was not lacking any of the spiritual gifts but there was some kind of confusion in the exercising of those gifts. The Corinthian church was spiritually immature and was acting like infants. This immaturity brought confusion among them. Even today though there are many
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people who are blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, most of them are ignorant about the proper exercising of the gifts. So here I would like to explain some biblical guidelines based on the first epistle to the Corinthians.
1. Edification The first and foremost purpose of the gift of prophecy is the edification of the church. “Does one's gift help other people”? is important question here? The prophet before delivering the divine message must discern whether the message will edify the church or not. This means we must not think of ourselves but others.The Corinthian church was making the mistake of emphasising their-own personal edification and neglecting the church by over emphasising the gift of tongues. Prophecy on the other hand edifies, exhorts and comforts the church. The word ‘to edify’ means “to build up”, ‘to comfort’ means “comforting the bereaved”. So another purpose of prophecy is to comfort the people in their troubles. In Corinthians 14:32 it says that “the spirit of the prophets are subjected to prophets” therefore a prophet should discern the prophecy and identify whether it is to be conveyed publically in the church or not. Another thing to be noted is that if a prophecy has to edify the church it should be conveyed with the love towards the receiver and should be conveyed in an encouraging manner. Prophecy should not hurt others mentally rather it should bring a change in their spirit. Prophecy is a means of building up Christian character and giving them comfort at the time of trouble and distress.
2. Prophecy is subject to regulation One of the main proofs of maturity in
exercising prophetical gift is that it should be in order. Paul in I Corinthians 14:26 and in 40 says “Let all things be done unto edifying” and “Let all things be done decently and in order”. The Corinthian church was having special problems with disorders in their public meetings. (I Corinthians 11:17-23) The reason is that they were using the spiritual gifts to please themselves and not to help their brethren. They were not edifying but exhibiting. They were impatient and were interrupting the church for they considered their contribution is more important than his brother’s contribution. “Let two or three prophets speak and others pass judgement” (I Corinthians 14:29) is the instruction given by Apostle Paul to Corinthians on the exercising of the gift of prophecy. The utterance of a prophet must be tested in the appropriate way. Prophesy is to be tested to find whether its in tune with the Word of God. Prophecy is controlled by the prophet, for, it is not the irresistible divine compulsion. Ofcourse prophecy is a means of Divine Illumination, but it’s for the prophet to control prophetic inspiration. This arises from the fact that ‘God is not a God of disorder but of peace’. If prophet had no control over their spirits, any prospect of an orderly assembly would vanish. Paul sees the character of God as a guarantee against disorder. Since the nature of God is peace, He will produce peace, not disorder. This is one of the proofs of maturity in exercising prophetical gifts. In I Thessalonians 5: 19-21 Paul says “Quench not the spirit; despise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”.
3. Prophet must not think that he is Superior A Prophet must not think the gift of prophecy as superior gift to other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Prophecy must not become a status symbol. Prophet should not exalt in his gift over the other gifts. When prophecy becomes the end in itself the people may glorify the user rather than God the giver of the gifts. When we exalt prophecy over the other gifts, it may seem like want the whole body to be an eye! This imposes guilt and shame on the fellow Christians. They make feet say “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body” (I Corinthians 12:15). When a prophet projects his gift of prophecy over other gifts, they
(Contd. on page 25)
must not think the gift of prophecy as superior gifts to other gifts of Holy Spirit. Prophecy must not become a status symbol. Prophet should not exalt in his gift over the other gifts. When prophecy becomes the end in itself the people may glorify the user rather than God the giver of the gifts.
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Pastor P. T. Thomas Bible Teacher and Preacher, Kottayam
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
prophetic ministry is very much part of today’s Church. Like all other ministries, the prophetic ministry is for the spiritual growth of the Church (Ephesians 4:11-13).
The Word of God describes the period of the New Testament Church as the dispensation of grace and the end times. There are no divisions in the dispensation of church revealed in the Bible between the day of Pentecost and the day of the Second Coming of Christ. There is only one faith, one hope, one Lord, one Spirit and one baptism in each century of the church period. The Church is a body, a family, a fold of sheep, a bride, a garden and a house. All the ministries that the Holy Spirit does in and through the Church are not different from what has been done throughout Church history. There is also no difference in the ministry methods and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The variations are only in the number of people who dedicate themselves for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. All the spiritual blessings, gifts and the ministries given to the first century Church are for the entire Church for all times. None of the ministries of the Holy Spirit have been withdrawn from the Church. Therefore, the prophetic ministry is very much part of today’s Church. Like all other ministries, the prophetic ministry is for the spiritual growth of the Church (Ephesians 4:1113). There is no ministry in the Church, which is aimed at gaining material benefits. Even the ministry of healing is aimed more for the sanctification and unity of the Church and for growth in the personal lives of the sick, than simply for physical wholeness (James 5:14-16).
The Word of God declares, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added [or provided] unto you.” (Mathew 6:31-33, II Peter 1:13). Unlike other religions, the Church of God has no specific prayers, observances or ministries aimed at material gains. But such “ministries” are now creeping into the Church wherein people try to make a name for themselves. Many religions encourage fortunetellers. But when Paul teaches about spiritual gifts, he says that it is quite different from their former experiences with the dumb idols.
1. Prophecy should agree with doctrine (Romans 12:6) Here faith means doctrine (Jude 3:20, Hebrews 3:14). There is no spiritual ministry outside the Word of God. We have to test every prophecy in the light of the revealed Word of God, before we accept or reject it. When Jesus said, “not to worry about tomorrow” and “be always ready to welcome the Lord, who will come as if a thief comes.” Will the prophecies on future plans on earth be true to doctrine? (Mathew 6:34, 24:42, 44).
2. Prophecy gives exhortation
(Acts 15:32, I Corinthians 14:31).
Exhortation is the practical guideline given by spiritual inspiration in the light of God’s
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Word so that it will enable God’s people to lead a spiritual life in their special life circumstances. The literal meaning of the word “prophecy” is “exhortation.”
3. Prophecy should establish us in our faith (Act 15:32) The Holy Spirit will never use words to cause fear of any danger in the hearts of God’s children. The prophet Agabus’ warning to Paul about the chains and persecution awaiting him did not dishearten Paul. Here the Holy Spirit was using Paul’s courage as example for other believers.
4. Prophecy is for comfort
In prophetic ministry it is not the special ability or gifts of the prophet revealed, but the knowledge of the presence of God.
10. Prophecy teaches (1 Corinthians 14:31)
Prophecy is not the announcing of the initial letters of the names of some men or women assembled in a large meeting and telling the names of certain common diseases which most people may have. Prophecy is not certain ambiguous statements, which can be interpreted in various ways, but instead, prophecy gives clear and specific teaching.
(1 Corinthians 14:3)
We are comforted in our trust in God. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stead- fast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). The ministry of prophecy helps us to concentrate and trust in God.
5. Prophecy is for spiritual growth (1 Corinthians 14:3, Ephesians 4:11-13)
Love of God is enmity towards the world. Anything which promotes material and worldly love is not of the Spirit of God. It is not for the spirits of this world to comprehend that which is given to the children of God (1 Corinthians 2:12).
6. Prophecy convicts us of our sins (1 Corinthians 14:24) Prophecy points out our shortcomings and exhorts us to make corrections in life.
7. Prophecy discerns the individual (1 Corinthians 14:24) Using cunning words and flattery, the greedy false prophets persuade the hearts of the poor, sincere believers in the Church today. These prophets claim high academic qualifications and give a false history of themselves. True prophecy will discern such cheaters and bring out the truth.
8. Prophecy reveals the secrets of the heart (1 Corinthians 14:25) God alone knows the secrets in the hearts of man (1 Kings 8:40). Discerning the evil purposes in the hearts of men through genuine prophecy leads men to repentance.
9. Prophecy gives us knowledge of God’s presence and the fear of God (1 Corinthians 14:25)
11. Prophecy reveals mystery and wisdom (1 Corinthians 13:2) Prophecy leads people to the conviction of their sins and reveals the will of God resulting in the spiritual growth. Prophecy does not use vague words, but makes the revelations of God absolutely clear. May these guidelines help us to discern prophets and their prophecy. “Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good” (2 Thessalonians 5:20, 21).
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Pastors Meeting Disrupted in Haryana
You have to take Bible prophecy literally, just like everything else in the Bible.
In Sonipat, Haryana, Hindu extremists disrupted a Christian meeting, accused a pastor of forceful conversion and vandalized a church on 23 Nov. According to our correspondent, Manish Kohli, at about 6:15 p.m., a mob of about 200 Hindu extremists shouting slogans barged into the second day and third day of a three days pastor convention, destroyed sound system, accused the main speak Pastor MK Babu of forceful conversion and tried to manhandle the Christians. "They accused me of forceful conversion, pushed and pulled me and some other pastors. However, some sisters came forward and blocked the men from attacking us further." Pastor M.K Babu told EFI News. The police reached the spot and brought the situation under control. However, the Christians closed down the meeting earlier than they intended, to maintain peace. On the third day, the Christians started the meeting under police protection. However, about 200 Hindu extremists' mob shouting slogans massed up near the church premises again, forcefully entered in the church, saying that they have questions to ask Pastor Babu and started shouting while the pastor was preaching. The police intervened and requested the Christian to wrap up the meeting to avoid further trouble. Subsequently, the meeting was closed down within an hour of its starts. "The meeting entitled, "Blessing Festivals" was conducted after the church leaders took permission from the govt officials." our correspondent Kohli reported. "It was attended by 25 pastors in Haryana and there was no case of forceful conversion." With the help of the Religious Liberty commission of EFI, the Christians filed an FIR against the attackers.
Increased Christian Persecution
Christians in Karnataka state have suffered at least 21 attacks from June to mid-September, compared with just four attacks from January to May, said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). "Karnataka Christians are being threatened, attacked and
harassed for their faith and practice of charitable works," Morning Star News reported George said. "The Hindu extremists of the Bajrang Dal collude with lower level police and district administration officials to terrorize Christians and their institutions in Karnataka." Since the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost seats in a state legislative assembly election on May 5, they have been compensating with increased attacks, said Christian Legal Association Senior Advocate S. Nova Bethania in Bangalore. "The Hindu extremists want to show their existence by attacking the Christians, and sadly the present Congress government is not serious about these attacks launched against the Christians," Bethania told Morning Star News. In Yelahanka New Town, Bangalore North on Sept. 8, Hindu extremists disrupted the worship meeting of The Living Hope Church, shouting, "No prayer, no church," Christian leaders said. Previously they had attacked on Sept. 1, accusing Pastor William John of forceful conversion and telling him to stop worship services. "About 15 extremists first came to the meeting to see what was going on, and when more of them started streaming into the hall, I thought I should leave the meeting to avoid further trouble," John told Morning Star News. The extremists ran after him, tried to pull him from his car and accused him of forceful conversion, he said. Holding him by his shirt, they beat him as well as a church member who came to help him. "It was only by the grace of God tha t I managed to close the car door and speed off," John said. The next Sunday, the Hindu mob gathered at the church premises shouting the same anti-Christian slogans, and no church meeting took place in the rented hall. "The extremists threatened to tear me apart and kill me if I ever conduct meeting again in the future," Morning Star News reported John said. The following Sundays, Sept. 15 and Sept. 22, however, the pastor was able to lead worship services under police protection. "The police did not file First Information Report against the attackers, as Pastor John chose to forgive the attackers," attorney Muragavel said. In April last year, Hindu extremists attacked an assistant pastor of Living Hope Church in the same area. He was hospitalized for about a week with serious injuries. In Ilkal Bagalakote on Aug. 24, a pastor identified only as Samson of Jehovah Shalom Prayer House
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was rushed to the hospital with bleeding nose and ears after Hindu extremists beat him just two days af ter assaulting another pastor, identified only as Kotresh, in Jagalur tilak, Davengere. Two weeks earlier in Mobanahalli, Chitradurga, Morning Star News said Pastor Parama Jyothi lost three front teeth from a Hindu extremist attack, according to advocacy groups. Also in August, Hindu extremists drove Pastor Devu Gowli, his wife and one-month-old baby from Mundgodu, Karwar, according to advocacy groups.
Hindu extremists also beat a Christian couple, Soma Shekhar and his wife Kusumabai, and chased them from their village after they refused to renounce Christ. Three Christians were arrested in August after Hindu extremists accused them of forceful conversion on in Honnavar, Uttara Kannada. On Aug. 31 Thimdoli in Belgaum, Hindu extremists broke into the houses of two Christian families identified only as Suresh and Gangadhar, badly beat them, took them to the Hindu temple and tried to force them to worship idols.
(Contd. from page 12)
them to fulfillment. Even God may use certain people to test whether professing Christians are truly committed to Him. Jesus warned to beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. They are the ones who would say to Him, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” The Lord’s answer will be “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:22-23) The church should be cautious of the preponderance of false prophets and false teachers; otherwise they will be used by Satan even to deceive the elect. True prophecies and words inspired by the Holy Spirit will correct, comfort and strengthen the church.
TRUE PROPHETS vs FALSE PROPHETS Signs or wonders, revealing past secrets or even fulfillment of prophecy should not always be taken as indication of a true prophet. The test of a true prophet is not whether what he says will happen or has happened, but whether what he does will glorify God and will bring the church of God closer to God and to spiritual maturity. What is recorded as God’s message to Israel in Deuteronomy 13:1-6 is of critical importance in this context. The devil and his agents can use false prophets and soothsayers to say things and bring (Contd. from page 21)
Maturity and Discernment in exercising Prophetical Gifts not only impose guilt trip on others but also fail to recognize that the reason others are different from them is that the Holy Spirit Himself has distributed “to each one individually as He wills” (I Corinthians 12:11). When a person with the gift of prophecy boasts in his gift, he is questioning the wisdom and sovereignty of God at that point. Each person must remember that we are members in one body, ministering to each other. There is diversity in the Gifts of the Spirit. No member should compare or contrast itself with any other member because each one is different and each one is important. Diversity of gifts does not suggest inferiority; instead it fulfils the will of God in the body. So we must not boast in the gift of prophecy because it’s not superior to any other gifts. All gifts are complementary as the parts of the body are complementary to each other.
4. Gift of prophecy must be exercised out of love: I Corinthians 13: 1 -3 Paul named five gifts
including prophecy. He pointed out that the exercise of these gifts is nothing without love. Prophecy without love is just a lot of noise. It is love that enriches the gift and the minister and the ministered. But prophetic ministry with love enriches the whole church. The motivating factor behind the operation of the gift of prophecy must not be any vested interests like greed, fame, popularity rather it must be motivated by love.
God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for himself the knowledge of them, that he may train us up in a dependence upon himself and a continued readiness for every event.
Conclusion A prophet is the spokesman of God. The purpose of prophecy is to give edification, warning, comfort and encouragement to individuals as well as church. The prophecy must be conveyed in an encouraging manner to edify the receiver. The prophet should not hurt the hearer. The gift of prophecy is not to exhibit but edify. Everything must be done decently and in order. The prophet must not compete with other prophets but must show self-control. Since the giver of all gifts is the Holy Spirit, no gift is superior to others. So the prophet must not boast in his gift. The prophet must exercise his gift out of love not out of greed.
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The ABC of becoming a Christian
Aaredmitinthat you need of
someone to save you from guilt, shame and bondage or addictions. Admit that you have violated God’s Laws.
Believe that Jesus Christ is
the only One who is able to save you and to bring deliverence and offer forgiveness of sins. Believe that Jesus is the only One to conquer death and is the risen Saviour.
onfess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and submit to His rulership in your life.
QUIZ–24 A HERD OF PROPHETS
8. These four young women, daughters of a Christian evangelist, were considered prophetesses. 9. This elderly woman recognized the infant Jesus as being the Messiah.
1. This young prophet had a vision of a statue composed of different metals.
10. This man, who travelled to Antioch with Paul, Silas, and Barnabas, was considered a prophet.
2. This prophet, put into a hole in the ground for being too outspoken, was often called the “weeping prophet”.
Answers for Quiz - 23
3. This King of Israel was, early in his career associated with a group of prophets. 4. This prophet, famous for his vision of the dry bones, was with the exiles in Babylon. 5. This kinsman of Jesus ate locusts, preached repentance, and baptized penitents in the Jordan. 6. This New Testament character prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. 7. This woman was sent for when the longneglected Book of the Law was found during Josiah’s reign.
1. Pilate (Matt. 27:23-24) 2. A tent peg through his temple (Judges 4:17-21) 3. Ezekiel (19:34) 4. Saul ( I Sam. 18:11) 5. Ephesus (Acts 19:28-29) 6. Paul (Acts 23:21-23) 7. Joshua (8:12-22) 8. Herod (Matt. 2:16) 9. Antipas (Rev. 2:13) 10. Moses (Exo. 2:12)
Revelation is the act of God whereby what once was concealed from men is now made known to them.
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