We understand from Peter that prophets who wrote Scripture were moved along by the Spirit. We understand by comparison that many prophets were unique in their prophetic function, mostly alone in their assignments, because they were predominantly called to write Scripture. We understand that the prophetic process for prophets writing Scripture is unique as well.
The prophetic process begins with revelation. Of course, the revelation is perfect though not complete. God is never confused or cloudy in the revelation. “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
Immediately revelation arrives, communication occurs – if we are discussing prophecy, that is – because the revelation has to flow through the mind of man. At this point, perfection is no longer a standard.
The difference for prophets who wrote Scripture is that when the revelation stepped into communication, God’s involvement continued at the level of perfection guaranteeing inerrancy, that the message communicated didn’t contain God’s Word but is God’s Word eternally and immutably Word of God.
We never communicate at this level. Never. We aren’t writing new books to the Bible, nor are we making these writing better or expanding them in some way at the point of communication. We are never rightly saying, “I have received revelation from God that updates the Gospel of John. What John said needs to be corrected and updated by this revelation I have received.” Never.
On the other hand, Peter says, “Let him who speaks, speak as the oracles of God.”
The step from revelation to communication, for us, is a step in which Holy Spirit remains involved but the process doesn’t produce perfection. So, the design and intention of prophetic ministry and leadership functions within a team so that the incomplete and imperfect may be developed by colaboration, cooperation, consensus, and confidence.
Many Old Testament prophets did not seem to function in company with other prophets because their function was primarily to write to Scripture and their communication was guaranteed by inspiration of Holy Spirit. Many other Old Testament prophets did function in company because their leadership and prophetic communication was part of a process.
Prophetic leadership and function has an adjustment in the Ecclesia because prophets are part of the kingdom leadership dynamic Jesus designed to “prepare and position” members of the Body for ministry work so the Ecclesia would achieve full functionality.
Further, we need to distinguish the gift of prophecy in which all may operate from the leadership dynamic of prophets. Obviously, all may prophesy but not all are prophets; the difference comes in function of leadership. That is, the revelation, communication, interpretation, application, and implementation of prophetic process is different in some functional ways when the revelation is communicated by a prophet or apostle as opposed to an operation of the charismatic gift through another leader, intercessor, or a believer not functioning as a prophet or apostle.
Understanding the difference between Old Testament and New Testament prophetic function requires a look at both prophets who were writing Scripture and the kingdom leadership dynamics Jesus designed and bestowed upon the Ecclesia. While all the Scriptures references to prophets carry a timeline, no contradiction occurs among them because they are speaking to the function of prophets and the operations of gifts across the timeline of kingdom development. Comparing Samuel with David or Moses with Jeremiah does produce insight by their difference in assignment and function. Comparing John with Malachi, likewise, provides insight into function and assignment more than a contradiction of what prophets do or what constitutes proper or improper prophetic protocol.
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