EZRA 6:14-15: “So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.”
OBSERVATION: What is the role of the prophetic word in the New Testament? Paul writes in I Corinthians 14:3-4: “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” The New Testament gift of prophecy is to build up the church through edification, exhortation, and comfort. When we read some of the Old Testament prophets we can tend to think that their role was different. Yet in reality, it was the same. Ultimately the role of the prophetic word was to bring God’s people into the stream of His blessing and provision for their lives.
The Babylonian captives who returned to rebuild the Temple under the edict of Cyrus, King of Persia, faced great opposition. At times the work would cease and little progress was made. Yet, through the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah they were strengthened, directed, and encouraged to complete the work of the Lord. Haggai and Zechariah were the voice of edification, exhortation, and comfort in the midst of great opposition. They were the voice calling Israel to repentance, perseverance, and faith.
While God does not lead His Church through the office of the Old Testament Prophet, as the Church is led by our Lord Jesus Christ, yet He still speaks by the Holy Spirit to His Church through prophetic words of edification, exhortation, and comfort. These words now come through the entire Body of Christ, born again believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit of God. In fact, whenever we gather together we gather as a Kingdom of Priests – a prophetic people. We must recognize this great calling and privilege when we gather together for worship. The Lord is present with us – and He desires to encourage His people through the spiritual gift of the prophetic word.
As always, the prophetic word does not have more import than the Written Word. In fact, all prophetic words must be tested by the Written Word of God. However, Paul exhorts us not to despise or limit prophecy. Many have pulled back from this vital exercise of spiritual giftedness because of abuse. We must realize that if we pull back from the use of this gift we will forfeit the much needed edification, exhortation, and comfort that the Holy Spirit delights in bringing to God’s people. So let us embrace the gift and calling of the prophetic word. Let us always be anchored in the Written Word of God and do all things decently and in order. Let us pray for the gift of prophecy to be released in our midst so that we prosper in the calling of the Lord and finish the work He has placed before us! In Jesus Name!