"...be established in the PRESENT TRUTH." (1 Pet. 1:12)
"...as for knowledge, it will pass away [that is, it will lose its value and be superseded by truth]. For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect [total] comes, theincomplete and imperfect will vanish away傭ecome antiquated, void and superseded....For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know inpart (imperfectly); but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]." (1 Cor. 13:8-12, Amplified Bible)
The entrance of God's Word gives light, or illumination of the Truth (Ps. 119:130). By and by, through the centuries, God has been progressively dispelling spiritual darkness in the Church by gradually revealing more and more Truth and gradually granting greater illumination of the Truth. As a result, the Church's understanding of what Truth is, is becoming more and more complete and perfected as we approach the end of the Church Age. This is the import of the Divine exhortation that we "be established in PRESENT Truth" (2 Pet. 1:12, KJV). Certainly the Truth as it exists in the Mind of God is absolute and absolutely perfect, and therefore cannot be improved or upgraded. Rather, it is the Church's understanding of the Truth that is constantly being improved and upgraded. Ever since its birth, the Lord has been teaching and maturing the Church, renewing our collective mind to make it to be congruous with the "mind of Christ." That process continues in these last days as the Holy Spirit dispels the darkness which has been blinding our eyes and elucidates Truth which in a semantic sense is "new" but which in reality is not, since it has really been there all along.
As the above Corinthian passage indicates, especially in the Amplified Bible's paraphrase, partial and incomplete knowledge is continuously being superseded by more perfect, or more complete, knowledge as the Lord bestows greater illumination of the Truth. As a part of that more perfect knowledge, the Lord is now revealing fresh illumination of the Truth regarding the matter of the prophetic gifts and offices.
The Charismatic Movement brought forth a restoration of and renewed awareness in the "Charismata" or Manifestation Gifts of the Spirit. However, as it happened, the main focus of that renewed awareness was the revelation and power gifts. Though there was a smattering of teaching on and sporadic employment of the prophetic giftings in some circles during that move, the prophetic realm was generally less explored and expounded upon, plus, the prophetic arm of the Church remained largely undeveloped and untapped, and was kept at an arm's distance. For the most part, it was as though the matter of the prophetic realm remained a "sealed" chapter in the book of Divine revelation knowledge.
But, how wondrous are the ways of God! After all the centuries transpiring since the Church fell into the Dark Ages, the winds of restoration and reformation are once again blowing throughout Christendom. God is bringing fresh revelation and illumination concerning this previously neglected and greatly misunderstood area of Truth, and has initiated a restorational period in which the prophetic realm is being reestablished within the Church. These Restorational Winds are stirring up new and added interest in the prophetic office and gifts. Ordinary believers and church leaders alike are being motivated by a God-caused hunger to become more knowledgeable of and activated in this powerful realm of the Spirit葉he prophetic realm. Prophets and prophetic teachers are now disseminating through various media greatly needed teaching on this intriguing and unique area of ministry.
Until very recently, if someone would have dared to call himself a "prophet," in most circles he would have been ridiculed, censured, castigated, ostracized, and even branded a heretic. Now, that is beginning to change. Though, as in the case of every other restorational move of God, there will undoubtedly be "stiff-necked resisters of the Holy Spirit" (Ac. 7:51) who will resist the purposes of God, and persecute the emerging leaders of this God-ordained emphasis and attempt to subvert their efforts, even if successful, they will be powerless to withstand or suppress the great tidal wave of restoration and reformation that is coming!
A new day has dawned for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus is personally coming to visit His Church and those groups and ministries that claim to be part of His Church. Just as He stood outside the door of the First Century churches, knocking, seeking to be granted entrance (Rev. 3:20), so also Jesus is standing outside the door of the lukewarm and self-absorbed churches of this Laodicean Age, knocking, and waiting to see if they will open the door and bid Him entrance. However, many will not recognize Him as He comes during this era of restoration in a different form (Mk. 16:12) as the Preeminent Prophet, and will thus refuse to open the door and allow Him entrance. As they did in the days of His fleshly ministry, so also today, many religious people will call the Head of the House唯eezelbul!
However, there are an ever-increasing number of church leaders who are earnestly seeking God for answers as they realize their churches and ministries are facing serious problems that can no longer be remedied by the Madison Avenue techniques and Wall Street formulas promulgated by the so-called "church growth" experts of recent note用roblems which in many cases threaten the very viability of their churches and ministries. Many are also coming to recognize in all honesty that God never was sponsoring many of the church programs and projects they once claimed He had inspired. Indeed, this is a day of great introspection and prayerful reexamination for all true lampstand (Rev. 1:20) church organizations and ministries.
Because of a host of recent developments and dilemmas ministries are now facing, in frustration and desperation, some church leaders are beginning to truly seek the face of God and are becoming more and more willing to tap into the powerful source of God-inspired direction and guidance the prophetic gifts and office have always been. In time, earnest and sincere leaders are going to begin to call for God's prophets in order to hear the pure and unadulterated word of the Wonderful Counselor. As that happens, in the passage of time, God's true, tried, and trained prophets will come to be less and less disregarded and disdained, and will be highly regarded as the ordained messengers of God they have always been. Rather than being regarded as the foe and rejected, God's surrogate spokesmen will eventually be received as the greatly needed friend of the Church and of God Himself they have always been in truth.
The Word of God makes it clear that Fivefold ministry functioning and flowing together in concerted effort to complete the maturing of the Church unto Christ-like stature is a mandate from God (Eph. 4:11-13). Three-fold ministry consisting only of Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers is incapable of accomplishing the task of fully maturing the Church and bringing it into conformity with the Image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Present-Truth as it pertains to the Fivefold ministry, which includes the effectual functioning of Apostles and Prophets today, can no longer be ignored by ministers and ministries desiring to be established upon the Solid Rock of Present-Truth. Churches and ministries that attempt to defy God and continue to ignore the reality of Fivefold ministry will fail, fall, and become dysfunctional.
Jesus is building HIS Church in accordance with HIS architectural blueprint, the specifications of which require that the Building be established upon the foundation of the ministry offices of the Apostle and Prophet (Eph 2:20). And, it is against this Church葉he one Jesus Himself is building, the one that has as its foundation the ministries of the Apostles and Prophets葉hat the gates (powers) of hell shall not be able to prevail. Conversely, Churches not so built will be vanquished by the forces of hell.
Make no mistake about it! God's winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly purge His threshing floor of all the chaff and all the tares. He is now in the process of separating the true docile Sheep of His Flock from the derelict goats. He is raising up a Company of End-Time Apostles and Prophets who will usher in the last great Tidal Wave of restoration and reformation within the Church, which, when it has accomplished its purposes, will culminate in the return of Jesus Christ to claim the purified Church as His Eternal Bride and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!
Personally, I hold the prophetic endowments in high regard, and seek to do all the Lord will grace me to do to inspire others to have that same regard for these powerful giftings of the Holy Spirit. While through the pure of heart and trained they possess the power and potential for enormous blessing, conversely, they also possess the power and potential for enormous devastation in the hands of the ill-motivated and untrained. I have personally witnessed both results, along with great misinformation, abuse of the gifts and office, as well as counterfeit operations, all purportedly in the name and behalf of the Lord. The truly anointed and appointed of God, however, because of the requisite to be found faithful, simply cannot allow any of these adversities to deter them one wit in the operation of prophetic graces, for the billions of hurting and needy people dotting this planet are in profound need of the Divinely-dynamic blessings those giftings produce, all of which are summed up in this one Pauline statement: "one who prophesies EDIFIES..." (1 Cor. 14:3).
My personal sentiments regarding this wonderful specter of the Spirit, the prophetic realm, are wonderfully represented in the words of two great prophetic men of the Bible葉he Apostle Paul, who exhorted all believers: "COVET to prophesy" (1 Cor. 14:1), and the great Prophet Moses, who declared, "I would to God that ALL the Lord's people were PROPHETIC PEOPLE" (Num. 11:29, paraphrased). Notwithstanding, those sentiments are tempered by an appeal to all who would operate in the prophetic to, firstly, be absolutely certain of their calling, and, secondly, to seek to be fully trained by whatever means the Lord directs.
This article was adapted from the manual and course, The Restoration of the Prophetic Gifts and Office, by Dr. Steven Lambert. You can read more about this virtual encyclopedia of the prophetic as well as all the other writings and publications of Dr. Lambert on the SLM Internet Site at: <http://www.slm.org/pubs/index.html>. Publications may also be ordered online, by calling (561) 575-0739, or by writing SLM Publications, P.O. Box 911, Jupiter, FL 33468-0911.
© SLM, Inc. All rights reserved. Posted: 5-21-97. Modified: 11-20-98.