Oh, how desperately the Church, including the Neo-Pentecostal Church, in this last hour when a horde ascribe unto themselves the title “prophet,” needs a full-color picture of a genuine black-and-white prophet, to portray to its constituency what one looks like, to allow them to fully receive “the reward” or benefits of a genuine prophet, instead of the cheap thrills dispensed by diluted and often deluded imitations circulating around the church scene these days. To accurately differentiate the genuine from the counterfeit, chances are it’s going to “take one to know one.” The late Leonard Ravenhill certainly was one, and before his death, fortunately for us, he snapped “the picture of a prophet” for us all to see and contemplate.
Cameras are ubiquitous in this techno-crazed world we live in today! They are absolutely EVERYWHERE! Seems as though 50% or more of people living on the planet have either a digital camera or the camera on their cell phone or other mobile device. Cameras silently monitor our streets and just about every public square. It’s truly George Orwell’s 1984 in 2009! There’s zillions of photos circulated around the globe every day in this techno-age, capturing just about every kind of action, behavior, subject, and event in existence. But, oh! how desperate is our need for a SPIRITUAL camera! If only one could be invented!
We know the world has only one set of eyes, one set of five senses to experience their own personal panorama of life, moment by moment, day by day, and one brain or mind to process all their senses take in. We know they are limited entirely to a carnal mind…the Bible tells us so…a mind corrupted by the flesh to process the trillions of electronic pulses sent to their brains for processing every hour of every day. But the conclusions the brain generates is based on the software with which it is programmed, which, unfortunately, is the carnal mind, the mind filled with, set on the flesh, the Bible explains.
But, the true believer, the one who has genuinely been BORN AGAIN, experiencing an authentic regeneration of their human spirit, by means of an infusion with the very Holy Spirit of God…ahhhh…now it’s an entirely different story for THAT person, the CHILD OF GOD! They have become a NEW CREATURE in whom NEW THINGS have come! One of those new things that have come to the new creature in Christ, lo and behold, is “THE MIND OF CHRIST!” The “mind of the Spirit” it is also termed in God’s Word!
The natural man — the person who lives life based entirely on the conclusions his carnal mind engenders and tells him — “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14). But the SUPER-natural man — the person who has been born again and who lives their life not based solely on what their natural mind tells them, but tunes into the mind of the Spirit to apprehend the “mind of Christ” or what the Spirit is saying, discerning, and informing within the human spirit — sees, hears, senses, and processes things differently, often entirely antithetically.
True, genuine, authentic prophets are like that…they see, hear, discern, and process things differently, and volumes could be and have been and will yet be written about that. What prophets “bring to the (spiritual) table” to use a common phrase, is so thoroughly undervalued, primarily because it is so unknown by most believers, including most leaders, unfortunately. So few have any clue what a genuine prophet is or does or brings to the church. Perhaps there is a clue in the fact that the only Fivefold Ministry function Jesus Himself said carried with it a special “reward” for merely “receiving” it in the form of what it is and is intended by God to be is that of the prophet (Mat. 10:41).
Though just about every time I have invoked the concept among ministers over three and a half decades of ministry it was met with the icy silence of suppressed contempt, I will not shrink back from saying what the Lord has whispered in my ear so very many times, which is that prophets have a special place in the heart of God and a special function in the Church that He is building and is the Head of. Like Abraham, prophets are the friend of God, and so He regards them, and to them, Jesus is the “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Perhaps more than any other Fivefold Ministry functions, prophets emulate Jesus, only doing and speaking what they hear and see the Father doing and speaking, and nothing on their own initiative.
For decades God has been rearing and raising up a company of prophets, many of whom, despite the purported “prophetic movements” promoted by “prophetic organizations” over the past couple decades, are just now emerging from the wilderness and being released and sent forth by Lord as His surrogate spokesmen. My humble belief is that only a precious few claiming to be “prophets,” who walk in and operate out of the OFFICE of the prophet, in the last quarter of the 20th Century, actually were/are. There are a few…and God is releasing a lot more in the 21st Century. Some of them are spiritual fathers or mentors, advisors to all of the Fivefold Ministry, but they will especially be spiritual fathers to younger and developing prophets.
Oh, how the Church NEEDS PROPHETS! And, God is SENDING them! But, too often the Body of Christ rejects them…still…even sincere and obedient-minded believers…mostly I believe because they really don’t know what a genuine prophet looks like. They’ve never seen a picture of one, so to speak. Oh, how desperately the Church — including the Neo-Pentecostal Church — in this last hour needs a full-color picture of a genuine black-and-white prophet, to portray to its constituency what one looks like, to allow them to fully receive “the reward” or benefits of a prophet.
The late Leonard Ravenhill was himself a genuine prophet to the Church, but like most, so greatly undervalued, under-appreciated. But, thank God, before he left us and graduated to Glory, Ravenhill set up his prophetic spiritual camera, and, using technology of the Spirit, snapped this photograph through the lens of the Spirit to give us this awesome, glorious, and accurate “picture of a prophet!” Once you’ve seen this image of a true prophet, you can clearly see by contrast just how few we have among us today.
The Picture Of A Prophet
By Leonard Ravenhill
The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.
Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.”
The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him “Man of the year” when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan!
The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality.
In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet!
The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always been that of recovery.”
The prophet is God’s detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him.
He (the genuine prophet of God) has no price tags.
He is totally “otherworldly.”
He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.
He marches to another drummer!
He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration.
He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind.
He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a “thus saith the Lord.”
He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of impending judgment.
He lives in “splendid isolation.”
He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.
His message is “repent, be reconciled to God or else…!”
His prophecies are parried.
His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.
He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.
He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!
He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead.
He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few “make the grade” in his class.
He is friendless while living and famous when dead.
He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity.
He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen.
He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years.
He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation.
He announces, pronounces, and denounces!
He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.
He talks to men about God.
He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men.
He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.
He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in the marketplace.
He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual.
He has passion, purpose and pugnacity.
He is ordained of God but disdained by men.
Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recover its strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent prophet!
I am bombarded with talk or letters about the coming shortages in our national life: bread, fuel, energy. I read between the lines from people not practiced in scaring folk. They feel that the “seven years of plenty” are over for us. The “seven years of famine” are ahead. But the greatest famine of all in this nation at this given moment is a FAMINE OF THE HEARING OF THE WORDS OF GOD (Amos 8:11).
Millions have been spent on evangelism in the last twenty-five years. Hundreds of gospel messages streak through the air over the nation every day. Crusades have been held; healing meetings have made a vital contribution. “Come-outers” have “come out” and settled, too, without a nation-shaking revival. Organizers we have. Skilled preachers abound. Multi-million dollar Christian organizations straddle the nation. BUT where, oh where, is the prophet? Where are the incandescent men fresh from the holy place? Where is the Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord for our moldy morality, our political perfidy, and sour and sick spirituality?
GOD’S MEN ARE IN HIDING UNTIL THE DAY OF THEIR SHOWING FORTH. They will come. The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history.
There is a terrible vacuum in evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable.
Let him be as plain as John the Baptist.
Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern theology and stagnant “churchianity.”
Let him be as selfless as Paul the apostle.
Let him, too, say and live, “This ONE thing I do.”
Let him reject ecclesiastical favors.
Let him be self-abasing, nonself-seeking, nonself-projecting, nonself-righteous, nonself-glorying, nonself-promoting.
Let him say nothing that will draw men to himself but only that which will move men to God.
Let him come daily from the throne room of a holy God, the place where he has received the order of the day.
Let him, under God, unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism.
Let him cry with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a vision no man in this century has seen.
God send us this Moses to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism, where the rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men, totally blind spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon.
God have mercy! Send us PROPHETS!
Copyright © 1994 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale Texas – http://www.ravenhill.org/
For more about the OFFICE of the PROPHET and the GIFT of PROPHECY, SLM Online highly recommends Dr. Lambert’s book, The Prophetic Gifts & Office (click on the image to learn more):
We also highly recommend an article by Dr. Lambert to understand the critical differences between the OFFICE of the PROPHET and the GIFT of PROPHECY, Gifts Vs. Offices (Part 1).
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