Welcome to another audio lesson of The Hidden Chalkboard! I pray that you have listened to what we have gone over so far, because we are discussing some serious topics here.
In our first audio lesson, The Hidden Chalkboard, we talked about the coming, global crisis, the final reformation, and the importance of studying the prophecies of the Bible before that time.
We just reviewed the big picture of the rebellion against God in our Epic Star Wars saga, from its origin to its completion. We learned that the war is almost over and that we must get ready for Jesus’ return before then. In these next two audio lessons, we are going to learn about prophets.
“Why is this important?” you ask. Because, true to this lesson’s title, we’re about to have a close encounter of the prophetic kind. God is about to pour the Holy Spirit out upon His people around the world. They are going to usher in a global reformation of Pentecostal proportions before Jesus returns (Joel 2:28, 29, Amos 3:7, Acts 2).
But Satan is going to introduce a reformation of his own. He’s going to send his false prophets among us during God’s reformation and they’re going to deceive billions of people. Before this prophetic encounter happens, we need to understand how to discern God’s prophets from Satan’s.
So in this first lesson, we’re going to learn about prophets and their relationship with the world today. So let’s get to it! But before we begin, let us pray.
Heavenly Father, with Thy Holy Spirit and Thy wisdom, please help us learn about Your prophets now so we can recognize them in the future. Help us overcome our resistance to your prophetic messages so we can know what You want us to do in the end times. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Now what exactly is a prophet? The Strong’s Concordance describe a prophet as someone who is “inspired.” Inspired by who? 2 Pet. 1:21 tells us that prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit to prophesy. In fact, the Scriptures say that the word of the Lord “came to them.” The word of the Lord came to prophets such as Nathan, Jehu, Elijah, and Isaiah (2 Sam. 7:4; 1 Kings 16:1; 18:1; 2 Kings 20:4).
So the leaders of a house of worship or religious organization cannot make someone a prophet. Nor can someone be a prophet of God by a mere personal declaration. The word of the Lord must come to them from the Lord Himself. He alone ordains prophets.
Who can they be? Prophets can be men like Moses and Elijah and women like Deborah and Huldah. They can even be kids and teens like Samuel and Jeremiah were when the word of the Lord came to them (1 Sam. 3; Jer. 1). Wherever they were, God called them to this work and they were prepared to do it. Now you can understand why I have a kids’ section and a teens’ section on this site! God will call upon them, as well as us, to give the final, faithful warning before He returns (Joel 2:28, 29).
Does God still have prophets out there? “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11, 12). As long as we have apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers dedicated to this work, we still have prophets among us. And we’re about to have a lot more of them!
What is the purpose of God’s prophets? God sent His prophets to work among us “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…” (Eph. 4:13). But how were they to do this? Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, gives us the answer.
“But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” (1 Cor. 14:3). Now according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, edification refers to “the act of building up.” Metaphorically speaking, it is defined as the “the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, holiness, happiness.” The Strong’s Concordance defines exhortation as “imploration, hortation, solace.” The definitions of imploration and hortation show us that prophets encouraged their fellow believers in their faith.
The third word in this group, even after looking it up in the Concordance, is pretty self-explanatory. Based on these Scriptures, the purpose of God’s prophets is unite His people by building up their faith, encouraging them in it, and comforting them in good times and bad.
One of the primary ways that God’s prophets built up the faith of His people was through teaching them. In ancient times, God’s prophets were teachers. They even had schools, dating as far back as the days of Samuel. In Samuel’s instructions to the newly anointed King Saul, he told him that he would encounter a company of prophets (1 Sam 10:5-7).
Even after the Israelites rejected the Lord and the judge He set over them, Samuel continued to teach his people “the good and right way.” (1 Sam. 12:23). The students of these schools were known as the “sons of the prophets” and they taught their people the way of the Lord, even to the days of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 18:4, 20:35-42; 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 4:38, 6:1, 9:1-10).
Through their prophets teaching them, even to the days of the early church, God’s people possessed the “knowledge of the Son of God.” They helped their people get to a point in their faith when they were no longer “tossed to and fro” by “every wind of doctrine.” They were able to facilitate this kind of growth because they spoke the “truth in love.” (Eph. 4:12-15).
For far too long, the truth has been tempered or held back because of an unhealthy fear of offending others. This made God’s people vulnerable to the “winds” of false doctrine. They have been carried to and fro by these false teachings. But now, the truth is being taught again. God’s people are unifying. They are being perfected.
Soon, the days will come when God’s prophets will be spiritually empowered to speak the truth in love around the world. In that time, God’s people will be freed from the false doctrines that have taken hold of many of them. God will teach His people the truth in those times to save their lives, not their feelings.
But prophets were more than teachers and ministers of their people. They were also messengers. They delivered messages to their people from God Himself.
What kind of messages did the prophets give? The prophet Micaiah makes it perfectly clear. “…As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.” (1 Kings 22:14). God’s prophets gave His people the messages that the Lord commanded them to speak. When they did well, He sent them messages of encouragement. When they were losing their way, God sent messages to warn them, to rebuke them, and to pronounce judgment upon them if they continued in their rebellion. When they repented of their rebellion, He sent them messages of deliverance and delivered them from their enemies.
Who are these messages for? Contrary to popular perception, God’s messages are not just for Jews and Christians. They are for everyone. God made Himself and His prophets known to every nation on Earth and He sent His prophets to minister to them. Elijah delivered God’s messages to the widow of Zarephath and ministered to her house (1 Kings 17). Elisha ministered to Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:1-19). Isaiah and Jeremiah were given messages to give to countries such as Assyria, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Daniel ministered to the people within the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires. These messages are now, and have always been, for all of us. They are as filled with godly counsel now as they were back then.
How does God communicate to His prophets? According to the book of Numbers, God communicates to His prophets in two particular ways. “And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream” (Num. 12:1). Visions and dreams are the primary means by which God communicates to His prophets. But how do we know if a vision or dream is from the Lord?
There are four physical signs that prophets exhibit when they are having a vision from the Lord. The book of Numbers notes that when Balaam had a vision from the Lord, he fell “into a trance, but having his eyes open.” (Num. 24:4, 16-bold added). The visions of Abram and Daniel describe this trance as a deep sleep (Gen. 15:12; Dan. 10:8-10). In his trance, Daniel was unable to speak, unable to breathe, and unable to move on his own. It took divine power for him to do these things. (Dan. 10:11-19).
According to the National Sleep Foundation, we generally dream an average of four to six times per night. While there are no physical signs to determine if a dream is from the Lord, one of the best ways to discern whether or not a vision or dream is prophetic is to determine if it came true. “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22)
The prophecy a prophet gives must happen in its fullness, “according to the word of the Lord”. Look up that one phrase in the Bible and you’ll see it accompanying every fulfilled prophecy that the Lord gave through His servants. In stark contrast to meteorological or political predictions, prophecies from God are 100% accurate and they are fully fulfilled.
In addition to their accuracy, true prophecies must also be in harmony with God’s Word. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20). Any vision or dream that conflicts with the word of God is not from God.
Moreover, true prophetic messages must be able to be understood by all of God’s prophets (1 Cor. 14:32; 2 Pet. 1:20). No prophecy God gives is, or will ever be, subject to private interpretation alone. Daniel was able to understand that his people were to be in captivity for 70 years by studying the prophecies of Jeremiah (Dan. 9:2).
Thus, the Lord has given us a system of checks and balances concerning His prophecies. He has given us physical signs to determine if someone is having a vision and a means of testing visions and dreams. By their complete fulfillment, their harmony with the Word of God, and their ability to be understood by God’s prophets, we know that God spoke to His prophets.
This is where God’s people have struggled for countless ages. Visions and dreams from the Lord have been cast aside because of our fear of being deceived. We should be as willing to test visions and dreams as much as we are willing to test the things we eat, the things we buy, etc. This is what we were counseled to do long ago.
“Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:19-21). “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…” (1 Jn. 4:1).
Let’s shift gears a bit. Let’s learn about the world’s relationship with God’s prophets then and now.
Prophets in the world are not popular. They’ve never been. Many of the messages they gave were rejected and they themselves were persecuted and murdered by God’s own people. Why? Because their divinely given messages hit too close to home. Their messages targeted the sins they cherished as much as the enemies who targeted them.
God’s people did not see that He was trying to protect them from their real enemy, Satan. All they could see was that their idolatries, their drunkenness, their adulteries, etc. were being threatened. While many people by simply ignored the prophets, others resorted to murdering them to protect their sins.
Things have only gotten worse since then. Today, it seems as if the entire world has set itself against Bible prophecy. Whenever a prophetic message is revealed to be erroneous, the world just revels in their failure. They cast contempt and ridicule on the message and the erring messenger wherever they may be. Their disappointing experiences are being used to harden people against receiving the true prophetic messages that God will soon give us.
But when prophetic messages are right, people in the world try to explain them away. They cover them up. They make light of them. Even in your houses of worship, this crusade against Bible prophecy and the Bible itself has been largely successful. Many houses of worship (church, synagogue, etc.) do not encourage the study of Bible prophecy, even in times such as ours! They have been led, to their detriment, to despise it. Thankfully, this will soon change.
The world today is especially hostile to Jesus’ Second Coming and to those who dare to speak of it. They devise literature and other forms of media to ridicule it. They bring out the sharpest intellectual minds of today solely to convince you to dismiss this important event. They divert your attention to spurious, post-apocalyptic scenarios such as the “zombie apocalypse.” They distract you with celebrities’ outrageous behavior, the acts of evil people, rivalries between your favorite sports teams, and so on. They do everything they can to keep the powerful, prophetic, life-changing messages of God’s Word and messages like the one I’m giving you hidden.
Why does the world do this? The honest truth of the matter is this:
The world hates God. They hate God and they do not want Jesus to come back. Even among God’s people, there are many who love their sins more than Him. Jesus returning to the Earth is a threat to them. For the sake of their precious sins, they will unite with the world to fight against Him and His prophets, just as they fought against God’s prophets long ago.
But despite the world’s hostile relationship with Him, God will keep His word and send His prophets to warn the world of His Son’s coming. Will you be ready in those days to listen to them?
Now we know more about prophets and their relationship with the world today. But what exactly will their role be in the last days? How are we going to be able to tell them apart from the false prophets that Satan is going to send our way? Are there any more ways we can do this? Are there any more ways we can tell them apart? We’ll cover these topics in our next lesson. Until then, class dismissed!