PROPHETS AS APOSTOLIC BUILDERS.
By Isaiah-Phillips Akintola
…This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Hebrews 8:5
The church in its inception
It took about 2oyear plus, after the establishment of the Jerusalem Church before the Antioch church step into the main stream of what the Church was ordained to look like in its function. For twenty years, the church birthed on the day of Pentecost, battled brethren, and colleagues who still insisted on maintaining the former, Jewish, ceremonial religious tradition as part of the New Testament community.
This engrained, religious insistence will often bring sharp argument and sometimes, quarrel and division within the leadership church community, until the Antioch model emerged, which was built on the development and maturity of certain ministry gifts like that of the prophet and teacher. Ministry gifts are divine tools and machineries for the construction of the house of God. Where there’s a lack of knowledge and ascended wisdom in the operative formation and construction of ministry gifts in the house, the Saints will not only remain immature in the ways of the Spirit, but will also lack the right inputs to grow into the full realization of their assigned purpose as ministers to their society and generation.
It is worthy of note that the terms Apostles was not mentioned in the introduction of the establishment of the Antioch Church not because there were no apostles in the formation of the church, or the ministry of the apostles had been relegated behind or rejected. No. it is because the church, by designed had already become apostolic in its constitution. It is important to note that in the formation of this Antioch community, we immediately see the introduction of the ministry of prophets and teachers, meaning they were more than one, as the apostolic arrowheads, shaping and aligning the spiritual outlook and direction of this Church that was about to go global in its outreach.
When you combine the ministry of prophets and teachers in the building up of an apostolic initiative, what you get according to Acts chapter 13 is the direct voice of the Spirit of the Lord, bringing insight, perspective, and clarity to the next marching order of the Father for his Church. The reason for highlighting these two gifts is for the single fact that their concept of reasoning and processing the things of the Spirt is by default different.
The prophet, in his delivery of eternal truth, is more poetic most times, abstract in his concept and idea of unveiling the mind of the Lord. This is well noted in the scriptures, when the Father speaks to the prophet, he will usually use symbols and similitudes, parables and proverbs, nature, and events that sometimes may even look irrelevant to establish a profound truth about the kingdom.
Half of the messages and teachings Our Lord Jesus Christ delivered were done prophetically, because they were designed to be kept for a particular season when the nobles and mature in heart can unlock them. For it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out that which has been concealed. The frontal lob of the prophet’s brain is highly developed in its sensory experience, and that immediately explained why prophets, or those with highly developed prophetic gifts are usually associated with in-depth knowledge, wisdom, sound judgement, creativity, and problem-resolving.
The teacher on the other hand, is very concrete, detailed, and fixative on facts, figures and doctrinal establishment of truth. He has the grace not only to search and find out the very detailed intention of the Father, particularly, through the written word, but also to see that such findings are carried out to the detail and standard of the Spirit.
The teacher establishes the Saints on the inherent word of life; he builds based on precept upon precept line upon line, a little here, a little there, until there is a thorough establishment of heaven’s prophetic agenda. He is not in a hurry; he waits until truth is arrived in whatever area of obscurity receives the right illumination of truth. He complements and regulate the fivefold ascended grace and gift of the Church. All of these ministry gifts, especially, that of the prophet and teacher are all part of the very life and nature of Christ.
God is a mathematician and much as he is a poet! When you combine these two powerful spiritual gifts in any aspect of divine initiative, you cannot but to arrive at the place of God’s divine light and intentions. I have had the opportunity in few occasions to encourage my audience how the Lord used my struggle in Dyslexia to build and enhance my ministry. What was defined to be a cognitive limitation, turned out to be my greatest form of strength in executing what I have been ordained to do in life. The Father has not placed limitation on any called or assigned ministry gift, except the limit he placed there for his own purpose, and the truth is we all have certain realities of limitation that are designed to be complemented and perfected by others.
My point is, I was grace and favored enough not only to have teachers around me, who stirred and compliment my gifts, but also had the rare opportunity as a prophet to be endowed with a strong teaching grace and capability to express the undiluted word of God in a very systematic manner. I consider this special combination of gifts as a great favor and honor from the Lord for a specific purpose I believe is still unfolding.
The pattern of the Antioch Church is becoming more pronounced in this season of reconstructing the broken walls and burnt gates of the Church across nations. The Father is doing what he did during the emergence of the ministry of the prophets and teachers in the early church, and we need to key into the model of this divine reformation and restoration. How today’s church needs to take a cue from this profound apostolic blueprint, established according to Acts chapter 13.
Prophetic governmental building
I have, therefore, in few lines try to amplify what the ministry of the prophet means and represent in terms of apostolic building. The prophetic ministry indeed, has been abused and misused today, to the degree that the very intention of its function in the Body of Christ is almost forgotten.
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. Acts 13:1
A prophet, who is also known as a seer, is an embodiment of the Father’s desire, will, purpose, and intention for creation and the building up of the ecclesia. He or she is a sent one, commissioned and assigned to operate in what is known as a prophetic office. This office is his governmental grace and jurisdiction of functionality. His office is part of the membership of the fivefold, ascended ministry gifts, established to equip and build up the Body of Christ into maturity in Christ.
The prophet is the eye and ears of the Lord within the house he is sent, while submitting his prophetic gift in mutual trust, respect, and in accountability to the core eldership represented within the local church community, and the city he operates from. Though this is not usually the case, due to the wrong, dysfunctional, administrative structure of humanist, religious system operating within most church communities.
Very few church communities today, truly reflect what a New Testament apostolic order of the church community should define and represent. The Babylonian pyramid church leadership system has completely made it almost impossible for the ascended gifts to effectively function in their divine, apostolic governmental order and pattern.
The difference between pastoral and prophetic function
A pastor, in comparison, by default, is a resident overseer, assigned by the Father in the spirit of knowledge and wisdom to feed, nurture, protect, and equip members of the household of faith under his spiritual watch.
A prophet by default unveils the progressive, revelatory truth and life of Christ to the body, and regions, in a manner that injects new and updated spiritual emphasis and philosophy of the kingdom of God in a way that brings to bear the order and values of God’s divine intent to every aspect of human existence.
The concerns of a prophet are narrow down to the moral desire, feelings, and intentions of the Father, regarding any person, situation, or condition of the earth, particularly, within his church. He or she establishes the model value, standard, and principle of the kingdom of heaven either in the place of the personal and corporate building of the ecclesia.
The core function of the prophetic office
A prophet deals with shifting in seasons and the atmospheric order within cities and regions across the earth, and such kind of prophetic office may not dwell too long in a particular region, church, or city, depending on the timeline of the sent prophet’s mandate.
Some prophets are sent to churches to help the house for a period, primarily in the reshaping of the wineskin of such house in order to be prepared and ready to receive the new emphasis and outpouring mandate of the Father for the season. Others are sent to strengthen the hand of the Setman, mostly through mutual relationship and submission, until there’s a new season of refreshing and empowered, released of grace and wisdom upon such a Setman and the house, then he’s released to another house or region as he continues to function as a true witness of Jesus Christ among the Body of Christ.
A prophet is one sent with a clear mandate to declare a fresh word of the Lord with a strong governmental, apostolic edge and authority over an atmosphere. He or she is called to disciple nations as he works with the church communities that are willing to open to his unique ministry gift.
A true prophet is nomadic by default with the grace to construct and restore divine order, foundations and spiritual pillars for the establishment of the people of God in the earth. The office of a true, ascended prophet is borderless while he’s locally based.