Where Are the Prophets? Forth & Fore-telling

About that time, some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, Agabus, stood up and, inspired by the Spirit, predicted that a severe famine would overtake the entire Roman world. (This occurred during Claudius’ rule.) (Act 11:27-28 CEB)

After staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In Jerusalem the Jews will bind the man who owns this belt, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles.'” When we heard this, we and the local believers urged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. (Act 21:10-12 CEB)

Prophets were an active part of the early church community. The nature of the prophet is twofold: forth-telling and fore-telling, as well as different degrees of prophetic inspiration.

Forth-telling: This form of prophetic utterance comes in the form of a message to the people, communicating the mind of God for the present. In Act 2 we read, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. (Act 2:42-43 NKJ) The prophets would have ministered alongside the Apostles giving direction and course correction. According to ! Corinthians 14:29-32, two or three would have spoken at a time, and the content would be judged by the Word of God and the other prophets. The word the brought needed to meet specific criteria:

  1. Exhortation—‘stir up.’
  2. Edification—’to build up.’
  3. Comfort—‘to bind up.’
  4. Conviction—‘to open up.’

Fore-telling: As we see above, with Agabus, the prophet gives a prediction for the future.  The word isn’t binding or controlling but merely opens up what will happen if a particular course of action is taken. C

About Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.
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