In this article, we’ll look at the difference between the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) Prophets. The aim is to establish that, the New Testament prophets unlike the oldies are not exactly given to loneliness, extreme acrimony and hatred from the majority of the Church “representing the Israel of God”.
For clarity, I am not for replacement theology.
The Church, being those who are circumcised in heart by the atonement of Christ’s blood, have the Spirit of Christ in them. This point is crucial for the positive assertion of the theme of this article.
In the Old Testament, the natural Israel as a nation was unquestionably chosen by God as His people—This, they inherited from their forefathers that had the promise from the faithful Creator of the universe and beyond.
It is interesting and important to note that they did not choose God rather they only inherited His promise to their fathers. This has implications.
One key implication is this: they did not have the faith seed in their lives as their fathers. They were mere men struggling to keep the laws the God of their fathers gave. This had implication on the prophets.
The implication on the Prophets of old
The definition of a prophet elucidates the reason they had to be an extremely set of lonely people in their environment and interaction with this “mere men” who know not the God of their fathers that the prophets represented. The OT prophets had the faith seed in them and were always speaking the things which only faith, not law, could comprehend. See 1 Peter 1:9-25.
In verse 9 of 1 Peter 1, Peter the apostle spoke of, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls”. Then, note what he says next in verse 10 regarding the OT prophets, “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you”.
While the prophets was talking about the salvation of their souls, the Israelites were overwhelmed with desire to be saved from their earthly problems:
*For the God of their fathers to rescue them from physical Egypt,
*Give them cucumber and meat
*Make them greater than other nations they considered better than them because those nations had kings ruling them.
So, the prophets of the OT were prophesying to their people of something to be a gift by faith through grace to a future people in the dispensation of the Church. The prophets talked to a people whose spirit, soul and body was accustomed to naturalism—to only what they could see, feel and touch.
Against the above background, only those who by faith yielded to the God of their fore-fathers not just His laws could ever have been at peace with the prophets.
Only by faith did anyone escape the natural realm at their time to worship God in spirit and, it remains the same today. It is only by the means of faith could anyone interact with the great “I am that I am” the Yahweh of Israel and maker of the heavens and the earth!
Therefore, unavoidably, the OT prophets had to have loneliness, extreme acrimony and hatred from their own people because they were neck-deep with a people who had not what they had. The prophets’ only solace was to keep far away from their people and come to them only as the Spirit of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit moved them to speak out to the people. God kept speaking to the people through the Prophets despite the fact that they were hated.
God kept speaking to the people through the prophets though they were in the dispensation of the law because, He intended for the prophets words to burn in their hearts and ignite faith for their salvation. Even at their time, faith came “by hearing, the hearing of God’s word” Romans 10:17. Praise God the scriptures has record of those who at that time had faith and so, lived beyond the law and gazed at Christ Hebrew 11:17-38. They searched after Him as one searches after a precious city till they died or were taken Heb 11:10.
In each generation of the Old Testament, all who were searching for the City (Christ and His body) whose architect and builder was not man but God never had problem with the prophets. Men and women whose lives were centered around searching for the City no matter what happened to them or trade they engaged in, never joked with presenting their bodies as a living sacrifice to God. They always eventually came to understanding not by some human persuasion and persuaders’ that God, deserves to be loved by being worshiped in spirit and truth—mean, to give God our spirit, soul and body totally and progressively till we’re taken or die Genesis 5:24, 6:9 Hebrews 11: 13-14,39-40.
Prophets in the Church
Having defined the church and the much said above, NT prophets are relieved from the aloofness, loneliness, extreme acrimony and unpleasantness coupled with hatred the OT prophets suffered from their own people. Their people were law en-caged and governed, while the people of the household of faith in the NT are utterly faith and grace regenerated, lead by the Faith and Its grace. This NT peoples (the Church), serve one another by faith and grace in love and honoring one another because they are a spiritual people .
In OT, the people had nothing to give the prophets since they lacked faith while the prophets were motivated by faith. The prophets towered far above them rightly because, faith surpasses law by far! The prophets dealt with the Reality (Christ) while the people followed the shadows (laws). Even the levitical priest feared the prophets and could not really serve them. The prophets walked with God like Adam and Eve did before they fell in Eden garden.
The NT people however, are a royal priesthood headed and lead by only One High Priest, Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Shepherd and Evangelist from the beginning and so shall it be for all eternity. All the parts of this “many one body” which, the people who lived by faith in the dispensation of law longed to belong and have now belonged as part of the cloud of witnesses above through Christ’s resurrection had their gifts with which they served God and His people.
We in the NT are better advantaged in that, we all have been engrafted by faith as cloud of witnesses on earth, having each our own gift(s) by which we serve God and one another in the different assemblies God has planted on the earth. No gift in anyone is above the gift in another. They just function differently for His vision which is, to glorify Christ in serving one another by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in each part. And together, declaring the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and power in the heavenly places as we preach the gospel that redeem those outside Christ.
No one should accept to be driven to aloofness because of Christ’ gifting in his or her life and cheated out of the rich life of Christ flowing out from the parts of His body. No gift in the body is unique since, it is in the Body— this body whose origin and all who are in it have the same component (Christ) by faith.
How then, can anyone with the spirit of Christ fear, hate or disrespect any aspect of Christ’ ministry gifted to some of His sheep to serve other sheep and also be served.
Let us view this with respect to 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
For the People of God who love and want the truth, He obligates Himself to give them the truth and they will know what the truth is in living relationship with Him without doubt and confusion.
Those who seek a truth to use for their own kingdom purposes must be astute theological lawyers, authenticating and priding themselves in the knowledge of the law without the expectation of finding the truth in a living relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is why many of us are unbeatable in theology with our world–wide reputation yet, we remain cessationists which also indicate that we don’t believe in the Holy Spirit at all.
How then, will we not beat down those parts Christ’ ministry is flowing out from.
Have we failed the test…? I fear the subtle sin of being presumptuous therefore, I am examining myself… please dear reader, would you be exhorted to examine yourself too?
To those truly gifted with the ministry of Christ and his spiritual gifts, please come out of the false emotion of being lonely or, confined to walking only with people of similar gifting. Just be wise to know you operate in the gathering or places to which God has set you.
Not as a prophet but, I prophesy this: “We’re in a time for prophets to enjoy. Though, full of heaven’s burden, it shall be lightweight for, the ministries in My Body and the spiritual gifts are about to serve (bless) you greatly by playing their part to you. I the Lord am working in my Body to cause all parts of My Body to function well. Her increase is coming to fullness as each part is releasing My assigned measure. In Her, My banner of “Love” will be seen and Her hidden foundation will remain established as “love”. My glory and peace is with my Body”.