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The Prophetic Office

Les D. Crause

What is Prophetic Office vs Prophetic Ministry?

There is a difference between the Prophetic Ministry and the Prophetic Office.  The first is a function, whereas the second is a position.  Let's look a few verses that speak of office to make this clear.

  1. Romans 11:13 - For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office.

  2. 1 Timothy 3:1 - This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.

In each case you will see that the term office is used to refer to someone who has been permanently appointed to a position.

This is true also of the Prophetic Office.  The ministry of a prophet may at times be displayed by those that are not called to be Prophets as a permanent position (In other words, to be in Prophetic Office. Paul clarifies this also when he discusses the functioning of ministries in a local church in 1 Corinthians 14:27-31

Here Paul refers to two kinds of prophetic ministry. The first is what is communicated by the vocal gifts.  Anyone that brings a message from the Lord via tongues, interpretation or prophecy is prophesying.  However there are those who hold the office of a prophet, and they are a separate group altogether.  You may all prophesy in the sense of bringing a word from the Lord, but not all the members of the church have the Prophetic Office.

Another passage that clearly shows the distinction is Acts 21:9

9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, who prophesied.
10 And as we tarried [there] many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

Philip had four daughters that exercised a prophetic ministry, but they were not classed as prophets.  Agabus however, held the prophetic office and was referred to as a prophet.

Someone may be able to prophesy, but only when they have been permanently appointed to the prophetic office can they be called by such a title.   The same applies to the apostolic ministry. 

Prophetic Ministry. Who Wants it?
  • No one understands you.
  • A place where up is often down
  • A call to death
  • A place where you are seldom understood.

Only someone with a REAL Prophetic Call wants it!

Apostle Colette Toach understands you! Now you can pass through the death to PROMOTION! READ MORE

Who Appoints a Prophet to Prophetic Office?

It has become the common practice amongst today's church organizations to ordain people to ministry.  This usually involves a ceremony, but the important aspect of it is the fact that the person is given credentials by the organization to practice as a minister with that organization.  To qualify for this there is usually a level or knowledge or education that is required, and perhaps a certain amount of experience. 

However all of these ministry appointments are purely administrative and often have nothing to do with a person's prophetic ministry gifts or calling.  Because of this, it has become common practice to refer to those who have been ordained in this way as 'Pastors.'  Such ordination is then subject to the person continuing to hold papers with the organization.   Should they leave the organization or fail to comply with the rules and regulations of the organization they can be struck from the ordination list and have their credentials removed.  In other words, such ordination is not a permanent possession.

But all of these things are foreign to the prophetic ministry calling of God.  The New Testament clearly teaches that the leadership ministries of the church are given and appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and that these gifts and callings are permanent and irrevocable.

The Prophetic Office is One of the Fivefold Ministry Offices

There are 5 Ministry Offices mentioned in the New Testament.  These are commonly called the FiveFold Ministry.  However they are far more than just ministry functions.  They are all ministry offices.

Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

There are some important facts that you need to understand about the ministry offices before you can grasp the importance of the prophetic office.  To help make things clearer, we need to consider one other passage of Scripture

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has placed some in the church, firstly apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, supports, directors, various different tongues.
29 [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

Here are the important facts that you need to keep in mind where ministry offices are concerned.

  • The Prophetic Office is given by God, not man.  So a person does not receive them from human ordination and they are not subject to human authority.  They are subject only to the authority of the Lord.

  • They are not local church ministries, but are gifts to the Body Universal.  In other words when a person is given a ministry office such as the Office of Prophet, they can exercise it anywhere in the world.  It is a permanent ministry given by God. 

  • It is not so much that a person has been given the prophetic office, but that the office has been given in the person as a gift to the church.

  • There is an order of establishment and authority amongst the ministries.  This order is shown in the second passage above.

  • Only three of the five ministries are mentioned specifically in this passage, although the others are implied from their functions.

    • Apostles come first.

    • Prophets come second.

    • Teachers come third.

    • Evangelists and Pastors come afterwards.

Paul ends his discussion in 1 Corinthians 12 by asking rhetorical questions.  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? etc.  This means that not everyone can enter into a ministry office by choice.  It is God that calls a person to such a ministry and imparts the office.  However these questions do not mean that a person cannot hold more than one office at a time.

There is no doubt that Paul was a teacher from the early part of his ministry. And Barnabas was clearly in prophetic office.  Consider the following passage, which showed how Barnabas and Paul worked together as Prophet and Teacher at Antioch.

Acts 11:22 Then tidings of these things came to the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord.
24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and many people were added to the Lord.
25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, to find Saul:
26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught many people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

The Church at Antioch started as result of the evangelistic work of some ordinary Christians.  When this happened, the apostles immediately sent them a Prophet in Office in the form of Barnabas, to set the Church in order spiritually.  In this passage we have a good description of the main function of the Prophet in a local assembly.  However after a while Barnabas realized that he was lacking in the teaching ministry and the people needed to be grounded in the Word.  So he went to Tarsus to find Saul, who was clearly a teacher.

Later on in Acts 13:1 we read of the existence at Antioch, of prophets and teachers.   Paul and Barnabas were listed amongst them.  And now God instructs that Paul and Barnabas be set aside for the ministry of apostle.  It is interesting that Barnabas was more prophetic, Paul was more of a teacher.  Yet together they could carry out the ministry of an apostle.  This is because the Apostolic function requires both of these ministries. 

An Apostle is able to be in both teaching and prophetic office.  But while He was still only a teacher, Paul needed to have someone in Prophetic Office with him to complete the ministry.    Later on when Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement and split up, Paul went and found another prophet to accompany him on his journeys.  Paul chose Silas as his new partner.  We are told in Acts 15:32 that Silas was a prophet.

32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed [them].

Later on in his ministry, Paul writes to Timothy and declares that he was ordained as a Preacher and an Apostle and a Teacher.  He had entered into the fullness of his ministry and developed fully into the apostolic office, which must have included prophetic ministry.

1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Both Paul and Barnabas were called apostles.  And yet they each had an additional ministry office that they did not lose.  So it is possible for a person to hold more than one ministry office at the same time.

The important thing to notice here, is that you do not have to remain in one ministry office, but you can progress to a higher level of office.  Thus the Lord can raise up an evangelist, pastor or teacher to the prophetic office.  When this happens the prophetic office is added to the person, without them losing the previous ministry they had.  Such a person can now minister effectively in both areas.

If you have functioned in one of the other ministry offices you do not need to assume that this is where your calling will remain.  If you are faithful to your ministry it is very possible that the Lord might move you on higher.  The same thing applies to both ministry offices and gifts of the Spirit.  Paul encourages us to earnestly desire the better gifts and to follow after love.  As you do this, the way is open for the Lord to lead you further.

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