“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,” (Ephesians 4:11 (ESV)
Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled the Father’s will (Ephesians 4:8-10). Christ now distributes the spoils throughout his kingdom. After his ascension came all the spiritual gifts empowered by the Spirit, who was then sent (see John 7:39; 14:12; Acts 2:33) as the promised Comforter (John 14:15-31; 15:26-27; 16:4-11). Jesus not only has given and distributed spiritual gifts to the church, but also has given the church gifted men. Today’s text gives us the four specific offices of gifted men.
We have already examined the office of apostle. Today, we examine the office of prophet.
Prophet (προφήτης; prophetes) is a proclaimer of God’s Word. In other words, he is an inspired preacher who is responsible for heralding the Word of God. Within the context of the church, prophets do not foretell the future, but rather expound and explain God’s Word as a forth-teller.
The New Testament prophets provided the church edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). They revealed God’s will to the church when the biblical canon was incomplete. However, since the biblical canon is now complete, the offices of apostles and prophets no longer exist after the first generation of believers.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The New Testament prophets conveyed spiritual revelations to the early church. Their function included prediction, exhortation, encouragement, warning, and explanation (Acts 15:32; 21:9-11; I Corinthians 14:1-3). The teaching of the New Testament prophets and apostles laid the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20; 3:5), and certain aspects of their work related to that unique task have been discontinued. However, teachers and elders continue to be responsible for exhorting, encouraging, and warning believers through the explanation of God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:1-2).”
Soli deo Gloria!