The head of a bald eagle and the head of a tawny eagle enclose the header "Old Testament verses New Testament prophet."

This series of studies look at what it means to move in the prophecy of the New Testament as opposed to the “Thus says the Lord” pronouncements of the Old Testament prophets. It ends up focusing on the primary purpose of prophecy in the New Testament, using prophecy to strengthen, edify and comfort (1 Cor 14:3).

A definition of prophecy

Prophecy is receiving from God and communicating it to the person/people it is intended for:

2 Peter 1:21. “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Introduction – becoming a friend of God

In the Lord of the Rings, ‘The fellowship’ stand before the gates of the mines of Moria, the only safe passage through to their destiny. Gandalf reads the Elvish inscription “The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak friend and enter.” When asked what it means he replies “It’s quite simple, if you’re a friend, you speak the password and the doors will open.” He then begins to reel off incantations and magical spells, pushing all the while on the doors and commanding that they open until he is quite exhausted. One of the Hobbits then comes up and says “It’s a riddle, what is the elvish for friend?” “Mellon” says Gandalf at which point the doors simply swing wide open.
So it is with the prophetic. If we wish to enter in, we need to become a friend of God - and ask Him to ‘open the door’ and show the way forward.

Click here for a message about the love of God and how to become his friend.

Enoch the first Prophet Genesis 5:21-24

Enoch was the first person in the Bible to prophesy.

Jude 14. “It was about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied saying……” (*See footnote in bibliography)

How did this come about?

Enoch was born in the 7th generation from Adam. He lived for 318 years while Adam and Eve were on the earth. Altogether he lived for 365 years Gen 5:23. These facts alone are prophetic, for it was on the 7th day that God rested from His acts of creation thus signifying completion, and the 365 years are symbolic of the 365 days in a year, again representing a complete period of time, in other words a year round walk with God.

I’m sure that Enoch must have talked with Adam and Eve, reminiscing about the time that they walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden. This must have filled him with a longing to know this creator God in just such a way. He must have felt their guilt and shame, when they told about how they chose to listen to the serpent rather than listening to God, who forbade them to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. After they had eaten the fruit, they hid from God when they heard him walking towards them in the cool of the day.

The story of how God came to them when they were hiding, asking them questions like; “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9) And “Who told you?” (Gen 3:11) must have intrigued Enoch. What was the right answer to these questions? It certainly wasn’t the one they gave when they made excuses and blamed others, instead of taking responsibility for their actions. This behaviour resulted in God driving them out and banning them from Eden. Enoch must have thought through this story time and time again. Could this God be known like this again? Could he walk and talk with him like Adam and Eve had in the garden?
I’m sure that Enoch also heard about or met Cain, whose son he was named after. When he had killed his brother Abel, God also came to him asking
“Where is Abel your brother?” (Gen 4:9) The answer “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9) was obviously a wrong one too.

Enoch must have wondered about what would have happened if, instead of blaming others or lying, that they had owned up to making their mistakes which were sinful. How then would God have treated them then when he came to them?
Sin in our lives is what makes us hide from God, not what stops God coming to us. God comes to us when we sin with questions to uncover our motives in order to change us. It is how we react to him when in his kindness God sends His Holy Spirit to lead us to repentance that counts
(Rom 2:4).

Becoming a father started his walk with God

Gen 5:22a “After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God.”

When we become a father, either in the natural or supernatural realm, the responsibility that fatherhood brings, teaches us to empathise with God. It is also the one thing that is guaranteed to make us to cry out and turn to God!
I’m sure, like me, he must have wondered if things would have been different if Adam and Eve had turned to God instead of turning away. Maybe this was brought home to him when his own son turned to him after he made a serious mistake, owned up to it, and came to his dad for help.

Photo of a Father holding his son's hand.

 

The difference between condemnation and conviction

In the Christian life grace and forgiveness are freely available. However the Devil has other plans for God’s children and will do anything to bring people under condemnation and hold them captive in their sins.
His main weapon is to get us to rationalise, excuse and shift blame for our situation. In other words he tries to trick us into explaining things according to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Condemnation connects your sin with your identity. It says things like: “You have sinned, so you are a sinner.” “Oh, that is so wrong! You just looked with lust in your eyes; your heart is so full of lust.” “You lied, you are always telling lies – you are such a liar.”
This can lead us to hide from God, like Adam did in the Garden of Eden, and be separated from him by our sins for years on end.
Job 31:33 puts it this way “Have I covered my transgression like Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, because I feared the great multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me.”

The Holy Spirit’s conviction is totally different from condemnation. At the heart of it lies grace, the unmerited forgiveness of God because of the cross of Christ.
Conviction relates our sin to our new nature, which is now living within. It holds up who we truly are in Christ and our behaviour. It then asks us to choose, that choice requires both humility and courage.
It shows us we can be free and gives us the power to make the right choice. Conviction says things like: “Wait a minute, you don’t need to act like this! You are royalty, a child of the King and way above this type of behaviour, so stop living below your new nature.” Romans 7:14-8:15
This conviction leads to us freely confessing our sins and coming to the tree of life – Jesus and relying on his cross as the only means to an escape from our sins.
Kevin Prosch in one of his songs has the line “You never condemned me so I gave myself up.” (Prosch 1993) When we give ourselves up to the mercy of God and not the slavery of sin we are truly free. 
If we listen to God’s Holy Spirit when he comes to us, instead of hardening our hearts and hiding from God, we will “Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16. Grace carries the power to change. It is our job and duty to come to Him, as God draws us. God however, never forces us into repentance, as He does not want to punish us, but he does want to purify us.

Click here to listen to a message 'Victory comes the other side of the cross.'

The wise Christian will hold a very short account with God regarding their sin. If they are struggling in an area it is wise to:

“Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

With Enoch, this realisation that it is better to come to God when you sin, than to hide from him, probably led to the friendship that developed between them. It empowered him to walk a life that God could accept. In fact God so loved him he just took him to be with him.


Enoch a prophetic picture of the end time church

Gen 5:24 “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more because God took him away.”

Heb 11:5 comments, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”

Enoch’s life is a prophetic picture of how close a walk with God, the “Bride of Christ” will have in the last days before Jesus comes back to take her to Himself. Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Like all brides to be there will be a time of preparation when there will be a crossover of being single and doing things our own way to being willing to fully submit to living with and for the other partner. There will also be a time of crossing over between living in the home of our parents and starting to visit the house of the bridegroom (John 14:2-3) in preparation for the day of the marriage.

Acts 3:19-21 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”

When the body of Christ on the earth comes into a relationship with God and walks and talks with Him just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden, then they will be pleasing to God.
The second Adam, Jesus who demonstrated by His life on earth that this was possible, and in His death made a way for us to enter into this intimacy, which will lead to
“the restoration of all things,” then, and only then, will He return for His Bride (Ephesians 5:27).
Paul Keith Davis (Davis 2003) puts it this way “To Gaze directly into the face of God and, like Adam, walk with Him in the ‘cool of the day’ without shame or reservation – this is our high calling and the lofty mandate for this hour.”

 

Next.
1. Introduction - friendship with God.
2. Friendship is higher than service.
3. OT prophet. The Spirit came upon them.
4. God wanted prophecy for all in the OT.
5. The wrath of God.
6. God is a merciful judge.
7. John the Baptist - the prophet between the OT and NT
8. NT prophet. The Spirit within we can all prophesy!
9. The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.
10. Spiritual gifts are for building not destroying.
11. What you speak to rises up.
12. Prophesy truth not facts.
13. The primary purpose of prophecy in the NT.
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