Consider the phrasing of Paul: “The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.” Couple that with Peter’s statement: “Whoever speaks, let him speak as one who speaks the oracles of God.” Further consider, then, that prophets are responsible for what they speak, and what they speak should represent God.
In the first uses of the term “prophet” by the Greeks, the word was often coupled with the term from which we get “manic.” A sense of out of control, roll your eyes up, foam at the mouth, shake and speak in a strange voice was part of the heathen display of oracle and prophetic speech.
Nothing of this sense of things is available for the New Testament prophet, even when that prophet is overwhelmed by the power of Holy Spirit, no matter “deep a vein” of revelation he or she may be mining, or even how experienced and seasoned the prophet’s experience. No one prophesies as a puppet or robot or zombie when speaking for God.
Prophets are fully engaged of personal will, mind, and emotion, in control of their bodies in the sense of fully submitting them to demonstrate spiritual reality. They are never on a spiritual high in the sense that they got there by being “take over” against their wills or induced in this state by drugs, or mind-control techniques. Nor is the prophetic experience necessarily a learned behavior that is mimicked repeatedly: “This is what happens when I get in the Spirit.”
To some extent our immaturity produces some ecstatic responses that are both unnecessary and distracting to mature prophetic function.
I’m not saying that prophets don’t have powerful spiritual experiences, not that prophetic people will never have what appears to be odd demonstrations when these demonstrations are measured by human experience void of prophetic reality. They will have appropriate prophetic experiences that are not “norms” in non-spiritual environments. What will seem normal to prophets will not seem normal to other people, in other words.
I am saying that the immature prophet may fall into a “I’m just couldn’t help myself, I was carried away in the spirit” trap of irresponsible behavior as a means of avoiding healthy prophetic process and protocol. Prophets will have moments when they wish to avoid being responsible to anyone but God for their experiences, words, conclusions, and prophecies, and this is a mark of immaturity.
Prophets will engage in a “this was so clear” or “I just went somewhere” declarations in an effort to make their revelations “undeniable” or “beyond discussion or correction.” Such a “I’m above it all” sentiments are especially dangerous when they are experiencing intense and powerful prophetic revelations; that is, when prophets mature, they will need more accountability for prophetic process than ever!
Prophets as Writers of Scripture
Some separation or distinction should be made immediately for prophets who functioned as writers of Scripture, a distinction from how other prophets who didn’t write Scripture functioned. Blending the function of Bible authors in with other prophets who functioned in markedly different ways is vital! We never function at that level or in that mode or protocol. Never. We are never writing Scripture, editing Scripture, or expanding the revelation of Scripture at the same level as Scripture. Never.
Some real problems occur when we study or observe the function of prophets writing Scripture as a basis for teaching prophets or functioning as prophets. This is more clear when prophets preach or teach the Bible, not less clear. I repeat, this is more clear when prophets preach or teach the Bible, not less clear.
What I mean is that we must have categories of “prophets in function” in mind when we make comparisons or set norms and protocols for prophets. We cannot mix prophets writing Scripture into the mix with New Testament prophets or prophets in company or even compare Samuel and Daniel, and we must be careful to compare Daniel and Apostle John for the very same reasons.
Writers of Scripture did not have a protocol for prophecy that matches the protocols for prophets functioning in foundational leadership in the Ecclesia. The protocols for writing Scriptures did not follow a prophetic process because they were guaranteed inerrant in word selection and content. The writers didn’t “get the wrong impression” or “give a private interpretation” to their communications. From revelation to communication, they were perfect, unlike prophets functioning in the protocols of the kingdom.
Consider Peter’s words, speaking about his experience with Jesus in His transfiguration, in the context of Scripture over prophetic revelation: “Understand this primarily, no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of personal or special interpretation. For no prophecy ever originated because some man determined it, but men spoke from God who were carried and impelled along by Holy Spirit.”
Yes, there are contrasts to how we prophecy but no comparisons in this process of writing Scripture. That is, we are never on that level of “being moved along by Holy Spirit” in the sense that our revelations take the next step of communication without the possibility of error.
The writers communicated in ways that revealed their personalities and linguistic skills, but they were “carried” to the extent that the communication of revelation was guaranteed to be inerrant. That part of the process was never in the hands of human will or decision-making even though the writers were not robotic or auto-writing prophecy.