We need the prophets. Some prophesy. Some are prophets. There is a distinct difference between a person who operates in the gift of prophecy and one who functions in the office of the prophet.
The prophet is the second office mentioned in the five ascension gifts that Jesus gave the church to mature us for the work of the ministry. The prophet is of paramount importance.
“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12).
When a prophet in the Bible, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah or Ezekiel, prophesied, he stayed within God’s plan of redemption. No matter what the subject, whether he spoke about the Israelites’ sin or redemption, the prophetic word he spoke dealt with God’s plan of redemption.
After the prophets decreed that judgment would come upon the Israelites as a result of their sin, even when the prophets spoke of Babylon or other nations that God used to judge His people Israel, every word the prophets spoke was still within God’s redemptive plan for Israel.
There are Scriptures that declare God raised up nations such as the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, and the Persians. They were raised to fulfill God’s purpose: to fulfill God’s redemptive plan for Israel.
All four realms of the prophetic cannot go outside redemption. Every way you look at it, the Bible is the story of redemption. Look at the story of Abraham going into Egypt in Genesis 12:10–20. God caused Abraham to leave his home and go into the Promised Land, and then He caused Abraham to go into Egypt. God used Pharaoh to bless Abraham with gold and silver, to establish him in the Holy Land. This points to God’s redemption plan.
We find another example of God’s redemptive plan in Isaac’s life. In Genesis 26:1–16 we see the story of Isaac and Abimelech, king of the Philistines. Abimelech made a covenant with Isaac to protect him. Once again, God used an ungodly king so that His redemptive plan might be established through him.
In the life of Joseph, we find a third example of God’s redemptive plan at work. Genesis 37–50 gives the complete story. The bottom line is this: God used Pharaoh to bless Joseph and save His people again. Every individual Gentile king that we see in these examples was raised up by God so that he could in one way or another fulfill God’s redemptive plan for Israel.
God allowed the Philistines and their mighty champion Goliath to exist so that there could be a David—the same David we all know and love. The Philistines were used by God to promote David from shepherd to warrior to king; He used the enemy army and their champion to fulfill His redemptive plan. Read through the Bible with redemption in mind, and you will see that over and over again, God used men who were ungodly to stand in a position where they would fulfill God’s redemptive plan.
In every example, we see that the prophetic word stayed within the borders of the redemptive plan. When the prophetic goes outside of redemption, it goes outside of the Word of God.