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Amy Spreeman is founder and co-blogger at Berean Research and also a contributing blogger at Pirate Christian Radio’s Berean Examiner blog. She has been a broadcaster and freelance writer for 25 years. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

What's a Prophet?

Are there any real prophets in the world today, speaking for the faith and leading others to repentance and reconciliation with God?  This article from the late Christian apologist Leonard Ravenhill. We shared this on our program today, and a future program guest, Kevin Kleint over at Honor Of Kings ministry posted it on his website, so I’m reposting it. (Check out Kevin’s site when you get the chance!)

The Picture of a Prophet – by Leonard Ravenhill

Leonard RavenhillThe prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.

Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.”

The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him “Man of the year” when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan!

The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always been that of recovery.”

The prophet is God’s detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him.

  • He has no price tags.
  • He is totally ‘otherworldly.’
  • He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.
  • He marches to another drummer!
  • He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration.
  • He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind.
  • He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a “thus saith the Lord.”
  • He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of impending judgment.
  • He lives in ‘splendid isolation.’
  • He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.
  • His message is “repent, be reconciled to God or else…!”
  • His prophecies are parried.
  • His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.
  • He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.
  • He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!
  • He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead.
  • He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few ‘make the grade’ in his class.
  • He is friendless while living and famous when dead.
  • He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity.
  • He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen.
  • He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years.
  • He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation.
  • He announces, pronounces, and denounces!
  • He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.
  • He talks to men about God.
  • He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men.
  • He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.
  • He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide in the marketplace.
  • He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual.
  • He has passion, purpose and pugnacity.
  • He is ordained of God but disdained by men.

Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recover its strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent prophet!

I am bombarded with talk or letters about the coming shortages in our national life: bread, fuel, energy. I read between the lines from people not practiced in scaring folk. They feel that the “seven years of plenty” are over for us. The “seven years of famine” are ahead.  But the greatest famine of all in this nation at this given moment is a FAMINE OF THE HEARING OF THE WORDS OF GOD (Amos 8:11).

Millions have been spent on evangelism in the last twenty-five years. Hundreds of gospel messages streak through the air over the nation every day. Crusades have been held; healing meetings have made a vital contribution. “Come-outers” have “come out” and settled, too, without a nation-shaking revival. Organizers we have. Skilled preachers abound. Multi-million dollar Christian organizations straddle the nation.

  • BUT where, oh where, is the prophet?
  • Where are the incandescent men fresh from the holy place?
  • Where is the Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord for our moldy morality, our political perfidy, and sour and sick spirituality?


They will come.

The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history.

There is a terrible vacuum in evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable.

  • Let him be as plain as John the Baptist.
  • Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern theology and stagnant “churchianity.”
  • Let him be as selfless as Paul the apostle.
  • Let him, too, say and live, “This ONE thing I do.”
  • Let him reject ecclesiastical favors.
  • Let him be self-abasing, nonself-seeking, nonself-projecting, nonself-righteous, nonself-glorying, nonself-promoting.
  • Let him say nothing that will draw men to himself but only that which will move men to God.
  • Let him come daily from the throne room of a holy God, the place where he has received the order of the day. Let him, under God, unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism.
  • Let him cry with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a vision no man in this century has seen. God send us this Moses to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism, where the rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men,  totally blind spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon.

~ Leonard Ravenhill

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16 Responses to “What's a Prophet?”

  1. David Murry #

    brothers and sister….please

    This generation has a vacuum of relational teachings in the body. We understand so little about our self worth as a child of God, and therefore a carnal mind toward how each of us are meant to function in the body. Please hear me…

    If one is called to minister and serve and speak the truth of God, it is not "spiritual" to deny his calling. That is superficial, false humility.
    Does one who functions as an evangelist or pastor deny what God has given Him to serve the body with? No.

    The real issue and problem in the body of Christ is we place our identity and worth on our calling. This is idolatry. The Word says we are the Righteousness fo Christ and holy, blameless and beyond accusation. (Col 1:21, 2 Cor 5:21) THIS.. is the unchanging source of our worth. false modesty or humanistic self denial does NOT make one spiritual.. its just another form of self righteousness.
    Prophets.. or those called to speak forth to the body the heart, mind, and will of God in the hour will speak a word that those who hearken unto the Holy Spirit, will bear witness to, becuase we all have the HS as his redeemed.
    Those who are called to speak repentance and holiness and a return to 2 Cor 10:5 are STILL not received.. but the discipline and loving pruning that the Lord, in His mercy is allowing on the body of Christ in this nation, and THEN.. the lost in this nation, will… in desperation incline ones ears to seek the face of God, and ultimately those who have a word of direction and truth and encouragement from the Lord.

    Their time is almost upon the body.

    God bless all of you. Seek His face. Seek who HE is.. and who you are as His Child. This will set the body free from all her distractions.

    David Murry

    October 8, 2015 at 10:01 AM
  2. nobody #

    Where do these prophets come from,,the words they speak,,they say I AM a prophet,,but they are not,,because of how they speak,,one must see the living Christ and then maybe u will carry the mantle of a prophet..if this has not happen to you,,you are not a prophet a never will be,,.dreams do not make u a prophet nor do visions make one a prophet..or funny feeling in your tummy..wake up…God will not be mocked..or one day soon a real prophet will walk in the door and call u out.,,,this is for those who leave comments on things they have never seen..God bless you my friend..Leonard Ravenhill..,i was sent to do job and i will be home soon.,,

    March 2, 2015 at 4:58 AM
  3. nobody #

    Where do these prophets come from,not from God i see by there words they speak,,one should never say I AM A PROPHET ,,,how funny it sounds,,meaning u are not a Prophet,,,and never will be. Unless you see Christ standing in front of u,,,then maybe u are call to be a prophet..read your bible,,there is no way to be come a prophet,,wake up,,God does not need 20 or 30 prophets.everyone thinks he is a Prophet of God….God bless u Mr Leonard RavenHill. from Mr nobody….xox

    March 2, 2015 at 4:02 AM
  4. From Book Two of "In That Day Teachings"..

    Words God Hates – One of God’s names is the Word. Not surprisingly, there are certain words in the English language that He detests. “Cute” is one of them. It has been abused and has become an upside-down opposite word. Jesus said let your yea be yea and nay be nay. (Matthew 5:37) The reason? Words are so absolutely powerful, they must not be used to mean opposite things, else the soul becomes bi-polar damaged. Thus, a mocking “That’s cute” really means a foul epitaph. Often instead of encouraging a manly thing the word is used to disparage it, to geld whatever righteous and valiant spirit appeared. (This is not to disallow the double entendre. Rather, it is to disallow the use of the word “cute” in mocking God or godly spirits in others.) Another word is “stuff.” When used nebulously, the not-so-hidden meaning is excrement. “Rapture” is best not mentioned because it is the Isaiah 28:8 vomit on the table doctrine. If you need to refer to it, just say “fly away escapology doctrine.” (It was used in this book for clarity and I did break this rule in using it.) The word “scary” is often breathed with a spineless, whispered spirit that is the exact opposite of “…God has given us a spirit of power, love and sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Nothing is “scary” to a person of God; we fear only Him and nothing else. Newspaper editorialists use the word to disparage things that might be righteous, such that an anti-abortion ruling, they would say, is “scary.” Another word to avoid is “ghost” when prefaced by Holy. The King James mistranslated it, and the reference to the Third Deity is Holy Spirit. To confirm this, just listen to a wrong spirited preacher harp and gleefully repeat the “HG” word as a sort of devilish mantra. If you have ears to hear, you will be convinced that the Father and Son don’t want to hear it anymore. However, I’ll venture a guess that the Holy Spirit is so humble (since he promotes Jesus and not Himself) He allows the HG word in songs because it rhymes with so many other things. Still, if you have ears to hear, it doesn’t sound right in songs either. Use the words “Holy Spirit.”

    May 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM
  5. You might want to seriously consider and pray to understand… In That Day Teachings.

    Even As… (In That Day’s Truth Can’t Be Denied!)
    By Robert Winkler Burke
    Book #10 of In That Day Teachings
    8/03/13 http://www.inthatdayteachings.com

    Even as a US President says his outrageous, over-the-top scandals are,
    Churchianity leaders use wily, brain-dumbing shenanigans to stay in the,

    Even as the world’s governments are awash in sovereign,
    Churchianity leaders disbelieve In That Day Teachings,

    Even as the heretofore: unseen, foul-smelling pattern of refusing all options of,
    Becomes clear, profound tellingly: Churchianity leaders still use fey dominion,

    Even as the connecting of dots, patterns, lines, waves and all such,
    Point to church failure to stop its own and state’s tyranny that,

    Mankind to a state of (self-dealing) church and state hidden-psycho-mental,
    In That Day Teachings say the answer is (self-correcting) God’s Western,

    Even with the ramping up of greater, more powerful reality distortion propaganda,
    Locks up souls in mental frustration, In That Day Teachings look more and more,

    Even as church knows, makes, sees, comprehends no Living Masters, no,
    In That Day Teachings cannot, but thru Christ-in-You, make multitudes, not just,

    And even as, ye gods, old nasal praise, mantric sound & bad-dumb love source is,
    In That Day shall bring alpine-clearing, sanity winds as God upgrades 2.0 souls,

    September 4, 2013 at 6:39 AM
  6. Great post!
    I thoroughly enjoy and am exhorted by the writings and sermons of Leonard Ravenhill. I have found a treasure trove of his work at sermonindex.net. I have also found a lot of other wonderful sermons etc. by great men who taught the uncompromising word of God. (The site is dedicated to revival/reformation themes, so that would explain the solid and conservative nature of the theology I read there.
    I just found this website tonight while researching the "Harlem Shake", I was referred here by Now The End Begins, which is a website much like yours!
    God bless and hold fast!

    February 25, 2013 at 5:09 PM
  7. Jo Sappenfield #

    As with any Word from God, if we have ears to hear, we will not be selective about the vessel which is being used. LET HIM SPEAK! He spoke thru a dumb ass. Hopefully we would not be in such a place as to need that type of correction–but correct us O GOD, even so. If we have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying, it will be because we honor the Secret Place of the Most High and pursue IT over and above all other rooms in His house. And in His large house ARE rooms with vessels–many vessels–vessels who CLAIM special status with God and their authority to impact our lives–and we must be careful HOW we hear them–and stay tuned to the truth–and what our responsibility is to God after we receive it. In my opinion, it is a vessel that has been reduced to a greater degree than I have and has been restored in overcoming victory reflecting the character that I love–and am drawn to–that of the Lord Jesus– that has any participation with what God is speaking to me. And every one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness shall be filled.

    August 15, 2012 at 6:30 AM
  8. April Martin #

    I've been thinking about this too. We need some of the old-fashioned fire and brimstone style prophets I think. But it is also true that the Apostle Paule himself claimed that any of us can prophesy at times and he encourage us all to seek it when necessary. The necessity is learning what/who to listen to and to discern God's Word regardless of the carrier.

    May 5, 2012 at 11:41 AM
  9. Larry #

    The church Itself should have a consistent prophetic voice innthat Itnshould proclaim God's truth to a lost world no matter the cost. There is a difference lbetween the calling to prophetic ministry listed in Ephesians 4, and Paul's statement in 1 Cor 14 that we should earnestly desire the best spiritual gifts, especially prophecy. The Holy Spirit can give a word of personal prophecy through any believer, and if you read about Balaam, probably through unbelievers as well. Ravenhill was himself a prophet, but the kind he speaks of are not approved of by the churches today. The Two Witnesses will be men such as this, but most believe the LaHayan watered down version of their ministry. I don't see that two men whose deaths will be celebrated globally are as enigmatic as the 'Left Behind Series' makes them out to be.

    May 4, 2012 at 5:02 PM
  10. Kathy #

    Thanks for posting this, Amy. I have recently been led to do an indepth study on prophecy and prophets and have been really digging into God's Word to see all the He said about this. I have been so troubled about what has been going on in many churches today. When I look around and listen to the people that claim to have a prophecy from the Lord, I don't see that they have these characteristics that Pastor Ravenhill lists. It really saddens me to see so many, so called, Christians cheapening and watering down Prophecy from the LORD. And yet, God's Word is clear on how we are supposed to deal with these "False Prophets", but so many ignore God's teaching on this and continue to follow them and listen to what they say.

    I was concerned somewhat too by Mike's statement at the end of the broadcast that "we can all prohesy and be "little prophets" in some sense." I am concerned that that is watering down this amazing, supernatural outpouring of God's grace that only can come for the Holy Spirit's work in our life, to say that we can all be "little prophets". I am not sure what a "little prophet" is because I don't really see that in God's Word, can you explain what Mike meant by that? If he meant that we can all share the Gospel with others – I don't see that as real prophesy. Especially not as Ravenhill described a prophet and I don't see that as a definition in God's Word. That to me is more teaching, or admonishing or encouraging, don't you think? I think way too often we flipantly use prophecy in a manner that takes away from the supernatural power of this manifestation of God's grace.

    I am very concerned for the so many "false prophets" in our churches today. As in Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus will say to them "I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness."

    These are just my thoughts and I certainly don't claim that I know everything there is to know about prophecy or prophets, but this is what I feel God's Word is saying to me about this. I would love to hear your thoughts Amy, and if I am way off base, please let me know.

    I appreciate all you do to bring the truth to our crazy mixed up world.

    May 4, 2012 at 3:52 AM
  11. What happened?

    May 3, 2012 at 8:35 AM
  12. Anthony Carfagno #

    Thanks AMY!!!
    Just got kicked out of my 4 church yesterday …

    May 3, 2012 at 7:44 AM
  13. Thanks Amy!

    May 3, 2012 at 6:17 AM