The following excellent article came from Sarah Beveridge's Believer's Journey blog:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. It is important to understand what and who a true Prophet of God is. It is also important to understand there is a difference between Old Testament Prophets and New Testament Prophets, which apply to the church today. There is also a difference between the position or office of Prophet in the Body of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as the gift of prophecy.
This excerpt from Benjamin Baruch's book, "The Day of The Lord is at Hand" has some good information to get you thinking about what a true Prophet is. I also put a couple links at the bottom that you may want to check out.
In Christ, Sara
Author - The Day of the LORD is at Hand
~ excerpts from the book, pp 77-81 ~
"I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS"
The LORD always reveals His secrets to those who are close to Him. The first example is when GOD revealed to His friend Abraham His plans to destroy Sodom. "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do." GOD always warns His friends when He is ready to bring His judgment. Jesus told us: "Henceforth I shall not call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." If we are His friends, then we will hear His voice. The LORD declared this: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." There is ample precedent for the LORD revealing His plans to His chosen people in advance. With the greatest event in the history of the world about to occur, the LORD is again warning His friends. Wouldn't you warn your friends? I would. That is why I am writing this book. Dear reader, you are being warned. Listen to His voice.
The LORD uses the example of the roaring lion as a warning of the judgment to come. "The lion has roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken, who can but prophecy?" The LORD JESUS CHRIST also refers to the lion as a symbol of this last hour, when the lion has come out of hiding, and the plans of the prince are now being revealed to GOD'S people. "The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant." Who will not fear? "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion." The people who can hear from the LORD are the true prophets. They bear the indignation of the LORD, and their ministry is to warn the people to turn from their sins, lest they be consumed in the judgment. Their voices are in the minority, and they are always found in the wilderness, rejected by the religious leaders of the day. The true messengers of the LORD are always rejected by the majority of the people, who prefer to listen to the false prophets preach a message of peace and prosperity. Thus it is today as well.
PROPHETS STILL SPEAK
The Church is in desperate need of the true prophetic voice of GOD to be brought forth in this last hour. The prophets of GOD are the eyes in the body of Christ. They are the seers who announce to the people the warnings of the LORD. The true prophets have always had the spiritual discernment to understand their times. It was the function of the prophet to admonish, to warn, to reprove and to denounce existing sin. The prophets are also called as Watchmen. They are set upon the walls of Zion to blow the trumpet and to warn of coming danger. The true prophets receive their prophetic office directly from the LORD.
The life of a prophet is of hardship and suffering, loneliness and rejection. The true word of GOD has always been hard to bear, and the true messengers of the LORD have always been rejected by the people. "And the LORD, the GOD of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of GOD, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy." The message of the true prophets will cause men to shun their company, and to speak all manner of evil against them. They are cast out by friends and family, and rejected by the nation at large, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST is faithful to send His warnings to the people time and time again.
GOD has chosen a very hard path for the vessel to be used as His mouthpiece. The life of the messenger with the genuine prophetic call is not immune to the valleys of depression. This is all part of the package. He lives a life that is lonely. The revelation of Christ can only come in the solitary place away from the crowds and noise of the vendors and their religious wares. The prophets are burdened vessels, for they see the vision and the lateness of the hour. They know the night is far spent and the day is at hand. The prophet's character is very likely to be one of shifting moods, unpredictable at times and not likely to be found mingling with the religious. He is serious, sober and not easily persuaded to compromise. His lot is most likely found hidden away on the backside of the desert alone with GOD. He is the one with a heart for justice, righteousness, honor and integrity. His words may come across as harsh and cruel, but to the one with spiritual perception, his words are received to awaken to righteousness. The higher the calling into His purposes, the hotter the fires required to purify the servant. The greater the responsibility, the greater and more intense the fires to perfect. This is the cost of prophetic ministry.
The highest prophetic office is held by those who can hear the LORD'S voice directly, and who have been chosen to speak to the LORD face to face. "Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?" When a man or woman of GOD speaks the true word of the LORD; their ministry and message will always produce hatred and scorn in the minds of their listeners. "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation."
The prophets of GOD are not trained in the religious schools of man, nor are they raised up from among the leadership of the organized Church. None of the prophets of Israel came from the priesthood. They were all called and prepared by GOD alone. The appearance of Elijah is such an example. "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD GOD of Israel liveth, before whom I stand." Elijah's only qualification was that he stood before the LORD GOD of Israel. Nothing more was said of him. He was an ordinary man who knew his GOD. John the Baptist was of similar origins, trained on the backside of the desert wilderness. "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel." John had no university or seminary training. He just appeared as the forerunner of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. GOD'S ways are not man's ways. He still uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Many people have rebuked me for speaking the word of the LORD saying, "By what authority do you speak these words?" My answer: "By the authority of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, the GOD of Israel."
THE JUDGMENT OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
GOD judged ancient Israel for departing from the truth, and turning to the worship of idols and for following the GODS of the pagans. The LORD in His mercy always sent His prophets to warn the people to repent, and return to the LORD, or they would be judged and the nation destroyed. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and many others came and preached the word of the Lord, but the people always refused to listen, turning their ears to the false prophets, while rejecting and in many cases, killing the true prophets of the Most High GOD.
Each of the prophets of Israel spoke of the specific judgment that would come in their time, but they also spoke of the Day of the LORD, which is the final judgment upon the whole earth. This is another example of the principal of dualism, where the message of the prophets would be fulfilled twice. First, to the specific people to whom it is addressed and then again, at the end of the age. Jeremiah is one such prophet, who spoke to the children of Israel warning of the destruction of their nation, for the sins of idolatry and immorality, which had filled the land. The prophecies of Jeremiah also speak to the last day's Church in America. The LORD never judges a nation without first sending a warning to His people. Before addressing the word of GOD to our nation, I must first dispel a widely held error in the modern Church. If you fail to discern this error, you will be wide open for deception.
Wearing a Rough Garment
Locusts and Wild Honey
Hosea 6: 5: "Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth."