The following was included in a sermon for Don Edwards’ funeral by his pastor, Dennis Norwood, long-time pastor of the Grace Bible Baptist Church of Springfield, Missouri.
The dictionary of theology states that a prophet is “someone who was the mouthpiece of God. He stands between God and man to communicate to mankind the Word of God.”
When the prophet spoke as God’s mouthpiece, he was inspired and without error. The prophet, though, was not a puppet or a mindless repeater of what he heard. Instead, he retained his own will, mind, and thoughts, as he spoke for God. God would put His words in their mouths.
Romans 12:4-8 and I Corinthians 12:7-8 teach us that each Christian has one or more Holy Spirit gifts to use for God while here on earth. Don Edwards was a type of prophet or seer as his gift was displayed. I do not know if he fully understood he was a select and gifted preacher of Jesus.
The first prophet was probably Enoch, and the last was probably Agabus in Acts. They possessed the gift of prophecy, and the writers who study gifts have listed the characteristics of these gifts.
The New Testament gifts are mercy, serving, exhortation, ruling, teaching, giving, and prophecy.
Prophecy was and is foretelling and forthtelling the truth of God. It is the motivation to proclaim truth. Peter was our example of this gift (a to-the-point kinda guy). The gift of prophecy has seven characteristics also; and they are truthfulness, obedience, sincerity, virtue, boldness, persuasiveness, and forgiveness. Don once told me, “A lot of people don’t like me, but that’s alright. I like them.” His stroke made him irritable a lot, but he always said he was sorry, but frustrated. The New Testament Evangelist would have this gift even today. The true prophets were well-liked and hated on an equal level, and misunderstood.
There are 3 considerations we need to study.
The Definition of the Prophet
We already mentioned this, but Deuteronomy 13:1-5 states, “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” Also, Deut. 18:20-22 orders the death penalty for the untrue, false prophets.
The Dishonor of the Prophet
“And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save (except) in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:57-58
“And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.” Luke 4:24 “For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.” John 4:44 (Mark 6:3b – 5 verifies all four Gospels.)
It is a hard job, and it is a gifted calling.
The Duty of the Prophet
The list of honorable mentions for prophets is a long one. We remember prophet’s and evangelist’s names more readily than priests and even pastors. Prophets and evangelists (and gifted pastors) just simply get around to more different people.
The prophets and evangelists are as follows on a short list: Enoch, Abram, Aaron, Moses, Samuel, David, Gad, Nathan, Jehu, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, all the 12 minor prophets, and all of the no-name prophets (and Don Edwards and his Torch).
In Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Moses prophesied the coming of the Prophet Jesus 1,500 years later, and John 7:40 and Acts 3:23-26 verify the fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy.
In closing, we would do well to remember that nearly every book of the Old Testament was written by or overseen by the Prophets. They liked to preach and publish God’s Holy Word.Don Edwards was such a gifted man.
“A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” Acts 7:37