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Hello! I'm Ashley.

I’m a Christian feminist, writer, speaker, TV producer, news pundit, ordained reverend, and abuse-victim advocate who educates churches and secular communities on abuse. I’m the founder of The Courage Conference, for survivors of abuse—and those who love them.

Your Sons AND Your Daughters Will Prophesy

Your Sons AND Your Daughters Will Prophesy

I have been doing some studying on the prophets of the Bible and how their roles relate to equality in Christ, and I would like to share some of my findings with you.

What is a Prophet?

When we look at Scripture, we see that a prophet is someone who declares the word of the Lord. We see biblical prophets actively spreading God’s message, rebuking injustice, calling people to repentance, or pointing people to Jesus and His coming. Sometimes prophets received direct revelations from the Lord, and other times their message was preached from the Holy Scriptures. 

Who is a Prophet?

Scripture lists both men and women as impactul Prophets. Typically we only hear about male prophets like Ezekiel, Jonah, and Isaiah, but there are four godly women in the Old Testament who are explicitly known as prophets, and several are mentioned in the New Testament as well.

Female Prophets In The Old Testament

In addition to saving her brother Moses from infanticide, Miriam was also one of the leaders whom God set before Israel when bringing them out of Egypt. She is known for leading joyful public worship when her people were set free and is listed as a prophetess.

Deborah was both a prophetess and a judge. She declared the word of the Lord to both men and women and gave directive words from God as God’s chosen leader. She also lead Israel in battle.

The prophetess Huldah was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, proving that God did not lack willing men to preach His messages in instances of female prophetesses. When the book of the Law was rediscovered in the reign of King Josiah, five officials, including the High Priest (considered the highest spiritual leader at the time), went to seek out the counsel of Prophetess Huldah. She authenticated the scrolls and then proceeded to preach a message from them bringing Israel into a great revival.

Isaiah's wife is considered a prophetess as well, though we do not have much record of her story.

Female Prophets in The New Testament

Anna was a prophetess during the time of Jesus. When she saw Jesus as a child, she confirmed who he was and pointed people towards the redemption coming through him.

The four daughters of Phillip, mentioned in Acts 21, were also prophetesses. 

In Acts 2, after the Holy Spirit descended on the believers, Peter spoke of the fulfilled prophecy that in the last days God will pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh and both sons and daughters will prophesy.

“ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."

Prophets In The Modern Day

It is interesting that the term or title “Pastor” is not found in the New Testament but our modern day definition of Pastor seems very similar to the roles biblical Prophets played. Modern day pastors preach or declare the word of the Lord, they call us to repentance, decry injustice, and point us to Jesus and his coming. In the Western church, many denominations do not use the term “Prophet” (though some do), but many who fill the same roles are given the title Pastor, Preacher, Elder, or Evangelist. 

Both men and women continue to actively spread God’s message, rebuke injustice, call people to repentance, and point people to Jesus and His coming. Most of the time they perceive God’s message through Scripture and declare from the written Word of God, and as a non-cessationist, I believe that in some cases God still gives personal messages to individuals through the Holy Spirit inside of them. 

Where Does A Prophet’s Authority Come From?

It is interesting to me that some denominations refuse to give women official titles and opportunities to prophesy (preach or declare), citing the belief that women should not be in authority over men. 

Many will use one verse, 1 Timothy 2:12, saying it excludes women from publicly preaching and leading both men and women. This is concerning for two reasons. First, it elevates a single controversial verse above the evidence of many recorded and approved female bible teachers, prophetesses and church leaders, which is both short sighted and manipulative. Second, it gives the skewed impression that those who prophesy, preach, teach, lead, declare, or exhort have more authority than those who have other gifts of the spirit.

A prophet, preacher, or pastor’s authority lies in the message of God, not from within the messenger. These preachers and leaders do not have more spiritual authority than other believers, they are merely conveying God’s word. Though the Western Church often ascribes personal authority to those who preach or prophesy, doing so is not biblical. 

The whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 12 declares the equality and necessity of each part of the body of Christ. No gift is more important than the other and each gift is for the purpose of serving the other members.

In the Gospel we are all one in Christ; there is no hierarchy, and neither sex is restricted from filing any spiritual role. 

I fear that we have been so enamored with the idea of authority that we have failed to understand Jesus’ message. Perhaps if the church had not largely restricted women from declaring God’s word (preaching and prophesying), we would have a better grasp on what Jesus meant in Matthew 20:25-28, when he said:

“... ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”{NASB}

-Ashley Easter

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