Philip’s Daughters, New Testament Prophets
The Philip named as the father of the four virgin women prophets was most like not the same person as had been one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He is referred to, actually, as “Philip the Evangelist,” the same man who had run beside the Ethiopian eunuch’s chariot as that royal official read from the prophet Isaiah’s book, became born again, and was baptized by Philip right there and then, by the side of the road.
Not much is known about Philips four daughters:
Acts 21:8-9 Common English Bible (CEB)
8 The next day we left and came to Caesarea. We went to the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters who were involved in the work of prophecy.
The Greek word used here is “propheteuo,” meaning "to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict." Evidently, all four young women had been given this spiritual gift, by the Holy Spirit, to teach, strengthen, comfort, encourage, and build up the Church. It is also highly likely they were able, by the inspiration of God, to foretell the future, and were among those who would later plead with Paul not to go to Rome, as it would mean his certain death.
Philip’s daughters were themselves part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work among the early Church. On that early morning of Pentecost, 120 women and men had come spilling out into the street, prophesying and praising God in every language. Imagine the courage it took for Peter stand up and preach. Peter could have said, "I can't do that. Look at all those people. I see myself as a fisherman, not a talker. Last time I did something for Jesus I messed up bad.”
Look who was in the audience. Among those thousands must have been priests and members of the Sanhedrin, men who would severely condemn any talk of the Lord and Messiah Jesus, and even more so public speaking from women, and especially on spiritual matters, and most especially about Jesus! Many of these gathered were the same people who had cried “Crucify Him!” just two short months ago.
Right away the infilling of the Holy Spirit was being put to the test. Peter had to deny himself, surrender his fears and yield to the Holy Spirit to empower him and speak through him.
Peter explained what was happening:
The Holy Spirit had come! Peter used a famous prophecy to explain what the crowd was seeing,
“After that I will pour out my spirit upon everyone; your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
A disaster had occurred in Joel’s day, locusts had come and destroyed every green thing in the country, wiping everything out. People were looking to God for some help and some reassurance, but Joel said things were going to get even worse first. Then, “In the last days,” the Lord Himself was going to come among His people, lead Israel’s mighty army, and defeat all Israel’s enemies.
The Lord would then restore what the locusts had eaten, leading up to the text Peter quoted, the clearest, most obvious Old Testament prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to come.
In the same way that Joel had prophesied, Peter was explaining, now the Lord Jesus had come among the people of Israel, God’s Holy Spirit was being poured out. The Spirit would be poured out on “all people,” every person, young or old, woman or man, rich or poor, and they would prophesy – every person would have a vital portion to share. The verb “prophesy” in this context, the word Joel, and then Peter, used, means “speak forth the mind and counsel of God.”
Philip’s daughters were part of the Church’s “new normal.”