Prophets in a Modern Society

Let’s start with the definition as stated in the Oxford Dictionary so that we may be clear on the word/ topic of being a “prophet”.

⁃“A person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God”
⁃“A person who predicts what will happen in the future”

I am a bit conflicted with persons who claim to be a prophet in modern society. The purpose of prophets seem to remain consistent throughout the bible and that was to warn the people about the bad consequences for disobedience against God and His word.

Sadly, the world we live in encourages us to be shielded by what you allow into your space. As we have seen in the Bible, prophets are typically ridiculed/rejected by the masses.

The burning question is: Do we have true prophets walking amongst us today? How can we differentiate their pureness and how different are they from fortune tellers and psychics?

Revelation 22: 18-19
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

However, some argue that the Book of Revelation was written at a time when other books were not written yet and even the ones that were written were not complied at the time that John the Baptist wrote the Book of Revelation.

Can we take for granted that this strategic placement of the collection of books, especially with this being the last chapter almost placed at the very end of the bible should be shrugged aside?

I’m open to any additional insight as I seek nothing but the truth.

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Prophets primary purpose is to share the word of God with people. Their main function isn’t to tell the future. Some prophets warn of God’s promises and in doing so they say things like, “X is going to happen if Y people behave this way”

There are a lot of people in the world today who call themselves prophets as a kind of title or something. Many of them have given themselves that title and that doesn’t mean they actually deserve that title.

There is always a test about whether you can tell when a teacher or pastor or evangelist or prophet is making an accurate claim about themselves.

  1. Do they preach sound Biblical doctrine.
  2. Do they live out sound Biblical doctrine.

I don’t feel I have the necessary means to address your concerns with Revelation.

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@ChristinaGarel this is a very important question in our day. I believe I am quite qualified to answer this question as I consider myself to be a baptist/pentecostal :grinning: :handshake:
The theological point here is whether the spiritual gifts as listed in Corinthians, Romans and Ephesians are for today or not. Pentecostals etc. believe they are for today and many Baptists and other denominations believe they are not. I myself am earnestly seeking all the spiritual gifts.
If you would like to learn about prophecy and how to grow in this gift I recommend the work of Kris Valloton:


If you would like to learn more about how some in the body feel the gift is not for today and how it can be abused, I recommend the work of John McArthur:
https://www.gty.org/library/strangefire
As I said I love all the gifts and am fortunate to have some wonderful people who speak into my life. I believe that if somebody is a prophet they should have a track record of success.
Let me give you an example. One of my closest friends considers himself a profit. Last year he prophecied that another of my friends would have a child. He also prophesied that I would get a certain job. Neither of these came to pass. He then said he heard from the Lord that I should not adopt a child. Now this is one of my closest friends and I love him, however, his track record is not good so I choose to follow his, “words from the Lord”.
I myself do not have a very good track record :slightly_frowning_face: also.
The advice Kris V gives in his training is that anybody starting out, learning how to be a profit should ensure their “words” are for the building up of the church, meaning that we should only be giving encouraging words until we develop the gift.
I hope this helps to answer your question.
As a good friend of mine once said, “a tree is known by its fruit”.

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@ChristinaGarel Good question :slight_smile: Regarding Revelation, my understanding is that the statement 22:18-19 is referring not to the entire canon of Scripture, but the Book of Revelation itself. It is saying “Don’t modify the prophecy of John given in Revelation”. Therefore, this statement cannot in and of itself be used to close the canon of Scripture.

We know the canon of Scripture is closed because of how the canon of Scripture was decided upon:

  • was it written by an apostle or someone who knew an apostle?
  • does it agree with the rest of Scripture?
  • was it used for the edification of the early Church on a wide scale?

No modern book or writing could ever meet these criteria. Therefore, the canon of Scripture is closed.

Regarding the gift of prophecy, here are my personal thoughts:

  • a person may speak prophetically in the sense that, by the power of the Spirit, they accurately teach the truth of God’s Word to a people or speak it into a situation, but there is no longer any such thing as a prophet in the OT sense
  • I think it is dangerous to try to teach people to prophesy - in the Scriptures God chose the prophets. They did not go to a prophecy training camp - God found them and called them - often for a very specific purpose in salvation history.
  • A true prophet is never wrong - that is what set apart true prophets from false prophets in the OT
  • Even if a person does prophecy truly, we must not listen to them if they lead us astray from the truth of Scripture

This quote from the linked article is from Jonathan Edwards and it echoes my own concerns - very well meaning people soaked in Scripture that feel they have heard from God have been wrong in the past. So I think extra caution is warranted when anyone, even people you trust, claim to hear directly from God.

“I . . . know by experience that impressions being made with great power, and upon the minds of true saints, yea, eminent saints; and presently after, yea, in the midst of, extraordinary exercises of grace and sweet communion with God, and attended with texts of Scripture strongly impressed on the mind, are no sure signs of their being revelations from heaven: for I have known such impressions [to] fail, and prove vain.”

At the end of the day, I think we can follow Paul’s advice in Thessalonians no matter our opinion on this topic. We must test and weigh whatever we hear against the truth of God’s Word.

“Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything careful­ly; hold fast to that which is good ” (1 Thess. 5:19-21)

Here are some resources on cessationism and continuationism. Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

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@ChristinaGarel

Great question, very serious one too. I’ll just second what @SeanO has already said here, but add some more resources for you to check out. Personally I think the main distinction that must be made is between the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet. In short, I do believe that there is a spiritual gift of prophecy that continues, but it is not a gift that entails one being or holding the office of prophet, of which Christ was the last and greatest. Thus, no prophetic pronouncements today can hold the same level of authority as what has been laid down clearly in the Scriptures, even if there may be personal prophecies that can edify, warn, or encourage the local church and its members.

That said, we need to be very wary of false prophets, since we know clearly from Scripture that there have been false prophets and teachers from the beginning. A very dear friend of mine has co-authored two books about one movement that I think needs to be carefully scrutinized. Here are those books:

I would definitely check out these books, and read them well. Holly and Doug have carefully researched the NAR movement and while they are fair, they point out some serious concerns about those claiming to be in the “office” of prophet.

Hope that helps,
Anthony

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Thank you for your insight!

I’ve been reading and deciphering the differing in responses that I’ve been getting on this topic and really putting deep thought into it. It is a very serious topic. Especially, when you look upon non-believers/ Biblically Illiterate persons who are being led astray.

While at Church on Sunday I heard a statistic that blew my mind, but made perfect sense.

“31% of Americans have never read the Bible

I’m leaning more to my natural/ gut feeling that Prophets are not walking amongst us today in the same context as they did in Biblical Times.

I can’t ignore that even though there is argument that the timing of the authorship of Revelation should be taken into consideration. Well, so shall the placement of this book, of this chapter, and of these last set of verses in the collection of the Greatest Book ever written and compiled in all of history, to ultimately send an empirical message.

There is power in His Word and while we sift our way through it, let us have faith that we shall see the light.

Thank you for the resources! I’ll definitely take a look.

I look forward to a continued discussion on this topic…

Have an AWESOME day Everyone!

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Oooooo one more question on the matter. (So sorry :see_no_evil:)

If the argument is that this command by John in Revelation is that no one should add or take away from that scripture, to that specific book. Then, why has there not just been a (official) continuation of the Bible?

Why haven’t we allowed Modern-day Prophets to add their “teachings” to the Bible?

It is a point to be observed.

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@ChristinaGarel, isn’t it wonderful to be a truth seeker? That’s why I love participating with Connect, I’m in a community of persons who know the value of grappling with ideas in the pursuit of truth.

I’m chiming in just because I heard an interesting testimony just last Sunday. It’s from a man in his early seventies that’s a member of my church, but one I have not known yet. This testimony was from over twenty years ago. He knew God had equipped him for leadership, but he wanted to know was he a “Moses”, who brings people out of struggle, or a “Joshua”, who leads them into the promised land. He did an extensive study on the two men and had been deep in prayer for over a month, seeking God’s will for his path forward. The men of his church attended a conference and at that conference another attendee, a stranger to his group of five, asked if he could pray and prophesy over them. They agreed. He prayed for them one by one and gave each one guidance. To this man, after a couple of minutes of prayer, he looked him in the eye and said, “God says you are a Joshua.” That’s all he said. Whether this was a prophecy or a word of knowledge, it was a very specific answer that he had been seeking and it ignited him with a fire that is still not quenched.

I’ve never experienced anything like that, but I was intrigued that this was an answer to a question already put before God, rather than someone who came up to him and said, “God says you should…”

I would agree with the others that we should not fall for everything, nor should we throw out everything. Paul would not have mentioned it as a spiritual gift were it not that which God would use in the church. But we are also instructed to test the spirits. I also think a key word is “gift”, can it be acquired? I think we need to remember that God has a history of choosing unlikely candidates to bring about His will in the world and to keep an open mind about the vessels He may choose to give gifts to.

Concerning the canon of scripture. That was an arduous accomplishment in a time where there were not as many branches on the tree, so to speak. Even though we are not unified as a body in all the interpretations of scripture, or the importance of verses a denomination holds as key, it would throw Christianity into great confusion if each denomination started added to their own Bible. And I doubt it could happen with any unity across the various branches. A thought has just popped into my mind, which means I probably shouldn’t put it out there, but perhaps the branching off of denominations is a modern version of the Tower of Babel, something that would confound any attempts to put modern additions into the canon. I do think it would be a pretty insurmountable task.

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As I continue to seek truth, this has helped greatly… hope brings clarity to you all as well…

Part 1