Are there modern day prophets?
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Question: Are there modern day prophets?
Answer: There is hardly a biblical term that has captured man's religious concepts and imaginations more than the word prophecy, prophesying or prophets. Strong's Concordance has these three words respectively: #4394, Greek propheteia (prophecy), #4395, propheteuo (prophesying) and # 4396, prophetes (prophet).
Scriptures that reference this subject are not always clear. In 1Corinthians, we find the Apostle Paul referencing these words in the midst of a discussion on speaking in tongues, giving 'revelations' in church, etc.
"How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification . . . Let two or three PROPHETS speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.
"For you can all PROPHESY one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged . . . For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints . . .
"If anyone thinks himself to be a PROPHET or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to PROPHESY, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order." (1Corinthians 14:26, 29-31, 33, 37-40, NKJV throughout)
It is widely understood that prophesying does not necessarily mean predicting the future, but it can mean speaking with inspiration, as a sermon can be, when God genuinely inspires it. Godly instruction in Christian living would then be the essence of that prophesying, rather than a prediction for the future.
Even though he certainly gave prophecies, Paul did not refer to himself as a prophet but rather gave credit to God:
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God . . . And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1Corinthians 2:1, 4-5)
Jesus also referred to this same demonstration of the Spirit in the evening of the last day He spent with His disciples:
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. " (John 14:16-17)
"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me." (John 15:26)
In likely the most authoritative chapter in the matter of prophecy, Apostle Paul addresses the subject of spiritual gifts of which prophecy is just one of MANY OTHERS - it is not the only gift God gives nor even the most important of all the gifts:
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills . . .
"Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way." (1Corinthians 12:7-11, 29-31)
In 1Thessalonians Paul tells us to:
"TEST all things; hold fast what is good. " (1Thessalonians 5:21)
We have the right to test, or prove out, the words given by those who claim to have the gift of prophecy. However, this begs the questions: What do we test? What are we to look for to determine whether someone who CLAIMS they are a true prophet of God really is one? Jesus tell us:
" 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit . . . Therefore by their fruits you will know them.' " (Matthew 7:15-18, 20)
Jesus says we will know who falsely speaks for God by their fruits. However, which fruits? God, in another place, provides us with an exact definition of what to look for:
"'But the prophet who PRESUMES to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' - when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, IF THE THING DOES NOT HAPPEN OR COME TO PASS, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
A true prophet, one directly inspired by God, will make an unequivocal prediction that will happen! Jesus warns us, in his Mount of Olives message given just days before his death, that TODAY there would be presumptuous (false) prophets trying to deceive as many as possible:
"And Jesus answered and said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you. For MANY will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' AND WILL DECEIVE MANY. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.'
"'Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For FALSE CHRISTS AND FALSE PROPHETS will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.' " (Matthew 24:4-6, 23-25)
God has warned us about modern prophets! Only one question remains. Will we heed the warning?
Written by: Adriano Borean