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Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity, Answered Honestly!

Who are the Prophets Today?
-by Tony Warren


Prophet: LL pro'phe-ta, Gk pro'phetesmessenger of God foretelling future events; One who speaks as the mouth-piece or representative of God; One through whom God's divine will is expressed; a person who speaks for God or a deity, or by divine inspiration; Any person chosen by God to pass on His message.

Prophesy: prof'i·sê  v. [Gr.propheteuo]  A divinely inspired utterance or writing which is attributed to God; To speak as an ambassador or representative of God; A foretelling of some event or thing which is to come; to explain or interpret religious writings or subjects; to speak as a messenger of the gospel; The act of discharging the prophetic office.

Are there prophets today? And if there are, what is the scope of their prophetic office? These are frequently asked questions that deserve a Biblical answer. The word prophet, as used in Christianity, has three general meanings. It can mean a messenger of God who speaks on His behalf, it can mean one who foretells divinely ordained things to come (future prophecy), or in srare instances it can mean someone of scripture who had been given future prophecy through supernatural means. To put it simply, a prophet is the vessel which God uses to have His word preached in the earth.

The word translated prophet in the old Testament is generally the Hebrew word [nabiy], which is taken from the root [naba], meaning to speak forth. The 'prophet' was designated to speak the message of God to the people. Very "literally," the word means he is a mouth-piece or spokesperson for God. Anyone who 'spoke again' the words that God had given, was a 'prophet' of God

Jeremiah 1:7-9

  • "But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
  • Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
  • Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth."
Anyone being a spokesman for God is called a Prophet. Thus Abraham, Jeremiah, Jonah, Zechariah, etc., as those who declared God's message to the people (Genesis 14:9; Jeremiah 1:7-9; Jonah 1:1-2; Zechariah 1:1-7), are all the prophets or ambassadors of God. Whether designated the former Prophets, the minor Prophets or the larter Prophets, all who spoke or wrote what had been declared unto them, were the Old Testament Prophets of God.

In the New Testament, the Greek word prophet literally means to, 'speak before.' It's taken from the two root words [pro], meaning before, and [phemi], meaning to speak or tell. Of course the messengers of God (as God's mouthpiece or representative), often spoke of what was a a coming event, such as judgment or prosperity. Thus they are designated as pro'phetes or God's foretellers of events. In fact, so much so that today many people think of Prophets of God as only those who tell of future events. But Prophets historically spoke the word from God concerning the present, and even the past. Foretelling the future was only one aspect of the prophetic office. Prophets usually were assigned the task of declaring God's laws, guiding God's people and correcting the abuses of the people. They were chosen of God to set right legal and moral abuses. Whether declaring what God had said, what God declared is, or what God declared will be, all this is called prophesying. This principle of the general meaning of Prophesy can be clearly seen in Luke chapter 22.

Luke 22:64

  • "And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?"
Quite clearly they were not asking Jesus to tell the future, rather they were asking Him to (by divine decree or fiat), tell them what had happened in the past. They asked him to tell them who it was that had hit him. This verse itself debunks any belief that the word prophesy simply means to foretell the future. In the true sense, prophesy means to ' declare the word of God as mouth-piece or representative of His divine will.' It doesn't have to be future, but it sometimes is, simply by the nature of divine revelation. Thus the root word, 'to foretell.'

The question before us now is, are there 'Prophets of God' today, are all Christians prophets, or is this a term reserved as a special gift? One might be surprised to learn that the answer is, Yes, to all. Depending upon the context, the word prophesy can apply to all Christians (we all have the divine tesimony of Christ to proclaim as Witnesses), or it can apply to a prophetic office as a special gift. Not supernatural as in God speaking directly to someone through divine Revelation, but a gift as all special offices are gifts. i.e., Apostles, Teacher and prophets. Whatever peculiar talent God has bestowed upon each Christian is his gift.

Are there prophets today? Of course. Anyone declaring, "thus saith the Lord," is His prophet. Children of God who spake in God's name, and 'by his authority' (Ex. 7:1, Acts 1:6; Rev. 1:3), whether old testament or New, are all Prophets of God. Ultimately, all true Christians bringing the message from God (the gospel) are prophets. Biblical scholars almost unanimously agree that God uses all the Church as prophets to proclaim His word, purpose, and salvation plan upon earth. But the office of a prophet (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; 3:5) is a specific spiritual gift wherein the one whom God has blessed by His spirit is gifted at interpreting and declaring His word of truth, above others. That person has the gift of, or has been given the office of a Prophet. In general, the word prophet in the New Testament is actually synonymous with having the testimony of God, or the testimony of Christ.

1st Corinthians 1:4-6

  • "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
  • That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
  • Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:"
We having the testimony of Christ, makes us prophets. The whole Word of God (scriptures) is in this sense prophetic. It is God's Word to man, and when we declare it, we are prophesying. Or as has been succinctly stated:

"If scripture is the Prophecy, what is he who brings it?"

Are there prophets today? The answer is yes. The fact is, he who brings prophecy is a prophet of God. These are those who declare God's message to men. God's Word is God's Prophecy. Not as man might define Prophecy today, but as God has always defined it.

2nd Peter 1:19-21

  • "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
  • Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
  • For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
We should be blessed to know that the Word of God that we assert from the bottom of our heart to be the very mooring of our Christian life, was brought to us by God through the prophets. We could very well say the Word of God came not in old time by the Will of man, but Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Word of God and prophecy there, is synonymous. The entire Bible is the Prophecy of God. And those who declare it, or are witnesses to what God said, are His prophets. We can see in Corinthians that God uses prophecy in contrast to foreign languages, meaning languages are hard to understand, but Prophecy is not, and thus it will edify those who hear it.

1st Corinthians 14:3-4

  • "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
  • He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church."
If we bring the gospel in a unknown tongue or unknown language, no one understands or is edified. But if we prophecy (testify to God's prophecy), then the whole Church is edified. Here the word prophecy is used synonymously with 'being a messenger to declare God's Word,' as opposed to speaking the gospel in a language where no one understands. It is not addressing words of the future, but simply addressing declaring God's Word (Prophecy).

So what has changed in a prophet since the completion of the Holy Canon? Nothing has Changed. Prophets still declare the Word of God, it's just that God's Word (being a complete as opposed to incomplete Word), is in the Holy Canon now. There is no continuing Word by divine supernatural revelation today. We have the Old Testament and we have the New Testament, and there is no further Testament of God, except by His prophets who have the testimony of Christ. We are now the prophets who have the complete innerrant Word from God. Sola scriptura! The Bible alone and in it's entirety is now our sole rule of faith. Prophets today prophesy from the pages of God's Holy Word rather than God speaking to them by an Anthropopathy, or in a burning bush, or on a mountain, or by any divine supernatural revelation. The Revelation of the Word of Prophesy is Complete. Both Old and New Testament Prophets being messengers of God, declared what the Lord had spoken, and there is little difference today. The Only difference is that God's Word comes from His completed revelation to man, the Bible.

  1. A prophet was someone who received the Word from God, and who in turn spake to the people what God had said.
  2. As such, a prophet in the Old Testament is the same as a prophet in the New Testament. The only difference is that after God's Word of prophesy was complete, God declaring it closed, there is no addition possible. We have the complete Testament of God.
  3. God will not Speak again (apart from this complete canon) until we hear Him at His second Coming.
  4. The Words of the Prophets were not their own, but the very Word of God. Thus anyone declaring the Word of God 'faithfully' fits these requirements and is Biblically, a Prophet.
  5. God is not thundering from the Mountain face to face with man today giving him prophesy, because the Word is Complete. Thus God does not add to it nor take away from it, and He places a curse on anyone who does.
  6. Anyone declaring that God said something which God has not said (Note: whether of the past, present or future) is a false "Prophet" and is subject to the plagues written therein.
Revelation 22:18-19
  • "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
  • And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
i.e., the Prophesy (or declaring of God's Word) of the book is complete. There is no further Word of God or prophesy to be added by God, and anyone who adds further prophecy is subject to the wrath of God.

There are some who claim that this warning of adding to the book means adding to the book of Revelation only. This is the proverbial 'splitting of hairs' and spurious at best, since no book of the Bible exists in a vacuum. Each book does not stand alone. We cannot even understand the book of revelation without the other books of the Bible. Moreover, whosoever adds to the book of revelation, adds to the bible, and whosoever takes away from the book of revelation, takes away from the Bible, as it is one cohesive whole. There is no getting around the Word. All throughout scripture God says to write the Word in a book, and do not add to the Word, but now God says differently. At the end God says do not add to 'the book,' as the revelation is complete and there is no additional revelation.

Divine supernatural revelation of the Word direct from God has ceased with this completion of the Canon, else God's Word is not complete, and He still has something further to 'add' to it. That cannot be. And God says whosoever dares to abrogate this truth, upon them is the curse. They shall receive the plagues written in the book. And to find out those plagues, we must search the 'whole Bible' for in it is the defining of the plagues. He who prophesies today prophesies from God's Word. Not by feigning new supernatural visions, or pretending to have conversations with God, or declaring that new Words supernaturally are given them from above (an additional Word of God), but by declaring God's Word for the future, past, and present 'from' God's completed Word, the Bible. All Christians being Prophets of God, are all messengers of God, all are vessels with God's word from our mouths foretelling the future, explaining the past, and exhorting the Church for the present. For the power of God's Word does this, in the 'authority' He has given us that we be those with the testimony of Christ (Revelation 19:10). We have been given that Power in Christ Jesus. God has established Himself in us that we are Priests and Kings and Prophets, unto the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

  • "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Revelation 11:3
  • "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."
These two prophets (witnesses, candlesticks, Olive trees) are the Church. Again, another proof that all the Church are the prophets of God, endowed with power of God via the Holy Spirit to be mouth piece of His Holy Word as messengers of God to the whole earth. And as the spokesmen for God, we had better be sure that we speak the Word at God's mouth, and not our own, or He will spue us from His mouth as that which doesn't belong there. i.e., only God's Word belongs in God's Mouth (Revelation 3:15-16). Clearly, if we are going to be the mouth of God, we had better come with it hot and cold, and not lukewarm. We had better be true Prophets as opposed to false prophets of God.

That is the new wondrous thing which God has done by His death and resurrection. He has made us all Witnesses, Prophets and Holy Men, a Sanctuary of God wherein He dwells and from which He now speaks. When we witness that Christ is coming again, we are prophesying. When we witness that men should repent because the wages of sin is death, we are prophesying. When we testify that Hell awaits those who forebear, we are prophesying. And when we declare that the final end of the child of God is the Kingdom and everlasting glory, we are prophesying. We speak the Word of God from our mouths, and we had better speak His Word faithfully.

Romans 16:25-26

  • "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
  • But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"
Those prophets in their appointed way brought God's Word to man, which became scripture, and we today in our appointed way bring God's Word to man (the scriptures being completed) as vessels of this testimony. According to the commandment of God, and like the prophets of old, we likewise make it known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

Are there prophets today? According to God's words, Prophets declare the message of God's word, saying, "thus saith the Lord." And decrees woe unto that prophet "when the Lord has not said."

Peace,

Copyright 2000 Tony Warren
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Created 8/18/00 / Last Modified 9/25/00
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