Wednesday

Are There Prophets in Contemporary Christianity Today?

History Comes Alive
John The BaptistJohn Prepares The Way

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "

John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.

A reader asked some questions about Prophet;

Do we have in existence prophets in contemporary Christianity?

If yes, then what are their roles in todays Christianity?

How do we know that one is a prophet?

Before we take a look at those questions, let's look at the last Old Testament prophet, John the Baptist. It's important to note, John was a prophet, but not "The Prophet," who is Christ Jesus.

John the Baptist was telling the people of a redeemer that was to come, that would save the world from their sins. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him, John said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be reveled to Israel."

Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God." John 1:29-34

Now, you might think that John was this cool evangelist and preacher who thought of himself as this great prophet of God. In fact, John's disciples were getting upset that Jesus was taking people away from John. In essence there was a bit of jealousy going on here.

An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him." John 3:25-26 (although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. John 4:2)

Now, John had a bottom line. John told his disciples about Jesus being from above. But, he had this one key item to say about Jesus and himself, "He must become greater; I must become less."

Wow, can you imagine it, A preacher telling the followers of himself to go to Jesus instead of himself. Just think of all the mega churches today that have leaders that are constantly striving for more accolades and more attention. With their cute smiles on their faces, their health and wealth gospel, and telling their followers that they can all have smiles on their faces too, and financial prosperity for every Christian with a pocket full of dollars, if they just follow the simple guidelines to Christian wealth, health, and happiness. Give me a break. All of these leaders must become less, and he, Jesus must become greater.

So, John goes on to tell more about Jesus.

"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:31-36

So, we can see that this prophet of God was pointing to Jesus as the one who gives eternal life. This is the key to both the New and the Old Testaments. The Old Testament writers wrote about the One to come. The New Testament writers wrote about the One who had come. In fact, the New Testament didn't begin until after Jesus was crucified on the cross. That is why, John the Baptist is viewed as the last of the Old Testament prophets.

So, with that in mind, let's look at the word Prophet and Prophecy.
Prophesy prof'i·sĂȘ 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.

Who are the prophets of today?

The bottom line, a prophet in contemporary Christianity today must match up to what the Word of God has to say. If a person or group is adding to the Word of God, in what they say and do (as in what more you must do to be saved), then they are not a true prophet of God. Can a Christian be wrong in their interpretation of the Bible today? Yes, they can. That is why, like the Bereans of the Apostle Paul's day, we should all check the scriptures on everything to make sure that what is said, always matches up to the Word of God.

As John stated 2000 years ago and goes for us today, "He must become greater; I must become less."

Please read the Welcome message.

3 comments:

  1. According to Paul in the 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians a person who prophesies
    "But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation." 1Cor 14:3 NASB.
    1Co 14:5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.
    1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all;
    1Co 14:25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.
    It seems according to this scripture that a moderrn day prophet is one who exhorts and edifies the church as a whole, not one who fortells of future events as in the old covenant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good point you brought up.

    Just a little follow up on that thought as to the understanding of the term "prophesy," and to whom are being addressed.

    "... prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers." 1 Corinthians 14:22 (New International Version)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The reason we say that the writers of the old testament are prophets is because Jesus endorsed the law the psalms and the prophets and did not discard a single one of them.
    Now we believe in the authority of Jesus because we believe in His resurrection and that is our faith.
    So if He called them prophets then they are prophets indeed.
    He also chose the writers of the new testament for the giving of His testimony to the world. And the two that came after, Paul and Luke were endorsed by the apostolic church.
    That is the reason we consider them true prophets, the reason is Jesus.
    After John the revelator however, no proclaimed prophet enjoys this direct endorsement by Christ today, let it be Tyndale, Luther, Joseph Smith, The Popes, Ellen G. White, John Haggi, or Hall Lindsey. We need to constantly compare what they say with scriptures and only after that we may extract some good from them if any.

    ReplyDelete

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