Are there still prophets and if so, what do they do?

The Old Testament is full of prophets and prophecies, the majority is written by prophets. In the New Testament they also are a common phenomena. From individuals like Anna (Luc. 2:36) and Agabus (Acts 21:10), till the daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9) and groups of prophets from Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts11: 27; 13:1).

Paul writes that the prophets together with the apostles, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers are given to the church to equip his people for works of service (Ef. 4:11,12). About prophets he says; “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging or edification, and exhortation and comfort”, dependent on the translation (1 Cor. 14:3). Because of an orderly manner only two or three prophets are allowed to speak in a church service the others (!) should judge. (1 Cor. 14: 29).

Still there are people that think there are no prophets any more. These are the reasons they give;

1/ ‘Prophets no longer are needed because God now speaks to us through the bible. In the days of the early church they didn’t have the New Testament, so prophets still were required.’ The grounds for this is found in 1 Cor. 13:8-10; “But where there are prophecies, they will cease.” Because we prophesy in part, it is limited, it falls short. Then the text continues; “when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” Completeness then would be the New Testament. But the context points out that completeness is about the time we will see God face to face. (1 Cor. 13:12)

Also the kings in the Old Testament had the books of Moses with the law at their disposal, but still God regularly used prophets to remind them what was in it about the blessing and the curse of the law. (Deut. 28) The same applies to us. We all need someone from time to time to remind us of what God has said.

2/ ‘Revelations 22:18 says nothing should be added to this book. Later prophesies add to the bible and that is forbidden by God’.

Revelations is one of the 66 books of the bible. It isn’t written as the final chapter of the bible, it is a book of it own, written as a warning and an encouragement to the churches that were prosecuted. The good news of Revelation is that God will triumph. Regardless how hopeless the situation seems, the believers are not forgotten, they are not abandoned. A bright future awaits them. Nothing should be added to or taken off this message Verse 18 covers the book of Revelations and not the entire bible.

3/ The church is build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ef. 2:19-20). ‘The foundations are finished, so we don’t need apostles and prophets any more‘.

The foundation is that the Gentiles just like the Jews have access to the Father and are heirs together. (Ef. 2:17-18; 3:5-6) This message has been proclaimed by apostles and prophets and of this message Christ is the cornerstone. This revelation was earth-shattering, but indeed this foundation lays rock solid, so we don’t need apostles and prophets for that any more. Paul refers to them later as builders on this foundation (Ef. 2:22, 4:11-12). In his epistle to the Corinthians he even calls to desire the gift of prophecy (1 Cor. 12:28, 14:1) In 1 Cor.14:3 he describes the role of prophets in the church, not any more as builders of a foundation but as builders of the church, strengthening, encouraging and comforting the people.

profeet-3-kanselbijbelThis function still is needed. To build a community, to comfort, to encourage, to strengthen and to exhort, most churches have specially appointed people; the pastor, preacher, reverent, etc. Every Sunday we give half an hour of more of our time and listen carefully to what he of she has to say to us. We believe the words that are spoken are inspired by God. We all can read the words of God in the bible, but with the implementation of those words in our lives we can use some help.

Are there still prophets today? Yes fortunately there are. Most of the time they don’t carry the title ‘Prophet’, but they do function with that gift in the church. They are not head-in-the-clouds or very spiritual people, often they are the advisors, the go-to people when you have questions. The people that have exactly the right bible verse or words at the right moment. The ones that can help you a lot further with a small push. Because of the positive influence on the community Paul says to the Corinthians: desire love (chapter 13) and desire the gift of Prophecy. (chapter 14).

Prophecy isn’t something very special, difficult or spiritual. Prophets are usually not the ones that tell you what is wrong, but are the ones that encourage you to change what is wrong. Prophets are not the ones that tell you God has special plans for your future, but are the ones that help you make the good choices for the future.

So what about predictions of the future and touring prophets? You can read about it in my next blog.

This was the 3rd in a series of 5. The other two were:

http://ontspannenchristendom.nl/2016/11/02/prophets-introduction/

http://ontspannenchristendom.nl/2016/11/09/what-is-a-prophe…hecies-are-there/

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