It would be apparent to most, that statements such as these, uttered by wild-eyed men and women claiming to have received a vision from God are clearly false and unbiblical. The truth is, this business is a prosperous one! There are people who DO give money with full belief and faith in these men and women! That is the most amazing aspect of these types of "ministries".
If there are people who give willingly, to what is transparently false, how much more are being mislead by those who are not quite as obvious? This begs the question, is there such a thing as a modern day prophet, a prophet that brings a message from God?
VOCATION -EDIFYING OF THE BODY
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues"
In Ephesians 4:1-11 Paul tells us to "walk worthy of the vocation of which we were called". The "vocations" which Paul speaks about are listed in verse 11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers".
What does the term prophet mean? The basic dictionary explanation is:
a person who speaks for God or a deity, or by divine inspiration (Dictionary.com Unabridged)
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary defines prophet/prophetess as: A man or woman chosen by God to speak for Him and to fortell events in the divine plan.
When a person declares themselves a prophet of God, then it is attributed to that person, the gift of prophecy.
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary defines prophecy as:
Term, along with its English cognates ("prophet", "to prophesy", "prophetism", and "prophetic"), derived from a group of Greek words that in secular Greek, mean "speak forth", "proclaim", "announce". In biblical Greek, however, these terms always carry the connotation of speaking, proclaiming, or announcing something under the influence of spiritual inspiration.
Upon reading Ephesians 4-11 we continue unto the next few verse for more clarity of how the "vocation" prophets and their ability to prophesy is incorporated into the Body of Christ.
Verses 12 -15
- For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
In my reading of the Word over time, I can't help but notice one characteristic that seems to be lacking in a lot of these televangelist prophets. Old Testament prophets and the apostles of the New Testament were despised, beaten, and murdered for their daring testimony for Christ and the Father. The opposite seems to be true of modern day "prophets". Not only do they seem to languish in wealth, but they are drenched with praise from their followers.
CHRIST, OUR PROPHET
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;" Hebrews 1:1-2.
When a modern day prophet begins to fashion themselves as an "Old Testament" prophet, bringing something "new" or "different" to what has already been established by Christ, it becomes a deviation from His Word. Any prophet claiming to have a new "message" or "doctrine" is false. Hebrews 13:8-9 tells us "not to be carried about with divers and strange doctrines".
I am convinced that a "modern day prophet" is a slight variation of a minister, pastor or anyone who declares themselves men or women of God. This is purely my personal opinion formed upon my understanding of Scripture. The reason for my opinion lies in the words of Christ. In John 16:7, Christ emphasizes the necessity of His ascension for the purpose of the indwelling of the Comforter in those who believe on Him. Christ explained that the Spirit of Truth is to guide us into all truth and show us things to come. John 16:13-14 Someone who claims to have a new message from God, or a message from God towards a specific person, disturbs me and my understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in a anointed believer. I DO believe that the Holy Spirit nullifies any special "fortelling" claimed by a prophet. Take a look at these Scriptures:But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 1John 2:20
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27
CONFESSIONSModern day prophets should be on "fire" with the Holy Spirit. Confessing, teaching and preaching for the edification of believers towards the building of the Body of Christ. The Scriptures declare that anyone who denies Jesus as the Christ, is a liar. 1 John 2:22-23 I wonder, does one need to speak verbally to deny Christ? I daresay, any omission of His name is just as loud.
Author's Note: All caps and italics in Scripture are mine.