Have you ever wondered about the prophets mentioned in the Bible? Are there any modern day prophets? Do you ever ponder the thought of someone like Jonah, Jeremiah or even King David randomly showing up in today’s world with a message for us? What about someone like Joel or Peter calling upon us to hold fast to our faith in the midst of trials?
All of these Biblical characters and many others had some type of prophetic ministry in their time. All of them had different ways of sharing their message as well.
Many think of prophets as only those who spoke to warn people of the coming of God’s wrath, but there were several different types of prophets in the Bible. Yes, it is true that much of the Old Testament speaks of the prophets in this way, but there were those that wrote, those that spoke, those that lived out God’s promised future, and those that inspired.
While all of these types are different, they are also all connected. The one thing we know for sure that they have in common is that they were all chosen by God.
So, how does that relate to the concept of modern day prophets? There is a great article on crosswalk.com that does a good job defining a prophet in general terms. It is written by one of their contributing writers, Julie Ferwerda, and is titled - Do Prophets Still Exist Today?
The previous paragraph is meant to remind us that prophets come in all different shapes and sizes, and that includes the modern day prophets of today. Let’s take this a step further. If we were to define the word prophet, one could simply do so by saying a prophet is ‘the Voice of God’.
In essence, then, anyone who hears the voice of God and then shares that message with those around them, could be considered a modern day prophet. In John 17 we get a little insight into this idea when Jesus prays over his disciples:
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those, you have given me, for they are yours.” John 17:6-9 NIV
Just as the disciples took the next step and shared what they learned from Jesus about the Father, we too can take the next step with what is revealed to us and share it with those around us. Today we have so many different avenues to share ‘The Voice of God’ with those around us.
However, there is a cautionary note here. Scripture also warns us that false prophets will not be tolerated. With that in mind, we must be cautious when we communicate the message of Jesus to those around us.
There are those in the world that will take advantage of this concept if given the opportunity, so it is important to make sure that we are on the same page with God before we go out into the world and spread the gospel.
In the New Testament, we see that those with the gift of prophecy served the church and were appointed by God for the purpose of building a foundation for the faith (Eph 2:20). We still need that foundation built today and there are those that are already doing this.
Some of them are well known and others are serving behind the scenes. Some say that the Modern Day Prophet doesn’t offer the same resources as the Biblical Prophet, but the reality is that the world needs to hear the messengers of God’s word in these dark times.
We all know that the world is suffering and only God’s promise of restoration can bring hope. While the need for modern day prophets is still very present, there is a difference between being a prophet and embracing the gift of prophecy.
The spiritual gift of prophecy is something that is given by the Holy Spirit in times when the Spirit sees a need for it. The role of a prophet, while connected, is more about sharing a specific message from God for a specific purpose.
The Gospel Coalition has a great article about this very topic. You can read it here, What Does Scripture Teach about the Office of Prophet and Gift of Prophecy? In this article, the author, Sam Storms, shares about several differences between the two. The article also does a good job of warning the reader about false prophets. Jesus also warns us about false prophets in Matthew chapter 7 verses 15-18 (ESV):
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.”
We must be aware that there are those out there that will take the message of God’s word and misuse it to break down the foundation of faith that so many before us have spent a lifetime building. All too often, false prophets appear to be “bearing good fruit” when in reality all they are doing is laying the foundation for “bearing bad fruit.”
As you look for Modern Day Prophets, I urge you to be mindful of this. If those that are truly faithful boldly share the message of God’s word with those around them, we can ensure that false prophets will not gain ground in the end.
Mind On Jesus