Is there still prophecy from God in modern times? A look at what the Bible has to say about prophecy and prophets and what you need to know to separate truth from deception.
To prophesy means to foretell by inspiration. The question becomes, is this a prophecy given by God?
“Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
– 2 Peter 1:20-21
A true prophet is one who is called, receiving his authority from God, who delivers God’s word. A prophet has a simple task: Speak the word of God as instructed.
“And the LORD said to me: ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.'”
– Jeremiah 14:14
We have to be wary of false prophets. The Bible calls out people who claim to be a prophet of God and who are not. The Bible instructs us not to believe prophecy outright but to test prophets and prophecy.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
–1 John 4:1
The Bible says there is a simple test.
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”
First, it’s important to draw a distinction between prophecy itself and Bible prophecy. Bible prophecy refers to those prophecies contained in the Canon, i.e. the Bible. There are two thoughts on that.
From Jewish perspective, there are some who believe prophecy ended with Ezra and Nehemiah. However, there were eighteen prophets to follow, and the Old Testament ends with Zachariah and Malachi.
From the Christian perspective, many believe the gifts of the spirit were given for the age of the apostles, which coincided with the resolution of the New Testament and ended with apostolic times, according to oru.edu.
For this reason, there are some today in Christian circles who do not believe in modern prophecy and miracles, such as the gift of speaking in tongues in particular.
However, the Bible seems to indicate prophecy will be continuing in the future.
“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;”
The apostle Paul is quoting the prophet Joel 2:28. Many scholars take this to mean the Parousia of the Messiah, the time prior to Christ’s second coming.
However, other scholars take issue with this translation, saying the phrase “in the last days,” doesn’t agree with the Hebrew Scriptures or the Septuagint (LXX), where the existing text says “afterwards.”
Other scholars believe afterwards or last days simply refers to all the days of the New Testament and thereafter, meaning prophecy will continue until Christ’s second coming.