There are many, upon thousands today who believe, just like in the times of the Old and New Testament, there are modern day Apostles and Prophets. This belief is mainly advocated and taught in the charismatic and Pentecostal movement and also in the so called ‘reform’ Charismatic movement. When I saw on TBN a self-proclaimed prophetess come and give a word from God, I was never encouraged to question or examine what she was saying. Because I took things very easily and I believed it without looking into Scripture. I believe it was when I began to compare the gifts and signs of an Apostle recorded in the NT and the OT (prophets), with the modern day so called ‘Apostles’ and ‘prophets’, that I began to believe what the Bible was really communicating to me.
Now many of you with no doubt would recognize the famous Benny Hinn. He is known as one of the most well know ‘evangelicals’ in the world. Yet in the past he predicted that in the 1990’s there would be east coast earthquakes, economic collapse, a women president would be elected in the white house, and she will destroy the country of the USA, and the rapture would happen, Fidel Castro would die in the 1990’s, and finally a short man, who is to become a dictator and he is the incarnation of Satan. In the mid 90’s, God will destroy the homosexual community with fire. All these things never happened, and yet Benny Hinn called it ‘the spirit of God’ speaking to him. And yet he is followed by millions who believe he is a ‘man of God’ without testing his claims. Those who endorse Hinn say that he is a prophet sent from God.
Another is Todd Bentley of Fresh Fire ministries since 1998. Bentley who is also close friends with Patricia King and with Bill Johnson, is known to forcefully kick, hit, smack or knock over participants. For example a man was knocked over and lost a tooth by Bentley. And in another, an elderly woman was intentionally kicked in the face. Bentley claimed that the ‘holy spirit’ led him to such actions. As if God spoke to him and said to him ‘kick her’. Bentley by thousands is claimed to be a Prophet and then an Apostle. Those are just two of the kind of fruits that I saw that made me question whether they are receiving divine revelation from God.
In short I concluded that Biblically, exegetically and historically that there are no Prophets and Apostles today. And there are some very strong biblical reason’s to consider why this is true. I would like to take this time and show you what these reasons are.
First of all we must know what a Prophet is; and what is Prophecy according to the Old and New Testament Scriptures.
In Deuteronomy 18:15-22 the Lord speaks to Moses and presents the criteria in order that the people of Israel may identify a true Prophet of God from a false one. There are a couple of things we must notice in the text concerning the identification of a true Prophet.
- When the prophet will preach and teach, it must be doctrinally accurate and correct in harmony with the rest of God’s Word. Because when he will speak, God is speaking (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:18, Jeremiah 1:9).
- How do we know if the words he says are from God? The Lord told them that if the words the Prophet said do not come to pass, then he is a false teacher. But if they do, then He is a Prophet send by God. So a Prophet must have 100% predictive accuracy, because only God knows the future (Deuteronomy 18:20-22, Jeremiah 28:9, Ezekiel 13:3-9).
- He must have a high view, a respect and be obedient to Scripture (2 Peter 2:1).
- His life must be full of good fruit. He must live what he preaches (Matthew 7:20, 2 Peter 2:2-3)
- He must have integrity (Jeremiah 23:14-16).
- Also, his miracle work must be genuine (Exodus 4:1-5, Numbers 11:29). This is why God allowed his human agents to be miracle workers. In order to vindicate the prophet’s authenticity as a Prophet send from God. To validate his message and his works. Elijah was a true Prophet because his miracles where the works of God (1Kings 18:36-40).
A Prophet is one who is God’s spokesperson according to (Exodus 6:28,7:1-2). God would speak to the prophet and the prophet would speak the words God says to Him. And this obviously means that when the Prophet spoke “thus says the Lord” it was God really speaking and not the prophet. This is again shown in Exodus 4:15-16. Moses played God’s role, but he was not God.
Now someone who speaks on behalf of God is also preaching and teaching the people the will of God.
Now does the same criteria also include Jesus Christ? The answer is yes. How else would they recognize Him? Christ Jesus said that the “works that I am doing bear witness about me that the Father has sent me”(John 5:36, 6:14,7:31, 10:25-26,37-38, Acts 2:22).
Another fact to point out, is that in the OT and NT anyone who was God’s spokesmen, was also declaring new revelation. That is what the Apostle’s did in the NT.
What they were declaring was new extra biblical revelation from God to complete God’s purpose for His Book. Or to use a theological term, to complete the canon of Scripture. And they were doctrinally accurate and orthodox, sound, which did not separate them from the OT writings and the prophets. Because the same Spirit that was speaking through them, was the same author who wrote the OT also (Ephesians 2:20-21).
Now if there where Apostle’s today, they must have the same criteria as the Prophets did in the Old Testament also (Acts 14:3, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 2:3-4).
But there is one thing that makes an Apostle unique today and that is the fact that they have seen and touched the Lord Jesus Christ. And these where temporary gifts. Because:
- A true Apostle is a witness of the Resurrected Jesus Christ (Acts 1:22).
- a true Apostle is personally appointed by Christ himself (Acts 1:2, Acts 1:24;Acts 26:14-18).
- An Apostle is a Miracle worker (2 Corinthians 12:12, Matthew 10:1-3).
The Apostle’s where also the writers of the NT with their assistants. Some told others to write for them, while they spoke to them what God commands. They too in the same way had God’s words in their mouths when they preached.
This helps us understand how God breathed His Word in the Scriptures and used the Scripture writers to write down the very words in the text which where supernaturally guided and done by God the Holy Spirit. Remember there are no inspired Bible writers, there is an inspired, God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) Holy Scripture. That is why the Scriptures are not made by men’s own imagination, they are from God. The Apostle Peter himself wrote in 2 Peter 1:20-21 “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.”
Let’s also add that the foundational nature of the NT Apostles and Prophets of the OT and NT is that they are the foundation which Christ’s church was build according to Ephesians 2:19-23 “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone”.
So just touching on these reasons, we can conclude the following:
True prophecy is verbal. It’s the very word of God. Not feelings or impulse, but the very message itself from God.
True prophecy is testable. That is to say, it can be tested if it’s false or not.
True prophecy is infallible. Because it is the very word of God who is infallible.
And finally, true prophecy is authoritative, because of the above conclusions that we made (verbal, testable, and infallible).