By Ninos Hadjirousou
According to Ephesians 3:4-5,9 it seems so. The Apostles are not the Prophet’s, let’s not get them mixed up. They are separate (Ephesians 4:11). However, the prophet of the New and Old Testament is tested in the same way as we said before in previous articles relating the subject. There is no middle ground, there is no other criteria to be a prophet as some might think so. In Acts 2:18, Joel 2:28 teach us clearly that Old Testament prophecy is equal to New Testament prophecy. So, as the criteria of prophecy and prophets was used in the Old Testament, so it can be used also to identify New Testament prophecy and prophets.
What is the Apostle’s mission for writing the NT? What was God’s purpose for using the Apostle to prophecy?
In Revelation 22:18, 19, the last chapter and the last book of the Bible, warn us not to take or add anything else to it. For it is God’s purpose that the canon of Scripture would be closed. That no other revelation, prophecy would be added.
So the Bible really is a book of oracles, prophecies, histories, songs and prayers. It is all inspired, God breathed, divine, done supernaturally, with accurate information, inerrant words which are sufficient and final (2 Timothy 3:16). Anything added to it, by a so called ‘prophet’ or ‘apostle’ today, must be treated as (all the above) God’s Words.
So let us ask again. Are there any living Prophets and Apostle’s today? And if so, does this means that the canon of Scripture is still open for more extra biblical revelation from God? Is God saying more to us as he used to in the times of the Apostle’s? Or could we ask: does this mean that God has allowed the certain, specific spiritual gifts to cease end? (Prophecy, tongues, healing).
The Bible does not tell us when they will cease and it does not tell us if they will continue either. But it does tell us in 1 Corinthians 13:8 that they will indeed cease. The question is, have they; or have they not? And in order to know this, we must answer our first question: are there any Prophets and Apostles today in the 21st Century?
I believe historically and theologically and realistically that the gifts of Apostleship and Prophets (direct revelation from God, divine utterance from God, spokesmen of God, dream’s from God, miracles, sing and wonders, healing, tongues, predictions, infallible words of prophecy) have ceased. At this point as someone who is a charismatic or a Pentecostal might be put off by what I am stating here. You are probably thinking that I don’t believe in miracles! But I did not state that. If you notice, I believe that certain gifts have ceased. You ask me: why?
It is best to able to answer this by recognizing, that it seems that for decades many have a way of defining things. The issue I believe is whether one can identify or interpret a true Apostle or a true prophet today. It is the how one judges a prophet of God. Because there are some in high places of academia who have made their own ‘criteria’ of what a prophet or an apostle is. And you will see that there are no Apostles and prophets today if we follow the Biblical criteria. However, the Bible speaks that many false apostles and prophets will come. When you look for the ones who throughout history claimed to be prophets or apostles after the Apostle’s of Christ, they were those who became founders of cults and apostate group out of Christianity. But this I leave it for the reader to test and see for themselves from the pages of Church History.
And if certain gifts have ceased, that implies that we must not accept additional revelation beyond Scripture. Then that would also direct us to sufficiently and totally trust the Holy Scriptures, God’s word. Which is exactly what the Lord really wants from us my dear reader, that is, to keep his commandments in our hearts, to study them carefully in order to learn from the Spirit, so as to be able to discern good from evil. To be sanctified and reborn through his word (John 17:17). To become more Christ like. To live it out. And to teach others to do the same. To love God, for how else will you love God unless you know Him?
That is the reason why the Apostle Paul wrote 2 Timothy 3:16. To say that the Bible is enough for us, there is no need to add to it and nothing to take away from it. The Spirit of God speaks and illuminates our minds, only through the inspired Word of God (Psalm 119:1,2). It is as Martin Luther called the external Word. It means that we have no divine truth in ourselves. We don’t have the ‘power of inner peace’ or ‘feeling’ something that will tell us the will of God. So in order to valid any truth that comes in our way, first, we must test it and to test it means that we go to the truth which is outside of us (external/objective) and not in us;(inward/subjective). The truth is outside of us. God says not to trust the heart and it’s desires (Jeremiah 17:9). Let us trust and hold on what God has already graciously provided for us and be content with that. Which is the Holy Scriptures which are alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). And if you say ‘I am not content with just the Bible, I need more’ then sorry, you need to repent and go back and see how many died through prophecy. How many risked their lives so that the account of the truth of God would be given to you in the form of a canon with sixty-six books. And how many martyrs died for the English Bible back in the 1300-1600? The Bible dear reader has the blood of godly men whom God has used to give you this precious and merciful gift so that you would know, what salvation is (2 Timothy 3:15).
Let me lastly add, I am not saying that God does not guide us or talk to us anymore, as some of you may think so. God the Holy Spirit illuminates our minds to help us understand what the Bible means. But let me also be clear that God does not provide more extra biblical revelation anymore as He used to. No prophecy is needed therefore. Judge by the Word if they are.