Has the office of the prophet closed? Did it close with the advent of Jesus? Due to false prophets many are wary and weary of prophets in general. The true prophet’s voice is not heard. Some have quoted a text in Hebrews to prove that there would be no prophets after Jesus. Heb. 1:1,2 says:
“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.”
Does this text mean that prophets were only before Jesus’ time and that the prophetic office ceased after Jesus or does it simply mean that Jesus, who was much more than a prophet, came down to earth in the days of the writer? Let us not just look at one text and make a decision. Let us look at what the rest of the Bible says about this and decide based on the weight of evidence. Please consider the following points.
(1) Paul was the author of this text in Hebrews and he was a prophet who came on the scene after Jesus!
Paul was the author of the book of Hebrews and he was a prophet! If the office of prophet ceased with Jesus that would make Paul a false prophet and Paul most certainly was not a false prophet. Paul was not just an apostle. He received more visions than most people.
2 Cor. 12:7 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”
Not only was the office of the prophet not ended but Paul was getting so many visions that there was the possibility of him getting proud so God allowed him to have a weakness in the flesh so that he would stay humble!
In Acts 16:9 we are told:
“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.”
Again we are told in Acts 18:9 “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace.”
Paul, speaking to Timothy, says in 1 Tim. 4:14:
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.”
(2) Ananias was a true prophet who also came on the scene after Jesus!
Acts 9:10 “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.”
Jesus wanted him to go to Paul and He would give back Paul his sight. Jesus went on to tell Ananias that Paul already knew he was coming.
Acts 9:12 says “And [Paul] hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”
Here in Ananias’ vision we are told that Paul too had received a vision!
(3) Peter had his first visions AFTER Jesus went back to Heaven!
Has the prophetic office ended? Peter walked with Jesus for three and a half years and never had a vision yet when Jesus returned to Heaven we see Peter getting visions from God since the Holy Spirit was then given in greater power. One day, long after Jesus had ascended into Heaven Peter said in Acts 11:5:
“I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me.”
(4) John the disciple got apocalyptic visions in the last book of the Bible – Revelation!
No texts should have to be used to prove that the Book of Revelation is a prophecy but here are two texts:
Rev. 22:7 says “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”
Rev. 9:17 adds “And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.”
(5) We find two more prophets of God in Acts 15.
Acts 15:32 “And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.”
(6) Twelve more prophets of God in Acts 19!
Rather than the gift of prophecy coming to an end with Jesus’ return to Heaven the number of prophets of God increased! There were no prophets for four hundred years between the end of the book of Malachi and the start of the book of Matthew. Then after Jesus’ return suddenly the number of prophets increased!
Acts 19:6,7 says:
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
And all the men were about twelve.”
(7) Four more prophetesses in Acts 21!
Acts 21:8,9 tells us that Paul’s helpers stayed for a long time by Philip the evangelist who had four daughters who prophesied. It says:
“And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”
(8) Agabus was a true prophet who received a vision from God for Paul in Acts 21!
Right after hearing about Philip’s four daughters who prophesied we hear about another true prophet. Although Paul was a prophet God gave Agabus a message in vision for Paul – a prophecy that came true.
Acts 21:10 “And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”
Agabus had prophesied even before that time. In Acts 11:28 we are told:
“And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
(9) Even people who were not prophets got visions from God after Jesus returned to Heaven!
Just as God in the Old Testament gave visions and dreams to ungodly Pharoah in Joseph’s time and Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel’s time, or even Pilate’s wife in the New Testament, God gave a vision to a good man who was not even a follower of Jesus at the time. Cornelius received a vision from God in the book of Acts because he was a sincere and upright man although he did not fully know God.
Acts 10:3 says “He [Cornelius] saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.”
(10) We are told more than once in the New Testament that the office of prophet is one of the two most important offices in the Church!
The very fact that the Bible warns against false prophets shows that there will be true prophets or else God would have said to beware of all prophets! The office of prophet is one of the most important offices in the Church.
1 Cor. 12:28 says “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.”
Speaking of the gifts of the Holy Spirit present in the Church Paul adds in Eph. 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”
Again in 1 Cor. 14:29 Paul gives counsel concerning the prophets in the Church saying:
“Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.”
In Rev. 16:6 we are told that in the last days which Revelation is all about, the enemies of God will kill the saints and prophets of God. It says:
“For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.”
Here are some more references from Revelation, the Bible’s last book for these last days:
Rev. 18:20 “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”
Rev. 18:24 “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
Rev. 22:9 “Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”
Paul also spends a lot of time in 1 Corinthians talking about prophesying. See 1 Cor. 11:4,5; 14:1,3,4,5, 6,22,24,31,39. Again in 1 Thess. 5:20 he says “Despise not prophesyings.” In fact, out of all the spiritual gifts available Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:1 “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” The very last time that he uses the word “prophesy” in the Bible is in 1 Cor. 14:39 where he says “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” That does not sound like the office of the prophet ended with Jesus at all.
(11) Joel prophesied that even AFTER Bible times there would be true prophets of God!
In Joel 2:28 we are told by the prophet Joel that in the last days God will send true prophets and prophetesses. The whole last day scenario is seen in that chapter. This was only partially fulfilled at Pentecost. In Acts 2:17 Peter quotes Joel to account for their power saying:
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
Of course this was only a partial fulfillment since the days of the apostles was not the last days. It means therefore that in our day, after Bible times, God would send prophets and prophetesses. For more on this see Will There be any True Prophets After Bible Times?
(12) A word on time prophecies
While there is no time prophecy that gives the exact day and hour of Jesus’ coming there are many time prophecies given in the Bible that were to be fulfilled long after Jesus’ ascension.
(a) The 2300 days prophecy of Dan. 8:14.
See the series starting with The Investigative Judgment of Dan. 8:14 (Part One of Four)
(b) The 70 weeks prophecy of Dan. 9 that is a part of the 2300 days prophecy.
(c) The three time prophecies of Dan. 12 – 1260 days prophecy, the 1290 days prophecy and the 1335 days prophecy.
(d) The 1260 days prophecy is seen also in Rev. 12:6,14.
(e) The time prophecies found in two of the Seven Trumpets seen in Rev. 9:10,15.
We have seen all the evidence. This is more than enough to prove that Heb. 1:1 did not mean that there would be no more prophets after the return of Jesus in 31 AD. Let us believe that God sent the following prophets after the ascension of Jesus – Paul, Peter, Agabus, John the apostle who wrote Revelation, Philip the apostle’s four daughters, Judas (not Iscariot) and Silas in Acts 15 and twelve unnamed prophets in Acts 19. The Bible does not contradict itself and to believe that the gift of prophecy ceased with Jesus would be to disbelieve every Bible book written after the four gospels – from Acts to Revelation. Let us do like Paul said in 1 Thess. 5:20 “Despise not prophesyings.” We warned that there would be many false prophets whom God has not sent but we were also promised true prophets that would edify God’s people. May we not do like Israel of old who stoned the prophets but let us accept every word that comes from the mouth of God.
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