Gary: You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Still ahead, Dave and Tom continue their weekly in-depth study of the doctrine of salvation. Please stay tuned.
Now, Contending for the Faith: In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question:
“Mr. Hunt and Mr. McMahon, a friend of mine who I truly believe knows the Lord and is quite zealous is becoming more and more attracted to a movement which believes the office and function of prophets and apostles is still very much a part of the church today. That doesn’t seem quite right to me. What do you say?”
Tom: Dave, we know organizations, ministries—upper state New York we have a School of the Prophets. We have movements in which they—well, pick up Charisma magazine and go down through the list of ads, and they’ll even have conferences so that you can become a prophet in the church! Or there are names of individuals who are holding large conferences, and they call them “Apostle Such-and-such,” and “Apostle Such-and-such…”
Dave: “Prophet So-and-so.”
Tom: Yeah. Well, can we be an apostle today? Can we be a prophet?
Dave: Well, Tom, first of all, I don’t think you go to school to become one!
Tom: Well, the Old Testament talks about the school of the prophets. What did that mean?
Dave: It doesn’t really explain it, does it?
Dave: Now, certainly…
Tom: They met in caves. I remember that.
Dave: Yeah. If it were important, I think we would have had some instruction on how to join this school, or how to become one of them. So exactly what it means, the school of the prophets, maybe they were studying under a prophet, maybe it wasn’t even good! I don’t know. Some of the young prophets are watching Elisha come back and smite the waters of the Jordan, and, “Here he comes!” They say, “The spirit of Elijah is upon him,” and so forth.
I don’t know, but we certainly don’t have instruction, clear instruction in the Bible that you go to a school to become a prophet. This is a gift—the gift of prophecy, the Bible speaks of. And you don’t study to get a gift. You don’t practice a gift. But these prophets today practice!
I remember John Wimber would teach you how to get a word of knowledge, how to get a prophecy, and they even say, “Well, we don’t expect that the prophets today should be infallible, because we’re learning.” So it would be…
Tom: They set a percentage on what you could be to sort of be acceptable.
Dave: It wasn’t a very high percentage! So it’s like Jeremiah saying, “Well, guys, ignore chapter 13, 27, and 42, because I was just learning and I blew it.”
Or Benny Hinn—he pronounces things! God is “speaking through him.” For example, 1989, he said there wouldn’t be one place in America that would be safe from earthquakes during the ‘90s. All kinds of prophecies that God would destroy the homosexual community in America by fire by ’94 or ’95 at the latest. I mean, we could go on and on!
So many people today who call themselves prophets and who make false prophecies! You can’t just shrug that off. They stoned them in those days. If this man did not speak the truth, God is not speaking through him, and it is a very serious matter to say God is speaking through me, and I am not speaking the truth, and God is not speaking through me! That is a false prophet! So you can’t condone this or excuse it.
Tom: Right. Dave, in Ezekiel 10—well, more than once in the Book of Ezekiel, also in Jeremiah, God himself smites the false prophets, those who are prophesying out of their own heart, their own ideas. And God takes it very seriously.
But the question I wonder about is between the Old Testament and the New Testament. You have—Paul says, “Forbid not prophesying.” On the other hand, we have the prophets of the Old Testament—it was a “Thus sayeth the Lord.” When they spoke, this was God’s doctrine, this was His teaching. But now in the New Testament, where we have prophesying, it’s not the same. We have no new revelation in God’s Word.
Dave: Well, Tom, first of all, what is a prophet going to do today? The Bible was in the process of being formed, and the “prophets of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” and they were writing Scripture! So we’re not writing any Scripture today.
Now, if you want to be a prophet and stand up like Benny Hinn and say, “Thus sayeth the Lord: There won’t be one place in America in the ‘90s that will be safe from earthquakes,” well, you could warn people to get in stronger houses or get some underground shelters or whatever, but it wasn’t true. So if you were going to have a prophet today, he would have to have some function. What is he going to do? God has given us His Word.
Now, if there were some reason for a prophet to prophesy and God moved upon his heart, I am not objecting to that if it really is God. But it must be God, and that’s the whole point. All through the Old Testament makes that point.
Here’s Jeremiah:14:14: “Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name.” Notice three things: “I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them.”
So if God didn’t command you to prophesy, if He didn’t send you forth, and if He didn’t really speak through you His word, don’t pretend to be a prophet. And you don’t go to a school to learn about this.
Jeremiah himself, chapter 42—you were quoting from chapter 42: The people came to him and said, “Go to your God and get a word for us!” But Jeremiah didn’t just immediately come up with a word. He didn’t have some technique of visualization or whatever. It says, verse 7, it says, “After ten days, the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the prophet, saying….”
Now, if the word of the Lord really comes to a man, it’s going to be true. You don’t go to a school to learn how to do that. There are no techniques. And if the word of the Lord comes to someone, fine. But we’ve got the Word of the Lord here, and if there’s some other word, I don’t know what it’s going to be, but it wouldn’t be—it would not involve doctrine, it would not involve salvation, it would not involve things concerning the truth of God. It might involve some situation, but it better be from God. He better have sent you.
And the tragedy today is people will follow these people, no matter how many false prophecies! Kenneth Copeland, way back there in the ‘70s, said, “You’re going to see limbs restored! The car you’re driving now that gets 10 miles to the gallon, same car is going to get 70 miles to the gallon!” It never happened! I can give you false prophecy after false prophecy! But these men are still honored! It’s not biblical, but people want this sort of thing.
Tom, I don’t understand it, except we are in an apostasy that the Bible foretold.
Tom: Right. And the antidote to that is to be a Berean, to search the Scriptures, to check everyone out. Dave Hunt…
Tom: …Charles Capps, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, check them all.
Dave: Pope John Paul II.
Dave: You check them all out.