Are there prophets today? Who are they? What message do they bring from God? Why don’t we hear from them or recognize their prophetic mantle?
I was speaking to a retired pastor recently who told me that back in the days of Hal Lindsay and The Late Great Planet Earth, he was all in. He preached the end times with the return of Jesus, and the signs of His coming. Lately, he’s filled a pulpit on an interim basis during a pastoral search, but despite his belief that Jesus is coming soon, he isn’t keen on preaching that message. He stated that since the Bible says God sends His prophets to warn of coming judgment, and there haven’t been such warnings, he prefers to wait to hear that message. The question is: Have there been no prophets or warning that the Rapture and the subsequent 7-year Tribulation are near?
I would argue that they’re here. It’s just that we haven’t recognized them.
First, why does God send prophets? Let’s look at several Old Testament verses.
“Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention” (2 Chronicles 24:19).
“Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit” (Isaiah 48:16).
“And he said to me, ‘Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day'” (Ezekiel 2:3).
God sends His prophets to testify against people who turn from Him in rebellion, while calling those same people to draw near to Him. He is extremely clear in His message:
“You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 6:14-15).
What about in New Testament times? Has God changed the format of the messaging?
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:6).
“And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place” (Revelation 22:6).
From these verses, we could certainly say that God has given us a different means of conveying His message. We hear it through the Holy Spirit, and we see it by means of His angel. Who is His angel? Revelation tells us this angel of the Lord is Jesus. Jesus is also the Word (John 1:1).
How does the Holy Spirit operate? Differently among each of us, but He gives us truth. He counsels us and gives us direction.
If Jesus is the Word, and through Jesus—the angel of the Lord—we learn what must soon take place, then Scripture gives us prophetic knowledge.
Putting these two concepts together, faithful believers may hear from the Holy Spirit speaking through Scripture, giving them counsel and direction to carry out God’s will. Might that include speaking forthrightly about what God intends for this world? Might it include the message of warning and judgment? How about the encouragement and hope that those who love the Lord and follow Him won’t face the wrath to come?
This isn’t to say that God would entirely forsake the major prophetic voice as in the prophets of old. However, in one sense, that could be a challenge. We have so much static today, so many different voices that pull us in different directions, so many distractions from the internet, TV, government overreach, and much more. That one person whom everyone hears and knows he is speaking God’s Word is likely a rarity. In addition, with so few people believing in God these days, how many would actually listen?
What we do have because of the internet and other mediums is the ability for multiple people speaking God’s Word, some to the same audiences, others to different listeners, to bring warning Although they don’t call themselves prophets and would probably cringe at the implication, who is to say that God hasn’t called the likes of Jan Markell, Amir Tsarfati, Bill Salus, David Reagan, Dave Hunt, Gary Stearman, and others to bring His Word through different media in place of the single prophet of renown from times past?
As I said earlier, there’s a lot of static out there. One of the biggest sources comes from the so-called prophets and apostles who inhabit the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement. They aren’t shy about proclaiming their creds. And they use their presumed offices to amplify their voices.
What’s distressing to me is the message they bring. Among other misleading teachings, the general belief I’ve seen among NAR leaders is that worldwide revival is coming. A great new awakening of faith will sweep the earth, the seven cultural mountains throughout society will fall from secular control into the hands of God’s prophetic elites (and money will flow from these mountains into NAR coffers), and the NAR crusade will Christianize the world, making it ready to hand to Jesus when He returns.
This belief is completely inconsistent with Scripture. It minimizes or abandons the concept of the Rapture and seems to forget the Bible speaks of a 7-year Tribulation before Jesus returns. Yet, NAR prophets are revered and followed by many.
NAR encompasses thousands of churches worldwide, accounting for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of believers. It has turned aside the majority of these from the literal Word of God. One tenet of NAR is that their apostles and prophets bring new revelation. They are the voices of this generation and are the ones who speak authoritatively about God with His (revised) plans and purposes.
Who to believe? The voices with little strength, but which have kept God’s Word, as in the church of Philadelphia? Or the booming voices that reach many and proclaim their intimate connection with God, yet veer drastically from Scripture but rationalize doing so?
Personally, I’m not looking for a major prophetic revelation to tell me that what the Bible says are the signs of the times are actually here. God’s Word already states the truth, and that which is happening in the world witnesses to that. Jesus said we’d see all these things as the birth pains came and intensified. So we do.
Start practicing your Rapture leap. Soon we’ll be spring-boarding off this earth into the clouds to meet our Lord.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for two novels: The Tattooed Cat and Alien Revelation. He has recently released a new novel on eco-terrorism called Green Dreams, and Looking Up – Volume 3, a non-fiction work that contains essays and devotions on end-times and prophetic events. Gary’s intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read. You can reach him at his website: www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol.