Do prophets exist today? That has been the subject of much dispute and one that this post is not necessarily seeking to address though I know I’ll tip my hand regarding my own position. Nonetheless, I’m not writing to defend one position or the other. Nor am I seeking to define prophecy. So what am I addressing?
I find that it is quite common for Christians to arrive at a conclusion based on biblical examples So in other words, we can look at God speaking through prophets in the Old Testament and think that is applicable to us. And certainly there is mention of prophets in the New Testament. But what is needed is putting this activity in the context of the complete message, which entails taking a 20,000 foot view, so to speak, and see the connections that are being made between the Old and New Testaments to get the whole picture.
It is not sufficient enough to look at examples or isolate passages that speak of prophecy. We must consider the role of prophecy in Scripture with respect to the complete message of 66 books. That message is God’s redemptive work through his Son through which a people are gathered for his purposes.
J.I. Packer notes this about Old Testament prophecy:
When our author tells us in Old Testament times God revealed himself by speaking words spoken by the prophets (for that which is to come), it is important to see the range of his reference. We are apt today to restrict the term ‘prophets’ to the authors of the prophetic books of the Old Testament, along with Samuel and his successors in Israel’s history. But we need to remember that to the New Testament writers, Moses the lawgiver and David and his fellow-psalmists are also among the prophets. The New Testament hails them all as foretellers of Christ (Luke 24:44; John 5:47; Acts 2:25-31, 7:37). Moses, indeed, was regarded throughout as the supreme prophet (see Deut. 34:10), and the Mosaic body of teaching as the supreme and basic prophetic revelation. When Stephen says that Moses ‘received living oracles to give unto us’ (Acts 7:38), it is the law of Moses that he has in mind; the law, seen from this standpoint, was entirely prophetic. Continue reading