Does the gift of prophecy still exist today?
Meredith asks, "I've heard a pastor who is preaching that prophets are alive and well in this present time. Is this true?
The gift of prophecy is found in Ephesians 4:11. It was a temporary gift that God gave to the early church as the church was being established. According to Ephesians 2:20, the church was built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.
The prophet had one main function. He was to proclaim a message from God. That message would be either a new revelation of truth from God, or a prediction of something that would come in the future.
The reason God gave prophets to the early church, as well as to Old Testament saints, is because they did not have the completed Bible. Some early Christians only had access to parts of the New Testament, because it was being written at that time. The last book of the New Testament, Revelation, was not completed until John was very old, so it was late in the first century. So, God used prophets to teach the people. And of course, the apostles and prophets were the authors of the New Testament.
Now that we have the Bible, there is no need for prophets today. That’s why it was a temporary gift, only for the early church. Today, pastors and teachers of the Bible are not prophets. They take God’s revealed Word, and help others understand what it says and what it means. But they are not the recipients of any new truth, they are not receiving new revelations from God, and they are not receiving visions about the future.
It’s possible that someone might use the title “prophet” to simply refer to forth-telling, or proclaiming truth that is revealed in the Bible. I think it’s best to be more careful with language. To call yourself a prophet has connotations that you are receiving new truth or predicting the future. Titles like pastor or teacher would be better and less confusing.
I hope this helps!
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