Q. Thank you so much for your brilliant web site, it is such a help. Can you help with this question please? Are there any true apostles or prophets today? I know there are many that call themselves apostles and prophets, but are false.
A. Speaking of Jesus and spiritual gifts Ephes 4: 11 says, “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.”
The Greek word for apostle describes one sent forth, as with orders. In the early church an apostle had to have been taught directly by the Lord, and had to have personally seen Him in a post resurrection appearance. Obviously no one alive today could meet these qualifications. But there are many who have been sent forth with orders to found a ministry, or bring the Lord’s message to a group of people. They are often equipped with great leadership skills and many attract large followings. Paul said that false apostles would also appear (2 Cor. 11:13-15) so it’s up to us to use our discernment and compare what they say with what the Bible teaches (Acts 17:11).
Some have also received the Spiritual gift of prophecy. But again this is different from the way it was given in Biblical times. In the Old Testament the office of prophet was bestowed on men who were empowered to speak to the people on God’s behalf, telling them what was coming. According to Hebrews 1:1-2 the last of these was Jesus, who among other things is God’s prophet for the last days. The gift of prophecy today is intended to give more detailed explanations of prophecies the Bible already contains. (Even the prophecies Paul gave us about Israel, the rapture, and the resurrection only contain additional insight into what Old Testament prophets had already said.)
There have always been false prophets and today is no exception. Again, our defense is to compare what we hear with God’s word. A good rule of thumb is, “If it’s new, it can’t be true.” Everything has to conform to the Written Word of God. This is our protection against being deceived.