By Hank Hanegraaff
While it has become increasingly popular to believe in the appearance of end-time apostles and prophets, the Bible clearly does not support this notion.
First, to address this question, we must first learn to scale the language barrier. In other words, the issue is not so much the words prophet or apostle themselves, but the meanings that are ascribed to these words. For example, apostle may be used in the sense of a church planter, a missionary, or a pastor of pas- tors. Likewise, prophet may be used in the sense of a leader who inspires the church with vision for its mission or who challenges the church to deeper commitment to Christ. However, the words apostle and prophet must not be used in a synonymous sense with the first-century apostle John or the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. People whose authority cannot be questioned or who receive new doctrinal revelations simply do not exist today.
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that apostles and prophets were commissioned by God to be His personal spokesmen. Moreover, Ephesians 2:20 tells us that the church was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Clearly, then, those who claim to be that kind of apostle and prophet today have taken upon themselves authority that was not given to them by God.
Finally, the prophetic words of Scripture expose today’s pre- tenders. Not only do pretenders fail the biblical tests given in Deuteronomy 13 and 18, as well as Acts 1:21–22, but “they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity” (2 Peter 2:18–19).
“How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?”—when a prophet speaks in
the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
Deuteronomy 18:21–22 NKJV
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, Counterfeit Revival: Looking for God in All the Wrong Places, rev. ed. (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2001).
**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***