by Lori Eldridge
(All scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.)
It is often claimed that there are Apostles and Prophets today and that we should listen to them. However, there is a difference between the "gift" of prophecy (defending and speaking forth the ESTABLISHED Word of God) and the "Office" of Prophet (speaking forth NEW revelations from God and establishing scripture). The gift of prophecy is still in effect but not the office of Prophet as I will show below. |
The same can be said for the gift vs the office of Apostle--the later being for the purpose to lay the foundation for the Church and the former to build new churches on that foundation already established. Thus the role of the Office of Apostle and Prophet was temporary. Apostles were eyewitnesses to the risen Christ and both Apostles and Prophets established the foundation of the church and are no longer needed. For this reason I believe there are no Prophets or Apostles today.
Why there are no Apostles todayThe following shows us the requirements of the replacement for Judas:
Acts 1:21-26, "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become A WITNESS WITH US OF HIS RESURRECTION."
The apostles claimed to be eyewitnesses:
Acts 5:32, Peter and the other apostles stated, "We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."Therefore, ALLLLLLL the apostles were eye witnesses to Christ and his Resurrection.
Luke 1:1-4, "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, JUST AS THEY WERE HANDED DOWN TO US BY THOSE WHO FROM THE FIRST WERE EYEWITNESSES and servants of the Word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."Please notice that we can know the certainty of the things we are being taught by eyewitnesses (this includes the many apostles and prophets of N.T. times who witnessed the Resurrection who are not among the 12). This means we have no certainty of those things we are being taught by those who are not eyewitnesses and trying to tell us there are "New and Improved" revelations from God.
Another proof that an apostle must be an eye witness:
1 Cor. 9:1, "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?"Paul was the last apostle (He witnessed Christ on the Road to Damascus):
1 Cor. 15:8, "Then he [Christ] appeared to James, then to ALLLLL the apostles, and LAST of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."Please notice Paul stated he was the LAST apostle to witness Christ.
We are instructed in 2 Peter and Jude to avoid false doctrine by RECALLING the teachings of the Apostles already established:
2 Peter 1:12 "So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and ARE FIRMLY ESTABLISHED in the truth YOU NOW HAVE. . . . And I will make every effort to see that after my departure [death] you will always be able to remember these things."Please notice that what they had already was enough to firmly establish them in the truth and Paul wanted them to remember what he said--and he also explicitly stated there would be no other apostles after him--otherwise there wouldn't be such a great need for them to remember what he said.
Why there are no Prophets todayIt is claimed that Malaki 4:5-6 indicates there will be an endtime prophet named Elijah (that's why we have so many "Elijah's" today. However Jesus stated in Matt. 11:14 that this was fulfilled in John the Baptist:
"For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear."We are warned about false teachers and prophets in the last days:
2 Peter 2:1 "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you."Please notice that Peter and Jude did not say we are to listen to the apostles and prophets living in OUR day but rely on the apostles and prophets in THEIR DAY, and we are instead to BEWARE of the apostles and prophets of OUR day. This means we have to avoid anyone who attempts to add or take away from what the apostles and prophets and the scriptures have relayed to us and Peter and Jude called them "godless men." And you can tell they are godless men when they deny Jesus Christ, i.e., they preach a false gospel--usually one of works (i.e., you must endure the Tribulation and be purified before you are saved, etc.) which betrays a lack of understanding of Grace and thus a false Gospel.
And the author of Hebrews also said the prophets of the OT were no longer needed because now we have the words of the Son of God himself:
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe." (Heb 1;1-3)The following scripture is usually used to prove that there are prophets and apostles today:
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, . . ."" (Eph. 2:20)However what they fail to do is read this passage in context. If you start back in verse 7 you will see that this is talking about GIFTS of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor/teacher, not the office:
"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: 'When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.'"" (Eph. 2:20)
Why Today's Apostles and Prophets can't build on top of an already established foundation of the ChurchThe Church was built on the FOUNDATION of the Apostles and Prophets of the N.T.:
Eph 2:19-21 "Consequently YOU are no longer foreigners and aliens but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION of the Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit"In the Greek Interlinear bible the word "built" is "having been built," it is in an aorist participle passive tense, i.e., this was an action completed in the past that occurred to the subject of the sentence, i.e., the Church, by the Apostles and Prophets of the N.T. It is saying the Church WAS built on the foundation, not that it "IS" being built.
You cannot build a foundation, then build the church for 2,000 years and then suddenly decide you need more foundation under that Church because the former foundation is now inadequate. The foundation was an act completed in the past. It is done. It is finished. The same thing can be said for Ephesians 3:5.6.
It is also claimed that according to Ephesians 4:11-16, that because we do not currently have unity of the faith that we still need apostles and prophets as much as evangelists, pastors and teachers. But is that what the passage is really saying?
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Chirst." (Eph 4:11-16)Why did Chirst give us apostles, prophets, etc.? To Prepare God's people for works of service. What were those works of service? One of those works was to speak forth the Word of God, i.e., to write the scriptures, i.e., the office of Prophet. Another was to build up churches founded on that same Word---i.e., Apostles. And then we have the evangelists and pastors and teachers to teach this Word and to keep these churches filled.
It was THESE works of service (establishing the Word of God and establishing the Church) that provided us a good foundation (see above) that enables us to build up the body of Christ. The work of the Prophets and Apostles in establishing the Word and the Church was temporary and completed in the first century.
As we can see from other scriptures above the Office of Prophet and Apostle are no longer needed because the Foundation has already been laid, and their work of establishing the Word of God (New Testament Canon) and establishing Churches is already done. Based on the work they have already done we can then grow as a body and attain unity in the faith.
Is it any wonder in this time of the end when we have been promised apostasy that these self-proclaimed prophets are leading people OUT of the supposedly corrupt denominational churches and to ANOTHER Word (New and improved revelations supposedly from God)? It is only in Prophetic driven Pentecostal/Charismatic circles where church attendance is growing. That should speak loud and clear right there. It is because of that same influence permeating all of Christendom that the other churches are dwindling in size. Why? Because those who KNOW their scriptures see this movement as being unscriptural and they leave.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;." (1 Timothy 4:1)(1 Timothy 4:1)
Christ was the last Prophet
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, BUT IN THESE LAST DAYS he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful Word." (Hebrews 1:1-3)Notice it says "in the past" God spoke thru the prophets but NOW he speaks thru the Son. This should be enough to squelch this argument of prophets being needed since Christ--who was the great prophet that was to come that God promised to Moses (Deut 18:18).
Can any of the prophets since Jesus even begin to compare to Christ? Why do we need new and improved revelations when we have the Word of God himself to guide us?
ConclusionApostles MUST BE EYEWITNESSES to the Resurrected Christ and we are instructed to remember THEIR teachings. There are also no successors to the Apostles of N.T. times because they had to be eyewitnesses. We have been WARNED about false prophets and teachers in the future who are obviously not eyewitnesses. Therefore we are NOT instructed to believe ANY apostles or prophets in our day. Any prophet or apostle today speaking new revelations is ADDING TO the Word of God that was already established, which scripture forbids. When people claim that we must listen to the visions and new revelations spoken by today's prophets they are telling us the Scripture is insufficient for our needs which leads us to listen to men instead of God and ignore the Word of God, the Bible. This is exactly what Satan wants us to do.
Some of the above information was gleaned from a CRI article entitled The Faulty Foundation of the Five-Fold Ministry by Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
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updated 5-28-00, 10-3-00
Other articles showing there are no Prophets or Prophets today:A good article that goes into much greater depth on this topic of no apostles or prophets today is Apostles and Prophets Today by Let Us Reason Ministries.
Why All Church-Age Endtime Prophets Are False by Ray Waugh, Sr. explains his research showing that each and every endtime prophetic pronouncement, which men have indulged in this Church Age, has been false. There has not been one exception.
Articles exposing the five-Fold Ministry as unscripturalThe Faulty Foundation of the Five-Fold Ministry by Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
Prophets and Prophecy, Five Fold Ministry on the Apologetics Index.
The Five Fold Ministry and Spiritual Abuse also has an audio file, by TN Valley Bible Students Association>
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