Question 1: What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit identified in the New Testament and do these apply today?
Question 2: Are there true prophets today, and who are they?
“Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber” 2Kings 6:11,12
Yesterday, I posted an article titled “My sheep hear my voice” that began with two questions for readers to mull over, followed by a key quote from the Bible. Today I do the same. I concluded then, amidst a plethora of alarming events unfolding around us and many conflicting voices that one we should be especially listening to is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep. I was grateful for a friend who later commented: “You are right to put little trust in the MSM. Much of it, including here in the UK, is filled with demonic deception. Mercifully, a huge alternate media has arisen, but it takes time to know how to navigate it. Also, a considerable number of v accurate prophets of the LORD have arisen. But again, it takes time to get to know who can be trusted and who can not. For me, the major change came when the LORD awakened me to the power and significance of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. This changed my entire worldview, and was akin to a second born again experience, for both of which. I remain deeply grateful to the LORD”. While my friend’s journey is not quite my own (we are all different), his points about Israel and prophets (the focus of this article) resonates and is been one of the wonderful discoveries as for the best part of the year that is soon to end, with many now on tenterhooks about the outcome of the US Presidential election and what is the next major episode in the Covid saga, etc., etc., in my researching for my Prophets of the Bible book, which among other things concluded God has purposes for the Church AND Israel.
I have often reflected in history how God uses unlikely people to carry out his purposes. A further salutary observation is He sometimes uses unbelievers and those who believers despise (because believers aren’t up to the task) as he has imho done with the most reviled of conspiracy theorists: Alex Jones and David Icke. I refer specifically to a 74 minute video titled: “David Icke Exposes The Great Reset With Alex Jones”. As always, my caveat “Test and Weigh” applies, especially in the case of not one but two controversial characters, berated by many: Icke and Jones. But having listened through the whole show, I am gob smacked how spot on these two are as to what is actually going on the world and joining the dots we are being told cannot be joined, and how in contrast they are with many of the nice Christian types I typically associate with (who have not yet disowned me).
My challenge then is watch with an open mind and then go back to Question 2, and if your answer is NO or, as one pastor friend who believes in modern day prophecy, particularly as applying to church life, might argue, it definitely isn’t those who did predict Trump will win a second term, and while he may be soon eating his words, he might cite the seeming outcome of the recent US election as enough proof that they tick the boxes when it comes to who are the FALSE prophets, just as Jesus said there would be.
I am not going to be drawn into naming true or false prophets, partly because I am not qualified and partly because I want to reflect further and save my thoughts for Part 2. Israel is not the church; the US (or UK) is not Israel. I am sure we can all agree. Even for long periods in Israel’s history they were without a prophetic voice and it seemed when they did have one, their words were timely ones and, besides which, the Almighty is not beholden to any of us as to who, when, why, what, how he raises up prophets etc. One of the Prophets of the Bible stories I like (and there are many) is encapsulated in the verse quoted above. The King of Syria was sending raiding parties into Israel and he was being thwarted each time and it led to him asking the question who was the spy in the camp. It turned out that there was no spy other than Elisha the prophet, who knew exactly what the king’s intentions were, because God told him.
Presumptuous maybe, but as we survey the world around us, with many leaders of the professing church spouting sanctimonious nonsense, I believe God will reveal what is truly going on, in response to the prayers of His people and for His honour and glory, and it will shock us all. I believe God tells us what we need to know through His Word, the Bible, which said leaders often choose to ignore, and just maybe he does it through His prophets today. It may not be the whole story (for that we have to wait for the Day of Judgement and the hereafter), but it will be enough for us to carry on as unprofitable servants that nevertheless can look forward to the endorsement that matters – “well done, good and faithful servant”.
Answer to Question 1:
It is generally reckoned there are nine gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been identified in the NT (just as there were nine fruits). Most reckon on the nine fruits as still being applicable (Faithfulness, Self-Control, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness, Joy, Kindness, Peace, Love), but I see no reason, other than unbelief, fingers burnt in the past, false manifestations in the present etc., why those gifts aren’t also applicable for today:
- The Word of Knowledge
- The Word of Wisdom
- The Gift of Prophecy
- The Gift of Faith
- The Gifts of Healings
- The Working of Miracles
- The Discerning of Spirits
- Different Kinds of Tongues
- The Interpretation of Tongues
PS Some more learned that me will make distinction between gifts like wisdom, knowledge and discernment and that of prophecy and they are right but in my own limited experience they are often inter-related and, when I speak of prophecy, I may well be, maybe without realizing it, describing some of these other gifts.
Answer to Question 2:
Yes, and watch this space for Part 2.
Regarding the image above the “prophets” identified (going clockwise from the top) are:
- Any from a number stereo-typical Hebrew prophet
- David Wilkerson
- Veronica West
- Mark Taylor
- Kim Clement
But the voice we must listen to more than anyone is that of Jesus, our Shepherd!