The prophet Joel, in speaking of the time "before the great and the terrible day of the LORD" gave the Lord's message, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" Joel 2:31, 28. We are living in that time period. Can we expect prophets in the end time? According to Joel, yes we can. In speaking of the last days, Jesus stated "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" Matthew 24:11. A warning of false prophets indicates the presence of true prophets.
Last week and today we have looked at various verses confirming the Biblical fact that there will be the prophetic gift in the last days. We also find that we must beware of false prophets. How are we to distinguish between the false and the true to avoid being deceived? God has given us clear tests to apply. All must be present.
The true prophet will always lead to obedience to God's will (Deuteronomy 13:1-4). Unless conditional, all their prophecies will come to pass (Jeremiah 28:8, 9). "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" Isaiah 8:20. We have to know the Word to test a prophet. If we don't study for ourselves, we could easily be deceived. "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God" 1 John 4:3. Christ must be central. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits" Matthew 7:15, 16. Is their life marked by self exaltation, greed, and pride, or do they reveal a Christ like character? 1 Corinthians 12:27, 28 tells us that Christ bestows the gift of prophecy within the church.
The blessing of the prophetic gift will endure until Jesus comes. We can recognize the true gift of prophecy in one who: is part of God's church, lifts up Christ, shows a Christ like character, chooses obedience to God's will, and shares messages which are fulfilled and are consistent with God's law and testimony. Praise the Lord, not only for the gift, but for the identifying marks that we need not be deceived.
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church.