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Question #330

Do you believe the church should teach prophecy?

Do you believe the church should teach prophecy? The Bible clearly says that "prophecy, however, is for believers(1 Cor 14:22)" and that the "testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy(Rev 19:10)" But I don’t see it being taught and from personal experience, it has greatly increased my faith to stand firm in these last days.

The Answer:

This question is answered “Absolutely!” However, the reasons given for the question have some faulty assumptions. First, it assumes that the “prophecy” of 1 Cor. 14:22 is the same as that which should be taught today. It is not. The prophecy of 1 Cor. 14 is miraculous; there is no such prophecy today. See “Class:Questions,” The Holy Spirit, Lesson 12, and “Questions and Answers,” No. 138 on this website. The same mistake is made with Revelation 19:10. The context is John’s bowing before an angel. He is told to arise because the angel is a fellow servant alongside John and his brethren. He is then instructed to worship God, and the reason given is “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” This phrase can refer to either our testimony concerning Jesus or to the testimony of Jesus to himself and to his Father. In the latter case it would point to Jesus’ always doing that which was the Father’s will and thereby glorifying the Father. Thus we are instructed to follow the practice of Jesus and properly worship and glorify God. In the former case the language would indicate that Jesus was the heart and soul of prophecy. This seems to comport more with the context; the angel had just spoken of those who “have the testimony of Jesus.” The message would then be that the heart and aim of prophecy was Jesus. This comports with all of scripture from the primal Messianic prophecy in Genesis 3:15 to the concluding Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah in Malachi.

In the proper sense prophecy is being taught constantly. The fulfillment of the prophecies of Jesus’ birth, life, and death are studied and adored in amazement that such detailed predictions could be made hundreds of years before his birth, life, death, and resurrection. The fulfillment of the prophecies of the coming kingdom or church is proclaimed in its fulfillment and our blessing as members of that church and citizens of that kingdom is taught. The coming fulfillment of Jesus’ return to judge the world is proclaimed on a regular basis. In fact, the only Biblical prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled is the second coming of Christ, final judgment, and eternal life for the redeemed and eternal separation from God for those who disobeyed him. 2 Thess. 2:12.

I cannot speak to your personal experience since you did not describe or define it. However, I can tell you that if you are talking about some inspired present-day prophecy that came to you from some source other than the word of God or some present-day prophecy that those to whom you listen have claimed to have had, you have been deceived. The scripture teaches that there is no such present-day prophecy.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)