Are there still prophets in the world today?
No doubt there are people who claim to be prophets. Do you remember Harold Camping of the Family Radio Network? He predicted Jesus was returning in 1994. When Jesus did not return that year, Camping went on to predict Jesus would return in May 2011. In fact, Camping launched a $100 million ad campaign using the slogan “Judgment Day May 21: The Bible guarantees it.” Thousands of families joined him, some to the point of selling their homes and donating their fortunes to the cause.
May 21, 2011, came and went, but Jesus didn’t return. Do you know how Camping handled his clear mistake? He said that Jesus did come back, but that it had been only a “spiritual coming.” He then made another prediction, that Jesus was now going to return on October 21st of that year. But this time Camping said Jesus’ return, “won’t be spiritual…The world is going to be destroyed altogether, but it will be very quick.”
Guess what happened on October 21st, 2011? Nothing.
Well, actually, something did happen. People were very angry, and some sued Camping and Family Radio for fraud. Donations to Camping’s ministry dropped way off, and in March 2012 Religion News Service reported, “Camping, called his erroneous prediction that the world would end last May 21 an ‘incorrect and sinful statement’ and said his ministry is out of the prediction business.” Camping passed away later that year, personally and professionally never recovering from his disgrace.
The problem with Camping’s approach to prophecy, and that of many contemporary prophets, is that they tend to focus on predicting the future. Before, during and after the 2020 Presidential Election, for example, numerous so-called prophets made false predictions about the election’s outcome. What they misunderstand is the actual role of the prophet. Only rarely in Scripture does God give a person supernatural insight into the future. Instead, prophets have a different and important role. We’re going to meet one of those prophets in our continuing study of the Gospel of John. That prophet’s name is also John, John the Baptist. Jesus once called him the greatest prophet, and yet, John was not in the business of predicting the future. Instead, John is one in a long line of godly prophets, prophets that are still around today, believe it or not. In fact, you just might have prophets in your own church family. And we need them.
What am I talking about? I invite you to join me on the blog next week to find out.