Is it proper for someone to call himself a prophet, or to claim to have “the gift of prophecy,” today? There seem to be many who do.
The only ones calling themselves prophets at this time in this present dispensation of God’s grace are ones who are self-professed prophets, but not genuine prophets of God at all. The genuine role and function of the prophets at the beginning of this dispensation was because they possessed the gift of prophecy, just as Paul teaches for example in I Corinthians 12-14. This particular gift, along with the rest of the spiritual gifts that were given and functioning at that time, were needed at the beginning of this dispensation until the “more excellent way” arrived with the completion of God’s written word and the perfect knowledge status that it would provide. The gifts were only given by God, and only functioned, during the time when “that which is perfect” had not yet come. “That which is perfect,” as the context of I Corinthians 13 makes plain, is the perfect knowledge state that would exist when all the doctrine God had to reveal for this dispensation was revealed, and it was written down so that God’s written word was fulfilled.
That this would happen during the very lifetime of the Corinthians saints themselves is also clear, for Paul’s corrective doctrine on the overall subject of the spiritual gifts prepared them for the time when the gifts would “be done away” and they themselves would be operating upon the “more excellent way” brought in by the perfect, completed written word of God. And the gifts certainly were “done away,” just as Paul taught. For though when he wrote I Corinthians he referred to the giving of the gifts as a present tense issue that was going on at the time he wrote, he no longer did this in his later epistles. For example in his later epistle of Ephesians, in particular 4:7-16, (where he specifically deals with the perfect knowledge status of the “more excellent” way that had then arrived), he refers to what Christ had done in giving the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers as a past tense event. Wherefore Paul says, “And he gave some…” in verse 11.
So then the temporary time of the giving and functioning of the gifts was now over. The “more excellent way” spoken about and looked forward to earlier on in I Corinthians 12-14 had now arrived. Therefore that which was in part was now “done away.”
For this reason also Paul repeatedly talks in his later epistles about the “all” knowledge and wisdom status that now exists for us, along with the issue of us being ‘perfect men’ in our edification and no more ‘children.’ Once again the very immature and partial knowledge state that existed earlier on, which by its nature demanded the giving and function of spiritual gifts, now no longer was in existence. The “more excellent way” had arrived. The full revelation of knowledge for us had arrived, and with Paul’s later epistles it was being committed to the written word of God, and the word of God was being “fulfilled” by him, just as Paul states in Colossians 1.
So with this being the case, the gift of prophecy in particular was no longer given by God for it was no longer needed. It had fulfilled its function with the ones to whom it was given at the beginning of this dispensation, and it has been superseded by the perfect, completed written word of God, just as God planned for and designed to take place.
Therefore there have been no genuine prophets, or genuine possessors of the gift of prophecy, in this dispensation of grace since Paul began writing his later epistles. All others throughout this dispensation of grace and down to the present time who would call themselves prophets, or claim to have the gift of prophecy, or are called prophets by others, are either self-deceived or deceived by others into so thinking of themselves as such. Moreover they are also wittingly or unwittingly cooperating with the Satanic policy of evil against the written word of God by their actions.
The next time a genuine prophet of God will exist and function on the earth will be after God concludes this present dispensation of His grace, at which time He will resume and fulfill His program and dealings with Israel. The final installment in God’s program with Israel yet to come will see the function of some prophets whose particular role and function will have to do with bringing God’s final condemning indictment upon the rebelliousness and contrariness of Israel’s apostate religious system.
– K.R. Blades