This morning, which reading my news feed over at Facebook, I came across an interesting thread by a friend of mine who was knocking all modern prophecies saying they won't listen to them as they're outside the bible. I can understand where they come from on this topic, but I respectfully disagree, and I will show how the bible actually allows for modern prophecy within a given context. But first, let's learn what it considers valid prophecy and what is not.
1) If a prophecy that's given outside the bible (ie, modern prophecy, or something not recorded in the pages of scripture) does not agree with the bible, or contradicts it in any way, it is automatically considered false. This is the quickest and fastest way to disqualify a prophecy or permit it to undergo further scrutiny. Now, on the other hand, if a prophecy IS NOT specifically spoken for or against by the bible (ie, the bible says nothing about it, or the subject is a gray area) then the prophecy must be discerned using 1 John 4:1 as the template. IE, look at the person giving the prophecy, what it's about, timing, etc and use that to help you determine if it's a good or bad prophecy.
2) If someone who claims to be a prophet makes multiple "official" prophecies (don't mistake official stuff from God for personal guesses or theories on things from the individual) and gets everything right but misses even one, per the bible he's disqualified. In the old days they disqualified them via stoning. Today we simply turn them off and ignore them. So, back then, if you got a prophecy from God you didn't dare open your mouth unless you were dead certain it was from Him. Believe me when I say that it had the desired effect of stomping out false prophecy, but ONLY when the people were holy. When they were ungodly, false prophets reigned supreme and the true prophets were the ones kicked to the curb. Think about that a bit when you consider our modern world.
3) True prophets of God are Godly men AND women. While the majority of prophets were men, the bible does indicate that there were women prophets, although they seemed to take a lesser position in the cannon of scripture. Even so the bible still shows that they held a place of importance, even if they were seen as being less valuable or lower than men.
4) True prophets in the bible were almost always (although there were exceptions) were looked down upon, hated, had hard lives, difficult upbringings, had flaws and failings (Elijah had depression) crushed greatly by God (look at all that happened to Ezekiel before God gave him his prophecies) first BEFORE they were used by Him. There were a few incidental prophets that were used without crushing, but the general precedent was that you were first crushed greatly, and THEN you were used greatly. John Paul Jackson expressed this idea well when he said "You don't get a one ton blessing without a one ton attack." Another thing to remember about the prophets of God is that they all bore great fruit for the Lord, and I mean GREAT. Like, way above the average believer kinda great. So if someone claims to be a prophet and there's not much fruit, or it's just plain rotten, one should immediately question if they're really a prophet at all.
5) All prophets are given two types of prophecy: Short or immediate term, and long term. Short term prophecies are meant to validate the prophet and prove that what they're saying is from God by allowing some prophecies given by them to be fulfilled in their lifetime, allowing you to know they're a legitimate prophet of God. The long term prophecies are then given so people know well in advance what's coming so they, and future generations can't claim they didn't know that God had said it was coming as there was plenty of time given for everyone to hear about it.
6) All prophecies fit into two categories: Conditional and Fixed. Conditional prophecies (sometimes referred to as "warning" prophecies) are those which are dependent upon a series of events unfolding in order for them to be fulfilled. One of the most popular conditions in the bible is repentance. These types of prophecies were given when, if a condition was met, the prophecy would unfold, and if it wasn't met, the prophecy would not happen. For example, judgment on a nation is often a conditional prophecy. If the nation repents, the judgment will not happen. If they don't, the judgment will fall as predicted. Fixed prophecies on the other hand don't have conditions for their execution. They are only give guidelines of what to look for to know they are about to be fulfilled. Although, in some cases, no markers are given to indicate the fulfillment of part or all of the prophecy.
The book of Jeremiah contains great examples of both types of prophecies. Daniel and Ezekiel also contain both kinds as well. One example of a conditional prophecy in the book of Daniel is the dream of Nebuchadnezzar about the giant tree that was cut down, signifying his soon coming removal from the throne for 7 years of punishment and humbling. The fulfillment of that prophecy was conditional on his repentance. Since he didn't repent, it unfolded. His dream of the statue however is a fixed prophecy, and is one of those which lacks any clear notations on when the events will unfold.
7) Of the prophecies given to men and women, there are two focuses: Local and Regional. Localized prophecies deal with very small geographic areas or groups, such as individuals, families, neighborhoods, homesteads, small tracts of land, and so on upwards to, but not always including cities, however they never go beyond that. Usually if the prophecy covers more than the area of a village or a few hundred people, it's considered a regional prophecy. So cities, depending on their size, kinda sit on the fence between these two areas of focus.
So, with all that said, allow me to conclude with this. Don't be so quick to discount modern prophecy. I admit that I've seen much of it fall flat and fail repeatedly. However, I've also seen other modern prophecies get fulfilled to the letter, while at the same time also clearly agreeing with the bible to the letter. I've even seen some that the bible is completely silent on, yet come to pass to the letter. Also, remember this, in the old days when prophecies were given, they were initially considered extra-biblical because they hadn't as yet been added to the cannon of scripture, or proven to be of Godly origin. So therefore, as in the old days we should be discerning with ALL prophecy we hear, and clearly set a dividing line between what is biblical, and what is not. There are two chief reasons for this.
1) The bible IS NOT complete. If you study it closely you will realize that there are things in there which have not yet been revealed or given by God which are yet future. In fact, if you look even at the book of Revelation you will see that there are still more books to come at a yet later date, most likely during the Millennium, but NOT before. So any book written after 96ad (ie, when Revelation, the last book of the current bible cannon, was written) and the second coming of Christ. No other books, except what is in present bible cannon, are valid, especially not the Apocrypha. And if you think I'm loony, consider this. There are presently 66 books in the bible, yet God deals quite regularly in 7's?
So if He deals in sevens, why isn't there 77 books? I have a simple answer. 6 is the number of man. 7 is the number of God. Man gets 6000 years, God gets the last 1000. IE, 7000 years. A simple look at Revelation gives credence to that thought when you look at the statement about the 7 thunders. That's spoken (or soon to be) gospel truth, but it wasn't allowed to be recorded. Why? I think it's God way of saying that the cannon of scripture is not yet complete, and won't be until after Jesus returns. Nor can it be. So yes, there will be more books, but NOT until the perfect kingdom of Christ. Until then what we have is all we have as far as scripture, but NOT of prophecy.
2) If you look at the book of Revelation and its key trailing verse, chapter 22, verse 19, it says (NIV) "And if anyone takes words away from *this* scroll of prophecy," or (KJV) "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of *this* prophecy" (emphasis mine). Notice anything interesting? It says "this scroll" and "this book". This. That's very specific. Most of you have probably been reading this verse wrong for years, or even taking the word of your preachers as gospel fact without researching things for yourself. The verse doesn't say that nothing should, can or shall be added or remove from the bible as a whole. It says THIS book, and THIS prophecy and THIS scroll. It's referring to the book of Revelation ONLY. Remember, the current day bible we have wasn't compiled until AFTER that book was written. So that verse only applies to the book of Revelation itself.
Our modern day bible wasn't compiled in its current form until sometime around 250ad, while the book of Revelation itself was written way back around AD 96. So from that date forward until it was included in bible cannon, it was merely a letter of prophecy and not an official book of the bible. Up until 250ad the only bible that believers had was the Old Testament, which was used as the official bible of the church, while the letters themselves, what we call the New Testament, in turn were kept as extra teachings, but they were not treated as official bible cannon until much later. So the statement at the end of the book, while applicable to the bible in general, as it's a wise thing to do and observe in order to keep the purity of the scriptures, it's only referring directly to the book of Revelation.
But then again, if you read the other scriptures, the same rule has generally been in place since Moses penned the first five books of the bible. I could go into a whole teaching on this, but I don't think you have four hours for me to do that, so I'll leave it at that and let you do the research on that in your own time if you're so inclined. Now, as for my thoughts on the bible, do I believe that the bible should be expanded and other books added? ABSOLUTELY NOT! There's a reason we have exactly 66 books, and no more or no less. It's God's way of saying, "Here's all you get for now during the age of man. Use it wisely. And while it's not complete, and there's still more to come, this is all you get for now."
Understand this, the idea of more books being added to the bible is not new. Any good theologian will tell you, the bible is a progressive revelation. If it's progressive, shouldn't that indicate that there is still yet future a time when more might, can, and will be added? Ponder that as well while you do your bible study. Another thing, in relation to this topic is this. First off, I don't believe any books that were written after 96ad are valid books that should be added to the bible. New scriptures ceased to appear after 96AD when Revelation was written, and none will again until AFTER the Second Coming happens. At that point I expect another 11 books to appear in the bible cannon, one of which will be the "Acts of the Tribulation Saints" (that my theorized name, and not an actual revealed name. It's just a theory at this time and nothing more, so don't stone me).
Another one of the books I know for a fact will be there is the new book of Leviticus that will outline all the rules, laws, sacrifices, and other requirements that Millennials will have to abide buy during the Millennial reign. The bible even clearly says that there will be a restoration of the sacrifices, feasts, and other things, but in a new way and with new meaning and purpose. So by nature that would need to be written down, thus creating a new book that will be added to bible cannon. So right there off the bat is two books of the eleven I can foresee coming. What the other nine are, I have no idea. Even so I have my theories, none of which I will share at this time.
Anyhow, that's my thoughts on this. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to lay everything out so you guys could understand where I'm coming from on this. So in short, don't just automatically throw out all modern prophecy, or the modern prophets. Deal with each prophecy and prophet in the exact same way that God has commanded us to do. IE, test the spirits to see if they're true. After all, if God's speaking, and He is in fact doing it through modern prophets and prophecies, do we really want to risk missing what God is saying to us, or perhaps warning us about? I for one sure don't. I've already missed His voice far too many times in the past and don't plan to continue repeating that error.
Oh, and one last thing. Prophecy is the foretelling of events to come. If God has personally told you about ANYTHING that was still future, be it something in your life or someone else's by either an audible voice, a dream, or some other means, that by nature qualifies as a prophecy. And if that qualifies as a prophecy, doesn't that mean God is still giving prophecy? Think about that for a while. :)