Question:

Hi Jeff,

I hope you have been doing well.

Recently I've been particularly confused about visions or prophetic dreams. I've been hearing a lot about people claiming to have had 'visions' or dreams of the Rapture or coming day of Judgement, and many of them, in particular, have been recent. The most notable one that I know of is Bill Wiese's experience of going to Hell for 23 minutes. Many others claim to have had similar experiences, and they talk about them with such emotion (they are videos). These really gave me the impression that they couldn't be lying.

But I have read some of your articles regarding this issue explaining how the time of prophecy ended at the completion of the law. Which you said was according to I Corinthians 13:8-13. However, what about the book of Revelation? Wasn't it written after Corinthians? Or did John, the man who had the visions in that book experience them long before it was written? I have a study Bible that gives the approximate time periods when each book was completed. Corinthians around A.D. 55, and Revelations around A.D. 95.

Have I been sorely mistaken?

Answer:

You are correct that I Corinthians was written around A.D. 55 and Revelation was written somewhere between A.D. 92-95. What you are mistaken about is thinking that Paul's statement about the end of prophecy would come immediately after I Corinthians was written.

"Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away" (I Corinthians 13:8-10).

At the time I Corinthians was written, Paul stated that prophecy would end in the future. The marker indicating when prophecy would end was when the perfect comes. "Perfect" is in the neuter in Greek, meaning it refers to some thing and not some person. We know that James 1:25 refers to the New Testament as the perfect law of liberty. Jude 3 indicates that God's teachings would be delivered once for all people and all time. Revelation is the last of the inspired books and historically, it was about that time that mentions of miracles happening ended.

The writer of Hebrews said, "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world" (Hebrews 1:1-2). In the past, God used a variety of methods to deliver His message to mankind, such as the use of angels, prophets, dreams, and visions. However, in the Christian age, God speaks to us only through Jesus. And Jesus had the Holy Spirit come to have the apostles record His teachings (John 14:16-17; 16:12-15). Thus, the New Testament is Jesus' talking to us.

It is easy to claim to have a message from God. How can anyone prove you wrong since they cannot read your mind? But John told us, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). God never expected people to just accept a claim of a message. He backed up the prophet's words with signs and wonders. "After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will" (Hebrews 2:3-4).

Moses told the children of Israel that there were two tests to validate whether a person was a prophet. In Deuteronomy 18:21-22, the first test is that what a prophet states always comes true. This is because the prophet is relaying God's word and God is unable to lie (Titus 1:2). The second test is in Deuteronomy 13:1-5. When a prophet speaks, his words are always consistent with what God has already revealed. Notice that not one of the tests for a prophet involves a subjective judgment about the sincerity of the man claiming to have a message from God. People lie. Some people lie very sincerely. Apparent sincerity doesn't tell me whether a person is a prophet or not.

I find no confirming evidence that what Bill Wiese or those like him claim is actually true. But I do note that their claims contradict what God said through Paul regarding the end of prophecy. I believe God over men any day.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email