modern day prophets, imaginary friends, and mockingbirds – what do they have in common?

photo credit: Miladysparis via photopin cc photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc photo credit: TexasEagle via photopin cc
photo credit: Miladysparis via photopin cc
photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc
photo credit: TexasEagle via photopin cc

Do you believe certain people still have the gift of prophecy?

There were many prophets in biblical times, but are there still?

After Jesus and the disciples, is there still a need for prophecy?

Honestly, I can’t answer your question. I’m not sure anyone can definitively. Some believe there are those who have the gift of prophecy today. Some believe that miraculous gifting (prophecy, healing, speaking in tongues) stopped at the end of the apostolic age (after the original disciples had passed).

But that’s not really what I want to talk about today. Not exactly. I wanted to share with you this amazing book I finished over the weekend. When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey.

The book is about 9-year-old Leah who is a social pariah because of her severe stutter. Her parents move her to a new town, a small town of only ~7000 people, and invite the whole town to her birthday party. It’s the worst birthday gift she can imagine, since she’s no good at making friends and has huge anxiety issues. But what do you know? She makes two new friends at her birthday party: a sweet girl her age who reminds me of Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and Rainbow Man. But no one else can see Rainbow Man, including her new BFF. And Rainbow Man knows things about people and about the future. Things he tells to others through Leah. Good things and bad things. Some believe, some don’t. 

I loved this book. Parts of it were laugh-out-loud funny, literally. But the thing I liked best about it was that it made me think about the prophets in the Old Testament. You remember those guys…Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the minor prophets like Joel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Haggai, Obadiah, Zechariah, Malachi… OK, I’ll stop. Now I’m just name dropping.

Anyway, these guys were cool. God told them things and their job was to convey His message to whomever He specified. It’s easy to look back and respect these men who were the mouthpieces of God. We knew they were prophets, but the people at the time didn’t.

When Mockingbirds Sing made me think about prophets from another perspective. If you didn’t know for sure that these men were prophets of God and they were running around doing crazy things like marrying prostitutes, living naked in the wilderness, lying outside their tent on one side for like 300 days and on the other side for 70, and all sorts of other things, would you believe what they said? Have you ever seen street preachers yelling for you to Repent! because the end is near? Do you take them seriously?

Or what about Jesus? People in His home town rejected Him. He even told His disciples “But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” ~Luke 4:24

Back to the book…I’m not going to tell you whether little Leah is a modern day prophet. I’m not going to tell you whether the Rainbow Man is real or good. That would spoil the book, and you really want to read this one. But what I will say is that people have a tendency to like and follow God when the future looks bright. When things turn dark, when the call is to repent and watch your ways, to obey before it’s too late, that’s when people had a tendency to dismiss the prophets. Everyone likes to receive good news, no one wants the other kind.

It’s not so different today. As Christians, we know what’s going to happen. We know how the world will end. We just don’t know when. But it doesn’t take a prophet to know that each day that passes is one day closer to Jesus’ return.

So, what do I think, you ask? Are there still prophets today?

I don’t think there are any Prophets today. There isn’t a need for them. Jesus and His disciples gave us the prophecy that we need in the Bible. Does that mean people can’t prophecy today? Sure they can, if God wants them to. In the end, it’s up to Him. And it’s up to us whether or not we believe the person claiming to prophecy. Just like it was up to every character whether to believe Leah in When Mockingbirds Sing.

So what do you think? Do people still prophecy today? Is there a difference between a Prophet and a prophet? Ever known anyone to prophecy and it to come true? or not come true? Tell us! Inquiring minds want to know…

6 thoughts on “modern day prophets, imaginary friends, and mockingbirds – what do they have in common?

  1. I do believe Christians can still have the gift of prophecy. I just don’t think it’s necessarily garbed the way we expect with people predicting the future or standing on street corners preaching loudly to passersby. See here: http://iblp.org/questions/what-spiritual-gift-prophecy My husband has the gift of prophecy although we frequently use the terminology “gift of discernment” or “judgement” as that seems more understandable. He has a God-given ability to read people – to know their sincerity and cut to the core of their motivations and heart. And he usually knows exactly what to say to call people on their bologna and/or advise them how to deal with situations. He is also aware of the weaknesses that come with the gift – how easy it is to become cocky or judgmental. It’s nothing magical or instantaneous or even infallible. But he has a very clear & definite gift.

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    1. Hey, Sparks. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      I’m not sure that prophecy and discernment/judgment are the same thing. In the OT, prophets were people that spoke for God. If what your husband has is the spiritual gift of prophecy, it sounds different that what the prophets did in the OT. Is there a distinction, do you think?

      I guess if you think of prophecy as being the gift of foretelling (what will happen in the future) and forth-telling (what your husband seems to demonstrate), then perhaps foretelling has gone away, but forth-telling is still alive and well?

      The book, and my questions, were dealing with foretelling. I’m glad you pointed me to the definition and shared about your husband. That is certainly food for thought.

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      1. I think they are two sides to the same coin. Prophets spoke truth and called people on their sin. “Prophecy means much more than to foretell the future. It also means “to speak the truth” or “to proclaim.” Very seldom does the Lord God reveal a future event to us. The motivational gift of prophecy is primarily concerned with speaking forth the truth. The Word of God helps us to understand characteristics and avoid misunderstandings associated with the gift of prophecy, and it shows us how we use that gift when we walk in the Spirit.” Dr. Charles Stanley – http://www.intouch.org/you/article-archive/content?topic=the_gift_of_prophecy_article

        Incidentally, I asked my hubs once a few months ago if he’d ever foreseen anything and he has, twice, years ago. But they were small, odd things, almost like a dream. And it was personal, something he had never shared with anyone.

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  2. Not sure exactly what I think about the prophets question–I’ll have to think on that. But I do want to read this book! My daughter read it and said it was really good! I loaded up more book for the church library but I kept this one. Now I REALLY want to read it.

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