Modern day prophets

In class we discussed the definition and roles of prophets.  Considering the characteristics of prophets that we talked about, do you believe that there are modern day prophets?  Can you think of an example of one?

Also, the prophets in ancient times were severely persecuted.  People sometimes probably thought that they were crazy.  How would we as a society treat a prophet if he or she lived in our own time?

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About Jeremy

I work at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, LA. I teach part-time classes from time to time, through Loyola University in New Orleans, Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and St. Joseph's Abbey and Seminary College. I also just finished a doctoral degree in Biblical languages through the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.
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27 Responses to Modern day prophets

  1. Darrinton Moncrieffe says:

    I think that in modern times there are prophets but it is hard to distinguish between the people who are actually prophets and the people who think they are prophets. Being a prophet has become a lot more accepted in modern times so many people try to say they are one. The other day I was walking down the street and a guy came up to me and started prophesying about the work god wanted me to do when I graduate. I don’t know whether to believe this guy of not because this has happened to me several times during my life and each person has said a different thing .

  2. Jade Tang says:

    Yes, it is very possible that there are modern day prophets, but as the person above me stated, it is extremely hard to distinguish between someone who speaks the truth or someone just being absurd. Especially in New Orleans, there are a lot of drunks who have a tendency to walk up to me and tell me things prophecy related, and the sole fact that they are drunk makes me completely disregard what they are saying. Today, I don’t believe that anyone would get persecuted for being a “prophet” because most views are widely accepted, and there are freedoms of expression to a certain degree. It’s hard to believe that a prophet would be saying anything that outlandish for a group of people to attack the prophet unlike old times.

  3. Jessica Williams says:

    I think leaders of churches can in some ways be seen as prophets, because they are preaching messages that relate to their congregation at that time, somewhat like the prophets in the Bible did. The main difference between today’s preachers and the prophets back then is that prophets usually only showed up when there were times of great unrest/worry/anguish, to offer the message from God to the people.

    I think the way we would treat prophets would depend on how well they can validate themselves. Most people want “proof” that there is something divine at work.

  4. Heejoong "PK" Kim says:

    If a prophet is defined as a person who says God’s words, I think today you can apply prophets to leaders in churches such as the pastor. However, if you define a prophet as a person who foretells the future, it is very hard to find someone who’s accepted by a majority of population as a “fortune teller.” I think the society today has become a lot worse in dealing with people called “prophets” especially if they are people who can foretell the future. In Christianity, most churches treat people who can foresee the future as heresies, and thus do not accept the message. Christianity stems entirely from what is in the bible, and if someone presents a message outside of the bible, it would be considered false and untrue. Today, I believe the prophets would receive almost identical treatment as in the past.

  5. Caitlin Ordoyne says:

    I believe that today there could be modern day prophets. We would have trouble determining who was really a prophet and spoke the truth and who was not a prophet in the modern day. A modern day prophet could probably be someone in a religious affiliation that preached the word of the bible. We as a society would treat a prophet with skepticism if he or she lived in our own time. I don’t think that prophets would be severely persecuted as they were in ancient times, but people today would still view these so called prophets as crazy. People today would also make the prophets prove that they really were one.

  6. Dylan Kremer says:

    It is possible that there are modern day prophets, however, if someone told you they speak to God would you really believe them? In current times there are many liars and cons so you have to be careful when discerning between a fake or a real prophet. I honestly can not think of any day modern prophets besides Martin Luther King Jr.

  7. Cameron Cates says:

    I think there are different types of prophets in today’s time. Not necessarily prophets who claim that they hear the lord but people that do great things for the greater good of society. Such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa. I think these are the types of people that are modern day prophets. Similarly there are people who disagree with what they do just as the prophets in the bible. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot for example because someone disagreed with what he was doing. Modern day prophets do not necessarily spread the lord’s message but they spread a good message and act as people should act.

  8. Whittney Smith says:

    Honestly, there aren’t any modern prophets in existence. At least there aren’t any true prophets today. In my opinion, religion isn’t in as high regard as it was in biblical times so prophets today wouldn’t take their “callings” as serious as Isaiah or Jeremiah did. In society today, we might treat a prophet worse than in biblical times because we would definitely believe their crazy and try to diagnose them with some type of brain dysfunction. The only exception would be that we would slowly kill them with drugs and over the counter medicines than just stoning them to death. Haha.

  9. Paige Hinrichs says:

    No, I do not think that there can be any such thing as a modern day prophet. Everyone claims to know more than they actually do regardless of what they are talking about. In ancient times, people looked to these prophets for knowledge from the Lord, but in today’s world most people either think that God doesn’t exist or that they know all the right answers, and don’t need to look to him for help. Even if there were prophets today, no one would know. How could we distinguish from a true prophet and the crazy cult people on street corners wearing poster signs? And in today’s anything-can-be-solved-with-a-pretty-pill world, even if someone did think they were a true prophet, they would just be drugged up and sent to a psych ward.

  10. Jeffrey Ramon says:

    My apologies to any followers of this religion, but modern day prophets can be seen in the following of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This group is rather known for their ability o drive to go door to door handing out pamphlets about God’s interaction in our lives so that we can relate to this pamphlet. Once we relate, we enter this group, then the “secrets” about their understanding of the coming of the Lord are revealed.

    Also, just a question to think about, is there anyone in class who would classify Adolf Hitler at a modern day prophet? My answer is yes, but I was just wondering who would potentially agree and why.

    • Jeremy says:

      Jeff,
      That’s a good point that you bring up. “prophets” aren’t necessarily good. In the OT there are true prophets and false prophets.

      I think a number of others bring up another good point. How does one distinguish the true prophet from the false prophet? In the OT this depended on whether or not the prophet’s message actually came to pass.

  11. Marielly Abzun says:

    Prophets in this modern day and age I believe still exist. A prophet communicates with God and delivers his message. In a certain way Priests do this and could be considered prophets. A more specific example of a modern day prophet would be Martin Luther King Jr. I believe people who claim to be prophets are still viewed as being crazy and are still procecuted in certain ways. Martin Luther King Jr was condemned and his views of equality were not accepted by the majority until after his death. Although this is an extreme case, if someone were to come up to me and tell me they were a prophet, I would not believe him, because that is just how society is today.

  12. Taifa Goff says:

    I believe that their are modern day prophets, people who carry out God’s word and teach people about what’s going on in their community. I’m not sure if I know any modern day prophets besides pastors. Their job is to get the word of God, preach and teach it to the people all while incorporating it with the modern society. I probably would be very skeptical of someone in this day and age claiming to be a prophet. I would feel as if they should prove themselves to me and others just to make sure that what he or she is saying is true. I wouldn’t think that modern day prophets are crazy, simply because I listen to my pastor and if he’s a crazy prophet, then that would make me just as crazy for believing him!

  13. Chris Bauer says:

    I think that there are many examples of people who are prophets in our modern day, a lot of whom have been killed or spoken out against. The first that comes to my mind is Gandhi. He did a lot to bring India together and become a better nation. I think though that most people I would consider as a modern prophet though are community and church leaders that are not widely known or acknowledged.

  14. Ruth Carter says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments I have seen thus far. I don’t think that prophets would be treated any better in modern times and if anything I think that they would potentially be treated worse. I think that people who claim to be prophets today are usually seen as crazy or drunk. I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that there has not been a legitimate prophet in a long time and money is a greater motivator in today’s society, which causes people to pretend to be prophets as a way to get money from their followers.

  15. Dante says:

    I believe a modern day prophet would be any kind of analyzer. Someone who looks over things to see what would be the next best move, like for finances or politics. These individuals live among us like anyone else. If they were to give bad advice, they may find themselves unable to find work, but not shunned or stoned.

  16. Alexis English says:

    I personally do not think that there are modern day prophets. The only people who I would possibly consider to be prophets are priests, but if someone less credible than a priest were to tell me that they were a prophet I wouldn’t believe them. I would just see them as being a little bit crazy. And in modern times I think many people who claim to be prophets are often leaders of cults with bad intentions.

  17. Philip O. Ramirez says:

    I just like many of my classmates agree that i am not really aware of any modern person that could be considered a prophet. Maybe because as a modern society we tend to classify those people that claim to be prophets as mentally challenged individuals and those as a society we tend to ignore them. Perhaps there are individuals out there that fall under the category of being a prophet but because as a society we don’t want to accept that, they just don’t use the title of being a prophet for fear of being ostracized. Like many of my classmates i think that if indeed there are modern prophets, they wouldn’t be treated any better. Perhaps not stoned or killed, but they would definitely be psychologically evaluated and put under custody of a psychiatric institution.

  18. Amber says:

    I think there are modern day prophets, but I feel like for the most part they are just as insignificant as they were in the times of the Bible. Very rarely do you hear of a prophet being recognized for actually making a difference while they are still living. Usually it isn’t until they have died that people realize that what they were all about. Still, I have to agree with some of the comments above, I, too, would be very skeptical of someone who told me they held conversation with God on the regular.

  19. Naomi Stewart-Rubik says:

    I don’t believe there are any modern day prophets. Anyone who claims to have such a strong connection to or understanding of God , is often labeled as fundamentalist or extreme. In society today, a prophet would be ostracized. It is often hard to trust people and their motives in the world today. A prophet today would have an extremely difficult time trying to prove themselves, and gaining followers.

  20. Melissa Raymond says:

    I think that there definitely are prophets today, however I think that no one would agree upon who they are becuase there are SO many differnt opinions about right and wrong, good and bad, my ‘God’ vs. your ‘God’, etc.

    Prophets speak what THEY believe is true, and they are sometimes extremely persecuted. For some reason, gay rights keep coming to my mind. Any gay rights leader is preaching what they believe to be true, and in turn are severely persecuted by many people. This idea relates to my opinion that there can be modern prophets, it would just be too difficult for everyone to agree on who they are.

  21. Alex Hall says:

    One group of people who act like Prophets are televangelists. They have what they feel is a message from God. They believe that by spreading that message they will in some way better society. Consequently, they do all that they can to spread that message, namely build up networks of followers and preach their message to large groups of people. They are met with two responses. The first is that people accept and embrace their message. The second group is the group of people who write Televangelists off ass crazy, or eccentric. These responses are similar to how prophets were received in the Bible.

  22. John Hickey says:

    I think that today there are people who can be considered prophets. One example of a person who maybe considered a prophet is anyone would gives advice or consol to someone. This types of people could include authors, and weather forecasters, and scientists. In our day and age if some heard prophets of the past, the would be taken to a mental institution because the claimed to hear a voices in there head.

  23. Robin Takami Tanner says:

    If we’re talking about a prophet as someone who can directly see and assess a current worldly situation and know what would be the best solution for the benefit of all then yes, I think there are prophets out there. The people who publicly claim themselves to be prophets are absolutely not prophets, in my opinion, because the ability to directly see a situation for one, and to know how to best fix it would both require a person who is not prophesying for the purposes of self-promotion or self-advancement but rather for the true benefit of all, which comes from a full fledged realization of selflessness. Saying things to inflate one’s ego is and of itself an obstruction which blinds one from seeing reality exactly as it is. Perhaps the Dalai Lama is one such candidate for being a prophet, but I think what is more important are our actions and efforts, and knowing that life is a constant process of learning and becoming more compassionate and generous, rather than striving for some ideal of perfection or title.

  24. Sean Hart says:

    Marcus Garvey is considered by Rastafarians as a prophet. He was a writer and started the Black Star Line company, which was a boat designed to take black-americans back to Africa. He believed and preached that a black messiah would come from africa. When Haile Selassie came to power, many people saw him as the king that Garvey was talking about, and began to worship him. He was definitely persecuted in his time. Many people thought he was crazy and he had many critics.

  25. Robin Takami Tanner says:

    To answer the second part of the question, we as a society have a tendency to label and disregard people we have trouble understanding as either being crazy or full of b.s. because it keeps society as we know it in order. It is the perceived path of least resistance. Prophets can fall into this category and are marginalized because what they preach is change and by definition, change goes against the current grain and such content can be hard for an audience to understand and digest.

  26. Andrew McDaniel says:

    In my mind, a prophet is an individual who speaks the word of G-d and who does G-d’s will. With that being said, I believe we live amongst many prophets today and that we all may know a few. No one is perfect. Even the prophets in the Bible had flaws and doubted G-d at some points in their lives. I believe I have met and know a few people that I would consider profits. While they aren’t perfect, the dedicate their lives to spreading G-d’s love through all of their words and actions. In my mind this qualifies them to be profits. They may not claim to be prophets themselves, but I feel that in our society today the term profit has become synonymous with a person in Biblical times who went against all odds to promote the word of G-d. There was a lot more at risk to be a prophet in Biblical times. In our current society, especially in the U.S., it is much easier to be a prophet. I feel like that means there a lot of prophets amongst us everywhere, they’re just not claiming the name.

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