If you believe in the Bible, answer me this–where are the prophets and apostles? From Adam down to Jesus Christ there were prophets. It’s how we got the Old Testament. After Christ there were the apostles, and Peter was essentially a prophet as well. But somewhere in the hundred or so years after Christ the apostles disappeared. If God were a loving God, why would he give the ancient people prophets and apostles when hardly anyone lived on the earth, and today when there are billions of people on the earth provide no such direction? Sure, we have the Bible and the ancient people didn’t, but there’s a big difference between having a book with the words of ancient prophets and having a living prophet who talks directly to God about the issues facing people today. As great as the Bible is, there are a lot of questions people have that aren’t answered by the Bible, and a lot of people who read the Bible disagree on what the Bible means.
Can you give any logical reason why God wouldn’t have prophets and apostles on earth today vs. thousands of years ago? Does the Bible itself say there would be an end to prophets and apostles? If it does state or insinuate such a thing, doe it state that prophets and apostles would never return?
Parley P. Pratt, one of the first apostles in this dispensation, asked this question quite well, albeit rather verbosely. This is an excerpt from the outline from a presentation he gave in the 1830’s to a group of Christian “truth-seekers” in Toronto, Canada.
“Friends, I am aware that the subject now under consideration is one of the most vital importance to the Christian world, and, though it may seem to be new to most persons, it is familiar to me. I have traced it in all its bearings, weighed it in every possible light, and am prepared to impart to others that which, I trust, will satisfy and enlighten the inquiring mind.
“It appears from our text, as well as from the general tenor of the New Testament, that certain definite principles existed, which, acted upon and enjoyed, constituted the Christian Church, or body of Christ, viz:
“First. An inspired priesthood or apostleship, authorized to administer salvation in the name of Jesus.
“Second. Faith in their words and testimony, on the part of those who heard them.
“Third. Reformation of life.
“Fourth. Obedience to certain ordinances, as baptism and the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ, in order to the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
“Fifth. The spiritual gifts imparted to the body thus organized, in order to its edification, growth and perfection.
“It may be presumed that every portion of the professed Christian Church, without any exception—I mean those who admit the Scriptures to be a record of things as they existed—will readily agree, that the five principles just named did exist, and did constitute the Christian Church or body of Christ. This, then constitutes the model or pattern of the object of our present search.
“We have only to compare modern presences with this ancient model, in order to judge of them at once. Either the same principles would be required to constitute the body of Christ in all succeeding ages, or else the New Testament must cease to be a standard, and be superseded by a dispensation of later origin; claiming power to nullify or make void the dispensation of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, and to introduce another order of things in its stead.
“This last alternative none are so bold as to claim. All agree that the gospel was a perfect system, an unchangeable and everlasting covenant, never to be changed or altered by the Lord, and only perverted or altered by man under a severe penalty—a dreadful anathema. In physical matters men are not easily deceived or duped; for instance, a man sees or hears an exact description of a human body as existing in the days of Socrates or Plato; it has head, eyes, ears, mouth, arms, hands, legs, feet, etc. Can an impostor impose upon that man in this age? Can he introduce a wild beast, a fowl, a serpent, a man dismembered of his head, eyes, ears, hands, or feet? Could he pass any of these upon his fellow men as constituting the human body; the model or pattern answering to the former description? No, he could not. He would be considered out of his senses, and would be laughed to scorn for attempting such a thing.
“Why, then, are we at a loss in judging of the various systems which, in modern times, claim to be the church of Christ? Why do we not compare them with the model, and reject or receive at once? Perhaps you will say that such a course leads to consequences and conclusions so awful, that it opens truths so unwelcome, that it is natural to shrink from the view; and, like the ostrich in the desert, when pursued too closely, hides the head and eyes in a false covering, while the body is exposed to certain destruction.
“Says one, ‘if the ancient model or pattern is the standard, then the veil of modern Christendom is thrown off, and the entire world unchristianized—for we nowhere find such a pattern.’ Well, admit then that there is no Christian church in existence among men, and that there has not been for many ages. What then? is it a truth? If so, truth will not harm anybody. If the whole world has been for ages wrapped in mystery and deception, is it not better to find it out now than to continue in ignorance until Jesus reveals it at the judgment day, and sinks us in a moment from the highest pinnacle of hope and expectation to despair, rendered a thousand-fold more painful by a sudden reverse?
“But suppose, on opening our eyes to this great discovery, we search and find our observations and conclusions warranted by the whole tenor of prophetic writ? Suppose Jesus Christ and his Apostles and prophets all agree in bearing testimony, and foretelling the very order of things which we find to exist; also, its final end or termination, and the restoration of his Church and the reign of his Saints? Would not our own observations of what actually exists, confirmed by the prophetic declarations of such a host of witnesses, all testifying that it would be so, be a double assurance that we had opened our eyes to a snare in time to escape, and cause, us to leap forward with a thrill of joy and faith to that which is to come?
“We could then exclaim, in viewing the trumpery, pomp, splendor and greatness of Catholicism, or the scarcely less false and glaring systems of absurdity and priestcraft under the name of Protestantism, in their various forms, O, thou mystery of iniquity! thou art at last revealed, thou who deceivest all nations with thy sorcery, and with whom the kings of the earth and the nobles and great men have committed fornication, and lived deliciously; thy covering is removed, and the people shall see thy nakedness and abhor thee; and many shall be ready when the proclamation is made, ‘Come out of her, my people.’
“But suppose, on the other hand, we shut our eyes to these truths, and hug to our bosoms those systems of falsehood and error, which claim to be of Christ, but are not? The result will be a continuance on our part to build up that which the Lord purposes in due time to tear down, and to oppose that which the Lord will send into the world to accomplish his purposes. We would in this case be his enemies, and be found fighting against him.