The End of Prophecy

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Hey all, we had a guest preacher with us at the evening service who gave a very wonderful exposition of Zechariah 13. He had many helpful things to say, but one of his points was, "Prophecy Closed" and focused on Zechariah 13:2-6

2 “And on that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness. 3 And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.

4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive, 5 but he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a worker of the soil, for a man sold me in my youth.’[a] 6 And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’

The preacher used this text as an argument for the cessation of prophecy in our own day. Building on the context provided by verses 7-9 which speaks of God striking his Son (or "my shepherd" in this passage) he suggested that this spoke of the end of prophecy in the church with the death and resurrection of Christ. However, I struggle a bit with this reading as prophecy in verses 2-6 seems to be connected with idolatry (in verse 2) and with the self-inflicted wounds of pagan worship (in verse 6). My reading would be that what is in view here is not so much the conclusion of the divinely ordained office of prophet for God's people as much as it is the end of false prophets. It also seems as though the broader context of Zechariah 9-14 has false prophets, false shepherds, and idolatry in view.

What do y'all think? Is this verse a legitimate place to go to argue against prophecy today? Don't get me wrong; I'm a cessationist. I'm just wondering if this is a case of getting the right doctrine from the wrong text.


Puritan Board Doctor
Douglas Judisch in his excellent "An Evaluation of Claims to the Charismatic Gifts" expounds this passage, along with a number of others, as teaching cessationism, but I would have to look out the book to find out what he said.

It doesn't sound like it's speaking of an end to false prophecy, but to prophecy and the prophetic office itself.

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Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe you are correct to assume that this is a reasonably weak argument for cessation.

Pulpit Commentary:

Ver. 3.—When any shall yet prophesy;
i.e. if any man shall pretend to have predictive powers conferred on him by God. There is here no intimation that true prophecy should cease, as Keil and Köhler suppose; the man is punished, not because he prophesies, but because “he speaketh lies.”
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Zechariah (p. 146). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.


Puritan Board Freshman
I am about to commence reading a book titled The art of prophesying, by William Perkins. The gist of the book argues that the bible as in the preaching and proclaiming of God's word is the basis of prophesy. The gift of prophesy itself I believe has ceased. I will share excepts from the book if time permits.


Puritan Board Sophomore
The verse from Zechariah could be take as the end of false prophesying... not exactly the same...

That said, a movement of the Spirit should leave people with a hunger for God's word... not a substitute for God;s word
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