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Have the Revelatory Gifts of the Spirit Ceased? — A Response to Joel McDurmon – #6

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In our previous articles in response to Joel McDurmon, Head of Research at American Vision in Powder Springs, Ga. we have examined  Daniel 9 and demonstrated that YHVH foretold the time when the revelatory gifts of the Spirit-– would be consummated; the prophetic office would cease to function. This would be accomplished by the end of the seventy weeks that ended in AD 70. B e sure to read the previous articles, beginning here.

McDurmon’s position– at odds with the historical view of the church– is that Paul , in 1 Corinthians 13, does not discuss the end of miracles in an objective sense and that 1 Corinthians 13 has no eschatological content: “I think that the whole endeavor to see 1 Corinthians 13:9ff as an indicator of any major eschatological, doctrinal, covenantal, or revelatory shift is to miss the point of the passage entirely.”

McDurmon Versus Daniel on the Revelatory Gifts

As we saw from Daniel, however, YHVH did in fact predict a given time when the revelatory gifts would cease. Not when individual believers reached a point of personal spiritual maturity, but, by the end of the determined seventy weeks. This alone falsifies McDurmon’s pnuematological argument.

Another text that serves the same function is Zechariah 13, a text seldom discussed in the context of the cessation of the charismata.

McDurmon Versus Zechariah 13 On the Revelatory Gifts

“In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. 2 “It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land. 3 It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.”

It is interesting that many, if not the majority, of commentators claim that this text foretold the cessation of (only) the false prophets out of Israel. They do not see it as predictive of the cessation of the revelatory gifts. They make no connection between Daniel 9 and Zechariah, which, I believe is a gross error. Notice the direct parallels between Daniel and Zechariah.

✔ Both predicted the passing of prophets.

✔ Both deal with the time of the salvation of Israel– the establishment of the solution for sin.

✔ In both passages, Israel’s festal calendar lies behind the language of the prophecies (Daniel 9:26-27–> Zechariah 12ff).

✔ Both prophecies foretold the Passion of Messiah.

✔ Both discuss the last days destruction of Jerusalem.

There are far too many direct parallels between the two texts to ignore.

It is undeniably clear from the text of Zechariah that it does predict, on some level, the cessation of  prophets. Whether the focus is on the false prophets or the function of the revelatory gifts comprehensively considered– as in Daniel– is debatable, but, I would suggest that something is being overlooked in the normal focus on the cessation of the false prophets.

Notice that Zechariah says that “in that day,” when the fountain for the cleansing of sin” would be opened, the prophets and evil spirits would perish out of the land. It says the prophets would be ashamed of their testimony. They would no longer put on the garments of the prophets (The hairy cloak. One is reminded of Elijah and John the Baptizer). The parents of these “prophets” would themselves slay their own son who claimed to be a prophet.

We would pose the question: upon what basis would these things be true? Why would the “false prophet” be ashamed of his own testimony? Why would he deny even being a prophet when challenged? Why would the parents of a false prophet take his life?

(Incidentally, Zechariah posits these events at a time the Law of Moses would still be in effect, since the slaying of false prophets was found in Torah (Deuteronomy 13). So, where ever, and whenever one posits the fulfillment of Zechariah, they must cede the fact that the Law of Moses– with all of its laws– would still be in effect. This is devastating to any futurist application of Zechariah).

I suggest that the scenario in Zechariah is best understood if there would be “in that day” the underlying realization that the revelatory gifts and prophetic office itself had ceased! After all, if you knew that the genuine prophetic office had ceased, and you were in some way claiming to be a prophet, then it would be immediately recognized by the community of truth that your claims were specious, and thus, you would have to deny your own claims to being a prophet. Likewise, if it was known in the community of truth that the prophetic office had ceased, then the parents of anyone claiming to be a prophet would know that their own son was a pretender.

Thus, while it may be true that the specific emphasis in Zechariah 13 is on the false prophet, lying behind that emphasis is the implicit prophecy of the cessation of the inspired prophetic office.

There is more to explore here that definitively posits the fulfillment of Zechariah 13-14 in the first century, and we will do that in our next installment.

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