Hebrews 1:1-3 (GWT)
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors at many different times and in many different ways through the prophets. In these last days He has spoken to us through His Son. God made His Son responsible for everything. His Son is the one through whom God made the universe. His Son is the reflection of God's glory and the exact likeness of God's being. He holds everything together through His powerful words. After He had cleansed people from their sins,He received the highest position, the one next to the Father in heaven."
Many people believe that in these verses Paul is telling us that God no longer speaks to us through the prophets as He did before Jesus lived, died and was resurrected.
I believe Paul would be very surprised to hear that because I believe what he's really saying here is that once, before Jesus, the only way God could speak to us was through his prophets those men and women whose hearts and spirits were alert to the sound of His voice. Not everyone in those days was that alert so the people had to rely upon those prophets of old. They had to simply trust that these men and women were speaking the true Words of God. There was no Bible as we know it and although the Law of Moses did exist in printed form it was not generally available to any but the priests and teachers of the time. People simply had to trust that what these men were teaching and the laws they were obeying did indeed come from God.
Then Jesus arrived and very literally changed everything. Today we have the written Word of God AND we have those men and women He has called and anointed to be His prophets. Jesus Himself IS the Word and as Christians we live by His teachings and by His example. So why do we still need the prophets? Because there are things God needs to say to us today, in the year 2004 and on, that are not written in our Bible. He wants to tell us things that are only relevant to us and therefore were not spoken by Jesus in any of His teachings. As Christians we all have the ability to hear Him speak ourselves because Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to live within us and to make it possible for us to hear His words. But, it also requires a conscience choice on our part to hear Him. He has given us the tools necessary to hear but we must choose to pay attention, we must choose to open our hearts and to open the "ears" of our spirit in order to hear what He has to say to us.
Unfortunately, there are far too many of us who simply choose not to listen. Many people close their ears to what He wants to tell us and that is why we still need His prophets. Because, just as in Paul's time, there are thousands of men and women and children (yes, children) who are listening for His voice and who hang on His every word. Our Lord still sends many messages and warnings through these prophets just as he did in Paul's day; the difference is that we have tools now that people didn't have then. These tools are called, wisdom and discernment and all the gifts that come when Jesus becomes the Lord of your life and your Savior and the Holy Spirit comes to guide you.
Yes false prophets abound today, even more so than they did then, but if we use the tools God has given us through His most blessed Son then we should have no problem knowing when we are hearing God's voice and when we are not.
Paul also reminds us here that Jesus has not stopped speaking and that He now sits next to the Father in heaven where He intercedes for us when, perhaps, we cannot or will not approach Him on our own. God still speaks through His written word, through His prophets but most importantly He still speaks through His Son, Jesus the Messiah. We have only to open ourselves to Him to hear His words.