I agree, but you always make the point that God never changes and my question is, if he never changes then why don’t we have one particular Prophet on the earth today?
I always make the point because that is what the Bible declares and theology centers around God and His Attributes, and His Immutability is His chief Attribute. You misunderstand the difference between God’s Nature (God Himself) and God’s Plan. You misunderstand the fact that although the Plan does not change, it has different stages all moving forward, unthwarted, to that ultimate goal. He did not have Christ appear during every decade of earth’s history, so why should He have one particular prophet now? Our being without a prophet is the result of sin, and it is part of God’s Plan (even if we can’t appreciate it and would wish it otherwise; we are not God and we can’t even begin to understand WHY He did things; and in our carnal hauteur we think we understand God’s universe better than Himself—even though we hardly understand anything; and much of what we think we understand is erroneous). Israel rejected God as King, operating through one Prophet / Judge / Governor, Moses... thus, man suffers all the tyranny that God warned of through the Prophet Samuel. Due to the blindness that God ordained to come upon His people the majority of His scattered people are blind to their own identity and most sound Doctrine: They are blind to the permanence of God’s Law, and since they are in sin, in violation of God’s Law, God does not hear their prayers. They do not realize that they are in sin, because the Holy Spirit is not in them, demonstrated by the fact that they do not read and understand God’s Word and they reject the Truth when it is preached and they hear it. Instead they flock to “popular” preachers who will tickle their ears and tell them how wonderful they are and that they don’t have to worry about obeying God’s Law, blasphemously claiming that God “abolished” it and that God loves everyone just the way they are (which I call, “Touched By An Angel” Theology (based on the long-running, popular tv show by that title, which had that basic humanistic philosophy verbally mentioned at the end of nearly every episode).
I see your point... but at this point in time WHO we are to believe seems to be a crap shoot.... the only authority rest in those themselves, self appointed, and not a voice out of heaven, or a discernable mantle of Elijah.... or a dove coming out of heaven.... but ultimately God does fulfill his promises.
Those who preach a consistent, balanced message, who hold to the faith once delivered, and whose doctrine centers around God and His Sovereignty and Immutability, and who live a life in harmony with their doctrine, are those who should be believed. Christ’s sheep know His Voice through His ministers. Those who don’t recognize His Voice, who instead follow after those who preach smooth things, or those who tickle their ears, or hear others preach things that they want to hear—those are not Christ’s sheep.
Yes, it would be nice to have fire come down from heaven, hear God’s Thundering Voice to tell us who His servant is, but this stage of His Plan is to have His people be led by the Holy Spirit into truth, and if a person does not know the difference between a good shepherd and and evil one, between one with crystal vision and one who is blind, then he is not of Christ’s sheep (or at least at this time God has not opened his eyes). Furthermore, wicked shepherds are the means by which God drives away the goats and dogs and swine (“the ungodly are not so but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away”—and the means by which He drives them away is by sending them a deluding spirit to believe the false preachers). Christ spoke hard words so that some would STOP following Him, because they were not ordained unto life (John 6:66).
Also, there is no evidence, that when Christ stepped out of the water from being baptized, that anyone saw the Spirit in the form of a dove, nor heard God’s Words (if any did, the only ones who saw and heard were the ones whose eyes and ears the Holy Spirit had opened—but Scripture does not tell us so): “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). After the Transfiguration, which Peter, James, and John alone had seen, they indeed heard God’s Voice, telling a similar message as declared at His baptism, but adding, “Hear ye Him!” (Matthew 17:5)—and they fell down in fear! Similarly, at Sinai, the people of Israel heard God’s Mighty Voice like the sound of thundering and trumpets (Exodus 20:18,19); however, there is no evidence that they heard anything intelligible: just the awe-filling sound. Similarly, when Christ appeared in the blinding light to Saul, we piece together from the various accounts, in Acts and Paul’s Epistles, that Paul alone heard the Message that Christ declared; while those standing around either heard some unintelligible noise, or they did not speak Hebrew and could not understand the meaning of the foreign words that they heard.
However, as Christ said to doubting Thomas, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:25). If God thundered and sent down lightning bolts, revealed the Fearful Majesty of His Voice, declared who His prophets were, and accompanied them by signs and wonders—then most everyone would believe. But that is not God’s Plan. Those who reject that truth are humanists. God has done all things after the Counsel of His Own Will and for His Own Good Pleasure. We cannot comprehend WHY He so chose, but we can understand THAT He so chose, because He told us so. Understanding is not faith. As Augustine eloquently expressed,
“Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe, that thou mayest understand.”
God controls the will and God controls the actions of every creature, and He controls the course of all matter. Those “Christians” who don’t believe this have a “very small god”—because their god is self (as humanists) and they create a god in their own minds they way that they think God should be, yet (to feel better about self) they then project their notions of their god onto God (which is idolatry).
“13But he is in One Mind, and who can turn Him? and what His Soul desireth, even that He doeth. 14For He performeth the thing that is appointed for Me: and many such things are with Him.” (Job 23)
[For more detail, see my book, Does God Repent...? — Can God Change His Mind...?, 506pp., pb., 25.00 + P&H.]
It would be nice to have Elijah’s mantle fall on someone... but, relatively few people in the Old Testament were even aware of it. Only those of the school of the Prophets, and a few others, realized what had happened. Anyone else merely saw an old shawl, not realizing its significance. It was not a magic talisman, of course, but it was a symbol that God used. But, this period of time in which we exist, God is culling His herd. It is not His desire that the masses repent, because they deserve Judgment and that is what He has ordained. The election have obtained (by God’s Grace) faith by which they understand and believe, and have received His Mercy —and the elect God determined in Christ before the foundation of the world.
It’s not really a crap shoot. If a person reads the Bible, he knows bits and pieces of truth, even if he does not know how to put it all together... but when he hears someone who does know how to put it together, he SHOULD recognize it; if not, God is not in him. A person may not be adept at putting together a jigsaw puzzle, or solving a phrase on “the wheel of fortune”—but he recognizes the completed puzzle or phrase when he sees it (or somewhere in between its completion).
[You yourself expressed about my Sacred Truth Expository Commentary on the Book of Ruth: The Truth About Ruth—Ruth the Israelite! (328pp., pb., 18.00 + P&H), when you heard me declare that Ruth was not a Moabite racially. You asked, “How on earth can you say that?” I replied, “Order my book and find out.” You said, “Okay, but I don’t see how you’re going to pull it off”. Then, after you had gotten well into the book you emailed and said, “You did it!” Someone else ordered my book, Does God Repent...?. Like you, he was of Italian descent and was born and raised in the northeast U.S., and raised Catholic. He wrote and told me, “I never even heard before, anyone claim that man does not have free will. I am only halfway through your book and already you have convinced me!” Those who have had their eyes and ears opened by God’s Holy Spirit, may not yet know the truth—but they know it when they hear it!]
Some preach hot air like Rush Limbaugh because such people who follow preachers like that are carnal and not spiritual and they are not interested in truth, only hearing hot air. Others like cotton-candy fantasies, so they follow ooey-gooey, sticky-syrupy false love humanistic “preachers” ... because they are not interested in truth either, only nice happy delusions—for as long as they last. The pleasures of sin (in this breath of vapour we know as “life”) indeed, last for a season—but after that, Judgment (Hebrews 9:27; 11:25). Those who are truly interested in truth will recognize it when they hear it properly taught. It’s only a crap shoot to those who are blind and deaf and still want to place a bet. People are on all different levels, in different stages of learning too. Most never get out of kindergarten (some even die a crib death or spontaneously abort shortly after conception). Most often, a person will have to readjust—either fine tune or scrap entirely—what he believes as he matures (IF he matures); but most never mature or never honestly recognize or admit the need for the correction (and that recognition and honesty themselves are part of maturity). What may have sounded good when a person was immature—and relatively ignorant, as he grows and matures in Grace and Truth, he then realizes that some of his understanding is “off”—and conforms his mind to the Truth; others simply ignore it, and do their best to squeeze truth into their humanistic paradigm (because God has sent them delusion to believe a lie). That’s how God separates the wheat from the chaff: the dead, woody, useless outer layer of wheat; which also corresponds to the goats, who are wild [that is “lawless”, disobedient sheep], juxtaposed to the sheep.
Yes, you are correct, “Ultimately God does fulfill His Promises”. However, in case some don’t understand that the word “ultimately” does not refer to something that God has to “finally make work” or “hammer out after all sorts of resistance and troubles”, in reality, God’s Promises are ALL, ALREADY fulfilled. God is not bound by time. He exists outside of time. Time exists within the box of our universe, by which we relate to time and place. God’s Will and Plan is already 100% fulfilled... it just takes a little while for our time and place to catch up with reality.