[ Author: Kathy Petersen ]
What not to use
Often in LDS groups, Christians will quote Hebrews and claim that this means that Christ is the last prophet:
(KJV) Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”
I would file this under “arguments Christians should not use against Mormons”, because there are several people specifically said to be prophets who lived and prophesied after Jesus’s resurrection. Plus, there are even more people who are not specifically said to be prophets but most people would consider them to be prophets – like the Apostles and the various writers of the NT. After all, they received revelation from God.
Bringing up this argument is at best a “wash” for Christians but more often, the Mormon wins the argument. The only way it could work is if Hebrews were the last book of the NT to have been written, and I don’t know anybody who claims that. It’s simply untenable to claim that there were no prophets after Jesus, since prophets were mentioned as living and active. (Acts 11, 13, 15, & 21; 1 Cor. 12 & 14; and Eph. 2, 3, & 4.)
What is the context?
So if Hebrews doesn’t mean that Jesus was the last prophet, what does it mean?
It’s good to consider the larger context (always!), and in this case, going back to Deut. 18 will shed some light on this. This chapter is most famous for two things: Being one of the main passages about false prophets and having the section about “God raising up a prophet like unto Moses”.
God warns the people against getting involved with any of the occult practices which the Canaanites used and this naturally would lead a person into thinking, “If we can’t use divination, how are we to know what to do?”. God anticipates that question and proactively promises to raise up a prophet like unto Moses, since the people had heard God speak to them directly at Mt. Sinai and begged that they no longer hear directly from God.
The fulfillment of Christ
While the promise finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the promised prophet cannot be only about Jesus but must include all prophets from the time of Moses until it was finally fulfilled in Jesus Christ, since it includes the possibility of the prophet “speaking presumptuously” and saying something that God has not told him to say. If this was about Jesus, it must open the possibility that Jesus was a false prophet!
So we see that God spoke to the people by the prophets at least from the time of Moses until Jesus. But now, with the advent of Jesus and His earthly ministry, God now speaks to the people directly through the Son (who is God) rather than through prophets. This opening section of Hebrews, then, doesn’t teach that Jesus is the last prophet per se but that Jesus is God the Son, speaking directly to the people as a Man, rather than by a terrifying voice from heaven.