Prophecies Throughout the Centuries!
Some Christians believe that the gift of prophecy (and in fact, all supernatural gifts) ceased forever, either after the time of the twelve apostles (late 100’s AD) or after the New Testament was assembled (late 300’s). Such Christians are called “cessationists.” Many Pentecostals and Charismatics agree that the gift(s) ceased, but that they also resumed in the early 1900’s at the Azusa St. Revival. Both of these notions reveal a lack of historical knowledge. Use of the gifts may have lessened after the first few centuries and waxed and waned many times since then, but they never disappeared altogether. Every century has had its prophetic voices. Be encouraged as you read the following, which is only a sampling of God’s prophetic work throughout the Church age.
JUSTIN MARTYR, 100-165—In his “Dialogue with Trypho,” he said, “The prophetical gifts remain with us even to this present time. …[Christians] are…receiving gifts. …For one receives the spirit of understanding, another of counsel, another of strength, another healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God”.1
IRENAEUS, 125-200—In his book, Against Heresies, he spoke of persons who “have received the spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages. …In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church who possess prophetic gifts and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of language and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men and declare the mysteries of God.”2
ST. HIPPOLYTUS, sometime between 202 and 211 (lived 150-235)—Some scholars speculate that according to Hippolytus’ commentary on Daniel 2:42-43 (regarding King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a man made of various metals), the ten toes made of clay and iron represented ten weak nations that arose and fell after the fall of Rome. Other scholars point out that Hippolytus specifically called them “democracies,” not “kingdoms,” so that this part of Daniel’s prophecy might not yet be fulfilled.3
ST. JOHN OF EGYPT, 303-394—He discerned the names, desires, and thoughts of all who came to him. He prophesied for generals, monastics, and all who had a legitimate need to know what was in store for them. He prophesied victory over enemies for various rulers, and the outcome of battles for Theodosius [one of the Christian emperors of Rome after it had legalized the faith].4 He told Palladios, the historian who recorded his life story, that he would become a bishop.5
ST. GREGORY NAZIANSEN, 329-390—He was a theologian and the Archbishop of Constantinople. He often prophesied that Emperor Julian would become apostate and persecute the church.6 Julian did, in fact, adopt Arianism, and he sorely persecuted and sometimes even tortured and executed Christians who did not accept this heresy.
ST. DIDYMUS THE BLIND, 309-395—He was a theologian in Alexandria, Egypt. While fasting and praying for the end of Emperor Julian’s persecutions, he fell asleep and dreamed of white horses running in every direction. The riders cried out: “Tell Didymus, today at the seventh hour, Julian died. …Inform Athanasius the bishop, that he may also know it.” Didymus took note of the exact date of this dream, and two weeks later he learned that Julian had in fact, died on that very date.7
ST. ISCHYRIAN, monastery abbot, died 400’s—A monk asked him, “And what will those do who come after us? And those after them?” He responded, “Before the end of time, they will not keep the monastic rule, but such misfortunes and temptations will befall them that, through their patience during those assaults and temptations, they will prove themselves greater than us and our fathers in the Kingdom of God.”8
ST. ISAAC, ARCHBISHOP OF ARMENIA, 354-439—In a vision, he was told that the Armenians would fall away from the faith.9
ST. ZOSIMOS OF PHONECIA, died in the 500’s—He perceived things at a distance and knew prophetically what was happening in the world. He foretold the destruction of Antioch by an earthquake (in 526) and prayed that the city would not be completely destroyed.10
ST. COLUMBA, 521-597—He prophesied that the fortress of Cethern in Ireland would be conquered and that the blood of some of its defenders would ruin the waters of its well. He also prophesied about the lives of many individuals.11
ST. THEODORE OF SYKEON, early 600’s—During a procession with crosses, the crosses began to sway on their own, striking each another. St. Theodore prophesied to St. Thomas, the Church Patriarch of Constantinople, that this foreshadowed divisions and disasters for the church, and the danger of a barbarian invasion for the Byzantine Empire.12 Thomas asked St. Theodore to pray that God would take him home before this would happen. Thomas died in the year 610. The church fell into much disorder, and his successor, Patriarch Sergius (who ruled from 610-638), fell into the Monothelite heresy (the idea that Christ had a divine will but not a human will). War broke out with Persia; the Byzantine regions of Asia Minor were completely devastated, Jerusalem fell, and the original Cross was captured by the Muslims and taken to Persia.13
ST. NICHOLAS THE COMMANDER, 811—On the way to fight against the Bulgarians, the Greek Commander Nicholas spent the night at an inn where he endured strong temptation and then had a strange dream. The dream came to pass when the Bulgarians utterly defeated the Greeks. Nicholas was spared, and out of gratitude he left the military and became a monk and a great prophetic voice.14 The innkeeper’s daughter had lusted after the handsome commander and had come to his room three times to seduce him. He refused, each time more adamantly. He urged her to preserve her virginity and said it was unworthy and dangerous for a soldier to sully himself with such a sin; it would offend God and lead to certain death. That night, in the dream, he was standing in a large field, and a powerful man was seated near him. As the Greek and Bulgarian armies faced each other, the man instructed him to watch what would happen next: the entire field became covered with corpses with just one empty space in the middle, large enough for one body. He said to Nicholas: “This place was appointed for your body, but since you defeated the devil’s temptations three times last night, you saved your body and soul from death.” The next day, after the battle was over, out of the entire Greek army, only Nicholas returned home alive, not to his barracks, but to a monastery.15
NOTE: In the year 1054, the Catholic and Orthodox Churches separated, and in 1517, the Protestants also became separate entities. The following saints are listed accordingly.
ST. ATHANASIUS, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE (Orthodox), 1230-1310—He foretold the day of a great earthquake in Constantinople.16
ST. VINCENT FERRAR (Catholic), 1398 (lived 1350-1419)—In a vision, the Lord commissioned him to preach Christ throughout the world. With fiery eloquence he preached about repentance and the coming judgment for almost twenty years17 He traveled throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Castille and Aragon (portions of modern-day Spain). He could speak only Valencian, so God gave him the gift of tongues so he could preach to each people in their own language.18 When he heard confessions, he read souls. He often predicted the future. For instance, he told a mother her little son would become pope (the boy grew up to become Pope Callixtus III). During a famine in Barcelona, he announced that two ships would come loaded with corn. No one believed him, but later that same day, the ships arrived.19
MARTIN LUTHER (Protestant), 1483-1546—He firmly believed that the supernatural gifts were still operating in his time.20 A line in the fourth stanza of his famous hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, reads: “The Spirit and the gifts are ours.”
GEORGE WISHART (Protestant), 1545, 1546 (lived 1513-1546)—Scottish reformer John Knox regarded him as possessing a true prophetic gift. He prophesied that the town of Haddington would be judged with a severe plague, followed by bondage to foreigners. In 1546, before George was burned at the stake by Cardinal Benton, he prophesied that the cardinal would soon die in the very castle where George was martyred. A few days later, the Cardinal was murdered there. In 1548-1549 the plague in Haddington became so severe that burials were hindered. The town was then captured and destroyed by the English.21
JOHN KNOX (Protestant), 1573 (lived 1514-1573)—Many Scottish Christians saw him as prophet, including James Melville, Divinity Professor at St. Andrews University, who called him, “the prophet and apostle of our nation.” On his deathbed, John prophesied that William Kirkaldy should cease to defend the castle of Edinburgh for Mary, Queen of Scots, or he would be killed, and his carcass would be lowered over the city wall and hung in shame. William ignored the warning, and the prophecy was fulfilled on August 3, 1573.22
ST. BASIL OF OSTROG, FOOL FOR CHRIST (Orthodox) 1468-1552 or 57—Throughout a church service, Tsar Ivan the Terrible thought of nothing but how he could expand and complete his palace. After church, Ivan asked Basil where he had been. “In church,” he replied (in the back of the sanctuary, where Ivan couldn’t see him). “And where were you, O tsar?” Ivan asked. “In church,” he replied. “You are not speaking the truth,” Basil retorted, “for I perceived how, in your thoughts, you were pacing about on Sparrow Hill and building a palace.”23
ST. NICHOLAS, FOOL FOR CHRIST (Orthodox), 1570 (died 1576)—Nicholas often ran through the streets of Pskov pretending to be insane, rebuking people for hidden sins and prophesying what would happen to them. When Tsar Ivan the Terrible arrived in town, Nicholas ran toward him on a stick as if on a horse, and shouted, “Ivanushko, Ivanushko, eat our bread and salt [which many of the townspeople had offered him], and not Christian blood.” (God had told him that Ivan secretly intended to massacre the people of Pskov.) The Tsar ordered his soldiers to capture Nicholas, but he disappeared. Ivan began to soften, and he decided not to kill the townspeople, but he still secretly intended to sack the city. At a service at Trinity Cathedral, he asked to receive a blessing from Nicholas. Instead, Nicholas again ordered him to stop his killing as well as the plundering of churches. Ivan confiscated the cathedral’s bell anyway. Therefore, as Nicholas had forewarned, his finest horse fell dead.24 Later, when Ivan entered his cell under the bell tower, Nicholas bowed and offered him a piece of raw meat, saying, “Eat, Ivanushka, eat!” Ivan angrily replied, “I am a Christian and I do not eat meat during the Fast!” Nicholas retorted, “But you do even worse: you feed on men’s flesh and blood, forgetting not only Lent but also God!” Finally, succumbing to shame, the tsar gave up his evil plans and immediately left the city.25
JOHN WELSH (Protestant), 1570-1622—He was the son-in-law of John Knox. Scottish Reformed theologian Samuel Rutherford called him, “that heavenly prophetical and apostolic man of God,” and the people of Ayr regarded him as a prophet. A great plague raged all over Scotland. Therefore, when two traveling cloth merchants came to the gates of Ayr with reams of cloth, the town magistrates asked John if they should let him in. He discerned prophetically that the cloth was tainted with the plague, so they turned the merchants away. They moved on to the city of Cummock, twenty miles away, and sold their wares there, and the plague soon killed so many people that there were barely enough left to bury the dead. Eventually, the plague made its way back to Ayr. John, who by then was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, advised the people of the town to have Hugh Kennedy pray for them. He did, and the plague subsided. John also prophesied accurately about the blessing, prosperity, and vocation of many individuals, and loss of home and property for persons who refused to repent. He even raised a man who had been dead for one and a half days.26
GEORGE FOX, FOUNDER OF THE QUAKERS (Protestant), 1659 (lived 1624-1691)—He reported that a woman prophesied that God would reinstate the king of England in place of Oliver Cromwell who had usurped the throne and severely persecuted devout Christians.27
MARGARET BREWSTER (Protestant), 1677—she was a Quaker who came to New England to warn of a plague many would die of. Massachusetts had passed a law in 1658 that all Quakers must be banishing from the colony and that if they returned, they would suffer the death penalty. Margaret’s penalty was more lenient, but still severe and grossly unfair: she was stripped to the waist and publicly whipped. Soon afterward, many in Boston died of the “black pox.”28
ALEXANDER PEDEN (Protestant), 1682 (lived 1626-1686)—he was a Scottish reformer widely known as “prophet Peden.” He performed a wedding ceremony for John Brown and Isabel Weir and prophesied that John would die in three years. Three years later John was martyred for claiming that Christ, not the King of England, was head of the church. His wife wrapped him in a sheet and buried him as she forgave those who executed him.29
FRENCH HUGUENOTS (Protestant), 1689—The gift of prophecy came over a group of these Calvinists, sparking a revival (interestingly, Calvin had declared that the gifts had ceased after the time of the apostles). The prophecies were exact to the day, place, and person, and were not refuted even by their detractors.30
MORAVIAN BRETHREN (Protestant), 1727—A world-famous educator named Comenius collected and printed the prophecies of several contemporary prophetic voices among the Brethren.31
JONATHAN WESLEY (Protestant), 1703-1791—He believed that the gifts had never been removed from the church,32 for every type of spiritual gift was manifesting in contemporary revivals. He considered the gifts to be a natural outcome of holiness,33 and specifically regarded the gift of prophecy as an aid to developing holiness. He said, “I have seen…very many persons changed in a moment from the spirit of despair to the spirit of love, joy, and peace, and from sinful desire, till then reigning over them, to a pure desire of doing the will of God. …What I have to say touching visions and dreams, is this: I know several persons in whom this great change was wrought in a dream, or during strong representation to the eye of their mind, of Christ either on the cross or in glory. This is a fact.”34
BERNARD REMBOLDT, TRAVELING MINSTREL (Catholic), 1700’s—He prophesied that the French empire would invade and take over much of Germany (this happened under Napoleon, beginning in 1793). He also prophesied that someday there would be ships without sails, horseless wagons (cars), and people imitating birds, flying in the sky (airplanes).35
ST. KOSMOS OF AITOLIA (Orthodox), 1714-1779—The following are just few of his many prophecies:
—“Things will come out of the schools that your mind does not even imagine.”
—“You will see in the field a carriage without horses running faster than a rabbit” [automobiles].
—“A time will come when the earth will be girded by a thread” [electrical power grid and telephone lines].
—“A time will come when people will speak from one distant place to another, as though they were in adjoining rooms—for example from Constantinople to Russia” [telephones, online communication].
—“You will see men flying in the sky like starlings and throwing fire on the earth. Those who will live then will run to the graves and will cry out: ‘Come out you who are dead so that we the living may enter’” [arial warfare].36
EVANGELICAL COVENANT CHURCH (Protestant), 1840—In this church in Sweden, youth fell into trances and saw visions of hell and the coming judgment. They exhorted people to repent, prophecies and words of knowledge were given, and a revival broke out.37
CHARLES SPURGEON (Protestant), 1834-1892—He stopped in the middle of a sermon in Exeter Hall in London and pointed to a young man, telling him he had stolen his gloves from his employer. The man repented and promised to make restitution. This kind of thing happened about a dozen times during Spurgeon’s ministry.38
ST. SERAPHIM OF VYRITSA (Orthodox), 1866-1949—“There will come a time when corruption and lewdness among the youth will reach the utmost point. There will hardly be any virgin youth left. They will see their lack of punishment and will think that everything is allowable for them to satisfy their desires. God will call them, however, and they will realize that it will not be possible for them to continue such a life. Then in various ways they will be led to God. …That time will be beautiful. That today they are sinning greatly, will lead them to a deeper repentance. Just like the candle before it goes out, it shines strongly and throws sparks; with its light, it enlightens the surrounding darkness; thus, it will be the Church’s life in the last age. And that time is near.”39
ST. JOHN OF KRONSTADT (Orthodox), 1904 (lived 1829-1908)—In a sermon, he prophesied the coming of communism. He warned: “Russia, if you fall away from your faith, as many of the intellectual class have already fallen away, you will no longer be Russia or Holy Russia. And if there will be no repentance in the Russian people, then the end of the world is near. God will take away the pious tzar and will send a whip in the person of impious, cruel, self-appointed rulers who will inundate the whole earth with blood and tears.”40 Apparently, his warning was ignored. The Bolshevik Revolution began in 1917 and plunged Russia into nearly eighty years of Communist oppression and bloodshed. Millions of Russians were murdered by their own leaders, as well as millions who perished in every other nation to which communism spread. Altogether, since 1917, communism worldwide has snuffed out more than one hundred million lives.
ST. PADRE PIO (Catholic), early 1940’s (lived 1887-1968)—During World War II, he promised that no bombs would fall on San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. None did, and many bomber gunners testified that when they flew over the town, they were literally unable to release their bombs.41
DEMOS SHAKARIAN (Protestant), 1960 (lived 1913-1993)—This dairyman from southern California had a prophetic vision in which laymen from all over the world were raising hands and surrendering to God. The vision inspired him to found Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International.42
OS GUINESS (Protestant), late 1900’s (1941-the present)—A spiritist girl came to disrupt a meeting where Os spoke at Essex University in England. After the meeting, she confessed that spirits had told her to do this, and she asked Os what “spell” he had cast to keep her quiet. When Os returned to Switzerland, a woman told him she had received a vision ahead of time of the girl disrupting his meeting and had prayed that God would prevent it.43
1 “Revivals in the Second Century,” revival-library.org (from “Dialogue with Trypho,” Sect. 39), Accessed October 14, 2022, https://www.revival-library.org/revival_histories/evangelical/pre-1700/second_century_revivals.shtml.
2 “Revivals in the Second Century,” revival-library.org (from Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 5. 6. 1).
3 “St. Hippolytus Scholia on Daniel” (third fragment, point 31), Patristic Bible Commentary, Accessed October 7, 2022, https://sites.google.com/site/aquinasstudybible/home/daniel/st-hippolytus-scolia-on-daniel.
4 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1 (Alhambra, CA: Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America, 2002), 317-318.
5 “The Venerable John the Clairvoyant, Anchorite, of Egypt,” Orthodox Church in America, Accessed October 5, 2022, https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2009/03/27/100916-venerable-john-the-clairvoyant-anchorite-of-egypt.
6 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1, 91.
7 Mercy Aiken, “Didymus the Blind (c 309-395),” tentmaker.org, Accessed October 7, 2022, https://www.tentmaker.org/biographies/didymus.htm.
8 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1, 131.
9 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1, 566.
10 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1, 587.
11 St. Adamnan, Life and Prophecies of T. Columba or Columbkille, Trans. Rev. Matthew Kelly (Dublin: William B. Kelly, 1875), 58-60
12 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1, 294-295.
13 “St. Thomas, Patriarch of Constantinople,” Orthodox Church in America, Accessed October 5, 2022,
14 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 2, 699.
15 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 2, 700-701.
16 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 2, 479-480.
17 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age (from New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vo. 13, 681) (Placentia, CA: Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 1984), 28.
18 “St. Vincent Ferrar (1350-1419),” The Great Catholic Monarch and Ancient Pontiff Prophecies,” Accessed October 7, 2022, https://greatmonarch-angelicpontiffprophecies.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_12.html.
19 Joseph Pronechen, “The Prophetic Saint Who Foretold What the End of the World Will Be Like,” National Catholic Register, April 5, 2019, Accessed October 7, 2022, https://www.ncregister.com/blog/the-prophetic-saint-who-foretold-what-the-end-of-the-world-will-be-like
20 Dojcin Zivadinovic (2015) “Wesley and Charisma: an Analysis of John Wesley’s View of Spiritual Gifts,” Andrews University Seminary Student Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, Article 6, 56.
21 Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 71-72.
22 Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God, 71-72.
23 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1, 440.
24 “Nicholas (Salos) of Pskov,” Orthodox Wiki, Accessed October 11, 2022, https://orthodoxwiki.org/Nicholas_(Salos)_of_Pskov
25 St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. 1, 212-213.
26 Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God, 74-75.
27 George Fox, Rufus M. Jones, Ed., Journal of George Fox; revised edition (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1976) 355.
28 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age, (from Bressen’s Studies in Ecstasy, 66-67), 28.
29 Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God, 77.
30 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age (from The Huguenots, Vol. 2, Henry Baird, 186-187), 28.
31 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age (from Bressen’s Studies in Ecstasy, 80-86), 28.
32 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age (from John Wesley’s Journal—Wed., Aug. 15, 1750), 39.
33 Dojcin Zivadinovic, “Wesley and Charisma: an Analysis of John Wesley’s View of Spiritual Gifts,” 58.
34 Dojcin Zivadinovic, “Wesley and Charisma: an Analysis of John Wesley’s View of Spiritual Gifts,” 62.
35 “Bernard Rembold / Bernhardt Rembolt ‘Spielbahn’ (1689-1793),” The Great Catholic Monarch and Angelic Pontiff Prophecies, Accessed October 7, 2022,
36“St. Kosmas Aitolos, the New Hiermartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles,” full-of grace-and-truth.blogspot.com, August 24, 2009, Accessed 10/05/22, http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/08/st-kosmas-aitolos-new-hieromartyr-and.html.
37 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age (from Tongues Speaking, Dr. A.B. Simpson, 98-99), 45.
38 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age, 89.
39 St. Seraphim of Viritsa, Life-Miracles-Prophecies of Saint Seraphim of Viritsa: The New Saint of Orthodox Russian Church 1866-1949 (Thessaloniki, Greece: Orthodox Kypseli Publications, 2005), 44-45.
40 “The Future of Russia and the End of the World,” paraslavie.ru, Accessed January 16, 2022, https://pravoslavie.ru/38941.html.
41 “St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,” catholictradition.org, Accessed October 7, 2022, http://www.catholictradition.org/Padre-Pio/padre-pio10b.htm.
42 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age, 51.
43 John Wimber, A Brief Sketch of Signs and Wonders Throughout the Church Age, 91.
© 2022, Mark Sandford