Bible Study: The Prophets

The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me {Moses} from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear…And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

(Deuteronomy 18:15, 17-19)

Most people, when they think of prophets, think of fortune-tellers or mystics who can see and predict the future. This is a bit of a far cry from the prophets found in the Bible. True prophets in the Old Testament were people God personally chose to be His mouthpieces, speaking Divine truth into their current situation. Being a prophet was more about forth-telling than foretelling. The biblical prophets are super cool, so let’s dig in and see who they are!

The OT prophets were people who had a radical encounter with the Lord, whether in a vision or a straight-up manifestation of His Presence, and were commissioned to speak as His representatives. Moses, for example, encountered the holy Presence of God in the burning bush, where the Lord revealed who He was, and commanded him to confront Pharaoh and liberate Israel (Exodus 3). Isaiah had a vision of the Lord’s Presence in the Temple, surrounded by fiery angelic beings who were declaring His holiness, where he was symbolically purified and commissioned as a prophet to Judah (Isaiah 6). The focus of the prophets’ message was always how well (or poorly) Israel was following the Law, the Covenant they had with the Lord. They often had the thankless task of accusing Israel of sin, confronting corrupt kings and priests, calling the nation to repentance, and preaching the hope of the Messiah and His Kingdom. Despite their general rejection, the prophets were usually proven right by working miracles or prophesying things that later came true!

Fast forward to the New Testament, John the Baptist appears on the scene, calling Israel to repentance and confronting its corrupt religious leaders. Sound familiar? That’s because John is the last of the OT prophets. However, John was different, because he was no ordinary prophet; John was the forerunner of the Messiah, the one who would prepare the way for His arrival! Jesus even says that he is the greatest of the prophets because of this. That being said, when Jesus is glorified before His disciples on a mountain, He’s joined by Moses and Elijah (two well-known prophets who encountered God’s Presence on a mountain), and God tells the disciples to hear Jesus. The statement is clear: Jesus, the Son of God, is the ultimate Prophet because He IS God’s Word embodied! (John 1:1, 14) He speaks the very words of God, performs miracles, predicts the future, and fulfills OT prophesies during His ministry!

We’re called to be prophetic as well. What does it look like for us to be prophets in Christ? If being a prophet means speaking the truth of God to others as His representative, then by simply reading God’s Word and proclaiming it to others under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, we’re being prophetic! Speaking the truth of God in the power of the Spirit is the essence of prophetic ministry. Also, the gift of prophecy is one mentioned a lot by the apostles, which refers to God supernaturally revealing His heart for a particular situation or person to us, and moving us to relay that message. The gift of prophecy isn’t so much proclaiming God’s written Word (logos), but His personal word (rhema).

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