The messages of the prophets are often dire and gloomy, but the prophets usually encourage their readers and listeners to turn away from the path they’re on. But Jeremiah was lucky compared to many of the other prophets, especially those who ministered and spoke boldly during the reigns of evil men and women. The prophets have hope that, if reformation takes place, then God will relent concerning his judgments. To fully understand the role and function of the Old Testament prophets, you need to be familiar with Israel's history as a nation. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the wilderness, Joshua ultimately led the military conquest of the promised land. Saul falls under the influence of God’s spirit and begins prophesying—although we don’t know what he said (1 Samuel 10:9–12). The Old Testament is mostly written for and by the ancient Jews, which means the prophets tend to speak about Israel’s God, Israel’s land, Israel’s people, and Israel’s future. When you encounter prophecy in the Bible, it usually refers to a message claiming to be of divine nature or origin. Learn Religions. Ask a modern Christian, and they’ll list the final 17 books of the Old Testament: Isaiah–Malachi. The prophets were the people who spoke on God’s behalf. Prophets in the Bible Foretell the Future. The 4 Major Prophets. 8 Bible Verses about False Prophets, Examples Of. When modern folks talk about “prophets” and “prophecy,” they’re often referring to someone foretelling future events. Grocery stores are littered with these weekly tabloids, which sometimes owe most of their … Because the Jews lived under the rule of foreign empires, prophecies about Israel’s restoration often coincide with prophecies about judgment for the kingdoms oppressing them. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/defining-the-role-of-prophets-in-the-bible-363345. But they also see God as the supreme divine being in the cosmos: he’s at the top of the universe’s org chart, and the rest of the gods (not to mention the humans) ultimately answer to him. These designations are more about length than rank. Saul eventually became Israel's first king, but the nation experienced its greatest growth and prosperity under the rule of King David and King Solomon. This section included most of the books in the modern Prophets (except Lamentations and Daniel). Other prophets helped lead the Israelites during military campaigns, including Elijah (see 2 Kings 6:8-23). For example, here's what God instructed Jeremiah to proclaim to the people of Israel: Not surprisingly, Jeremiah was often accosted by the political leaders of his day. They envision God ruling the restored nation of Israel from the holy city, sometimes through a Messianic descendant of King David. (Read in your Bible, for example, Exodus 2:5-10; Acts 7:21-22.) Deborah during the time of Judges was both a Judge (Head of the Jewish state/War leader) and a prophet. Most people make a strong connection between the role of a prophet and the idea of telling the future. There is certainly a lot of truth to that idea. God had a plan from the moment He conceived creation, and he needed a voice to tell of his plan. First-century Christians didn’t have the New Testament that we do today—it took us Christians centuries to agree on those books. Thankfully, we'll have a much easier time understanding the prophets once we settle on some basic information. (2020, August 25). In much the same way, modern-day prophets teach us by their daily example. The Bible says. The prophets often build a case on God’s behalf, citing current issues like: Prophets call out these wrongdoings, urging people to return to the teachings of Moses. Revelation 2:20. So while Saul technically speaks prophesy, his role in the story of Israel isn’t a prophetic one, and so the Bible doesn’t treat him like a prophet. The three that are always counted as part of this group are Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The messages could be prophecies of the future, messages for the listener, or warnings for others. That was Israel's official beginning as a nation on the world stage. What's interesting is that God Himself defined the role and function of the prophets at the beginning of Israel's history as a nation: That's the most important definition. But if they betrayed him, they agreed to incur his judgment: God would remove his protection and allow Israel to be consumed by larger, more powerful foreign nations. For centuries, the Jews were divided between the northern kingdom, called Israel, and the southern kingdom, called Judah. Ezekiel 37:15-23 Prophetic parable of the two sticks for the uniting of Judah and Israel Ezekiel 24:1-7 The boiling Pot Ezekiel 5:1-17 The prophet cuts his own hair, burns and scatters it. O'Neal, Sam. The most common acts of God that the prophets bring up occurred during the exodus from Egypt to Canaan, specifically: These come up again and again in the Bible’s works of prophecy. Prophets are sometimes referred to as "seers" because of this capability (1 Samuel 9:9). For example, Nathan helped David get back on course after his disastrous affair with Bathsheba, (see 1 Samuel 12:1-14). Example of The Gift of Prophecy from the Prophetic Office in the Old Testamen t Isaiah 53 is one of the greatest prophecies in the Bible. But telling the future was not the major role of the Old Testament prophets. Most Relevant Verses. For example, God promises David a son, a descendant who will rule Jerusalem forever. During the high points of Israel's history as a nation, the prophets were subtle guides who provided wisdom to God-fearing kings and other leaders. Who Were the Major Prophets in the Bible? It’s in the Bible, Hosea 12:10, NKJV. These prophets often ministered during times of decline and defeat for Israel, which made them singularly unpopular, even persecuted. The disasters that the prophets see coming don’t necessarily need to happen—or they can at least be postponed for a generation that chooses to ignore the prophets. Nathan the Prophet was the prophet that King David typically consulted and of course Nathan is the one who said “You are the man” (2nd Sam 12:7)! A prophet in the Bible was someone who spoke the words of God to people who needed to hear them. But other parts of this prophecy went unfulfilled for a long, long time—while Christianity claims Jesus Christ was that promised king, Judaism still awaits a Messiah and deliverer. The word salvationis used 26 times in the book. In Genesis 20:7 God spoke to Abimelech in dream, saying, “Now then, return [Abraham’s] wife, for he is a prophet, so that he … They’re not always direct, clear statements about what’s going to happen. Women were clearly prophets. Many people utter or write prophetic statements in the Bible, but not all of them are specifically referred to as prophets. Prophets often have the ability to "see" the future and have strong spiritual wisdom. Out of the Old Testament prophets in the Bible, nearly all spoke of a coming Messiah. The most famous example of this takes place in the showdown between Elijah and 450 prophets of the Canaanite god Baal (1 Kings 18:16–39), when Elijah demonstrates he’s the one who speaks on behalf of Israel’s true God. Prophets played a major role throughout the pages of Scripture, but that doesn't mean we always understand who they were or what they were trying to accomplish. Wicked Queen Jezebel threatened to kill the … Depending on who you ask, Christians might list three to five books of the Old Testament as the Major Prophets. But while the prophets see God putting an end to violent empires, they also look forward to a time when the nations of the world are at peace with one another under the guidance of Israel’s Messiah. Prophetess False Teachings Seducers Opposition, To Sin And Evil Being Mislead People Of God, In Nt. It’s bad enough to oppress poor families and towns. In the midst of the beautiful garden stood two trees. Many of God’s prophets penned Old Testament books, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Habakkuk. He is a former editor for Christianity Today and LifeWay Christian Resources. Many people utter or write prophetic statements in the Bible, but not all of them are specifically referred to as prophets. Parts of this prophecy are fulfilled in David’s literal immediate heir, Solomon. Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets anticipate this restoration—particularly a restoration of Jerusalem. The Prophets of Israel Viewed as a Whole Their Designation The first division of the Old Testament was known as the Law with the second being called the Former Prophets, but these included four books which have already been outlined—Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. These books are “prophetic history,” books that told the story of how the people of Israel did (or didn’t) uphold the Torah, and how God kept his word to protect and discipline his people. ... Bible prophecy begins with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The great prophet Isaiah foretold of the sin-bearing servant: the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God began to use prophets as the primary way of speaking to his people during the period of the judges before Saul became King. There are four Major Prophets attributed to writing five lengthy books of the Bible prophecy in the Old Testament. In order of occurrence, the Major Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Samuel Many of the prophets end their books on this note, with all the nations of the world enjoying the blessings of Israel’s God. O'Neal, Sam. But if they betrayed him by serving other deities or oppressing vulnerable people, God would judge Israel, removing his protection and exiling them from their land. They believe that a prophet is someone who makes (or made, in the case of the Bible) a lot of predictions about what's going to happen. There Is a New Testament Example of a Prophet Predicting the Future We have an example in the New Testament of a prophet predicting the future. Bible prophecy begins with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Nine prophets served the southern kingdom, called Judah: Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Elijah Fasted While Escaping Jezebel – 1 Kings 19:4-8. Perhaps the best example is Saul, who would become the king of Israel. However, there are examples such as visions, audible voices, internal voices, or dreams. The Minor Prophets of the Bible are shorter books with more specific content, compared to the broader subjects of the Major Prophets. The simple but powerful message is “Come, follow me.” The prophets often warn the Israelites that their oppression and idol worship is leading them toward this future. 1 Kings 19:16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shall you anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shall you anoint to be prophet in your room. Take, brothers, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Beyond this, often times the prophets will blend those future scenarios we discussed above together. Such examples of the psychic powers of modern day “prophets” are just a small indication of the normal odds of attempting to predict the future without divine help. Here is a list of prophets found in the Bible: Prophets in the Old Testament Similarly, prophets like Isaiah and Daniel were largely respected in their day. Trump’s cult and false prophets have shown Trump’s word is more important than the word of God. This is found in the Book of Acts with a man named Agabus. Fantastic! It’s also important to note that the Bible mentions false prophets, individuals who claim to speak on God’s behalf, but don’t. Perhaps the best example is Saul, who would become the king of Israel. There were even prophets who served in locations outside of the Jewish homeland. Throughout Israel's growth and regression as a nation, prophets arose at different times and spoke to the people in specific locations. Nathan then reported this to David, who heeded God’s command. Major and Minor Prophetic Books of the Bible, Biography of Elijah, Old Testament Prophet, Deborah Was a Wise and Courageous Judge of Israel, M.A., Christian Studies, Union University, B.A., English Literature, Wheaton College. The prophets often contrast God’s past kindness and provision for Israel to the nation’s disloyalty to him and unkindness to each other in the present. Two of them are specific to Israel, two are specific to the nations of the world, and one is often available to anyone listening. These books were valuable to the ancient Hebrews, and for people who want to follow God today, they’re valuable still. This group of twelve books are all relatively short (compared to the three big books of the Major Prophets). They remained God's primary way of delivering His will and words until Jesus took the stage centuries later. But, given the different circumstances each of them encountered, their authority as God's emissaries often led to additional responsibilities, some good, and some bad. For example, Jesus, Peter, and Paul were convinced that the Old Testament prophets anticipated Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:31, 1 Corinthians 15:4). They remind the prophet’s audience of their alliance with God—an alliance that relies on them being loyal to him. It is believed that prophets are chosen and called by God. In Jewish tradition Daniel is not counted in the list of prophets. For example, among the prophets who wrote books now found in the Bible, three ministered to Israel's northern kingdom: Amos, Hosea, and Ezekiel. The Beginner’s Guide, The books of prophecy in the Old Testament, Abraham, whom God himself calls a prophet (Genesis 20:7), Samuel, who anointed two kings of Israel on God’s behalf (1 Samuel 3:19–20), Elijah and Elisha, who worked miracles and anointed (and denounced) national leaders on God’s behalf (1 Kings 19:15–16), Jeremiah, who warned Jerusalem’s leaders that Nebuchadnezzar would take the city (Jeremiah 1:5), John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:9–14), Jesus Christ, who was called a prophet before he was resurrected (John 7:40), God freeing Israel from slavery and giving them the Torah, God judging the Egyptians with ten plagues, God parting the Red Sea for Israel, and consuming Pharaoh’s armies with the same sea, Israel claiming the territories of two kings (Sihon and Og) before they even entered Canaan, Israel worshiping the gods of other nations, Israel showing more confidence in other nations’ militaries than in their God, Israel’s rich citizens oppressing the poor, World nations violently taking attacking other nations. Under the Torah, the people of Israel enjoyed God’s blessings and protection if they kept his laws. Some, like Joseph and Daniel, interpreted the dreams and/or visions of others. https://www.learnreligions.com/defining-the-role-of-prophets-in-the-bible-363345 (accessed January 26, 2021). 1 John 4:1 ESV / 1,454 helpful votes. Ezekiel and Jeremiah were priests as well as prophets. If the people don’t turn from their ways, then prophets often warn them of what lies ahead …. Prophets of the Bible had significant roles of teaching, advocating for God's Word, and warning others about the future. The Tanakh was arranged differently from the modern Old Testament (you can see how here)—with the section called Nevi’im (Hebrew for “Prophets”) in the middle. Lesson 5: Some Amazing Examples of Prophecies Already Fulfilled! O'Neal, Sam. Miriam was also a prophet. "Defining the Role of Prophets in the Bible." It’s common for a prophet to reference past events in Israel’s history, usually the stories in the Torah. The nation of Israel was split apart under the rule of Solomon's son, Rehoboam. Jesus as the Messiah – The first prophecy of the Messiah comes minutes after Adam and Eve allowed sin into the world. The Bible names many prophets, but some of the most significant prophets to remember are: In the Bible, and especially in the Old Testament, a prophet has the role of holding people accountable to the God of Israel. Defining the Role of Prophets in the Bible. Nine prophets served the southern kingdom, called Judah: Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. But if you were to ask Jesus, Peter, or Paul, you’d get a different list. In the midst of the beautiful garden stood two trees. Some examples of prophets in the Tanakh include Abraham, Moses, Miriam, Isaiah, Samuel, Ezekiel, Malachi, and Job. At other times, however, God called prophets to confront the Israelites about idolatry and other forms of sin. Jonah and Nahum spoke to the Assyrians in their capital city of Nineveh. God had warned the first human couple not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see … Wait… There Were How Many Herods?! Here’s where it gets a bit tricky: the list of specific books considered “the Prophets” will change depending on which Bible you’re reading. (10) For an example.--Another reason for endurance, an example of affliction and patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. And Obadiah declared the will of God to the people of Edom. Sam O'Neal is the co-author of "Bible Stories You May Have Forgotten" and "The Bible Answer Book." These are the books that expound on the relationship between God and Israel after they formed an alliance in the Torah. And to further complicate things, while God has his own prophets, there are prophets who speak on behalf of other gods, too. The primary role of the prophets in the Bible was to speak with the people about the words and will of God in their specific situations. Isaiah prophesied to the Jews in Judea concerning the coming Messiah. While Jeremiah isn’t considered more inspired than the other prophets, his is the longest book of the Bible—that’s a major contribution compared to, say, Obadiah’s single-page work. Obadiah Obadiah is also a Minor Prophet whose name means “servant of God” and looked forward to the end of the captivity that Judah was in at the time. In addition, numerous others prophesied, such as the 70 elders of Israel (Numbers 11:25) and the 100 prophets rescued by Obadiah (1 Kings 18:4). Instead, they only had the books we call the Old Testament, or the Tanakh. The prophets of Israel’s God believed that this behavior was unacceptable, and that these empires would eventually be overthrown with in God’s time, God’s way. Showing the work of the prophets in the New Testament church. David was first a shepherd, then warrior, king and poet and a prophet as well. Verse Concepts. Sarah and Rebekah both are held as prophets though the text only relates Rebekah’s interactions with God. Logos Bible Software 9 review: Do you REALLY need it? The most prominent example of this prophecy coming to pass is in the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Ezekiel 3:2-3 The Prophet commanded to eat the scroll. The first named prophet in the Bible is Abraham. The life of a godly prophet was never an easy one (see Acts 7:52). They Committed Immorality Food For Other gods Food Offered To Idols jezebel Misteaching Sexual Sin, Nature Of. Prophets are humans who speak on God’s behalf. However, in the Bible, the prophets played a much larger role. Although it’s easy to think of prophecy as a message concerning the future, the prophets of the Bible speak of the past, present, and future. Most of the prophecies recorded in Scripture that deal with future events were written or spoken by the prophets. For example, Deborah was a prophet who also served as a political and military leader during the period of the judges, when Israel had no king. These stories usually serve to remind Israel about their special pact with their God. These messages come in many forms: dreams, poetry, sermons, and even dramatic physical stunts—like when the prophet Isaiah went nude for three years to signify how the Assyrians would strip and shame the Egyptians (Isaiah 20:3). (Eighteen books for Catholic and Orthodox Bibles.). Or, more generally that salvation comes from God. They were dedicated servants who ministered well and left a powerful legacy for those who came after. 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