What is the first thought that enters your mind when the word “prophet” is mentioned? Do you instantly think of a wild-haired, bearded man wearing coarse camel-hair clothing with a leather belt, bursting onto the scene, much like an Elijah or John the Baptist?
Or do you think of our Lord Jesus walking through crowds of people and ministering to them?
And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11)
Most Christians can easily picture pastors, teachers, and evangelists as ministries for the Lord, but then we struggle with the ministry of the prophet. The main reason for our struggles are the more than fifty-five examples of prophets mentioned in the Old Testament. These were the main characters, and with the exception of Jesus, we know more about the Old Testament prophets’ ministries than all of the other ministries in the whole Bible combined.
What do we really know about the ministry of the pastor, teacher, or evangelist? Very little.
But what do we know about the ministries of the Old Testament prophets:
1. The prophets were God’s mouthpiece to the people of Israel and other nations. There were no ifs, ands, buts, whys, howevers, therefores, or testings of the prophets’ words. All words were to be accepted as from the Lord. Period.
2. If the prophets’ words failed to take place, the people were not to fear them.
3. If the prophets’ words led people away to follow other gods, then the prophets were to be killed.
4. The Spirit of the Lord came upon prophets (also a few kings and priests) to prophesy.
5. If the prophets failed to speak God’s words to the people of Israel, the prophets were held accountable for what happened to the people.
6. The Old Testament prophets suffered heavy afflictions because of their prophecies.
I do not want to understate the value of studying the Old Testament prophets because there is much to be gleaned from studying them. Yet, we need to view their ministries through the light of the cross. The Apostle Paul wrote:
These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:17)
So, what about New Testament prophets and prophecy?
(Continued in Part 6)
2 responses to “To Listen or Not to Listen to Prophecy…That’s the Question (Part 5)”
Thank you, Mr. Larry, for talking more about prophets. It seems a little dangerous to be a prophet! Looking forward to learning about New Testament prophets. God bless!
Thanks. God loves His prophets and tends to put them in tough situations…some are even in the middle of Illinois. God bless you today.