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.
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)