Men who spoke as they
were moved by the Holy Spirit
The great men of the Old
Testament were not the kings or the priests, but the
prophets because they were always calling the people
to repentance and revealing God’s will to man.
When you compare all
ancient history and its writings there is nothing
which matches Israelite prophecy.
A prophet is a man who speaks to men on behalf of
God the message he has received from God. Prophecy
is the declaration and illustration of the
principles of the divine government, whether in the
past, present, or the future. Prophets were God’s
specially called and inspired messengers. They were
"holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the
Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).
was a person who was possessed of
supernatural vision, insight, and foresight. He was
called a "seer."
was an authoritative messenger from God, a beholder
or seer, who received supernatural vision.
was one who spoke for God. He speaks from an inner
compulsion of the Spirit of God the message he has
The prophets are called by various names including:
"Man of God," "Servant of Jehovah (LORD),"
"Messenger of Jehovah," "Interpreter," "Sentinel,"
"The Man of the Spirit."
INFLUENCE ON PROPHETS: The Holy
Spirit breathing into the mind of the prophet so
illumined his spirit and pervaded his thoughts, that
while nothing as a person was taken away, yet
everything that was necessary to enable him to
declare divine truth in all its fullness was
bestowed on him. Their inspiration consisted in the
fullness of the influence of the Holy Spirit
enabling them to accomplish their work.
The control and guidance
by the Holy Spirit in the expression of the message
guarantees the expression of truth without error.
TASK OF THE PROPHET:
His job was to call the people back to God and to
the truth of God. It involved warning them of the
consequences of their actions and a call to
repentance. At times it was a message of God's plan
for the future of His Kingdom. They were men through
whom God spoke His message of love for sinners, and
warned them of the consequences of their sins. The
heart of their message was God's promise of eternal
redemption through the coming of Jesus Christ the
God prepared each of these men for their special
task. There were also "schools" of the prophets in
Ramah (1 Samuel 19:18), Bethel (2 Kings 2:3),
Jericho (2 Kings 2:5), and Gilgal (2 Kings 4:38).
The test of the prophet was practical and simple.
"When the word of the prophet shall come to pass,
then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord has
truly sent him" (Jeremiah 28:9). The term does not
occur in the Old Testament. It is found on the lips
of Jesus (Matt. 7:15-23; Mk.13:21-23; Jer. 14:13-18;
28; 1 Kings 22:5-28). Things that are most highly
valued are most subject to counterfeiting. True
prophecy has in it no contradictions. It must always
agree in genuine way with what is already known
about Yahweh. Satan is the counterfeiter.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE
1. They were sent
from God. These men claimed to be speaking from God
and for God. "Thus says the Lord" was a clear
emphasis of their preaching. The content of their
message is proof that they were inspired of the
2. Their message
was related to history. It grew out of some historic
situation in which they lived. The prophets were
messengers of their times. The message can only be
understood by seeing it in its original setting. You
have to become a student of history to understand
Old Testament prophecy.
3. God's revelation
is progressive. Each message builds upon other
revealed truth from God.
4. Prophecy is not
always predictive. It is a mistake to think that Old
Testament prophecy was always predictive or
foretelling of the future. There were times when the
prophet spoke only to his own generation without any
special reference to the future. He called his
generation to repentance or to a social change
within the nation or political changes. They warned
the nation and its leaders of wrongs that needed to
be corrected. They were primarily messengers of God,
whether they spoke of the past, the present, or the
5. There were
absolute predictions of the future. These
predictions reveal God's purposes of grace to men.
They are dependent upon the sovereign purpose of
God, and they are certain of fulfillment. A good
example is Genesis 3:15, which is not dependent
upon, man, but solely upon God. Galatians 4:4-5
shows its fulfillment.
6. There were
conditional predictions, which directly bear upon
men’s responsibility for a proper human response to
secure fulfillment. A good example is Jonah's
prediction that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty
interpretation of prophecy includes the recognition
of both literal and figurative language freely
intermingled. Genesis 3:15 is a figurative way of
picturing the conflict between Christ and Satan.
prophecy is centered in Christ. It is a testimony of
Jesus Christ. He is at the center of prophecy
because He is the central theme of all the
Scriptures. No one, or anything can share that
center stage with Him. Bring every prophecy to
Christ in order to see it in its true light.
9. Interpret Old
Testament prophecy in the light of the New
Testament. We find the key to the interpretation of
Old Testament prophecy by examining how New
Testament writers interpreted the prophets. The
explanation of the Old Testament in the New
Testament is the very point from which alone all
explanation that listens to the voice of the divine
wisdom must set out. This way we understand the
sense of the Holy Scriptures as understood by
inspired men themselves, and are furnished with the
true key to knowledge. We discover from the New
Testament writers the correct principles of
interpreting the Old Testament prophecies. Probably
we should see much more in the prophetic messages
than we at first observed.
interpretation of prophecy should generally be in
the literal and natural meaning of the words. Seek
the plain teaching of the passage. The fulfillment
of predictions made by the prophets is to be thought
of as literal and not allegorical. Many predictions
may be given to us in figurative language, and we
may or may not understand them, but when the day
comes for fulfillment it is to be thought of as
CLASSIFICATION OF THE
PROPHETS: Prophets of the Old
Testament are usually grouped as writing and oral
prophets. Within these two groupings is another
classification based on size, and not on content, or
on quality of inspiration. Four of the prophetic
books were longer in content and therefore called
"major prophets." It does not mean the "major
prophets" were more important or significant in
subject matter than the "minor prophets." The
"minor prophets" simply signify shorter books and
MAJOR WRITING PROPHETS:
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
MINOR WRITING PROPHETS:
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum,
Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
THE ORAL PROPHETS:
1. Enoch (Jude
2. Noah (II Pet.
3. Abraham and the
Patriarchs (Gen.20:7; 27:27-29; 49
4. Moses (Deut.
5. Miriam and Aaron
(Ex. 15:20; Num. 12:1-8
6. The Seventy
7. Balaam (Num.
8. Joshua (Josh. 1,
9. Deborah (Jud.
10. Unknown prophet
in days of Gideon (Jud. 6:7-10)
11. Unknown prophet
in days of Eli (I Sam. 2:27-36)
12. Samuel (I Sam.
13. Schools of
prophets under Samuel (Saul) (I Sam. 10:10-12;
14. Gad (I Sam.
22:5; II Sam. 24:11-19; I Chron. 29:29; II Chron.
15. Nathan (II Sam.
7, 12; II Chron. 9:29; 29:25)
16. David (Acts
17. Ahijah (I Kings
18. Man of God from
Judah (I Kings 13)
19. Shemaiah (I
Kings 12:21-24; II Chron. 12:1-8)
20. Iddo the Seer
(II Chron. 12:15; 13:22)
21. Azariah (II
22. Hanani (II
23. Jehu son of
Hanani (II Chron. 19:1-3)
24. Elijah (I Kings
17-II Kings 2)
25. Micaiah (I
26. Unknown prophet
encouraged Ahab (I Kings 20:13-15)
27. Unknown prophet
rebuked Ahab (I Kings 20:35-43).
28. Jahaziel (II
29. Eliezer (II
30. Elisha (II
School of Elisha (II Kings 9:1-13)
32. Zechariah son
of Jehoiada (II Chron. 24:20-22)
33. Man of God
forbade Amaziah's league with Israel (II Chron.
34. Unknown prophet
rebuked Amaziah (II Chron. 25:15f)
35. Zechariah (II
36. Oded (II Chron.
37. Huldah the
prophetess (II Kings 22:12-20)
38. Urijah (Jer.
to the Prophets
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