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Prophet

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Jump to: navigation, search A prophet is one who speaks for God. The term usually refers to God's spokesmen in the Old Testament, beginning with Abraham, and ending with St. John the Forerunner.

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1 Old Testament Prophecy o 1.1 Major prophets o 1.2 Minor prophets 2 The End of Prophecy 3 Assessment of the prophet's authenticity and false prophets 4 Sources and external links

Old Testament Prophecy
The word prophet itself derives from the Greeks, who used the word προφήτης to refer to an interpreter or spokesperson of a deity, who "utters forth." In Hebrew, however, the word traditionally translated as prophet nevi, which likely means "proclaimer." The meaning of nevi is perhaps described in Deuteronomy 18:18, where God said, "I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them all that I command him." Thus, the navi was thought to be the "mouth" of God. The root nun-bet-alef (navi) is based on the twoletter root nun-bet which denotes hollowness or openness, perhaps in reference to God. Some examples of prophets in the Old Testament include Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Isaiah, David, Solomon, and Job. Also, sixteen books in the Old Testament are called by the names of prophets, although not necessarily written by their hands. They are traditionally divided into the "major" and "minor" prophets:

Major prophets
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Book of Isaiah, Isaiah Book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah includes book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah Book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel Book of Daniel, Daniel

Minor prophets

however. thus tightly linking the period of prophecy in the Old Testament with Jesus. . Hosea Book of Joel. which come to you in sheep's clothing. This. including Pentecostals and Quakers. Do men gather grapes of thorns. though. Obadiah Book of Jonah. one should judge a prophet by checking whether his predictions come true. whose most notable adherent was Tertullian. they often manage to diminish the role of Holy Tradition by overemphasizing such new "revelations. is generally reserved for Old Testament figures. In doing so. Malachi The End of Prophecy Orthodoxy teaches that John the Baptist (also known as John the Forerunner) was the last of the prophets. Jonah Book of Micah." Mormons also think that the current president of their "church" is a prophet. Joel Book of Amos. Nahum Book of Habakkuk. in the New Testament Christ warned against false prophets and said that one should judge a prophet by his fruits. An early Christian heresy centering around continuing prophecy was Montanism. Some Protestant (and thus heretical) sects hold that prophecy continues to this day. but inwardly they are ravening wolves. or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit. The term "prophet" itself. but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Amos Book of Obadiah. Likewise. who delivered the fullness or fulfillment of the law. Haggai Book of Zechariah. Micah Book of Nahum. is not to say that the spirit of prophecy is dead in the Church. Habakkuk Book of Zephaniah. From (Matthew 7): Beware of false prophets. Zephaniah Book of Haggai. there are many instances of saints and other Orthodox receiving prophetic dreams or visions. Assessment of the prophet's authenticity and false prophets According to Deuteronomy 18:21-22. Ye shall know them by their fruits.The books of the 12 so-called minor prophets: • • • • • • • • • • • • Book of Hosea. Zechariah Book of Malachi.

Understandably. Some important distinctions in the study of the biblical prophets:  Major and minor prophets: refers only to the length of the book. etc. those who have left a book bearing their name. 1:15]. "Prophecy in the Ancient Near East.org/Prophet OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PROPHETS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT Definition: Prophecy is "the proclamation of divine messages in a state of inspiration" (Helmer Ringgren. or ecstasy. It might come to an individual or a group. or writing prophets: those of the 8th-c and beyond." in Israel�s Prophetic Tradition. it might come suddenly and unexpectedly.e. Jeremiah. There are only three major prophets in the OT--Isaiah. and cast into the fire." • Root meaning of the term: . or after preparation on the part of the prophet [see Koch. not the importance of the message or the power of the preaching.1 Sts.. dance. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down. Terms used for prophets: The message and the type of inspiration differed widely in the ancient world.A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. and Ezekiel. Peter and Paul also enjoin the faithful to beware of "false prophets" (i. The revelation might come through dreams. there is no single term used for a prophet. auditions. translated as "prophet. in contrast to those such as Elijah or Huldah. heretics) repeatedly in their epistles. 1). visions. neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Nabi (or navi): 300 times in OT.  Classical. See 2 Peter 2 and Acts 20:28 in particular http://orthodoxwiki. then. or it might be evoked by music. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Prophets.

Wilson. a spokesman (Servant of the Lord. see Exodus 7:1-2. The verb form is used in Micah 1:1. •  Seer (ro'eh): note 1 Sam 9:9 ("for the one who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer"). 254). 105). because he is conscious of having been specifically chosen and called. Wilson suggests that hozeh is used primarily of Jerusalemite prophets (254. What kind of person was the prophet? Note the cross-cultural studies of Johnannes Lindblom. On servant as spokesman.  A person who believed that he or she had a message from God to a segment of the population or to the people as a whole. Lindblom: "a person who. and Thomas Overholt. i. Prophecy and Society in Ancient Israel. announce.e. n. Robert R. • Klaus Koch: nabi probably literally means "one entrusted with a message" (The Prophets 1:16). 19). Arabic naba�a = announce. have been indicated to him in the form of divine revelations" (Prophecy in Ancient Israel. . 46). in a mental state of intense inspiration or real ecstasy. also in Interpretation 38:15. so we may safely assume that the hozeh was one who obtained revelations through visions" (Robert R.Akkadian nabu = call. feels forced to perform actions and proclaim ideas which. Wilson.  Visionary (hozeh): "The majority of the occurrences of the verb and its nominal derivatives are in visionary contexts. • • Suggested meanings of nabi: Rowley: a nabi is one who delivers a message not his own.

1989. Amos was a sheepbreeder. Certainly the prophet believed that he/she had authority from God. Consequently. that is. its credibility is judged in terms of how adequate it appears to be for coping with the specific problems presented by that situation" (Channels of Prophecy. Ezekiel was a priest.. A prophet might be a professional (i. one who worked at a religious shrine-e.e. E. a cult prophet. . MARTIN LUTHER KING and GHANDI. because they perceive in the proclamation continuity with the cultural traditions sufficient to make what they say intelligible and at the same time innovations sufficient to offer the possibility of a new interpretation that will bring order out of what is perceived as chaos. 32f). then lay on his right side for 40 days symbolizing Judah's time of punishment (Ezekiel 4:4-8). aristocratic class of society.g. But that is a faith statement. . Isaiah walked through Jerusalem naked (chap 20).. or. The prophet might well be from the influential. . Ezekiel lay on his left side for 390 days to symbolize the years of Israel's punishment. used dramatic [sometimes miraculous] signs to accompany his message. the general criterion for the attribution of authority to prophets might be expressed as perceived effectiveness" (71).. but not frequently.  The prophet�s authority derived from both God and his/her audience. "The people choose their prophets.  A prophet sometimes. Balaam [Num 22:5ff].G. in some cases. they attribute authority to them. From the point of view of audience reaction. . not open to absolute proof. the prophet of Bethel [1 K 13]) or might be someone from another walk of life who felt called out at a specific time to deliver a prophetic message. the audience withdrew authority and refused the prophet. then. Note well Thomas Overholt: "Because any prophet�s message is addressed to a group of people living in a specific historical-cultural situation. the prophet also derived authority from his audience. Deborah.

131). It is the continuation of a history that is already taking place" (1:10). • • NOTE: this class will NOT take the approach that the OT prophets predicted modern events! Some things that make understanding the prophetic writings difficult: . and Frederic Bush: even when the prophet is announcing predictive prophecy. p. Prophets are distinguished from mere soothsayers in that they base what is impending on the present. and political events of their day. 1991). Rowley: "The prophets were continually predicting the future. events that related to the social. H. "the prophet speaks about what has meaning for his listeners. p." "The promise is therefore not simply a clairvoyant announcement about some future event which will break in without any relation to anything else. 2nd ed. 1992. They prophesied events that they believed were soon to happen.  Prophets often say something about the future. H. • Klaus Koch: "A prophet addresses himself to the future" [The Prophets. rather than a distant and unrelated future" (Servant of the Lord. Feb 11. When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture. He continues. but not in the way that popular interpretation often believes. • William Sanford LaSor. also Paul Boyer. He does not suddenly forget them and utter an irrelevant �prophecy of things to come�" (OT Survey 305).Note also the Oxford Annotated Bible. see John Elson. ***On the contemporary interest in OT prophecy as predictive of contemporary events. drawing their conclusions from the moral behaviour of the people round them. 1]. however: "Not everyone who says something definite about the future is a prophet. first sentence of the book. though commonly the future as arising out of the present. The prophets did not predict events so far into the future that they would have had no relevance for the audience of their day. 863: "The prophets are not simply social analysts who issue moral and religious urgings. they are also artists who redescribe reality and who construe social experience in new and venturesome categories" [Walter Brueggemann]. religious. "Apocalypse Now?" Time. David Hubbard.

 The prophetic books are not primarily narrative. Unfaithfulness to Yahweh: like the Deuteronomistic historians. Justice is more a social term. so the use of a good study Bible is helpful. 5:11-12 3. designating the right ways that persons should be treated in community. Hosea 4:1-3. The covenant with God involved social obligations of Israelites to each other as well--many of the laws of the Torah deal with interpersonal relations. Isaiah 3 ("on that day" or "in that day" = the Day of the Lord) 4. the Syro-Ephraimitic War. Perhaps God was so disgusted with them that he had cast them off forever and would choose another people to be his. Isaiah 1:10--. For the prophets. Amos 5:18-20. 4:1-3. 6: "no knowledge" of Yahweh. turning it into a province of Assyria. God�s faithfulness and restoration: especially in the aftermath of 587. designating the right/appropriate relations that should characterize individuals in a relationship. Against that crisis of belief. the survivors wondered if they were even still the people of God.g. Yahweh remained faithful. Amos 2:6-8. Lack of justice and righteousness: the prophets see this as a consequence of unfaithfulness. the prophets see both Israel and Judah forsaking Yahweh to follow other gods. the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and Judah. they believe that God raised up the Assyrians to use as an instrument of punishment against Israel--and indeed the Assyrians annihilated the northern kingdom in 722 BC. The prophets interpret political/military events of their day as God�s action: in the 8th century.. primarily Baal. Note: righteousness is a personal term.  Our ignorance of the historical situation of the prophet. but he wasn�t turning against them completely. both of these actions were the Day of the Lord. making them a province of Babylon. the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel brought reassurance--in spite of the people�s unfaithfulness. this is the day that Yahweh would punish his people for their sins. 2. In 587 BCE. but are summaries of the prophets' spoken messages. the Persian Gulf War vs. He would punish. E. . It is often difficult to discern transitions of thought. The prophets see that Israel and Judah don�t practice righteousness and justice. THE MESSAGE OF THE PROPHETS We can summarize the message of the classical prophets under 4 headings: 1. The Day of the Lord: for the OT prophets.

After 587 they had not had a king of their own.In light of the strong emphasis made by both the Deuteronomistic historians and the prophets regarding Israel�s and Judah�s unfaithfulness. the Babylonian king was their ruler. esp vv 19-20. 1955] 407). Straus and Giroux. http://web. . He will complete what we are trying to achieve. in spite of his people. this emphasis is both notable and unexpected. however. In contrast to the Sinai covenant that they repeatedly violated. God will make a new covenant "in their heart. See Journey of Faith 58-59. This is the hope for a messiah in the OT--a king like David who will save them from their enemies. .html Lesson 04 . is our hope: God will redeem where we fail. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel comments: "This. 37:24.html? faculty/vandergriffk/INTProphecy. How ugly is the way in which we spoil. We must constantly remember: we spoil and God restores. they continued to be ruled by the various empires. and how good and how beautiful is the way in which He restores" (God in Search of Man [NY: Farrar. Jeremiah and Ezekiel speak of restoration in at least 4 ways: (1) restoration from exile back to the homeland: Jer 29:10-14 (2) new covenant: Jer 31:31-34. . Even after they were restored from exile." (3) new heart/spirit: Ezek 11. ---this refers to a restored king of David�s line.edu/faculty/vandergriffk/INTProphecy. It is one of the strong messages of grace in the OT--God remains faithful.campbell. Jer 30:9. ---this hope remains unfulfilled in the OT. (4) new king: Ezek 34:23-24.

Historical Prologue (what the main party has done in favour of the other party) “who brought you from Egypt. (Is. by worshipping other gods and goddesses. the Covenant at Sinai. Although one may not speak about an evolution of this belief.15. Stipulations (Conditions or Laws) .7-18). Covenant Prophets always understood Israel as people of the Covenant. and proclaimed God’s severe judgement on them. (Isaiah 44.Decalogue – 10 commandments (Ex. one has to admit the fact that it was the prophets that asserted Strict Monotheism. 28 & 29. 20/2) 3. they upheld the obligations coming from the Covenant. A covenant. the main party) “I am Yahweh” (Ex.1.20/2) 2. 2. Oath to keep the Covenant: Verbally or through Symbolic Action (Gen. They went so far as far as to deny anything divine to the other gods and goddesses.e. 17-19). elements of Nature are presented as witnesses. whenever the Israelites broke the covenant.) (Joshua 24. had the following elements: 1. Introduction of the Covenant Parties (esp. 6-20.26-27. Therefore. Curses & Blessings – (Deut. i. Jeremiah 51. the prophets condemned them. in the Biblical Covenants.Teachings of the Prophets Monotheism.) 6. 5. the house of bondage (Ex. Although among other nations various gods were said to serve as witnesses. Witnesses. One of the principal teachings of the Old Testament prophets is Monotheism or the belief in one and only God.) . by affirming the supremacy of Yahweh over all nations. in the ancient Middle East. 20/3-17) 4. Hence.

V. Covenant Meal: This expressed the intimate relationship resulting from the covenant. Hence we have to go to the Greek text of the Old Testament (Septuagint) which uses the word. from time to time renewed the Covenant. (Jr. 11/. V. When a Covenant is bi-lateral. that the expression “House of Judah” had been added to the text later. where it is said “not like the Covenant…….) The reason for the breach is the fact that the Covenant at Sinai is bilateral in nature.e. “ Kaine” which means something totally new. It is agreed among the scholars. There is ambiguity in the expression “House of Israel” for. (Ex. then the other party can break it.33 where only the “House of Israel” is found. Jeremiah in 31/31-34 proposes a new Covenant distinct from that of Sinai. it could refer to the whole of Israel or to the Northern Kingdom. Depositing the Covenant document in a sanctuary and reading it periodically Prophets do mention Israel breaking the Covenant. “with the house of Israel and the house of Judah”. something totally new or a new version of the old. 31 –“ The days are coming” This is a very common expression in the Prophetic literature regarding God’s future intervention in human history. 32 -“I shall make a new Covenant” – The word. to clarify the expression “House of Israel”. This is very clear from V. “Not like to Covenant” .7. “new” can be ambiguous i. 24/11) 8. And this is further affirmed in V32. This means there is a clear distinction between the new Covenant and the Covenant at Sinai. Therefore Israel.

Therefore this intimate experience cannot be communicated externally.e. the covenant that is intended is uni-lateral. This formula. because God takes responsibility.Son – Is 1/2 . 16 Father. The main idea behind these words is the deep experience of God within oneself. One has to visualize a father leading his son. namely: Husband. after Reformation. Here. Father-Son relationship. and they shall be my people”. ‘Heart’ (Leb) was considered to be the centre of all activity in man. V34 – “No longer shall each man to ask his neighbour …. This means. by virtue of this covenant. seems to have been derived from the ancient marriage formula. This section seems to have been misinterpreted. According to the Hebrew mind. according to scholarly studies. for a long time.Here the Prophet refers to the Covenant at Sinai. as it is a deep experience of God within . to challenge the teaching authority of the Church.“ I will put my Law within them and I will write it upon their hearts. V. “When I took them by the hand” This is the covenant imagery i.” This sentence brings in the distinction between the Covenant of Sinai and the New Covenant.Flock – Is 40/10-11 Ez. 34 Owner and his Vineyard Is 5/1-7 ‘My covenant which they broke’ Since the Sinai Covenant was bi-lateral it could be broken by Israel and therefore there is the need for a new covenant which cannot be broken. It is a covenant of promise on the part of God. They shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest”.53 – “I will be their God.e. V33 . which read as “I shall be to you a husband and you shall be to me a wife”. i.wife (V32) Ez. This is the Covenant formula which indicates the relationship between God and his people. This means God’s Law expressed in the covenant seems to coincide with the conscience of the Man. the Covenant at Sinai is replaced by the New Covenant. whereas the new covenant is written on the heart.Hosea 11/1-4 Shepherd . The covenant of Sinai was written on two tablets of stone. The Prophets of the Old Testament expressed the covenant relationship between God and Israel in term of following imagery. it is internalized.

i.e. In this Text. there is a connection between the New Covenant and the Covenant at Sinai. Thus both Jeremiah’s idea of the New Covenant and the sealing of the Covenant at Sinai by blood are fused together. Galatians 4/21-26. 8/7-13.e. For other New Testament texts on the New Covenant refer: 2 Cor. forgiveness on the part of God.one self.htm . Here the presentation seems to differ from Jeremiah. and On the other. 12/22-24 http://www. the sinner persisting in sin cannot continue this relationship with God. because Jeremiah does not speak about blood in terms of the New Covenant. 10/15-18. What is special in this covenant is the assurance of God’s constant forgiveness. but by the blood of Jesus on the cross. Later the concept of the New Covenant is taken up by the New Testament. The sectarians at Qumran called themselves the community of the new covenant.com/prophets04. “I will forgive their iniquity”. there is a clear difference between them. the New Covenant is sealed not with the blood of the animals as in the Covenant at Sinai. The earliest is 1 Cor 11/23-26 (…this is my blood of the New Covenant). Hence. This text is later taken up in Qumran and given a sectarian interpretation. Heb 9/15-17. Therefore on the one hand. Heb. becomes a necessary condition to help man to keep the covenant. Therefore it becomes a very important condition to maintain the covenant relationship i. The same is found in Luke 22/19-20. 24/1-8). 3/4 -11. There they had the different interpretation of the Law of Moses.slcnyusa. the New Covenant seems to be connected with Exodus (Ex.