Vol.XVII No.IX Pg.6
November 1980

The Profit Of Prophets

Robert F. Turner

The first verses of the book of Hebrews inform us that God used the OT prophets to speak His Will to the fathers, but that now He reveals Himself to us thru His Son... The purpose of the Hebrew writer is to show that Jesus Christ is the Prophet of prophets, and to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity over Judaism. While most of us recognize that the NT is the standard for sound faith and practice; and that we should never fall into an observance of the old Mosaic Law, we often fail to comprehend and appreciate a great portion of God's inspiration.

A common misconception of many Bible students is that the prophets of the OT were primarily predictors (fore-tellers) of future events, especially those events which centered around the person and ministry of the Messiah. While it is true that the prophets did in fact predict many details concerning the Christ, this was not their principal function. Their chief purpose is found in Deut. 18:18, where the Lord God tells Moses that "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." Thus, the prophets were preachers (forth-tellers) of God, men who proclaimed the words of Jehovah to His people Israel. They replaced Moses as the mouth of God.

This understanding of the prophets should not diminish the significance of those passages which are clearly Messianic, but should point out that those references to Christ are included in the greater context in which the prophets wrote. God made a covenant with His chosen people, and they chose to rebel against Him who had delivered them. By their action, the covenant made at Sinai was broken.

The prophets of Israel were the preachers of the covenant, reminding Israel of the treaty they had made with Jehovah. They predicted the inevitable doom that would befall them because of their iniquity. Hosea 4:1 states that "Jehovah has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land." Micah 6 and Jer. 2 echo this lawsuit of God. Jehovah will therefore sue (judge) Israel for breach of contract. The prophets were sent to announce this near and disastrous future. No Messianic reference here.

Another aspect of the prophetic message was to give a Divine interpretation of that disastrous history, and to announce hope for future redemption. This chapter in Israel's history did not happen due to chance. God is in control of human history, and these terrible judgments occur because they are ordained of God to punish His rebellious people. The prophets explained why it all came about.

If we study the prophets from a proper historical perspective, we will understand how their messages applied both to ancient Israel and to the people of God in every time and place. This is indeed the profit of prophets. Ramon Madrigal (Written for Plain Talk by one of my journalism students.)