Monday, December 28, 2015

The role of the prophets in the Bible


                                                  The calling of Samuel

God uses His servants in different ways. Throughout the whole Scriptures we will find different prophet figures who played an important role all over the centuries.
What is a prophet? A prophet is a set apart, chosen servant that Hashem uses specifically to foretell things that are to come or to call people to repentance.
As a child, I was very much influenced by movies about Moses. I was impressed with his role, and I remember telling my father: "he's so lucky to have been a prophet...I too would like to be a prophet."
My father explained to me that most prophets were doing their job unwillingly and that it was a very difficult task.
Our Lord has set me apart and anointed me, yet He didn't make me a prophet (although He gave me a few prophetic visions), He made me a disciple and asked me not to add to my title, which is something I do respect at all times.

So what is the difference between a normal servant, a priest or a prophet?

The role of a prophet

The prophet/ prophetess is the Eternal's voice to a multitude. Hashem can speak through him or her through visions, paraboles, signs and miracles. The prophet's own life can be symbolic for the message God wants to spread to His people.

The prophet sometimes has to make very unpleasant statements. Usually, a prophet is not very popular. Many prophets in the Bible were persecuted and murdered for telling Hashem's truth.

Enoch is less spoken about, but he is one of the first prophets mentioned in the Book of Genesis.

"Enoch lived sixty five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and fifty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24)

Enoch must have had a special place in God's heart, because after sin was introduced into the garden of Eden, Enoch did not know the decay of physical death. He was directly taken to Hashem.

Enoch is mentioned again in the epistle of Jude, where his prophetic mission is clearly defined:

"It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, pophesied, saying: "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" (Jude 14-15)

Many servants who walked with God are being called prophets.
In Genesis 20:7, Hashem reveals Abimelech that Abraham is a prophet.

There are too many prophets that are mentioned in the Bible to go through all of them individually, but let us examine the criteria of biblical prophecy.

Biblical prophecy: what makes a prophet?

Chosen since the beginning, set apart and anointed, the prophet is an inspired man. The Spirit of God resides within him.

The Bible is very clear about who is a real prophet.
Deuteronomy 18, verses 21 and 22, offer us a clear teaching about prophecy: " You may say in your heart, "how will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the Name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."

Usually, the Lord reveals Himself in visions and dreams. However, Moshe (Moses) was privileged, because he encountered Hashem panim el panim (face to face).
"When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles, he sees the form of the Lord. Why then are you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (Numbers 12:6-8)

One very important criteria is the accuracy of the prophecy:

"When all this comes true-and it surely will-then they will know that a prophet has been among them." Ezechiel 33.33

"As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet will come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord has truly sent him." Jeremiah 28.9

Note that the prophet has to be a 100% correct. Otherwise, he'll be dismissed as a fraud. The Scriptures are very clear about it. So do not let anybody who comes up with the pompous title of "prophet" fool you. Is a real prophet the one who has been designed by our Lord. One cannot improvise him as a prophet.

The calling of Samuel gives us the example of a true calling from Hashem.
In the beginning, Samuel has to learn how to recognize our Lord's voice.
Without being a prophet, I had this amazing experience of hearing Yeshua's voice in a very audible way. When this happens at first, it is always a very surprising experience, but as our Lord repeated His calling, I became able to recognize His voice and to react to it immediately when He was speaking to me.
But  Samuel's calling ends with an unpleasant, prophetic message that the young boy is supposed to deliver to the priest Eli.

Yeshua our Lord Himself is defined as the "prophet like Moses", announced by Moses in the Torah.

You will also recognize a true prophet by his humbleness and his will do our Lord's will, should he lose his life.

In conclusion, there are many pretenders, but not anybody can be a prophet for they are chosen, set apart and anointed for their very specific missions God has prepared for them.

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling

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