The History of the Prophets

Today's Bible reading: 1 Samuel 10:5-10

From the moment that God began to create a new people for Himself in the Exodus, He also provided spokespeople to reveal His will.  Right out of the gate, of course, there was Moses – the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.  After him there remained the hope that - as God had promised - the future would produce another prophet like Moses … one who would perfectly reveal God's will … and one whom the people would obey.  This hope was indeed finally fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who is our perfect prophet.

In these earlier years, God even used foreign prophets like Balaam … but the classical age of prophecy began first with Samuel in the period of the Judges … and then with Elijah in the period of the kings.  Elijah and his disciple, Elisha, belong to the so-called non-literary prophets.  Like hundreds of others - a few of whom we know by name - they didn’t write down their words.

An interesting note that we shouldn't just gloss over or breeze by is that the Old Testament also had three prophetesses: Miriam, the sister of Moses … Deborah, who worked at the time of the judge Barack … and Huldah, who prophesied in the reign of Josiah.

The literary prophets begin their work in the middle of the eighth century BC.  Almost contemporaries of Amos and Hosea in the north … are Isaiah and Micah in the south.  A century later Jeremiah and Ezekiel cover the tragic last years of Judah and the years of Babylonian Exile.  Among the other minor prophets, Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah referred to events before the exile.  Others, like Haggai and Zechariah, clearly came on the scene after the exile.  Obadiah, Jonah and Malachi are the last prophecies to have been written down.

The voice of prophecy then went silent for almost 500 years … until the appearance of the first great prophet of the New Testament, who began to preach on the banks of the Jordan – John the Baptist.

Prayer: Thank You, heavenly Father, for proving Jesus as the ultimate sign of your gracious guidance.  by the power of Your Spirit, increase my faith in You and my confidence in living for Jesus.  Amen.