The Prophetic Office

by Al Maxey

"Under the law there were at least five classes of speakers -- Moses, the lawgiver; the wise men, who gave counsel; priests, who taught the law; prophets, through whom God spoke His word; and psalmists, who were the singers or poets in Israel" (Homer Hailey).

"By way of general definition, a prophecy is an oral or written disclosure in words through a human mouthpiece transmitting the revelation of God and setting forth His will to man" (Gleason Archer, Jr.).

God told Moses that his brother Aaron would be his "prophet" (Ex. 7:1). God then explains the nature of this work in Exodus 4:14-16 ...... the prophet is a "mouthpiece." The Lord further discusses a prophet and his work in Deut. 18:18-22, and tells us how we may determine who is a genuine prophet and who is a false prophet.

Fore-telling the future was only a small part of prophecy; the major work of the prophet was to reveal God's will to His people ...... what God expected of them in the present. "As a spokesman for God he was more a forth-teller than a fore-teller" (Hailey).

Biblical Titles of These Individuals

  1. Prophet --- (Hebrew: nabi ..... "one who has been called"). "The prophet was not to be regarded as a self-appointed professional whose purpose was to convince others of his own opinions, but rather he was one called by God to proclaim as a harald from the court of heaven the message to be transmitted from God to man" (Archer).

  2. Seer --- (Hebrew: hozeh or ro'eh). "As a seer (one who "sees") he would avoid evolving ideas or opinions of his own mind and would confine himself to that which God had actually shown him" (Archer). This appears to have been the earliest term by which these men were called (see: I Sam. 9:9).

  3. Man of God --- (I Sam. 9:6; I Kings 17:18). "This title implied that the prophet must be a man who belonged first and foremost to God, was wholly devoted to His cause, and enjoyed His personal fellowship. Therefore he could be trusted to transmit God's Word, because he spoke only as God enlightened him and guided him to speak" (Archer).

  4. Servant of Jehovah --- (I Chron. 6:49; I Kings 18:36).

  5. Messenger of Jehovah --- (Is. 42:19).

  6. Watchman --- (Ezekiel 3:17; 33:7).

Responsibilities of the Prophetic Office

"There are two classes of preachers --- the good
preachers who have something to say, and the poor
preachers who have to say something. But there is
yet another and higher class. It consists of those
who both have something to say and who have
to say it. Such are the prophets."

---- Albert Knudson

Home Page Prophets Files