What comes to mind when you hear the word “prophet” or “prophecy?” Many of us automatically think of the end of the world predictions from some crazy, disheveled person. That’s because prophecy is often confused with simply making predictions. However, there is much more to biblical prophets and prophecy.
Even though the prophetic books (Isaiah–Malachi) contain some important instances of foretelling—predictions of future events—most of their writings are forthtelling. The prophets are those who have a special connection with God which empowers them to speak on His behalf and to reveal His perspective on current events, and not just on things to come. In reality, predictive prophecy accounts for a much smaller portion of the message of the biblical prophets.
The job of the prophet was to announce any message given to him by God. God would speak directly to the prophet, who in turn would deliver that message to the people of Israel. These messages concerned the people’s current spiritual and moral state. The common theme throughout the prophets is seen in this cycle: sin, judgment, repentance and restoration. They would speak against the rebellion of the people which would result in God’s judgment, and lead to their repentance and restoration. But the messages also pointed to God fulfilling what He promised to Abraham—a coming Messiah who would rule perfectly on God’s behalf.
Therefore, it’s easy to see that Jesus is the centerpiece of the prophetic writings. Some have calculated that Jesus directly fulfilled as many as three hundred separate messianic prophecies. This is also why the New Testament writers frequently quoted the prophets when writing about Jesus. Even more so, Jesus is the perfect prophet, since He is God and represents God perfectly in human form. That is, Jesus carried the same messages of the prophets. He spoke against their rebellion, warned of God’s judgment, called for repentance and secured ultimate restoration through His sacrificial death on the cross.
Is there any unrepentant sin in your life? If so, confess, repent, be restored and reconciled back to God.
To learn more on the meaning of these books, click here to go to the Tony Evans Training Center, with in-depth teachings on multiple topics.