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Bible verses about Prophet
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 4:10-16

The Old Testament uses three Hebrew words that are translated into the English word "prophet" or "seer": nabi, roeh, and hozeh.

Nabi literally means "to bubble up." It describes one who is stirred up in spirit. It is the most frequently used of the three by the Hebrew writers. When the sense of "bubbling up" is applied to speaking, it becomes "to declare." Hence, a nabi, or a prophet, is an announcer—one who pours forth the declarations of God.

Roeh means "to see" or "to perceive." It is generally used to describe one who is a revealer of secrets, one who envisions.

Hozeh also means "to see" or "to perceive," but is also used in reference to musicians. It is also used to describe a counselor or an advisor to a king. The Hebrew does not necessarily indicate that the person is a prophet, but rather an advisor—someone who has wisdom. It means "one who has insight." The translators try to indicate whether the message is spiritual. If it is spiritual, then they tend to translate hozeh as "prophet." If it does not give any indication of being spiritually generated, then they would render it "advisor" or "counselor.”

In the Greek language, a prophet is simply "one who speaks for another"—one who speaks for a god, and so interprets the god's will to the people. Hence, the essential meaning in Greek is "interpreter."

Nobody knows whether God intends that any real difference be understood from the usage of the different words, but biblical usage is more important than etymology. In the context of these scriptures, it defines a prophet about as well as possible. The conclusion is that a prophet is one who speaks for another, a representative who carries a message, an expounder of God's Word.

Overall, the Bible's usage conforms most closely to the Greek usage, one who speaks for another. But it is not limited to God. In this situation, Moses and Aaron's relationship is analogous to God and Moses'.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

Deuteronomy 18:15

There is no doubt that God Himself is speaking. Deuteronomy 5:1-6 shows that God is speaking to Moses specifically, and through him, to the children of Israel.

More questions arise from verse 15. What does God promise to Moses and the Israelites? He promises to raise up a Prophet. Where will he come from? Note the words "a Prophet . . . from your midst, from your brethren." He will come from the tribes of Israel; the Prophet will be born an Israelite.

What special attribute will this Prophet have? The words "like me" indicate that he will be like God Himself! The Israelites are then commanded to hear the words of this Prophet. This means we are to listen and to act upon what we hear.

Staff
The Prophet


 

Deuteronomy 18:15-18

God shows in many places that those He appoints to the prophetic office will always preach the keeping of His commandments as evidence of the source of their guidance. They will teach the conservation of truth, that is, past truth, even as they break new ground in terms of doctrine.

Isaiah 8:19-20 is an expansion on Deuteronomy 18:15-18:

And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 2)


 

Deuteronomy 18:18

God repeats some of what He had said in verse 15, but the difference is instructive! Verse 15 says, ". . . a Prophet like me," while verse 18 says, ". . . a Prophet like you"! In verse 15, God says the Prophet will be like Himself, but in verse 18, He says He will be like "you."

To whom does the pronoun "you" refer: to the Israelites generally, or to Moses specifically? Is this prophet to be merely human, like the Israelites, or would he be human with special attributes, more like Moses? This prophet, though human, will be somewhat like God, who promises to put His words in this Prophet's mind and mouth. The prophet will then repeat every word God commands to his brethren.

Can this scripture apply to Moses himself? Yes, but it applies to Moses only insofar as any human being—even one filled with and guided by God's Holy Spirit—can be like God. (In this way this could also apply to others like Samuel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, and the apostle Paul.) A primary function of this Prophet is to act as a mediator between God and His people. Comparing these verses to Deuteronomy 5:5, we can see that Moses was the first human mediator between God and His people and thus fulfilled this prophecy, at least in type: "I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD."

Can this prophecy refer to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through prophetic duality? Yes, it most definitely can! In fact, some Bible scholars maintain that Jesus, during His human sojourn, is the primary fulfillment of these verses. On the first day of the New Testament church of God, Peter quotes part of Deuteronomy 18, and applies it to Jesus (Acts 3:19-20, 22-23).

Just weeks before, on the last night of His human life, Jesus had told His disciples that He is the Mediator, the One to whom the Father gave a message to pass on to those who would listen and obey (John 14:10, 24).

Staff
The Prophet


 

Deuteronomy 18:19

God warns that any who will not listen to and obey God through this prophet will have to answer to Him. This warning should put God's people on double alert: first, to heed and obey the words of Jesus Christ; and second, if a final fulfillment of the Prophet appears in the end time, we will recognize him and heed God's words though him.

Staff
The Prophet


 

Deuteronomy 18:20-22

In the remaining verses of the chapter, verses 20-22, the subject matter changes. God seems to acknowledge that He has purposely left the true Prophet unnamed, perhaps wanting His people to put effort into recognizing the Prophet or prophets who truly represent Him. Of course, He wants us to use His criteria, which He proceeds to explain. This is just as true today as it was in ancient Israel.

Staff
The Prophet


 

Deuteronomy 18:20

The "generic" prophet mentioned here does not refer specifically to the Prophet of God of the previous verses. The Bible translators seem to have picked up on this point and have highlighted it by capitalizing "Prophet" in verses 15 and 18, but leaving it in lower case in verses 20 and 22. These latter verses seem to refer to any prophet—true, professing, and even false prophets. Verse 20 warns that, if a man calling himself a prophet claims to speak in God's name but speaks words that God has not given him or speaks in the name of false gods, he puts himself under the death penalty.

Staff
The Prophet


 

1 Kings 18:17-18

Elijah is declaring himself as one sent from God. A prophet will always have the law of God at the foundation of his message.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

1 Kings 18:17

Revelation 11:10 says that the Two Witnesses will torment the people of the earth, which is why the world will celebrate when these prophets are finally killed. Here, Elijah was thought of in the same way, as a "troubler" of Israel.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 6)


 

Jeremiah 1:6-10

Above all others, Jeremiah is the "axial" man prepared by God. God told Jeremiah, a prophet not only to Israel and Judah but to the nations and kingdoms, to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, build, and plant. Many of us understand this verse in light of Jeremiah's influence on the destruction of Judah and the replanting of David's dynasty in Ireland. However, Jeremiah 25:15-29 shows that his responsibility extended much farther than Israel and Judah.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 3)


 

Ezekiel 3:15

The prophet was astonished seven days! He could not believe what had happened to him. This is a characteristic prophets must have. They have to see the world and say, "What is going on here?" They are almost totally dumbfounded at the things that are happening. They have to see the disconnect between the way it should be and the way it is! One could say that this is why they are so often dumbfounded. They see things so clearly—from God's perspective—that it just dismays them to see what is occurring in the world.

When this dismay, dumbfoundedness, or astonishment is combined with the "heat of their spirit" or zeal (verse 14), they are compelled to say something about it. They have to try to correct it somehow, or at least to point it out and say, "Don't you see what is going on? This is what God says about this."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 1)


 

Ezekiel 33:1-7

In His explanation of Ezekiel's role as a prophet, God informs the man that he was to be a watchman for the people. Of what use is a watchman if the enemy's advance and all the pertinent details of his attack are already known? Anciently, a watchman would stand in a high place, upon a wall or a tower, and scan the horizon for enemies. When he saw them approaching, he was responsible for shouting a warning to the unsuspecting citizens that danger was near and that they needed to prepare for the onslaught. However, he did not know exact details—only what he could discern from his vantage point.

Once war begins, the most precious commodity is precise and timely information, and it is almost never transmitted in time to those who need it most. The best scenario a leader can ask for is to know as far in advance as possible that his enemy is on the march against him, for this gives him time to make the preparations necessary to secure his people and possessions, assemble his forces, and meet the enemy on the battlefield of his choosing. An excellent watchman just might give him the advance warning he needs.

However, this presupposes a physical attack. A continued reading of Ezekiel 33 clarifies that the prophet was not warning about a physical enemy but a spiritual one. Ezekiel's job was to warn the wicked in Israel to turn "from his way" (Ezekiel 33:8-11). His job as watchman was spiritual in nature! He was to warn against sinful lifestyles, against iniquity and wickedness, and to implore them to repent and live righteously. A companion passage in Ezekiel 3:16-21 makes this plain.

In other words, his role as prophet/watchman—just as a Christian minister's job is today—was heavily weighted toward preaching and teaching God's way of righteousness. It was essentially, like the gospel of the Kingdom of God, a warning message of repentance and an exhortation to growth in faith and obedience to holiness. In this regard, the prophetic hints about future events were, as they are to us, prods to motivate change before the coming, dreadful Day of the Lord.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy's Place


 

Amos 3:7

Combinging this scripture together with Deuteronomy 29:29—and with an example Daniel 12 when God tells the prophet that the meaning was sealed until the time of the end—we can see that He is clearly telling us He promises to reveal the understanding of prophecy on a "need-to-know" basis. When we need to know, He will tell us. That is His promise. So until that time arrives, precise understanding will be impossible. Therefore, anyone's interpretation of prophecy has to be understood as theory until the evidence arises that it is a true interpretation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Amos 3:7

He is not out to trick us or to trip us up. Our beloved friend and elder brother Jesus Christ echoes this to His disciples: "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

We can have confidence in God's promise that He will not do anything significant concerning His people without informing us first in a clear, orderly, and understandable manner. If and when He chooses to send a special end-time leader to His people—whether he be a prophet, an apostle, or one of the two witnesses (Revelation 11)—God will make sure we are able to recognize the man as His true servant.

Staff
The Prophet


 

Amos 3:7

This verse reveals a divine principle or a pattern. God does not give every detail, but His pattern of behavior is to let His people know (at least in generalities) what He is going to do. He gives enough information, but not so much that we do not have to live by faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)


 

1 Corinthians 12:28

In the New Testament sense, the word prophet probably means "preacher"someone speaking under the inspiration of God. It would not exclude someone who foretells the future, but in the New Testament context, prophet generally means somebody who forth-tells—who preaches something strongly, in a straightforward manner, giving the truth of a matter.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace and Law (Part 13)


 

Revelation 19:9-10

Prophecy plays a large part in our lives, so a Christian should understand more than just the bare basics. Verse 10 lets us know that Jesus' message—the gospel—is not only prophetic, but it is the essence of all biblical prophecy.

Testimony means "a statement given by a witness to an event." It is frequently associated with evidence presented during a court trial, but it is not limited to that. Newspapers, for instance, give accounts of what people say of some event that occurred of interest to others.

Jesus' statement—the gospel—is the message He preached during His lifetime. It is that message around which all biblical prophecy revolves; it is prophecy's heart and core. Spirit in this context means the "essence" of prophecy. Therefore, anybody looking forward to Christ's return—Christians, the church—should have more than a casual interest in prophecy.

Most of us pay more attention to the prophecy than to the prophet. This is as it should be, but on the other hand, Ephesians 2:19-20 says:

Now, therefore, you [the brethren] are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.

The church is built upon the apostles and the prophets and the words they wrote. They not only prophesied (that is, foretold events), but they also gave the most accurate accounts of ancient history. In addition, they gave us a great deal of the doctrine, the teachings, we believe and after which we pattern our lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

 




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