In yesterday's post we considered the following reasons why studying the prophets of the Bible is valuable:
1. The prophets shed light on our salvation
2. They point to Jesus Christ
3. They predict the future
4. They unfold God's will
These four main observations were gleaned from 1 Peter 1:10-12. I felt since we were able to understand practical reasons for studying the Old Testament Prophets from one New Testament passage (1 Peter 1:10-12), it might be beneficial to consider what other New Testament passages teach us about the importance of studying the prophets of the Bible.
The main meanings of the word prophet and identifying the prophets themselves
According to Dr. Gleason Archer in his book: "A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction", three main words are used to define a prophet in the Bible. The first term of course is the Hebrew word translated "prophet", meaning a bearer of God's news, one who announces, summons or calls God's people to follow after God. The second term mentioned by Archer is the phrase "man of God". If the purpose of the prophet's office is defined by the title "prophet", then the one occupying the office itself is indeed a "man of God" or one who is devoted to God and personal fellowship with Him. The third term typically used to describe the prophetic office is that of "Seer". This term refers to the activity of the prophet. Prophets do not see things like most people see. A good example that comes to my mind is 2 Kings 6, where the prophet Elisha "saw" the armies of angels protecting he and his servant who could only see what was before him. According to Bible scholar Harold Wilmington, there are roughly 40 prophets, both writing prophets and non-writing prophets. We won't name them, but a few remind us of just how significant a study of the prophets can be in understanding the Bible (people such as Moses, Samuel, Daniel, David, Isaiah, Malachi).
What the New Testament says about the Old Testament Prophets
In taking the time to better understand what a prophet did, we can now consider some of the key New Testament texts that shed further light on this very important subject. I will simply list out the key verses with no exposition so that readers can use them for their own personal study.
2. Luke 10:24 "for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”
3. Luke 24:25-27, 44 "And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. 44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
4. Acts 3:22-24 "Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. 23 And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days."
5. Acts 7:52 "Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become"
6. Acts 10:43 "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
7. Acts 13:27-29 "For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers,recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. 28 And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.
8. Acts 28:23 "When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening."
9. 1 Peter 1:10-12 "As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
10. 2 Peter 1:19-21 "So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
11. Jude 1:14-15 "It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 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.”