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My take on the prophets of the OT

By Holly Smith, PastoressPublished 5 years ago 5 min read

Where the prophets of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible had many roles they played, and still play today, the focus of this paper will address only four of them. Being a mouthpiece for God and making His holiness known, showing unbreakable faith in Him, being faithful to him, and praying to and praising Him for His judgment and redemption of Israel are four major roles a prophet plays.

The first role of a prophet is to be one who is a mouthpiece for God (Storms, 2015) and makes His holiness known (Bast, 1998). A prophet is to deliver only God’s message and leave their personal opinions aside. God shows this through Moses when He tells him not to worry, He will provide the words that are to be spoken (Exodus 4:12). Being obedient to God and allowing Him to produce the words to be spoken is just one example of how Gods holiness is made known.

God’s holiness is His “defining characteristic”, it shows us just how marvelous his love and mercy are (Bast, 1998). Isaiah’s majestic vision of God’s throne-room is a great expression of the gloriousness of our creator. Being greater, better, and different from humans, His holiness shines through in everything everywhere (Bast, 1998). For the prophets, displaying faith in Him is important for the rebirth and salvation of the people of Israel, and the Gentiles.

Secondly, a true prophet of God shows unbreakable faith in Him (Harner 1967). Once again, we turn to Exodus chapter 4 to learn of the roles of a prophet. In verses 13-17 Moses provoked God to anger by doubting his own abilities and fearing they will interfere with that which God has planned for him. For reassurance, God sends Moses a helper. Notice though, Moses’ lack of faith is not in God, it is in himself. His faith in God does not waver. For a prophet to display faith in the Lord is to set an example for Israel to follow.

The faith of a prophet shows the nation of Israel that there is hope. Having faith in God as the creator as well as faith in His salvation are key component of the overall faith displayed by a prophet (Harner, 1967). Using the history of the prophets before them, each prophet can justify their faith in God (Harner, 1967). By doing this, the people will know that God is real, and the example set forth by the prophets is the one to follow. That in turn leads both the prophets and Israel to living faithful to God.

The third role of a prophet is to be faithful to God. One who is faithful to God lets it shine through for others to see in every aspect of their lives. For this one it is necessary to distinguish between having faith in someone and being faithful to them. One can have faith in God to do as He promises, while also having faith in another (false) God to do as they so promise. Where being faithful means putting your faith into one God and trusting that His will and way is truth. To be a true prophet of Jehovah God, one must be faithful to Him only, as a husband is to a wife.

This role of a prophet is a very important one, not that the others aren’t important. Just as Daniel, each of the prophets were faithful to God and paved the wat for Israel to redemption. God saved Daniel because of his faithfulness for it is written that Daniel had set his “heart to understand” and he humbled himself before God (Daniel 10:12). This is an important aspect of his faithfulness for all are to be humble before the Lord. Another way Daniel shows his faithfulness by praying to God three times each day (Epland, n.d.). A prophet’s prayer life is another role they play.

Lastly, a prophet is one who prays for, delivers messages regarding (Habakkuk 3:12-13, NKJV), and gives praises to God for His judgment and redemption of the people of Israel (Isaiah 44:24). Isaiah 3:16-4:1 gives a good example of how this is accomplished. The “Daughters of Zion” are judged for being prideful, greedy, and unrighteous; judgment is passed on them and redemption for the righteous begins. A lot of times the prophets would express themselves through specific types of prayers; one of them being prayers of lament (Pratt, 2012).

Prayers of lament are prayers of sadness, confusion, and disappointment (Pratt, 2012). Generally, they appeal to God asking Him to come and cleanse the people from their wicked ways (Pratt, 2012). These prayers and the delivery of the answers are important to the survival of Israel. This is how their sin is identified and they see the results through the wrath of their creator. Once the sin is identified and judgment is passed, the prophets then lead the people to praise and rejoice what God has done for them (Pratt, 2012). This is part of how the prophets lead Israel back to God.

The four roles of the prophets discussed above set an example for Israel. When the prophecies come true it gives the people more reason to have faith in God and to believe that the prophets are His messenger. Benson (1980) says “Did you hear what the Lord said about the words of the prophet? We are to “give heed unto all his words” - - as if from the Lord’s “own mouth””. The purpose of the prophets who were sent to Israel is simple; they were sent to show them that even though God make ‘shake things up’ a bit, He always ends with a blessing of some form (Clemons, 1995). As with Samuel, true prophets of God listen to God’s voice and train others to follow God and live their lives according to His word (Clemons, 1995). No matter the role, a prophet’s main job is to be a mouthpiece for God, show the people they are sent to how to stand in their faith, to remain faithful to God, and to make the people aware of their sins, the consequences, and that there is hope for salvation.


Bast, D, Rev. (1998). Isaiah: Prophet of Holiness. Retrieved from woh.org/radio/Isaiah-prophet-of-holiness/

Benson, E. (1980). Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet. Retrieved from toadland.net/read/toad_notes/14_fund_follow_prophet.pdf

Clemons, S. (1995). Samuel the Prophet: Old Testament Model for New Testament Preachers. Retrieved from essays.wls.net/bitstream/handle/123456789/1071/Clemons.Smauel.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Epland, J. (n.d.). Daniel: Faithful to God Alone. Retrieved from activechrstianity.org/Daniel-faithful-to-god-alone

Harner, P. B. (1967). Creation Faith in Deutero-Isaiah. Vetus Testamentum, 17(3), 298-306. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.gracechistian.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000715576&site=ehost.live

Pratt, R. L. (2012). He have Us Prophets: Literary Analysis of the Prophets. Retrieved from thirdmill.org/seminary/manuscripts/HeGaveUsProphets.Lesson6.Manuscript.English.pdf

Storms, S. (2015). What Does Scripture Teach About the Office of Prophet and Gift of Prophecy. Retrieved from thegospelcoalition.org/articles/sam-storms-what-does-scripture-teach-about-office-prophet-gift-prophecy/


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Holly Smith, Pastoress

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    Holly Smith, PastoressWritten by Holly Smith, Pastoress

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