A prophet is basically a spokesman for God chosen to preach his message to the people. They were examples of holiness, role models, scholars and often set the standard of behaviour that those they spoke to were failing to meet. In the Old Testament there are 55 prophets and these are not all men; Ruth, Esther, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah and Abigail are all female prophets.
Often prophets have a very rough time of it and are often not accepted by the people they are sent to (as Jesus says in Matthew 13.57 - "A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home."). Elijah was described by King Ahab as “the troubler of Israel” is never really listened to throughout his career. Jonah was swallowed and then spat out of a fish and forced to go to Nineveh where he did not want to go. Ezekiel was made to lie on his Left side for 390 days and then his right for 40 days - this was to make up for the rebellion of Jewish people! Hosea was directed by God to marry a promiscuous woman, divorce her and when she had sold herself into slavery re-marry her - their children are given symbolic names such as “unloved” and “not my people”. These names are representative of the people of Israel and their broken relationship with God.
For Christians the culmination of all the Old Testament prophecies was the birth of Jesus of Nazareth - the Messiah predicted as the “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9.6). That he would be born of a virgin (Jeremiah 31.22) and that he would be both God and Man (Jeremiah 23.5-6). And finally that he would die for the sins of the world and by doing so put an end to sin and reconcile us with God (Daniel 9). This is what Philip says in the Gospel of John, who told Nathanael, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45).
How has our modern culture been influenced by the Prophets of the Old Testament?
Who would you say are modern day prophets?