Prophecy is one of the oldest historical and religious aspects that are considerably adored and paranormal aspects in entire human life. Stated as one of the main spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is believed to have a greater connection with holiness, beliefs strongly deem prophecy as the most strongest and existing manifestation of the spirit of God through human beings.1
Streaming from the biblical perspective, prophecy is a spiritual gift that involves divine inspiration and anointed utterance or even a paranormal proclamation by spiritually motivated individuals, seers, diviners, or prophet, with considerable impact on believers.
However, in the Old Testament (OT), a prophet was not someone who was capable of predicting the future, but someone who prophetically announced the message of God. They were simply spokespersons of God. The prophets of the OT are sometimes referred to as the “conscience of Israel” and “guardians of covenant.” In response to these ideas, this essay seeks to explore the role of OT prophets by addressing the following aspects as depicted biblically.
The relationship between the prophets and Mosaic Covenant
The theological basis of the prophets indicates that one aspect that remains fundamental to the biblical histories is the origins of OT prophecy that connects considerably with the Mosaic covenant. The mosaic convent (recognized after the biblical Moses), also the Sinai covenant (named after Mount Sinai), was the fourth covenant of Yahweh that engrossed a convention between God and the Israelites.
Mosaic covenants have been on record in the Hebrew Bible through the Pentateuch or Torah authorship. The Mosaic covenants possess the biblical laws of Moses or the Mosaic Law. One of the major characteristics of the OT prophets was their role as advocates of Mosaic covenant where prophets of Moses regime were to remain committed and possess forth faithfulness to protecting and implementing the Mosaic covenant and its law.
The main purpose of the prophets in their commitment to the laws of Moses was to straighten their efforts towards demanding impartiality and uprightness.The Mosaic Law demanded that the message passed across by the prophets would largely be a covenant enforcer between God and the nations, with the main aim resting upon reminding the populace about the Mosaic covenant.
The OT prophets, including Malachi among others would ensure that God’s people remained conservative and committed to the divine interventions made unequivocally in the Torah teachings.2 Malachi is one among the OT prophets with great relationship to Pentateuch, whose story connects directly well with the Mosaic covenant.
Malachi is the OT prophet whose teachings elaborate on Pentateuch curses and blessings to human beings on contravention of the Mosaic teachings. In addition, Malachi recurrently preached, discussed major aspects of the Mosaic covenant, and he was God’s spokesperson or mediator who enforced teachings of sanctions, which are mentioned as curses and blessings.
Curses and blessings upon human beings’ actions form part of the Mosaic covenant. Leaders constantly denounced bad leadership and expected that all leaders must remain just and righteous by providing good leadership or a decent government where religiously faithful people would leave peacefully in communally and compassionate social order.
Mosaic covenant and its laws protracted all through the prophetic stories including the story of Jeremiah, Hosea, Elisha, and Ezekiel who condemned evil deeds and preached the need for leaders to embrace justice and righteousness in their leadership practices. Amid the rich multiplicity of OT theology, Jeremiah and Ezekiel as articulated in the bible (Exodus 32-34) had been prophets committed to Mosaic covenant.
The prophets believed and passed the message that all leaders practicing prejudice and mistreatment against humankind especially practicing injustice to the powerless and poor people will receive punishment from God, following breaching of Mosaic covenant. God would send harsh punishment including cursing those who mistreat others.
The prophets began passing salvation messages only after the termination of the covenant. The Mosaic covenant established between humankind and God through Moses demanded that the OT prophets should disapprove idolatry as part of their commitment apart from discussing righteousness and justice.
Being mediators between God and humankind, the OT prophets passed the message of true worship that involved believing and adoring single God, whom Christians believe is the only righteous prophet among all prophets.3 The Mosaic covenant emerged after God noticed the idolatry worship by Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai and decided to present the Mosaic laws with one stating that human being should worship no other than the true God.
Prophet Elijah was one of the OT prophets who actively condemned the worship of idols, with his story involving supremacy encounter between the power of God and false prophets. The Baal prophets, mentioned as false prophets in the bible, were the idol gods and lords that that other prophets condemned with greatest prophetic wrath.
Key aspects of prophetic speech and literature
The prophetic utterances and establishments between God and his people across nations involved important prophetic speech and literature. Prophets of the Mosaic regime whose role principally entailed passing God’s massage through mediation or intercession traditionally contribute to the development of Mosaic authorship.
Mediated message from Yahweh reached humankind through a series of literal means including the use of call narratives, visionary reports, prophetic oracles, poetry, and judgment oracles, covenant lawsuits, as well as salvation oracles.4 In the midst of prophetic encounters that often demanded prophetic judgments and interpretation to complete the communication between God and humanity, prophets played a significant role as guardians of the covenant.
The mentioned call narratives were important literature tools that passed prophetic message from God to His people as through notions that God appears and speaks to prophets, and that God commissioned prophets and expressed resistance to certain issues. Call narratives acted as persuasive credentials that depicted prophets as divine massagers of God.
Jeremiah, Amos, and Isaiah claimed that God used prophetic calls to deliver his message to humankind. The prophets communicated to Yahweh through visions and reports inform of delusional communication that was spiritual and passed the information to the people (For instance, God communicated with Amos through the vision that revealed invasion of locusts on crops).
Symbols also formed part of narratives that prophets used to interpreted the occurrence of certain catastrophic events including landscape fire, thunderstorms, floods, droughts, and feminine that associated with Godly actions that involve supernatural abilities over nature.5 Kings in the Mosaic regime had great influence to peoples living and prophet’s ability to condemn their ill deeds made people believe prophets’ power and their mediation with God.
The prophets also proclaimed publicly about the future betrayal and prosecution of the God’s prophets by opponents, with exact example being the case of Jeremiah when he was imprisoned. Poetry forms part of the prophetic speech and literature that biblical prophets used to pass God’s message across nations.
Poetry is part of the Mosaic authorship that streamed from the prophets’ ability to deliver God’s message inform of brief utterances to long prayers, poems, or songs that followed Mosaic authorship. As a guardian of the covenant, prophet Isaiah used the poetry technique to pass God’s message of the coming of savior, son of God (Jesus), and his intent to the nations.
The books of Hebrews, Psalms, and Job, also possess part of poetic literature used by prophets to communicate God’s message, with poetic alliterations and assonances articulated in many prophetic ways. Oracles formed part of important communication tools that prophets used to communicate the message of Yahweh to believers. Judgment oracles communicated about God’s judgment on breach of covenantal agreements, repentance oracles communicated about why Israelites should repent after contravening covenantal agreements.
An analysis of two of the Latter Major Prophets in ancient Israel
Prophetic writing went although from OT prophecies to the New Testament prophecies, with the bible teachings acknowledging major and minor prophetic groups. After the era of Elijah and Elisha in the 9th century BCE, another significant prophetic regime that dominated the literature was that of Amos, Ezekiel, Obadiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Micah, and others.6
Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel possessed the general name of Major Prophets and the other group that includes twelve Minor Prophets. However, two Major Prophets are the interest to this analysis, viz. Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Perhaps the most devastating moment in the Judean history is the reign of Jeremiah as a prophet of God before the accession to the Christian regime.
Josiah’s death marked the beginning of another battle between evil and Gods power, with human forgetting the covenantal agreements reached during Moses regime. Jeremiah was a great actor in spanning back Deuteronomy reforms in the Judean history. Jeremiah found Israelites still breaching covenantal agreements and this aspect was part of his condemnation akin to prior seers.
Jeremiah constantly rebuked prophets and priests and forcefully denounced harsh prophetic judgments against their immoral practices. Through his prophetic powers, Jeremiah proclaimed disaster and destruction over Israelites who practiced immoral activities. Ezekiel was another important figure in the latter prophetic literature as a prophet who appears as a priest who survived through the exiles of the Babylonian in the 597 BCE.
Ezekiel demonstrates prophetic literature that emphasized on the use of symbolic actions that aimed at condemning the ethical transgressions of Israel community. The Israelites had already forgotten the covenantal agreements and began ill practices of corruption, killings, and violence that were dominating Judea. Nonetheless, greater concerns that needed attention from Ezekiel included idolatry activities and religious unfaithfulness that caused serious transgressions.
Conclusively, it is clear that prophetic proclamations have been key aspects in the historical life of believers. From successive prophetic regimes, a great eschatological connection seems to exist between the OT prophets and the advent of Christianity and the writings of the New Testament. The fulfillment of the biblical proclamation stated by prophets in the OT is becoming clearer in the events that protract in the New Testament writings and modern Christianity.7
Isaiah prophecies include the coming of Jesus as the savior of the world, which forms major discussions in the New Testament teachings and typically part of Christian’s major beliefs. Mosaic covenants that involve commandments articulated in the new testaments are becoming more active with successive prophetic regimes.
Calvert, John. The Prophet as Guardian of the Theocracy. Adelaide, South Australia: New Creation Publications Inc, 1983.
1John Calvert, The Prophet as Guardian of the Theocracy (Adelaide, South Australia: New Creation Publications Inc, 1983), 5.
7 Ibid, 6.