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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Are the Right Books in the Old Testament?

Don Stewart :: How Were the Old Testament Prophets Described?

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How Were the Old Testament Prophets Described?

Are the Correct Books in the Old Testament? – Question 2

The Bible describes the Old Testament prophets in a number of specific ways. They include the following:

1. The Prophet Is Called a Man of God

One designation of the prophet was “a man of God.” We read about this in First Samuel. It says:

Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh?’” (1 Samuel 2:27 NIV)

Of course, this designation would only refer to the male prophets—not the female ones.

2. The Prophet Is a Servant and Messenger of the Lord

The prophet was also called the “messenger” and “servant” of the Lord. Isaiah the prophet wrote the following:

Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD? (Isaiah 42:19 NIV)

The prophet brought the message of the Lord as well as serving Him.

3. The Prophet Was Called a Seer

The prophet was also called a “seer.” Isaiah wrote:

They say to the visionaries, “See no more visions!” and to the seers, “Don’t relate messages to us about what is right! Tell us nice things, relate deceptive messages.” (Isaiah 30:10 NET)

A seer is another word for prophet.

4. The Prophet Was a Man of the Spirit

A prophet was known as the “inspired man” or a “man of the spirit.” We find this title used in the Book of Hosea. Scripture says the following. It says:

The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac. (Hosea 9:7 NIV)

The New Revised Standard Version calls the prophet “the man of the spirit:”

The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel cries, “The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad!” Because of your great iniquity, your hostility is great. (Hosea 9:7 NRSV)

The Spirit of God controlled the behavior and words of the prophets.

5. The Prophet Was a Watchman for the People

A prophet was also a watchman who helped protect and warn the people. The Lord made this clear to Ezekiel. We read about this in the writings of Ezekiel:

At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel, and whenever you hear a word from my mouth and you must give them a warning from me.” (Ezekiel 3:16-17 NIV)

The prophet, along with other duties, watched out for the spiritual life of the people.

Summary – Question 2
How Are the Old Testament Prophets Described?

In the Old Testament Scripture, we find a number of designations for God’s chosen spokesmen: the prophets. They were called such things as a “man of God,” a “servant or messenger of the Lord,” a “seer” a “man of the spirit” and a “watchman.”

These are the various ways in which the Biblical prophets are described. Each of these descriptions gives us an idea of who they were and what they were supposed to do.

Who Were the People Who Spoke for God During the Old Testament Period? (The Old Testament Prophets) ← Prior Section
Were All of the Books of the Old Testament Written by Prophets? Next Section →
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