The Writing Prophets
The very first way that I thought of was the most obvious — the writing prophets. The Old Testament is full of writing prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel and Amos. These come from both the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets. Also David in the Psalms many times spoke prophetically. There are even prophecies in the historical books. So, I began to think about the writing prophets.
Then I began to think how the verse says “various ways,” and so I got to thinking about the great variety of people. I thought of a king like David, to a sophisticated and scholarly man like Isaiah, to a man like Amos who was a fig picker from Tekoa. There were brave men like Daniel to cowards like Jonah. There were all kinds of people that God used. It depended upon whether their heart was searching for God or not concerning whether He could use them.
Then I got to asking who was there beside the writing prophets? It occurred to me that the Bible is full of oral prophets. These were prophets who never wrote anything, but instead people wrote about them. The oral prophets were like Elijah and Elisha. They didn’t write anything down that we have recorded, but people wrote about them.
The Oral Prophets
Why, the Old Testament is full of the oral prophets. I went through the Bible one time making a list of all the old oral prophets and I was just overwhelmed! Many of them are not even named. They are referred to as the “old prophet” or the “young prophet” or something like that.
One of my favorites is Micaiah. He’s a prophet many have not usually heard of, but there was a time when Ahab and Jehoshaphat — an ungodly and a godly king — were going to go out to battle together against a common enemy. Paraphrasing, Jehoshaphat said, “Before I go into battle I always have the prophets come and tell us whether we should go or not.” Ahab replied, “Ah, you know the prophets. I don’t care anything about the prophets. I’ve got 400 of them, and all they ever do is come to tell me what I want to hear.” He went on, “There is only one who will tell me what I don’t want to hear, and I don’t like him.” Jehoshaphat said, “Okay, let’s get him.” And he was Micaiah.
So, Micaiah came in and revealed something that was very amazing. He declared, “I saw the Lord in His throneroom.” Very few people were ever given that opportunity. Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, but Micaiah saw the Lord. And he went on, “I say to you, if you go into battle tomorrow, you are going to be defeated.” Ahab turned to Jehoshaphat said, “See, I told you he always tells me things I don’t want to hear!”
In the New Testament we can also find oral prophets. Philip had four daughters who were prophetesses. Agabus confronted Paul at the end of his third missionary journey and wrapped a rope around him and said, “Don’t go to Jerusalem, for if you do you will end up in bondage.” Paul responded, “I’m going anyway.” The greatest prophet who ever lived, John the Baptist, was one of the oral prophets. And, the greatest prophet who ever lived, Jesus Himself, was an Oral Prophet, except when you get to the end of the Bible where He dictates seven letters to seven churches and there He actually wrote the Scripture.David Reagan: The greatest prophet who ever lived, #Jesus Himself, was an oral prophet. Click To Tweet
We’ve got the writing prophets and the oral prophets.
In the third part of this Garden Tomb sermon, I’ll give some examples of the acting prophets.