Beginning of the End


The Schools of the Prophets

God had commanded the Hebrews to tell their children about how He had cared for their ancestors. They were to often tell about the mighty works of God and the promise of the Redeemer to come. Illustrations and symbols fixed the lessons firmly in the memory. The young mind was trained to see God both in the scenes of nature and the words of revelation. The stars, trees, and flowers, the mountains, the brooks, all spoke of the Creator. Worship at the sanctuary and the messages of the prophets were a revelation of God. BOE 300.1

Such was the training of Moses in Goshen, of Samuel by Hannah, of David in Bethlehem, of Daniel before captivity separated him from his family, of Christ at Nazareth. Such was the training by which the child Timothy learned from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). BOE 300.2

The schools of the prophets offered further opportunities for the instruction of the young. If a young person wanted to search deeper into truth so that he could become a teacher in Israel, these schools were available to him. Samuel founded the schools of the prophets to serve as a barrier against widespread corruption, to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of youth, and to promote the prosperity of the nation by furnishing qualified leaders and counselors. He drew young men who were devout, intelligent, and studious. These were called the sons of the prophets. The instructors, who knew God’s truth well, had themselves enjoyed communion with God and received from His Spirit. They had the respect and confidence of the people. BOE 300.3

In Samuel’s day there were two of these schools—at Ramah and at Kirjath Jearim. Others were established later. BOE 300.4

The pupils supported themselves by farming or in some mechanical employment. In Israel it was thought to be a crime to allow children to grow up ignorant of useful work. Every child learned some trade, even if he was to be educated for holy work. Many religious teachers supported themselves by manual labor. Even as late as the time of the apostles, Paul and Aquila earned a livelihood by tent making. BOE 300.5

The law of God, sacred history, sacred music, and poetry were the chief subjects of study in these schools. Instruction was different from the teaching in the theological schools of today, from which many students graduate knowing less about God and religious truth than when they entered. The aim of all study was to learn the will of God and man’s duty toward Him. In sacred history students traced the footsteps of Jehovah. Great truths shown by the sanctuary symbols were brought to view, and faith grasped the main point of that entire system—the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world. BOE 300.6

Students were taught how to pray, how to approach their Creator, how to exercise faith in Him, and how to understand and obey the teachings of His Spirit. The presence of God’s Spirit was evident in prophecy and sacred songs. BOE 301.1