From Eternity Past


Chapter 58—The Schools of the Prophets

God had commanded the Hebrews to make their children acquainted with His dealings with their fathers. The mighty works of God and the promise of the Redeemer to come were to be often recounted. Figures and symbols caused the lessons to be firmly fixed in the memory. The young mind was trained to see God alike 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 utterances of the prophets were a revelation of God. EP 431.1

Such was the training of Moses in Goshen; of Samuel by Hannah; of David in Bethlehem; of Daniel before captivity separated him from his fathers; of Christ at Nazareth; such the training by which the child Timothy learned from his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice. 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15. EP 431.2

Further provision was made for the instruction of the young by the schools of the prophets. If a youth desired to search deeper into truth that he might become a teacher in Israel, these schools were open to him. To serve as a barrier against widespread corruption, to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of youth, to promote the prosperity of the nation by furnishing qualified leaders and counselors, Samuel gathered young men who were pious, intelligent, and studious. These were called the sons of the prophets. The instructors, well versed in divine truth, had themselves enjoyed communion with God and received of His Spirit. They enjoyed the confidence of the people. EP 431.3

In Samuel's day there were two of these schools—at Ramah and at Kirjath-jearim. Others were established later. EP 432.1

The pupils sustained themselves by tilling the soil or in mechanical employment. In Israel it was regarded a crime to allow children to grow up in ignorance of useful labor. Every child was taught some trade, even though he was to be educated for holy office. Many religious teachers supported themselves by manual labor. Even so late as the time of the apostles, Paul and Aquila earned a livelihood by tentmaking. EP 432.2

The chief subjects of study in these schools were the law of God, sacred history, sacred music, and poetry. Instruction was different from that in the theological schools of the present day, from which many students graduate with less knowledge of God and religious truth than when they entered. It was the object of all study to learn the will of God and man's duty toward Him. In sacred history were traced the footsteps of Jehovah. Great truths set forth by the types were brought to view, and faith grasped the central object of all that system—the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world. EP 432.3

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 Spirit of God was manifested in prophecy and sacred song. EP 432.4