A Prophet Among You


The Writers Speak of Other Authors

Not only did the prophets claim for themselves divine inspiration, but they recognized the working of the prophetic gift in the experience of other men, both contemporary and of earlier generations. Zechariah decried the stubbornness of Israel: “Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 7:12. Hosea recognized the divine appointment of Moses to the prophetic leadership of Israel out of Egypt. “And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.” Hosea 12:13. In New Testament times Peter proclaimed that God had spoken of the final restitution of all things “by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:21. Peter also declared that the sufferings of Christ had been “showed by the mouth of all His prophets,” and that their predictions had been fulfilled. Acts 3:18. The prophets knew that the manifestation of the gift of prophecy was not something peculiar to themselves or their generation. They acknowledge that the position of the former prophets was comparable with their own, and their words of equivalent value. APAY 6.1

Perhaps even more striking than the mere recognition of the existence of former prophets are the references to their writings as “Scripture.” This is largely a New Testament expression, but several passages designate portions of both the Old and New Testaments as “Scripture.” Paul made a general statement, speaking of the gospel promise, “Which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” Romans 1:2. Referring to the record of Abraham’s experience in Genesis, the apostle queries, “For what saith the Scripture?” Romans 4:3. In Romans 10:11 Paul alludes to statements made in both Isaiah and Jeremiah. A little later he speaks of the record of Elijah’s life in 1 Kings as “Scripture.” Romans 11:2, 3. Peter adds his testimony regarding the book of Isaiah by saying that one of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecies “is contained in the Scripture.” 1 Peter 2:6. The same apostle witnesses that Paul’s epistles contain some things difficult to be understood “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:15, 16. Jesus Himself, quoting from the Psalms, asked, “Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” Matthew 21:42. Not only did Bible writers recognize the works of the earlier prophets as a part of the Scripture record, but, as in the case of Peter with Paul, there was recognition of a contemporary prophet as an author of sacred writings. APAY 6.2

In addition to the designation of certain portions of the Bible as “Scripture,” we find multiplied quotations or paraphrases of words and verses introduced by “it is written” or a similar expression. Perhaps most noteworthy of these are the Saviour’s three quotations from Deuteronomy recorded in Matthew 4:4, 7, 10. It will prove profitable to consult a concordance and look up a number of the passages referred to under “written.” APAY 7.1

Another expression appearing frequently in the New Testament is “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet.” Matthew 1:22. Many variations of this thought appear. Here we find a clear recognition of the predictive element in the work of the prophet. Later prophets testified that they saw, or knew of, the fulfillment of predictions of the earlier prophets. Such statements are made frequently in the New Testament concerning the life experience of Jesus, because of the large number of Old Testament Messianic prophecies which were recognized as being fulfilled in Him. He bore repeated testimony to the fulfillment of the prophecies of the early seers. APAY 7.2