The Continuance of the Prophets

And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”
declares the Lord. (Amos 2:11)

“For the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:7-8)

I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ (Amos 7:14-15)

I have been stirred to look at the book of Amos recently. As I have been reading and meditating, and looking into some of the detail of the prophet and his book, I came across some interesting information.

The above quotes from Amos do not look at all remarkable until you consider this fact: he was the first of the prophets whose utterances are recorded in the canon of scripture among the prophetic writings. Yet he does not claim to be the first of the prophets; he makes reference to a continuous lineage of prophets, and implies a company of contemporaneous prophets to which he barely considers to include himself.

It struck me that this is much like the cessationist debate, but in reverse! There is certainly no doubt as to whether there was a continuance of prophetic ministries before the canon of prophetic writings were started. Amos makes reference to a whole lineage and company of God's prophetic people that had nothing at all to do with the writing of scripture. It seems clear to me, and to Amos, that God's desire to have a prophetic people is an eternal and continuous thing, that is for the most part independent of the process of inspiration and writing of the word of God.

God has always desired to have a prophetic people, before, during and after his word was written!

“Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (Nu 11:29)


Matthew said...

And at the end of the 400 so called "silent years" of Scripture we find... Anna and John the baptist prophesying.

I like this post Chris!

Gavin White said...

Excellent Chris - I love that verse in Numbers - the prophetic cry of Moses that echoes through eternity as we now enjoy and live in the fulness of the outpouring and baptism in the Holy Spirit


Callmeteem said...

Excellent post. I agree.