“ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching …” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) That includes the books written by the Old Testament prophets. First we will consider the minimum of what Bible teachers need to know if they are teaching from this portion of the Bible. In the next post, we will get practical with some tips for teaching these books that grow out of this big picture. (Subscribe to receive e-mail updates of new posts.)
The Role of the Old Testament Prophets
A prophet served as God’s spokesman, telling people what He wanted them to know.
At times they were what we might call “forth-tellers” being used by God to denounce sin, call for repentance, and warn His people, Israel, of pending judgment if they did not turn back to God and obey Him as prescribed in the law.
Other times the prophets were what we might call “fore-tellers” who predicted future events God planned to bring about. They foretold what would happen to the nation of Israel regarding their exile and the restoration of a remnant as well the future of surrounding nations. In addition, the prophets announced the coming of the Messiah who would suffer for them and one day reign as King.
The Old Testament Prophecies Concerning the Messiah
Two different comings of the Messiah were predicted but the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day looked only for the Messiah who would reign, not the One who would die for their sins. Hence, they did not acknowledge Jesus as the God’s Anointed One.
Jesus Himself used the writing of the prophets to point to Himself as the Messiah. In Luke 4:14-21 He quoted the prophet Isaiah, ending His reading by saying “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And, a comparison of the Old Testament prophecies to the life of Jesus would find that more than one-hundred prophecies were fulfilled in Him. Check out 100 Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus by Rose Publishing for a listing of these fulfilled prophecies that were penned between 400 to 1500 year prior to Jesus’ first coming. (Clicking on the link will take you to one of our affiliate stores.)
Prophecies Yet to Be Fulfilled
Many of the prophecies regarding the nation of Israel, surrounding nations, and the Messiah have already been fulfilled but some have not. God has an excellent track record so we can be assured that our Sovereign God will yet accomplish that which the prophets of old foretold.
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:19-21)