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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Prophets, Old and New

I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:17-18 ESV)

God promised to bless all nations through Abraham.  This promise would have more details added to the description throughout the ages.  People, speaking on behalf of God, would tell us more about the way all nations would be blessed.  These special messenger-people are called prophets.

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19 ESV)

Prophets would be given miraculous signs and short-term predictions to confirm that they were not speaking for themselves.  They were speaking on behalf of the LORD.  Their words were not their own.  They came from God.

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3 ESV)

These prophets brought many messages throughout the years.  Some of these messages were for the people of that day.  Some of the messages were to give hope to them about something great God would do in the future.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 ESV)

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace. (Micah 5:2-5a ESV)

When Jesus arrived, born in Bethlehem, prophets still spoke from God about the blessings that all nations would receive through this Messiah (Christ) child.

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.(Luke 2:34-38 ESV)

How about you?  Do you believe God’s spokespersons: the prophets?  Do you believe Jesus is the Christ?  Do you believe he is the one through whom all nations are being blessed?