A Study in Discipline & Responsibility


The Old Testament in Hebrew is entitled "The Law and the Prophets and The Writings".

Although all three are mutually interdependent and in a sense "speak for themselves", there is in the case of the prophets a problem in modern understanding of Prophecy. The "Torah", or "Law", dating back to the time of Moses has been, and still is, sacred in the eyes of Israel and a guide to the faithful in Israel in ancient and modern times. Although it is in essence and spirit sacrosanct and unchangeable, as with all law codes there are modifications in practice in the understanding and application of law codes in a living and developing community.

The Prophets, are for our times and for past, present and future generations not quite so easily understood. This is partly due to a misunderstanding of the popular meaning of the word "prophecy". The problem arises when, as so often happens, the word prophecy is linked exclusively with the future. It is true that there is this link, but prophecy, rightly understood, is concerned with the past, the present and the future. The Old Testament Prophets were not only "foretellers", but rather "forth-tellers" declaring the will of God in a forthright manner, predicting the inevitable outcome of mankind's disobedience, sin and folly, and the inevitable punishment God would mete out - "The soul that sinneth, it shall die"; "Beware the day of wrath". Through Dreams, Visions, and Messages from God, by prayer, in trances, from contemplation and by introspection, the Prophets delivered their messages. Many prophets were scorned and rejected, many were persecuted, some were put to death, some were false prophets, but all had the vision and message for which they were prepared even to die. "The Lord said to me"; "This is the Word of the Lord"; "I saw in my dream"; "Thus says the Holy One"; "God says... ". All these are some of the introductions to the messages of the Prophets, "The Word of the Lord".

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