A prophet refers to God`s spokesman. He delivers messages to the people and prophets are categorized into two categories i.e.
Former (Non-Canonical /Oral prophets)
These delivered their messages orally; they include Elijah, Elisha, and Nathan etc. They are called oral prophets because there are no books which are specifically dedicated to them.
Latter (Canonical prophets)
These have specific books dedicated to them. They are further subdivided into 2 groups
- Minor Prophets; they are called so because their books are relatively short, they include Amos, Hosea, Anas etc.
- Major Prophets; they are called so because their books are lengthy i.e. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel etc.
CHARACTERISTICS OF TRUE PROPHETS
- A true prophet must understand, the past, present and the future from God`s point of view.
- He must follow the traditions of Moses i.e. must maintain the covenant faith and the law.
- He must speak and act for God because he is God`s representative.
- He must have had personal experience with God.
- A true prophet must challenge those who fail to keep the covenant law.
- He must speak the message given to him and must speak with authority as a mediator between God and his people.
- He must endure in time of trials i.e. prophet Micaiah when he was slapped by Prophet Zedekiah, Prophet Jeremiah when he was humiliated by Anania.
- There messages should come to pass i.e. prophet.
- Must be inspired by the Holy Spirit.
- Must prophecy to all people in a fair way.
- Should offer voluntary services i.e. without expecting any pay.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE PROPHETS
- They are not called by God, they are self-ordained.
- They speak false words they speak words of peace, promise fortune, prosperity in order to win favor from the people.
- At times they use God`s name as a cover for their needs.
- Sometimes they are immoral instead of leading people to God they lead them to sin.
- They always criticize true prophets i.e. Amaziah criticized prophet Amos and Annania criticized prophet Jeremiah.
- Their prophecies are never fulfilled.
However their criteria to judge false prophets were not only by looking at unfulfilled oracles but by looking at their behavior and way of life. Satan can predict something and by chance it can come to pass but it doesn’t mean that is God.
AMOS (The Prophet of God`s Justice)
Amos is the first prophet from Judah (Southern Kingdom) from the town of Tekoa. He preached from the Northern kingdom (Israel) when King Uzziah was King of Judah and Jeroboam was King of Israel.
Amos was a herdsman, farmer and a dresser of Sycamore trees. This double profession was symbolic in nature in that it represented the History of the Israelites, they were normads and farmers.
Amos prophesied in Israel around the middle of the 18th century BC, he prophesied during the time of great prosperity and apparent security which were limited to specific group of people.
His mission was to the Northern Kingdom and not to his Kings men in the South therefore he met great opposition i.e. Prophet Amaziah humiliated him, he ordered Amos to leave Israel, he said “That`s enough Prophet, go back to Judah and do your preaching there, let them pay you for it don’t prophecy here at Bethel anymore, this is the King`s place of worship, the national temple.”
THIS VIDEO BRINGS THE DETAILS ABOUT PROPHETS IN THE BIBLE.