Title: The Prophets
Text: Luke 24.13-27
In 1 Kings 13, we meet a man of God. You see the title of the message today: The Prophets. “Man of God” is another title for a prophet. This man of God, a prophet remains nameless. He was summoned by God to go to Jeroboam, the new and 1st king of the northern kingdom and bring him the Word of God. A couple of interesting events happen here:
1st, The man of God tells the king that a future king from the house of David, named Josiah, will sacrifice the priests of the high places and burn their bones on it.
- Hey, 1st – King of the Northern Kingdom, a future king of the Southern Kingdom will sacrifice the priests of the high places and burn their bones on it.
- Oh, and so you know it is God’s Word, a sign will be given to you today –
2nd, He gives him a sign: this altar will be torn down and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.
That’s a pretty bold statement by the prophet – in the face of the King, no less!
So the king gets mad, as you might expect and yells out a command to his servants: Seize Him!
3rd, Instead of the man being seized, the king’s hand and arm are what seize up. Ruh-Roe! The King realizes he’s in trouble. The altar is torn down and the ashes are poured out from the altar just as the man of God predicted.
And so the King pleads with the man of God to intercede to God on his behalf, that he might be healed. The man of God does so and the king is healed.
The year this man of God spoke this prophecy was roughly about 930 BC. Josiah’s reforms took place from 621 BC. That’s 300 years later. You can read about it, that is the fulfillment of this prophecy, in 2 Kings 23. Not only did Jeroboam not live to see the prophecy come true, but 19 other kings would come and go. And, by 620 BC the Northern Kingdom no longer existed. It disappeared in 722 BC. It had already been gone for nearly 100 years.
Such is the work of prophets. They speak of things to come, often as if they’ve already happened. You and I are blessed because the work of the prophets showed us Jesus before he was born. And, many other men of God have documented and outlined the fulfillment of those prophecies for us.
We’re in the midst of a sermon series: HisStory. That is: The Story of Jesus. The premise is that all of God’s Word is about Him. From Creation to Revelation, its not just history, it is His Story. Here’s how we got here:
|1.||Intro: His Story||The Bible|
|3.||The Fall||Genesis 4-11|
|4.||The Patriarchs||Genesis 12-50|
|5.||Israel: A New Nation||Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy|
|6.||Kings||Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles|
Here is a quick look at the messages to date. The point of them all has been to communicate that each story points us to God’s work of saving his people. And, that points to Jesus. And that won’t change this morning. Really, it is even clearer as you consider the prophets.
Turn to Luke 24.13. rd Lk 24.13-27; this must have been an incredible experience for Cleopas and his traveling companion. The Master himself explains to them just what the Prophets had been saying about him. What clarity!
This leads me to some questions – question I hope to answer in my message today:
- Who were these men, the prophets? Were any of them women?
- Where did they come from? What were their origins?
- What was it these prophets said? Or, What had they laid out before hand that Jesus ‘interpreted’ to Cleopas and this other disciple? How did they do that?
Transition: I’d like to begin by answering this 1st question: who were they?
1. These men were called of God. The first man called a prophet was Abraham in Gen. 20.7; the 1st woman I find being a prophetess is Miriam in Exodus 15.20 (cf.: Isaiah’s wife, Deborah; Anna); the pattern of a prophet was Moses. He set the example for the people of Israel that they would look for in a prophet whom God would raise up among them. He was the standard by which all other comparisons were made. But, he also was the example set for them of “The Prophet” – the One who was to come and The One the Israelites were waiting and watching for.
2. In answering the question: Where did they come from? At first I was curious about geographical areas. Where did they live and what did they do before they became prophets? But this quest took me in a different direction. Where did they come from? In answering this question I found…
a. Prophetic ministry begins and ends with God. Nowhere do we see prophecy with its source in humans (or anywhere else for that matter).
b. A prophet had a private and public call to his ministry. Therefore, a false prophet did not have that call upon his life. A Prophet of God was a man who had (1st) stood in the presence of God (think Moses) and then (2ndly) stood before the people of God telling them the Word of God. Turn to Deut. 18.15-18 once again;
i. God will “raise up” a prophet. God is the source by which this man will come.
ii. This prophet will speak God’s Word. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
Note: A Prophet wasn’t necessarily a predictor of the future. I think a lot of times that is the way we think about prophets – that they predicted the future. In many cases that was true. But, it was so much more than that: a prophet’s main duty was to communicate God’s Word.
c. In Jeremiah 7.25 God declares that He as been doing this since He brought them up out of Egypt: 25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day.
Because of this fact (Prophetic ministry begins and ends with God), we should take note. This is God’s doing and these are God’s Words. Let that sink in. God has accomplished this incredible feat of preserving His Word – over thousands of years – just so you and I would have it here with us today! In all of literature – all of literature – there is nothing anywhere comparable to God’s Word. Nothing! What a precious gift. Would you want to hear from God?
Ill.: Michael Card: “Present Reality,” I want to know you in the now. Well, if truth be told – no, I don’t think we really would. If God could appear before us as He did with the Israelites at Sinai, I think we’d respond and be just like the Israelites at the foot of the Mountain. We would cry out: Please, Dear LORD, don’t speak directly to us. If you do, we’ll die. Write it down for us to read and learn about. Give us godly men and women to teach us – but don’t present yourself to us! We won’t be able to bear it.
app.: In this regard, modern day prophets still speak forth God’s Word. They have it here before us and open up in all of its beauty and encouragement and life-giving information. And they speak plainly God’s Word. Thus saith the Lord.
Because this is God’s Word, future events have context. Because this is God’s Word, a prophecy concerning the future, these future events, as they take place, now have context. We are uniquely positioned to understand the events as they unfold. And the reason we understand them is simply because God has communicated them to us before hand.
More than that, we have confidence, because He has been faithful to do so in the past. We see where He has spoken and what he has said came about. We understand the circumstance so much more in that God had a plan and a purpose.
Ill.: Our community group has been experiencing this in our studies. We have God’s Word to help us interpret the data before us. You look at the Grand Canyon and you see these pancake layers. Use modern day, evolutionary explanations that scientists have theorized to understand this and you’ll be confused. And the more information they provide, the more confusing it gets! But, when you look at the Grand Canyon through the eyes of Genesis 6-9, things begin to make sense.
I don’t have a picture of it, but in our study we saw another area north of the Grand Canyon some 70 miles. And in that location, there is another pancake layer of sediment that isn’t found here. It is actually found between two of the layers you see here. If it took millions and millions of years for each layer to be deposited, then how in the world did a different layer – that supposedly took millions and millions of years to be deposited – get deposited between the two layers? Well, it can’t it is impossible. But, when you consider a cataclysmic event, such as The Flood, then these layers make sense.
We have God’s Word to explain the past and so we can look forward with the same clarity.
App.: Listen to I.H. Marshall: One of the smartest Theologians of the past Century. History became revelation because there was added to the historical situation a man prepared beforehand to say what it meant. Moses was not left to struggle for the meaning of events as or after they happened; he was forewarned of events and of their significance by the verbal communications of God. So it was with all the prophets. Alone of the nations of antiquity, Israel had a true awareness of history.
Christians are blessed with this same awareness. We don’t look back and feel confused; God has answered those questions in his Word. And, we don’t look forward and feel confused – even if some things are not yet revealed. We know that God has given us context. You and I shouldn’t be confused that the World has legalized gay marriage. If you read the book of Revelation, you already know that the world would become more and more licentious and immoral.
t.s.: So, who were these men and where did they come from? These were men and women that God raised up for the purpose of communicating His Word to His People. Here’s another question: Just how did they do that?
3. The prophets were careful to do exactly as God commanded. God’s Word was presented to the people in various ways:
- Spoken: God said, simply tell them; or tell him; or tell her. 2 Samuel 12
- Visual Aids or Object Lessons: Ezekiel 4.1-6; rd Ezekiel 4.1-6
- A Demonstration of God’s Power: 1 Kings 18 (calling down fire from heaven)
If you think about it, we saw all three of these expressions used by the unnamed prophet in 1 Kings 13 – the story I opened up with. He spoke God’s Word concerning the future, gave the object lesson of the altar being torn down and the ashes being poured out, and a demonstration of God’s power through the King’s arm ‘seizing up’ and also healing him.
Which brings me to one final section this morning. It isn’t answering a question per se, but is more of a quest for us: Christ in the Old Testament. Let me say there is no way to know every verse of prophecy in the OT. Many are obscure. People don’t even agree on the ones we have.
One day God will reveal it all and we’ll understand it all so much better. But for now, we do know some very important prophecies of the Messiah from the Old Testament. I thought it would be fun to show you at least one reference to Christ in each of the Old Testament Prophets Writings. We’ll look at the Major Prophets first, then, the Minor Prophets.
Let me begin by saying that ‘Major’ and ‘Minor’ prophets are not good English terms. It isn’t like these were more special, so they are called ‘Major’, or that these were insignificant so they were deemed ‘minor’. These are old English terms. Simply put, it has to do with the Volume of material. Think of ‘Larger’ for ‘major’ and ‘smaller’ for ‘minor’.
Let me also say: this list is not exhaustive. I simply chose a verse or two that I am familiar with. A couple of them, I had no idea, so I had to search. This was more for fun than for this message. But, turn with me to Isaiah and let’s make our way through the prophets and look at some of these.
|Isaiah: born of a virgin, king, the Suffering Servant (7; 9; 50; 53)||Jeremiah: a king like David; the ideal King (30.9)||Ezekiel: A king like David; the ideal King (37.24-28)|
|Daniel: the 4th man in the fire (3.25); ‘Son of Man’ who is given authority by the ‘Ancient of Days’ (7.13-14);|
|Hosea: He is the one who redeems his adulterous bride. (3) Hosea 11.1 is the verse: Out of Egypt I called my son.||Joel: His is the Name that is called upon (cf.: Rom 3.10). (2) In those days I will pour out my spirit… the coming of the Holy Spirit.||Amos: He is the Lion from the tribe of Judah that roars from Jerusalem. (1, 3.6-7) 2.16: fleeing naked; Mk 14.52; 4.13 – the one who knows our thoughts;|
|Obadiah: He might be the Messenger who speaks in v.1; He is the King who shall reign over Mt. Zion with the redeemed in 17, 19-21||Jonah: Just as Jonah was in the belly of the giant fish for three days, so also, Jesus was in the tomb for three days (1.17).||Micah: He is the King who breaches the gate and goes before his people (2); He will be born in Bethlehem (5); will be a light to his people (7); the steadfast love of the Lord is demonstrated through him (7.18-20) cast our sins into the depths of the sea|
|Nahum: His Character is displayed in 1. He is the one who breaks the chains and free his people (1)||Habakkuk: He is the Everlasting One (1); The Righteous One (2) and the one who reigns in his Holy temple (2). My Strength & my Salvation||Zephaniah: He is the one who saves you, rejoices over you and quiets you with loud singing (3); In His Name one finds a refuge.|
|Haggai: Zerubbabel is a pattern of this future King. He will be God’s Signet Ring in that day (2);||Zechariah: again, Zerubbabel is a pattern of this future King – He is called, The Branch (3); He is the The King coming, riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey (9); The One whom they have pierced (12); He is the stricken Shepherd (13).||Malachi: the sun of righteousness; The announced by Elijah (4) coming before the Messiah.|
Because of their message, because of their work, we now have the hope of salvation. 1 Peter 1.10ff: 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Let that resonate in your spirit. These servants of God, prophets, did their work, faithfully, so that the message you have now received might be made known to you. God was at work all along, preserving it, protecting it.
My friend, what an incredible message from these prophets: that a Messiah would be born to you and that he would die on a cross, taking away your sin and my sin. If you’ve never committed you life to God through His Son Jesus, let today be the day.