An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Prophet, Prophecy

A prophet in the OT was called a messenger to proclaim the word of the God of the covenant to the people of the covenant. Prophecy refers to the message or work of a prophet.

The prophetic movement in Israel developed over a period of time, from the eleventh century B.C. with ecstatic prophetic groups, through the tenth century with court prophets such as Nathan, into the ninth century with Elijah and Elisha, reaching its full flower in the eighth, beginning with Amos, and eventually flowing to the fifth with the incomparable author of Isaiah, chs. 40-55, known as “Deutero-Isaiah.” After that it gradually faded from Israel’s scene.

Under a righteous and compassionate God, the prophets called for righteousness and compassion in society, stressing one or the other, depending on the historical situation. They spoke to their times but always with an eye to the future.

The NT regards John the Baptist as the last of the OT prophets. Among his various offices, Jesus is also called a prophet (Lk 13:33). In the early church the office of prophet was recognized along with other offices such as apostle, teacher, and worker of miracles (1 Cor 12:28).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.