“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1, 2).
The issue of prophecy is no doubt a big thing, especially, in the African Church today where various people have come
up declaring that God has called them as prophets. I remember a couple of months ago while attending and speaking at a missions conference, a young man came to me and asked, “Confex, what about the prophets?” I wasn’t so sure what he meant by the question and I asked him to elaborate. He then said, “What does Scripture say about prophets today?”
I believe that Hebrews 1:1, 2 helps us to put this matter of prophets in the right perspective. However, before dwelling on the passage, there is a need to go back to the Old Testament where the ministry of prophets began and see what it says about prophets. Basing on various passages of Scripture, we see that prophets were people who had been called by God to speak on behalf of God. In others words, prophets took the word from God and presented it God’s people.
Now Scripture tells us that all the prophets pointed to one true greatest prophet Jesus Christ. In other words, all the prophets were a foreshadow of one true great prophet, Jesus Christ. Moses who was the first prophet in the Old Testament prophesied about one true great prophet In Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 when he said: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is him you shall listen. And the LORD said to me, ‘I will raise up for them a prophet like you among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”
Luke 24:27 also tells us that all prophets pointed to Jesus and their work found its fulfillment in Christ. This is what we read in Luke 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Again in this passage we see that All the prophets spoke about Jesus the true greatest prophet.
Indeed Jesus Christ is the true greatest prophet, first, because unlike the prophets of the past who had to get their revelation from God, Jesus is the source of revelation. That’s why if you read your Bible you will find that the prophets of the Old Testament would begin or end their prophecy by saying: “Thus says the Lord…..” But when Jesus speaks, he begins by saying: “I say unto you… or Truly, Truly, I say to you….”
Secondly, Jesus Christ is our true greatest prophet because he reveals the full picture of God to us. The prophets of the old times began to reveal the picture of God to us but their work remained incomplete until when Christ came and revealed the full picture of God to us. It’s like the painter. Before a painter paints a picture, he begins to draw with a pencil and after that he takes the painting brush and paints the picture and eventually we see the full picture as it ought to look.
Like a painter, the other prophets drew the picture of God with a pencil and when Christ came he finished the picture with the painting brush. The Bible affirms this truth when read in Colossians 1:15 and 19 that “(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” John 1:1 and 14 also says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In Jesus, the full picture of God is revealed to us. Therefore, if we want to know God, we should realize that we have the greatest prophet who reveals this God to us. He is Jesus Christ. There is no need for you and me to run to this man and that woman in order to hear from God. We have Jesus the Word who reveals the full picture of God to us.
Jesus fully reveals God to us in Scripture. As somebody said, “All Scripture is all about Jesus and according Jesus.” Immerse yourself in it. Read it with joy and out of love and you will know God fully. You don’t need any prophet any more for you to know God because in these last days, God has spoken to us through Jesus Christ. By the way, the last days began with the coming of Christ on earth. From that time to now, we are living in the last days.
Thirdly, Jesus Christ is the true greatest prophet because He reveals the whole will of God to us. In the past God revealed his will through the prophets little by little at different times in history. At one particular time God would reveal his will at that time through one prophet. Then at another time God could also reveal his will at that time through another prophet. You can see this very clearly when you consider the prophets of the Old Testament. Each prophet came at a particular time to reveal God’s will at that particular time and to particular people.
For instance, Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the Babylonian captivity for the Southern Kingdom of Judah and also the fall of Babylon as well as the return of Israelites from Babylon. Prophet Jeremiah prophesied to the Southern Kingdom of Judah about the victory of King Nebuchadnezzar over this nation as means of God’s punishment to unrepentant Judah. Prophet Ezekiel prophesied while in Babylon the return of God’s people to the Promised Land. Prophet Joel prophesied about the Day of the Lord in which God will come in judgment upon his covenant people for their disobedience and rebellion against God. Prophet Hosea prophesied in the Northern Kingdom of Israel and he mainly spoke against the mixing of worship of Yahweh with idols also known as syncretism.
So, the prophets kept building on each other as they revealed God’s will to his people. They kept revealing God’s will for his people in stages or phases; however, when Christ came he revealed the whole will of God to us. This is why Hebrews 1:1, 2 says that in the past God spoke to us in various ways through various prophets but now, He has spoken to us once and for all through Jesus Christ.
God wants us to listen to our true greatest prophet Jesus. This is why during the Transfiguration when Jesus took Apostles Peter, John and James to the top of a mountain. Moses and Elijah appeared to them and God the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him” (Luke 9:35).
Fourthly, Jesus is our true greatest prophet because He reveals the whole future to us. One of the things that the prophets of the old were known for was their ability to foretell the future. Although prophecy involves more than foretelling future events, still this is an element of prophecy.
Jesus is our true greatest prophet because he does not only know the future but he is also the future himself. Jesus Christ being fully God he is our future. There is nothing that will come to pass in this world or in the life to come that Jesus does not know or control. While God could reveal some future events to the old prophets, in Jesus the whole future is in his hands. This is why Christ says to us: “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17).
Bill and Linda Gaither put it well when they composed that hymn, “Because He Lives’ and declared:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!
In Jesus the true greatest prophet our future is secured because he does not only know the future but also holds the future and the whole world in his hands. Oh, how I love this true and greatest prophet.
So please, let this truth always linger in you mind: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1, 2).