Perhaps you think of prophecy as having mainly to do with predictions about the future. That’s understandable, since prophets in Bible times sometimes foretold what would happen in the future. However, the purpose of prophecy goes beyond merely informing people about things to come. There are at least two additional reasons why God spoke through the OT prophets.
- Prophecy shows that the Lord is God. A god who cannot reveal himself to human beings is unlikely to command much respect. But through prophecy, the Lord has made Himself known in compelling ways. For example, He demonstrated His omniscience by revealing to the Israelites what would happen in the future, something no pagan idol could do. He also demonstrated His power through the prophets in ways that left no double about who He is.
- Prophecy announces God’s word. Closely related to God’s revelation of Himself through prophecy is His communication of truth that He wants people to know. Prophecy is often referred to as the “word of the Lord” from God. It brings to light truth that would otherwise remain unexpressed.
The point of these revelation is not merely to inform but to declare what is true, and then to tell people how they should live in light of what is true. Sometimes prophecy helps to warn people about the consequences of their actions and sometimes it encourages them when circumstances appear to be desperate. But whatever its effect on people, the purpose of prophecy is to proclaim God and His word.