The Meaning of “Prophet”
In everyday terms, prophecy is a window through which
one can peer into the future. Technically, the word comes from two Greek
words, pro which means for, in front of,
on behalf of, and phanai, which means to speak,
so it is literally to speak in front of, to speak for
(as an agent), or to speak before (in time).
The prophet of God had two primary responsibilities:
1) to speak out in front of, or in behalf of God, delivering
His messages and 2) to speak beforehand, in advance, of coming events.
The prophet was, in the first sense, the mouthpiece of God. In earlier
Old Testament times, the prophets were known as seers (literally,
one who sees). As related in 1 Sam. 9:9 NIV,
Formerly in Israel, if a man went to inquire
of God, he would say, Come, let us go to the seer, because
the prophet of today used to be called a seer.
In a broader sense, the word prophet can
refer to anyone who speaks the word or will of God, whether revealed through
dream, vision, or spoken message.
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