The Purpose of Prophecy

What was the main purpose of biblical prophecy?

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Well, most biblical prophecy is in the Old Testament, and I really like what Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart said about that in the book How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, which is something along the lines of the main job and task of the Old Testament prophets was to enforce God's covenant. So they were taking God Pentateuch, the Torah, as their starting point. They would go back to that and say, you know, the people they were talking to today several centuries after Moses, how were they doing in obeying God's laws and commandments? And most of the time they were not doing very well. So what they were doing was reminding God's people, this is what God said to you through Moses. And this is what you're supposed to do. You're not doing it. And by the way, Moses also said these judgments would come upon you for your disobedience. So he the prophets would remind them of what God had already written in the Pentateuch, warned them of judgment, exhort them, and encourage them to repent. So most of the time, the Old Testament prophets were most of all concerned with the situation that was facing them and God's people in their own day, and only secondarily were they concerned with the future.

Answer by Dr. Robert MacEwen

Dr. Robert MacEwen is Academic Dean and Associate Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Tyndale Theological Seminary.