A prophet (prophetes) is “one who speaks forth” (Thayer 553) or one who is “a proclaimer and interpreter of the divine revelation” (Arndt and Gingrich 730). Both writing and speaking prophets of the Old and New Testaments gave people God’s message about how they should live and act, but how were those people to know whether the prophet was speaking for himself or for God? Deuteronomy 18:21-22 answers,
And if you say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?”— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
[All Scripture references in this article will be from the 1992 New King James Version unless otherwise specified]. The test of a prophecy’s divine origin for us today is the same as when it was originally given: if a prophetic prediction happened or came true, we can know that it came from God. It is common for predictions of uninspired men to “fall to the ground,” but God caused the words of His inspired prophets to hold true (1 Samuel 3:19).
1 Kings 21:19-24. Many examples are found in the Old Testament of prophecies being fulfilled, some of them in a short time after being given, and some hundreds of years later. King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel wanted Naboth’s vineyard, so Ahab’s wife Jezebel had Naboth murdered to get it. God sent Elijah to predict the death of Ahab, the end of his dynasty, and the grisly fact that dogs would eat the body of Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel (1 Kings 21:23). Some years passed; then Ahab decided to attack Syria to try to regain Ramoth Gilead. He asked the prophet Micaiah if he should go to war, and Micaiah predicted disaster for Ahab, who was killed in the battle in fulfillment of the prophecy (1 Kings 22:23-38). Several years later Jehu had Jezebel thrown down from a window in the wall, where dogs literally ate all of Jezebel but her skull, feet, and hands (2 Kings 9:30-37). Thus two prophesies were fulfilled, one in a matter of hours and one in some 20 years and in specific, sickening detail.Read More