The word prophecy conjures up all kinds of weird visions of the future, and scary destruction from the past, since the Bible’s prophets forewarned the Jews about Jerusalem’s destruction, and to this day it is in turmoil. But the word prophecy itself is quite simple. In the Hebrew there are four words used for prophecy.
1. Nebaw (prophet – a speaker via God)
2. Nebooaw (speaking as God’s mouthpiece)
3. Nawbee (making a prediction)
4. Raah (a Seer as in receiving & explaining visions from God)
Abraham is the first person God titles as prophet, Gen. 20:7. But of course the simplest meaning of the word is seen in Enoch & Noah, who lived before Abraham. Enoch (Gen. 5:22-24) walked so closely with God that God took him up into Heaven without experiencing death just to be closer to Him. Enoch’s life was full of God’s will, his family and friends around him would have been blessed to see & hear what God’s nature & will and word was for them. (Jude v13-15) Enoch spoke & lived for God so much, that Jude the Lord’s brother accepted his words were two fold in purpose. The fact of double prophecy in one prophetic occasion is obvious sometimes. For example, see Isaiah 22:22, where he is clearly pointing to Eliakim son of Hilkiah, but it is also used by John to point to Jesus in Revelation 3:7. This happens quite often from the Old Testament into the New. Enoch’s prophetic words of judgment pointed towards the death of sinners in the flood and also the eternal punishment of sinners in our future. Which is a fine introduction to what a Christian should be, walking with God closer and closer in our daily life, 2nd Corinthians 6:16, warning people that Jesus is coming again.
Noah was certainly a prophet in the task of building the Ark. His life’s work foretold the coming destruction, that is certainly a form of prophecy. His work is exemplified in Peter’s teaching for Christians. 1st Peter 3:20-21. The Ark representing the body of Christ, and the flood-waters representing the faithful act of baptism is making Noah a predictive preacher in his work of prophesying how God would save the world in the future. A time is coming, when only faithful children of God in the body of Christ (Ark) will be saved from the coming destructive judgment.
Abraham’s work of prophecy is rooted in the news God gave Abimelech. When we read Genesis 20, it is comforting to see how Abraham’s prayer is part of God’s work to help Abimelech restore the ability of his family to have babies, giving life. Prophets spoke for God, and they were also very effective with their prayers as seen in Abraham, Elijah and also Jeremiah, see how Jeremiah clarifies this in Jer. 27:18. Samuel the prophet even goes as far as to say that it was a sin for him to neglect to pray for people, 1st Sam. 12:19-23. Today, Christians are mandated by the High Priestly job of Christ to intercede for the world, we are prophetically royal priests, 1st Peter 2:9. So from the beginning to the end of the Bible, prophets are used by God in their prayers. Do you believe that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy and that you as a Christian are an active part of God’s work? Read Revelation 19:10. Never forget that God called Miriam the sister of Moses a prophetess, Exodus 15:20-21, in the context of her song for what God had done, not will do.