A Prophet's Understanding Forth or Fore Tellers?
by Bobby Bruno 5/22/2014 / Bible Studies
The calling of the Prophet of God is to “tell forth” not to engage in “forth telling.” What is the philosophical difference between the two?
1. Forth tellers spoke forth God’s truth to their own generation. They pointed out the evils of their day and called people to repent. They focused primarily on their own generations, though their messages contained many timeless principles. Telling forth is telling of revelations that will happen in the near or far future, but was declared to the prophet’s own generation. They spoke of judgment and restoration, of bad news and good news. They did so primarily to motivate God’s people to faithful living in the present. (p. 343)
Are there any discernable differences between the “thrusts” of the different prophets? And, if so, why do you believe this to be?
2. As a general rule, the classical prophets address all the people, inform them of God’s wrath against their sin, warn them of approaching judgment, call them to repentance, and proclaim God’s salvation for those who will turn to Him (p. 341).
Samuel – proclaimed God’s word and judged (1 Sm 13:8-14). Confronted Saul for not being above the law (1 Sm 15:10-31) (p. 341).
Elijah – challenged Israel to forsake worshipping Baal and to turn back to the Lord. God had him stage a demonstration of God’s power on Mount Carmel. (p. 341).
All spoke of covenant obligations to God and a call to return to God. (p. 347)
Covenant obligations included a call to personal holiness and righteousness so that the people could stand apart from the nations surrounding them. God proclaimed judgment against the nation for not coming back to Him. Obligations also called the people to be at peace with each other. If they followed the obligations they would be back in God’s will for them and they would find true peace in their nation. (p. 348).
The Day of the Lord – they spoke of a coming time when the Lord of Hosts would return to the earth to judge the people by judging unbelievers, cleansing and purging of God’s people, and the salvation of God’s people. (p. 348)
They proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, the anointed one. This could refer to kings who were anointed by God, but by the time of the New Testament, it referred to Jesus Christ, God’s Chosen (p. 348).
A prophet could either forth-tell a prophecy or fore-tell the prophecy. Forth tellers (p. 343) spoke forth God's truth to their own generation, pointing to the evils of their day and called people to repent from the evils they were doing that displeased God. They spoke of things that concerned their generation, but also had a meaning for those who were to come in future generations. Fore telling is telling of revelations that will happen in the near or far future, even though it was declared in his or her own generation. "They spoke of judgment and restoration, of bad news and good news to motivate God's people to faithful living in the present" (p. 343). The prophets would not always understand what they were fore telling and were to speak it to the people anyway, but were not to dwell on its future portents.
Other than the King the prophet was speaking to there are no discernable differences between the prophets on what they spoke about to the people. All the prophets each spoke out against the sin of the people from God's point of view, and warned them that judgment would fall upon them if they did not repent and turn back to God (p. 341).
Each prophet reminded the people of their covenant obligations to the Lord. These obligations included "a call to personal holiness and righteousness so that the people could stand apart from the nations surrounding them" and peace with each other as a nation (p. 348). Following these obligations would guarantee God's protection and salvation once again. many spoke of The Day of the Lord a coming time when the Lord of Hosts would return to the earth to judge the people by judging unbelievers, "cleansing and purging of God's people, and the salvation of God's people" (p. 348). They also proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, the anointed one. This could refer to kings who were anointed by God, but in the New Testament, it refers to Jesus Christ, God's Chosen (p. 348).
I've always believed that the prophets God called were to be both forth- and fore-tellers because God never speaks to just one generation in the Bible; He is speaking to all generations at one time, for we all need the words that God had His chosen people proclaim (1 Peter 1:10). I believe their primary role is to get people back to God by reminding them, and us, the promises of God and what He will or won't do unless we do. Obedience brings favor; disobedience brings judgment. This is what the prophets spoke of to the people more than anything else. Return and repent, for that is the way of the Lord.
Arnold B., Beyer, B. (1999, 2008) Encountering the old testament: a christian survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academics
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.