Exactly what did the ancient prophets do?
Let us enumerate:
- They foretold the future. What for? To prepare people to face it or to prevent them from becoming victims of its eventualities.
- They told the truth. The future held certain principles or realities either present or not present today. To be aware of them is to gain a moral advantage over those who remain ignorant or do not submit to heaven’s calling.
- They established the past. The past contained the same principles applicable today which if we remain in them will help us face trials.
- They linked the past with the present and with the future into one practical reality. This synthesis once appreciated allows people to see their condition with a clearer and wider perspective and thus prevent failure or minimize suffering. In short, prophets saved people.
- They suffered for the people. Consider Lot who was a righteous person living among depraved people. All that time he was tortured by the sins of those people. Although not a recognized prophet, he showed how people like Elijah or Daniel might have felt living among the wicked.
- They suffered for themselves. To be different and to live according to a high standard of morality entails discipline and much self-denial. A prophet (or any truly committed believer, for that matter) willfully decides to accept divine chastisement for no other reason than that it is the proper thing to do.
- They suffered for God. Like Jesus Who took upon Himself the curses of God’s enemies, prophets ultimately knew that God was the One behind all that they went through and humbly submitted to His will.
- They lived very challenging and extraordinary lives. The burden of declaring things not normal to common people required almost superhuman skills and commitment. Only a few were gifted to be able to successfully bear it.
- They lived and died with great spiritual contentment. The satisfaction of anticipating the prized words “Well done, good and faithful servant” motivated them to do what they were told to do.
- They live forever. No other reward for such arduous task as that of being a prophet other than eternal life will suffice. As trailblazers, prophets showed and led the way to life.
(Photo above shows solarized UP Baguio Oblation against a natural blue sky.)