The primary message of the prophets is the person and character of God. Most problems in the church and the world are rooted in an incorrect or unbalanced view of God. Prophets will consistently speak of his love, mercy, righteousness, holiness, sovereignty and justice.

Prophecy always calls for a faith response. God never gives opinions; he gives orders (Tom Marshall- The Coming of the Prophets).

We need to get a prophetic vision of the church; to see the church as God sees it (John Brook).

The second part of the prophetic message is God's plan for history. Prophets describe what God is doing in the world. They announce his long-term plan and proclaim coming events, while explaining how they fit into the long-term plan (Is 40:15-17).

Economics, politics, justice, education, race, the arts of drama, painting and writing, newspaper and TV production- all of these areas and many others need to be restored (John and Paula Sanford - The Elijah Task p.38).

True prophets appear in times of apostasy. Prophets of quality move in when the people are moving away from the ideal laid down once and for all in the Book. The prophetic mind develops into its finest and most rare expressions during times of apostasy. A Jeremiah is born for and prepared for the Babylonic confrontation. A man who is prepared to watch and to cry will appear. The burden-bearer will be made ready. A man who won't give in will always be found in times of apostasy. Such a man is made able to see - see reality. He sees God's intervention coming. His burden is something very real, indeed tangible. He relates to reality, speaks reality, speaks quality. (Lars Widerberg - The Unwelcome Necessity - The Burden).

The goal is the Kingdom of God. Prophets should be obsessed with the Kingdom. They should have a passion to see the Government of God become a reality.

What did the prophets prophesy? Inclusively, they prophesied concerning the
King and the Kingdom (T. Austin-Sparks - Prophetic Ministry).

He is a sign to the whole church, pointing it to the vision of the Kingdom. Vision and clear insight are the fruits of contemplation, and they are vital. At heart the contemplative is one who sees clearly, who sees with the eyes of God, the clear light that shines in the emptiness of the human spirit. It is a clear vision, which enables the truly spiritual man to see beneath the surface of events, to see through illusion and the transient to reality. Consequently the contemplative is more of a threat to injustice than the social activist who merely sees piecemeal need. Contemplative vision is revolutionary vision (K Leech - Theology and Vision).

Prophetic ministry brings God's perspective, releases vision and calling the prophet has a kingdom perspective that will motivate the church universal towards a practical unity of the Spirit (Graham Cooke - Developing Your Prophetic Gifting p.194).

Prophets uphold God's standards, by declaring his ethical requirements. God's standards are contained in the Scriptures and especially his law. The standards for the nations are contained in God's law. Prophets will challenge the nations using the standard of God's word.

The voice of the true prophet is always the voice of the law of God, once and for all declared through Moses. Jeremiah knows he is right because his experience is the mosaic experience of standing before God (J.A Motyer - NBD).

It is striking that the most profound men of prayer in scripture are often also the ones who are most concerned for vengeance and judgement. This is true of the Psalmists, of Jesus and of John in Revelation. We often find this harshness difficult, but it seems that those who get close to God's love and compassion also find that they share active indignation at sin. Love and justice, judgement and forgiveness are two aspects to God's own character. Justice is tempered by mercy and mercy by justice. It is the cross that shows how they can be held together (John Goldings).

Judgement and salvation go together. When the word of judgement comes, it is a word of salvation to those who embrace it. When a word of salvation comes, it is a word of judgement to those who do not embrace it (Bruce Yocum - The Judgement of God Today).

The prophet absolutises those things that the world has made trivial, and he makes trivial and relative what the world has sought to make absolute and ultimate. He stands the world on its head and he turns it inside out. He says, "What you are celebrating is self-delusion, and what you are ignoring is of eternal moment and significance." He not only says it, but he establishes it. (T. Austin-Sparks - What is Prophetic Ultimacy?).

The message of modern Christian prophets often has two parts.

  • God has great things that he wants to do through his people.
  • His people will need to change the way that they are living to receive it.

We tend to focus on the first part, but often ignore the second part. Even the prophets tend to amplify the first part and play down the second.

The consequence is that the changes needed are often not made, and so the promise of the first part cannot be received. People then say that the promise was not true. They reject the prophet's word.

However, the reason we do not receive what God has promised is that we have not made the changes necessary to receive it.

The message of the prophets is the Government of God.

God's message about the future is described in Times and Seasons