Hi, I have a question for you: Why doesn't the Bible mention all of the prophets of the children of Israel?
The short answer to your question is that there were too many prophets in Old Testament times to mention (Jer.7:25; cf. Matt.23:29-37; Lk.11:47-51; et passim). We know about the ones who wrote scripture, and about some others who figured in the history recorded in the Bible as well (e.g., 1Ki.13:11-34), but it is clear from many passages that there were other unrecorded true prophets of the Lord in Israel (1Sam.9:9; cf. Deut.13:1-18; 18:20ff.), and before the call of Abraham outside of Israel as well (e.g., Noah: 2Pet.2:5; cf. Gen.14:18ff.; Heb.7:1ff.). Also in the New Testament, for example, the gift of prophecy helped to teach the children of God until the time when the Bible was completed (cf. 1Cor.13:2), but then went into abeyance so that the holy scriptures might be the one and only source of divine revelation until Jesus returns (cf. 1Cor.13:8). Not all prophets wrote holy scriptures; only those who were commissioned by Christ and who wrote under the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt.23:34):
For I did not follow concocted tales in making known to you the power and the earthly ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but was an eyewitness to His majesty. For when He had received honor and glory from God the Father, these words sounded forth to Him from God's majestic glory: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased." And these words I myself heard as they were delivered from heaven, for I was with Him on the holy mountain (cf. Matt.17:1-8). Yet I consider the prophetically inspired Word (i.e. the Bible) even more reliable (i.e. than what I saw with my own eyes). You too would do well to pay the closest attention to this [prophetically inspired Word], just as to a lamp shining in a dark place (cf. Ps.119:105), until the day dawns, and the Morning Star rises (i.e. the Living Word, Jesus Christ, returns), pondering in your hearts this principle of prime importance: no single verse of prophetically inspired scripture has ever come into being as a result of personal reflection. For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:16-21.
Hope this helps with your question. Please feel free to e-mail me back. You might also consult the following links:
Are there Prophets in the Church Today?
Lives of the Prophets
Zechariah, Demon Possession, Marriage, Spiritual Experiences, and Bible Prophecy.
Is "the Prophet" of Deuteronomy 18:18 Muhammad?
In Him who is the truth, the life, and the only way of salvation, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hi. Many Biblical prophets are mentioned in Koran (Muslim holy scripture): e.g. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, John the Baptist. Also, Major and Minor prophets are not mentioned except Jonah. What do you say?
Good to make your acquaintance. I was aware that the Quran made mention of some of these biblical figures. I also believe that Islam considers Jesus Christ a prophet, yes? Although I think that it does not accept His divinity which is the central theme of both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
In any case, I thank you for your e-mail, and am happy to answer any specific question you might have about the Bible. I am by no means any sort of an expert on other religions. Jesus is my love and my life.
In Him who died for the world that the world might have eternal life.
Thanks for answering. Well, how many prophets were sent by God to the Israelites (and mankind)? Were all mentioned in Bible?
Good to hear from you again. I would say that these two questions are interconnected. God sent many prophets to the Israelites (cf. Jer.7:25), and it is clear enough from scripture that God spoke to other individuals as well before the call of Abraham (e.g., Noah). Furthermore, in the early days of the Church, the gift of prophecy helped to fill the gap between the coming of the Holy Spirit and the time when the canon of scripture would be completed with the penning of the final words of Revelation by the apostle John. There is certainly a distinction to be drawn between those to whom God spoke (the gift of prophecy), and those who along with the gift had been ordained to write holy scripture - this never happened without God's express direction and consent (2Pet.1:16-21). Furthermore, all of those given this privilege were Jewish. Here is an excerpt from footnote #30 of Part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series, "Judgment, Restoration and Replacement":
As concerns authorship of the Old Testament, though some parts are anonymous, these are all in Hebrew. The only "anonymous" New Testament book is Hebrews, and that epistle was most definitely penned by the apostle Paul, who purposely omitted his name because of the rancor it would certainly have caused in Judea coming from the "apostle to the gentiles" (see the discussion below; this thesis will be treated in more detail in the Hebrews series). Luke too was Jewish, though often deemed a gentile on the basis of Colossians 4:11 through a misunderstanding of the Greek word paregoria (παρηγορία: used only here in the NT), which has its usual rhetorical force and refers to the help rendered to Paul in his legal case by the aforementioned Jewish Christians: "These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of heaven who are of the circumcision who spoke on my behalf (i.e., uttered helpful words in Paul's defense to the Roman authorities, not words of comfort to Paul)".
From the Greek etymology of the word propheteia (προφητεῖα), a prophecy is properly both a forth-telling and a fore-telling from God Himself. In my considered view, it is no accident that the gift of prophecy ceased to be given roughly at the time that the canon of scripture was completed. For once the entire Word of God was available, it was no longer necessary for there to be independent revelation of our Lord's divine will. In fact, were there to be legitimate prophecy and prophets still functioning after the Bible was complete, it would certainly make it more confusing for believers to figure out which prophets were truly speaking God's words, and which were only claiming to do so. As it is, we can be assured that anyone now claiming to have independent revelation of God's Word and Will for the rest of us is only pretending to do so. I am not saying that God does not have His ways of communicating to us personally, and I am certainly not going to stand in judgment over someone else's experiences so long as they are not being put forward in contradiction to scripture, but I would say that the Bible draws a clear line when it comes to all those after the closing of the canon in circa 67 A.D. who claim to be speaking to all of the rest of us in God's Name. As I read scripture, such a view cannot be made to square with the Bible.
I hope you will find this helpful. Please feel free to e-mail me back.
Yours in the Lord who took on human flesh in order to die for all our sins, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Thanks for the detailed answer, but you forgot my real question: were all God's prophets mentioned in Bible?
Well, I think the answer was there, but I'll try a shorter one. The answer is "yes and no". All those who truly prophesied by the call and commission of God are mentioned - by not necessarily by name. That is to say, they are all mentioned categorically if not explicitly. When Jesus talks about this subject (Matt.23:29-37; Lk.11:47-51), for example, and mentions the prophets past, present, and future whom the unrighteous have, are, and will slay, He gives the category that encompasses all true prophets, i.e., those sent by Him (Matt.23:34). So while all the prophets are not named, we can certainly come to some limit on the number of them when we consider what scripture says. To recap but two of these characteristics, 1) all prophets are called and empowered by God (specifically sent by Jesus and gifted by the Spirit), 2) this gift fell into abeyance at around the time of the close of the canon of scripture circa 67 A.D (cf. 1Cor.13:8). Therefore anyone claiming to be a prophet after this time is not mentioned in scripture either by name or by category, since there have been no new prophets after this time as scripture defines them. Scripture indicates that this is the way things will stay until our Lord returns (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-21).
Hope this helps,
In our Lord who has given us His scriptures, the light that now shines in the darkness until that day when He, the light of the world, shall return.