Read Ezra 6
Focus on verse 14
The wording of verse fourteen is interesting, “And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.” Apparently their prosperity and progress in the project was connected to the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah. This is fascinating. What is it about these two men that they are so critical to the project. It would seem from the text that one could assume that if they had stopped, prophesying the work may also have stopped.
The success of the building project was attributed not only to the diligent work of those laboring to complete the building, but to the words that these two men were speaking as the building was going on.
What exactly was it that they were saying? The definition and role of the Old Testament prophet was to call the people to obedience to God. Yesterday we read that the work resumed when these two started prophesying. Today we read that the success of the project was largely due to them “prophesying”. It would seem that if they were legitimate prophets, as it seems they were, their words would have encouraged the people to obey the mandate that they had been given to complete the temple and to resume the feasts and sacrifices as commanded by Moses.
The contemporary equivalent to the Old Testament prophet is the preacher that uses the Bible (the word of God) to call people into relationship with God by explaining how God reached out to us through the person of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for our sin by sacrificing himself, once for all, ending the need for Old Testament sacrifices and providing a way for us to be restored relationally with God.
Part of the Old Testament prophet’s role was to fore tell the coming of the Messiah. Since the arrival of Jesus and his completion of everything God sent him to do on earth the role of the prophet has changed. Prophecy since the advent of Christ is more about forth telling the word of God, than it is fore telling the acts of God. It continues to be about calling God’s people into obedience to the word of God, even though that obedience no longer involves the sacrifice of animals in temple ceremonies. The most critical thing it involves at this point is our response to the person of Jesus Christ. Will we believe his word about himself and trust him for our eternal future, or will we reject his word and take our chances with our eternal future. The choice is ours to make, it may well be the most important choice we will ever make not just in this life but in the whole grand scheme of eternity. Please, choose wisely.