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A prophet is one who predicts something in the future with greater accuracy than pure chance. A prophet need not be 100% accurate; a financial prophet who is right merely 51% of the time could obtain unlimited wealth.

Examples of prophesies are writings which foretell an event in advance, or speeches which anticipate the future. "Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev!" President Ronald Reagan declared in 1987, when his advisors thought it so absurd that they repeatedly removed it from his speech, and yet Reagan said it anyway and the wall came down within three years.

Religious prophets speak for God through divine revelation. Prophets in the Bible usually predict future events and the words of a prophet must always come to pass. If they do not, then he is a false prophet and could be put to death according to the book of Deuteronomy. This was the main way prophets under the old testament could be judged – when their predictions come true, they can be said to be true prophets.[1]

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits —Matthew 7:15-16a

Predictions of the future were typically used to prove that they spoke for God. The purpose of prophets was mainly to correct wrongs.

Prophets in the Old Testament also have the distinction of being largely ignored by the Jewish people who they are trying to reach.

Prophets in Scripture

A large portion of the Bible deals with prophets and prophecy, including two sections of the books of the Bible, the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets. Note that the Minor Prophets is in reference to the length of their texts, not that they themselves were less of a prophet than the Major Prophets.

The Major Prophets:

  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Ezekiel

The Minor Prophets:

  • Daniel
  • Deborah
  • Huldah[2]
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Samuel
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

There are other prophets in the Bible as well that don't have books named after them, such as Elijah, Elisha, and Nathan. Furthermore, while discussion of prophets is less pronounced in the New Testament of the Bible than it is in the Old, there are prophets in the New Testament as well, such as Agabus.

Prophets outside the Bible

Many religions that were set up after Jesus have labeled their founders as prophets, such as Islam with Mohammed.

The Mormon Church believes in a succession of Latter Day Prophets who have come in modern times.

Charismatic preachers, especially in the faith movement, will often refer to themselves as prophets.

See also


  1. Ezekiel 33:33
  2. Huldah the prophetess 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22