Prophets as Seers

HiRes | MidRes

Loading...

(Right click this link to download video.)

Question
In what ways were prophets called to be seers?
Answer
We can see that at times Old Testament prophets are called "seers." Now, if you just have a limited understanding of what that means, you might think it simply means to see into the future and to be able to predict what's going to happen, but that's such a narrow concept of what a prophet does, and it actually doesn't account for even the majority of what prophets do. If prophets are seers – and they are – we should actually think more in terms of them being able to see the realities of the kingdom of God, the reign of God, and the role and the move of God in the world so that people aren't just walking by sight, but they can walk by faith because of what God is doing. One of the tremendous examples of this is in 2 Kings 6. Elisha is being pursued and he is surrounded at Dothan by his enemies. And his servant panics because he sees the armies arrayed against them, and they're cut off. And Elisha, as a prophet, a seer, knows that divine realities transcend human realities, and he simply prays this, he says, "I pray that the eyes of my servant may be enlightened." And when he prayed that, his servant looked, and the hills above their enemies were filled with chariots of fire, that is, the hosts of heaven, the armies of God that were there to defend and protect them. And so, the prophets begin their role as seer, typically, by being introduced into the heavenly courts so that they see God high and lifted up and his glory fills the temple – Isaiah saw that – and then they go out into the world, having been given the divine gift of perception by the Spirit of God, so they can pull back the curtain, if you will, to help God's people see divine realities. In the New Testament, one of the greatest and most glorious expressions of this is Revelation 4 and 5, God's people under suffering. And while we might not think of John as a prophet, he's doing a prophetic thing when the angel calls him to "come up here," that is, to come up to the throne of God and see the world from God's perspective and report the vision. And so, seers are ones, not just who see into the future, but see the realities of God's reign and rule in a way that will, as needed, turn God's people back to him and give them hope in hopeless situations.

Answer by Rev. Michael J. Glodo

Rev. Michael J. Glodo is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL.