Prophets and the Council in Amos

A quote from George Vandervelde on the role of the prophet as described in Amos. This quote radically redefines the role of prophets in modern evangelical theology.

“The prophets are not only privy to the divine council (I Kings 22:19-23; Isaiah 6:1-5), they are participants in God’s plans. When God announces judgment, the prophet is not afraid to challenge God. Amos asks God to forgive Israel, because Jacob is so small (Amos 7:2). As Heschel aptly puts it, Amos does not say, ‘Thy will be done’, but ‘Thy will be changed.’ And in the case of Amos the Lord concedes. He repents: ‘It shall not be’, says the Lord’ (Amos 7:3). The pivotal role of the prophet as one who stands in the council of the Lord and who becomes a partner in the unfolding of God’s covenant plans of judgment and salvation is crucial for understanding the way in which the New Testament as a whole may be considered prophetic people.”

His quote is bolstered from a quotation from Joel, which Peter cites at Pentecost: “ANd it will come about after this that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and even on the male and female slaves I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on God’s Church that they would become the prophets of a new council of a new covenant. They would inherit the world as the 24 angels stepped off their thrones in the Apocalypse.

Made available in George Vandervelde, “The Gift of Prophecy in the Prophetic Church”, ICS Academic Papers (1984).

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