The Prophet and The Word of God

The Prophet Joel is commemorated in the Orthodox Church on October 19th each year. Old Testament Professor Terence E. Fretheim describes the relationship that a prophet of God has with the Word of God:

“God does not, as in the older theophanies, just appear, speak a word, and then leave. God leaves the word behind imbedded in the prophet. God calls the prophet to take the word received and embody that word from the moment of the call onward. The prophet, in effect, is called to function as an ongoing theophany. In the prophet we see a development from the more transient messenger of God to a more extended appearance of the Word of God in human form. One can thus now speak, not only of the participation of God in the appearance of the human, but also in the history of the human. The story of God is lived out in the story of the prophet.”The Suffering of God: An Old Testament Perspective, pp 151-152)

In some ways Fretheim is describing what in Orthodoxy is sometimes called the pre-Incarnation of the Word:  centuries before God became flesh in Jesus Christ, the Word of God was being manifested in the world in various ways.

“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high …”  (Hebrews 1:1-3)

St. Paul writes that “the truth of Christ is in me(2 Corinthians 11:10).    The Word of God became incarnate in Christ Jesus the Savior, and continues to come and dwell in believers!