God communicated to Prophets through visions, voices that were audible and clear, events, prayers, dreams, signs, ordinary things, and words which came to their minds with great power.
Writing messages of the prophets
The canonical prophets as mentioned earlier had their works and prophecies recorded under their names.
Canonical prophets are referred to as writing prophets.
First, it’s possible that some prophets wrote down their own prophecies.
They wrote what God spoke to them as He dictated.
An example is Jeremiah who wrote what he was told …’Get a scroll and write on it everything that I have told you about Israel, Judah and all nations. (Jeremiah 36:2, Isaiah 30:8).
Two, the prophet’s message were probably written by other people.
These were their assistant, secretary, scribe, and disciples or followers as the prophet prophesied.
Thirdly some of the prophetic messages could have been preserved as oral traditions and later written as books. A good example is 2 Kings.
Content of the Prophetic messages
Prophetic messages contained lessons from God to Israel.
For example, the:
Prophetic sayings were and still are oracles or poetic passages spoken by God himself through prophets. The prophecies were addressed to different nations. They carried specific teachings to the people, for example predicting future occurrences
Narratives in the first person give an account of the prophet’s testimony. They spoke of their experiences with God, and responses to the call of God. They tell us about prophet’s impelling compulsion to speak God’s word. The narratives are written in the first person. They have a format ‘The Lord said to me… The year that King Uzziah died, I was the Lord…”
Narratives in the third 3rd person have messages written by a third party, i.e. not the prophet but another person. For example, “Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, thus says the Lord: “Do not be afraid of the words.” (Isaiah 37:6). The message recounts the prophets’ personal life, and political background.
The Old Testament prophets had a personal relationship with God. They communicated God’s messages to Israelites. The prophets in the African traditional society communicated and received messages from the ancestor spirits
Old Testament prophets were God’s mouthpieces. They began their prophesy with ‘thus saith the lord’…. While the prophets in the African traditional society predicted what would happen to individuals, and communities.
The authority of prophets in the Old Testament came from God while the authority of prophets in the African traditional society came from their ancestors’ spirits.
In the Old Testament prophets were called directly by God while in some African traditional communities the prophetic office was hereditary.
The African traditional prophets dealt with family and local community issues while Old Testament prophets dealt with national issues, and crises.
African traditional prophets were diviners while Old Testament prophets consulted God.