INTRODUCTION: “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive” (Matt.13:14).
“How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?” (Rom 10:14). God shall send prophets to them (Mal. 3:1; 2 Chro. 24:19).
The opening scriptural passages bring to our consciousness the significance of a prophet in communicating God’s message to the people. In this case, a prophet becomes an intermediary.
Nevertheless, it will be good to note here that the thrust of this article is to give attempt or credence to the definition Preye gave on prophet. It was a definition that invoked the thoughts of his colleagues and lecturer for further scholarship.
WHO IS A PROPHET? There are several definitions of prophets. In the words of Preye, “A prophet is one divinely chosen and commissioned with the responsibility to DECODE an ENCODED message of God to a specific person, people or nation”.
The prophet admonishes, warns, directs, encourages, intercedes, teaches and counsels. He brings the word of God to the people of God and calls the people to respond, and in Isaiah 44:26 God honours the words of His prophets.
WHAT IS CODE? Simply put, “code is any system of principles, rules or regulations relating to one subject” (EED). Better still, it is a system of words, letters or symbols that represent a message. Just as a constitution (a rule book of a nation) of a nation codifies the rule of law,1 so is it with the Bible. The Bible codifies the messages of God.
TYPES OF CODE: There are several forms of code, but for the sake of this work, I will limit my scope to the following: Medical code, naval code, machine or computer code, moral code, etc.
CONCLUSION: We have attempted to show or established a fact that the word “code” is not solely univocal. That is, having more than one meaning. It is not only a scientific terminology but also a biblical word.
St. Paul in Rom. 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:6 (Cf. RSV, NJB, NCB), used the word code, and in 2 cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:8-10, he gave further theological insight of what he meant by the word code. He gave two views of it.
(1). Code as a written law (Torah: Mosaic Law or Old Covenant) and,
(2). The unwritten law (Christ, the New Covenant).
Even the New Jerome Biblical Commentary made allusion to it (Cf. NJBC p. 850).
Therefore, we can confidently say that, at some point in time, God’s message became a code. Thus, God is the Encoder of the Code.
However, it takes God’s special grace through the aid of the Holy Spirit to decode His message. His message is “hidden” from the learned but revealed to the humble. The humble here signifies the chosen ones, e.g. the prophets and the like.
The PROPHETS ARE THE PRIMARY DECODERS, while other persons who come to know God’s word through the help of prophets are secondary decoders.
1 Lawyers are the competent authorities to interpret the constitution of a nation while prophet is to interpret the Word of God.