Prophets carry a divine mission – to guide God’s people and express the Lord’s will for the world. It is not an easy thing to do, nor is it often the popular thing to do, but throughout history mankind has been blessed to have prophets to give them warnings and advice. First and foremost in the mission of a prophet is to teach the people concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
A Glimpse of the Past - Moses
The most famous example of a prophet may be Moses of the Old Testament. He was called by the Lord through the burning bush on the mountain to free God’s people from the grasp of the Pharaoh. Through God’s power, the plagues of Egypt, Moses was able to carry out his mission to free the Children of Israel from Egypt. However, Moses’ calling did not end with leaving Egypt. Throughout the Holy Scriptures we see that once a man is called a prophet he is a prophet until he dies. In Moses’ case, he had to then teach the Children of Israel the ways of the Lord and how to leave behind the ways of Pharaoh.
In addition to being their spiritual leader he was also being their physical leader, guiding them to the Promised Land – the land promised to their fathers – Canaan. While in the wilderness Moses showed repeatedly that Jehovah is God, and that the people should follow Him. A snake was raised up on a stick to remind the Children of Israel of the Atonement of Christ:
"Behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live... Cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins" (Alma 33:19, 22).On Mount Sinai God gave unto Moses the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. It was also in this wilderness that the Tabernacle was constructed. In replace of the practices of the Egyptians, sacrifices were offered unto God, symbolic of Christ’s death for men.
The last thing concerning Moses I will mention is the Mosaic Law that was given by God to the Children of Israel. The laws given, the commandments that took part in it, all pointed to Christ and the work He had yet to do during His mortal ministry on earth.
"And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled" (2 Nephi 25:24).Are There Modern Prophets?
The scriptures teach us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is also evident in the Holy Bible that God used prophets to teach his people from the time of Adam through the New Testament – a period of many thousands of years. If God followed this system for so long, and is an unchanging God, one can suppose he would do the same for us today.
The Lord’s Church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – was restored in 1830 by a man named Joseph Smith. With the restoration of the gospel came the restoration of the call of prophets, the first prophet in modern-days being Joseph Smith. Since the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith God has again guided his church through these divinely called men, and has given his word to the entire world. The current prophet of the Lord is Thomas S. Monson. Through him we may receive the word of the Lord, and be guided through the difficult circumstances of life.
But we must follow the teachings of the prophet. Apostle Oaks teaches: "It is not enough to know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that the gospel is true. We must take the high road by acting upon that knowledge. It is not enough to know that President [Thomas S. Monson] is God's prophet. We must put his teachings to work in our lives." (Be Not Deceived, 2004.) Eventually, by following the counsel of the prophets, we can again return to the Kingdom of God to live with Christ.