And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (Hebrews 11:32-34, NKJV).
In times past, God revealed Himself to mankind through visions, dreams and prophets.
Finally, in the fullness of time, He sent His Son, who could say without irony or duplicity, He who has seen Me has seen the Father.
Prophets spoke for God. Sometimes this involved describing history ahead of time, in the classic sense of "telling the future". This was done primarily to establish the true identity of the Source of the information, a Being outside of time and space who knows the end from the beginning.
In fact, the argument for God's existence through prophetic utterances is so strong that skeptics have had to contort and twist historical and manuscript evidence in order to attempt spurious refutation. All of the more than 150 Messianic prophecies, precisely fulfilled by Jesus Christ's birth, ministry and death, are a case in point.
Those instances of divine revelation that were not prophetic, were either God's Self-revelation, who He is and what He wants, or doctrinal, the truths surrounding our existence and relationship to Him as our Sovereign Creator.
Why He chose to reveal Himself in this way rather than, say, ripping open the fabric of space-time and stepping through into our perception in some irrefutable and undeniable way, is His mercy.
As fallen creatures unable to meet the standard of righteous perfection that is necessary to dwell in His presence, God has ordained faith as the means to please Him. Faith in Himself and in His Son's death and resurrection in payment for our sin.
This has always been both tremendously good news, for those who believe, and utter condemnation for those who choose to disbelieve. Both sides of the fence dismiss our own works as either sufficient justification for reward, or sufficient cause for eternal judgment.
Belief is the key to salvation and condemnation (and He doesn't care what you think about that). This means that no matter how depraved you have been, you can literally come to Jesus for forgiveness and have life everlasting. To do this two factors must be present (not perfected).
Sincerity - you must believe that He is with all your heart - and repentance - you must no longer act on the desire to do evil, but desire instead to obey His revelation.
This is where the prophets come in. By choosing to reveal Himself in ways that could be denied if a human heart were hard enough, we are given the opportunity to exercise faith, an attribute of human personhood provided by God as part of our standard ingredients.
But by believing what the prophets have recorded and has been preserved in Scripture, we demonstrate what King David exemplified, a heart after God. And that alone is what pleases Him.
It's not that this requires a blind leap of faith, for there is ample historical, judicial, and experiential evidence to bolster what has been written, but it does require faith.
Know this: there will come a time, according to these same prophets, when the opportunity for faith will end. God will make His existence, authority and power unmistakable and undeniable. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
But when that Day comes, those who have refused the clemency offered by believing now, will have no further opportunity to escape the judgment they deserve by having rejected Christ's immeasurable sacrifice on the Cross.
The prophets cannot be ignored with impunity.
The entire book of Hebrews, written by one of those prophets, exists so that we can know that.