What Is The Difference Between A Seer and A Prophet In The Bible?

What Is The Difference Between A Seer and A Prophet In The Bible? August 21, 2015

Are there any differences between a seer and a prophet? If so, what are the differences?

A Seer and a Prophet

There was a man named Benjamin who had a son named Saul and he sent him out to find his lost donkeys so Saul took some young men with him to go and find them (1st Sam 9:1-3) and when Saul couldn’t find them one of Saul’s servants said, “there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go” (1st Sam 9:6). At this time in Israel’s history, “when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer” (1st Sam 9:9). This shows that at one time, a seer was the same thing as a prophet as one who also inquired of God. Only the name was different but both the seer and the prophet could inquire directly to God and could also say what is to come but this was not from their own ability but from God alone Who knows the future.

A Seer is…

Samuel was a prophet of God but he was also called a seer as we read in 1st Chronicles 26:28 where it says, “Also all that Samuel the seer and Saul the son of Kish and Abner the son of Ner and Joab the son of Zeruiah had dedicated—all dedicated gifts were in the care of Shelomoth and his brothers.” Apparently the seer also wrote down or chronicled all the events that occurred in this time period of Israel as it was written that “the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the Chronicles of Samuel the seer, and in the Chronicles of Nathan the prophet, and in the Chronicles of Gad the seer, with accounts of all his rule and his might and of the circumstances that came upon him and upon Israel and upon all the kingdoms of the countries” (1st Chron 29:29-30). Samuel was not around to complete this chronicle of David’s passing on the throne to Solomon but Gad was as he was also a seer.


A Seer is God’s Spokesman

A seer in not only a prophet but also one that speaks for God as we read in 2nd Chronicles 19:2 where it says “Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord.” This is just what all the other prophets did in the Old Testament; they warned Israel’s kings and peoples about what was to come to pass. Jeremiah did this as well as Ezekiel and Isaiah.

A Prophet is…

Who determines who a prophet is and who isn’t? God alone determines who a prophet is. He called Jeremiah to be one (Jer 1:4-5) as well as Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel, and every other prophet of God. We see who calls a man to be a prophet in Exodus 7:1 where it says “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.” God made Aaron a prophet, Aaron didn’t make himself one. When Miriam and Aaron opposed Moses they asked “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also” (Num 12:2) and then “the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed” (Num 12:5-9).

False Prophets

We can tell who is a true prophet of God and who is a false prophet in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 where it says “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” The point is that a true prophet of God never contradicts Scripture and the will of God. To tell if a prophet is really a prophet of God look at the evidence; “when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him” (Duet 19:22).


There are no shortages of self-proclaimed prophets today. Why do we still need new revelation from men or women who claim to be a prophet or prophetess of God? We have all the revelation we need from Genesis one to Revelation twenty two. God has provided us with His Word and it is sufficient for all we need to know and it is efficient enough for us to know how to be saved. Why would we need to inquire of anyone else outside of the Bible?

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.

Browse Our Archives