One of the things that folks are sometimes taken aback by when entering an Orthodox church is the presence of the prophets depicted as saints, and portrayed on icons throughout the temple. The prophets are God’s messengers who proclaim His will leading up to the birth of Christ, pointing to the coming of the anticipated Messiah. The Hebrew word for “prophet” means “God’s mouthpiece,” as described in Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.”
The prophets are quoted or referred to over 150 times in the New Testament, and are clearly an integral part of our Holy Orthodox Faith. In the second temple iconography the prophets will be traditionally portrayed in the ring of the dome of the Pantocrator icon to affirm that Christ, Who said He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17), is the God of both the Old and New Testaments. Just as the ring of the Prophets “upholds” the icon of Christ the Almighty, their prophecies and teachings form a foundation for the coming of Christ into the world.