Prophets are thieves and robbers?

John 10:8—”How could Jesus teach that all the holy prophets before him were thieves and robbers?”

This is one of the more ridiculous attacks against scripture. It is exceedingly obvious to anyone familiar with the Injīl that Jesus has a very high view of the previous prophets (Mt 5:17; Mt 12:3; Lk 13:28; John 8:39,40). From the context it is obvious that this verse is referring not to the prophets but to false Messiahs and leaders who had arisen since the days of the prophets. Jesus’ Jewish audience would have known that Jesus was referring to Ezekiel’s criticism of false, self-serving shepherds (rulers) and also to Ezekiel’s concluding prophecy of one coming descendant of David who would be a true shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23). In the six hundred years following Ezekiel’s prophecy, many messianic pretenders and ‘mis-leaders’ had arisen in Israel who promised their followers freedom but instead led them into armed conflict and doom. Jesus’ use of the word thief may focus on their entering by covert means (see verse 1) and robber on their use of violence.

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