God dealt with the nation of Israel through holy men known as prophets. Even when the nation had a king and priests the Lord used the office of prophet as a mouthpiece to reveal His will to the people and their rulers.
Hebrews 1: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2Peter 1: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Romans 1: (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
The Holy Spirit would come upon men and move them to speak the Word of God.
God used His prophets to give us the Scripture.
Romans 16: But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
Numbers 11: And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
God would speak to His prophets through dreams and visions.
Numbers 12: And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
God gave qualifications in the law for identifying true prophets from false.
Deuteronomy 18: Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
Deuteronomy 13: If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
The intermittent time between the testaments saw the writings identified as apocryphal. These books though having some historical value was not recognized by the Jews as scripture nor by Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus Himself gave testimony to the canon of the Old Testament being complete before the time of the apocryphal writings in the book of Matthew.
Matthew 23: Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
When Jesus listed the saints killed by the Jews He started with Abel (Genesis) and ended with Zacharias (11 Chronicles)
The Jewish Old Testament was constructed with 11 Chronicles being the last book whereas our Bible has placed Malachi in this position.
During the period of 400 years of silence there were no prophets nor scripture written. Malachi was the last prophet to the children of Israel before the birth of John the Baptist. The silence to Israel was broken by the angel proclaiming to Zacharias the priest of the coming birth of John the Baptist. (Luke one). This was followed a short time later with the angel telling Mary and then Joseph of the coming birth of Jesus.
Prophets in the New Testament.
Luke.1: And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
Luke 1: Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.
 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
The years of silence had been lifted and out came John the Baptist and a new age began.
Matthew 11: For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
After the rejection of the kingdom and crucifixion of our Lord God began dealing with all of mankind and brought together a people made up of Jew and Gentile which is called the church. During the formative years of the church and the composition of the New Testament God once again used the office of prophet to speak to His people. Just as He had done with the nation of Israel with the completion of the Old Testament canon God withdrew this special gift of the office of prophet upon completion of the New Testament.
New Testament operation of prophet.
The gift of being a prophet was one of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.
1Corinthians 12: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
Eph.4: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Romans 12: Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Before the completion of the New Testament there must needs have been a method whereby God communicated His will to the church and expounded the gospel to the world. God did this through the Apostles and gifted prophets.
Ephesians 3: For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward:
 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
Acts.11: And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
Acts.13: Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Acts.15: And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
Acts.21: And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
Prophets and apostles were foundational.
Our New Testament faith is based upon the words of the Apostles and the foretelling of the Old Testament prophets. As the majority of the Old Testament prophecies dealt with the Second Advent and the coming Kingdom of Israel we must realize the ministry of Jesus is still ongoing. There remains ages to come. (Ep 2:7)
Ephesians 2: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
2Peter 3: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
The heart of prophecy is the ongoing ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 19: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Prophets for today.
Just as the ministry of the Apostles has ended so has the need for prophets in the church age. The gift of prophecy was used as a temporary method to expound the Word of God. Just as in the days of the Old Testament. The scriptures having been given to the body of Christ have replaced the prophets and the Apostles as our authority. The foundation of the church has been laid and now we build upon the foundation.
Ephesians 2: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
We find in First Corinthians Thirteen prophecy for the church had an end.
1Corinthians 13: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
We find then the complete Word of God has been given to the church through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostle and prophets and the partial gifts having been done away. It is the Word of God which furnishes the man of God for the work of the ministry to the body of Christ. It is the Word of God which can be translated in all languages and exists in the common tongue of the world KJV 1611. It is the Word of God which contains the full revelation of God for this age.
11 Timothy 3:15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Prophets of the future.
Just as in the days of Mary and Joseph the silence will once again be shattered. Two men will appear on the scene sent from God to once again begin the ministry of prophets. Once again, though they will appear to the whole world, their ministry will be to prepare a people for the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ. The fulfillment of the rest of the prophets of old will then be fulfilled and Jesus Christ will sit on the throne of David and rule the world. The ministry of the church will have been fulfilled and the church removed from this world as these two prophets preach their word of repentance and the coming of Jesus to rule.
Revelation 11: And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.