Jobs have job descriptions, and even the physical world understands that a job must fulfill certain things, so why turn off our brains when it comes to religious ideas?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
~ Mt 22:37
There are some reading this that do not believe the words of Jesus quoted above.
“All thy mind” means we use the intellect that God gave us and use it to give Him the glory. This is just the opposite of turning off our brains and simply soaking in whatever some teacher or booklet tells us! It means God is reasonable, that is, He uses reason to order the universe with its various laws, whether they be physical or spiritual laws.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
~ Isa 1:18
The opposite of reason and order is chaos and disorder.
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Throughout the Bible, it is stressed that we are to not only read the Bible, but we are to study it and meditate upon it. Meditation is nothing less than deep thought! It is taking a section of Scripture and thinking about how it fits in with the rest of Scripture, what the natural consequences of the passage are, how it glorifies God (or not), and of course what does it mean in my own life.
Yet, do we do that, or do we just go about taking things for granted because that is what a particular church/minister/teacher/writer said?
Is It in the Bible?
I scratch my head almost every day because of what I see online or hear someone say. Some of it certainly is small stuff, and, as they say, we have to prioritize our fights. However, some of it is utterly mystifying.
20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
~ Isa 8:20
This is where a list of words and phrases that are not in the Bible comes in handy:
- place of safety
- God’s government
- godly form of government
- third resurrection
- when we get to heaven
- when we all meet in heaven
- heaven is the reward of the saved
- immortal soul
- God as God is God
- God helps those who help themselves
- everlasting torment
- ever burning hell
Of course, that does not make them automatically wrong, but it puts the emphasis of proof upon the person putting forth any one of these.
Then, there are my new favorites:
- the non-prophesying prophet
- prophet is an office
- prophet is a rank
- prophesying is preaching
The Architect Who Didn’t Plan
Would you hire an architect who refused to draw blueprints? Would you hire an architect who refused to create a project plan or even give input into it?
When someone takes on a title, you expect him or her to fulfill the role and responsibilities associated with that role, don’t you?
Of course, we can all think of examples where the person we were dealing with fell way short of our expectations. Customer service seems to be particularly dicey where people with the wrong goals hire people with the wrong goals and thus fail to satisfy the customer’s complaint. It sort of makes you wonder how the company stays in business.
How much more should we be paying attention to the qualifications of an elder, minister or prophet? I mean, should someone be an elder if they refuse to anoint someone for an illness without cause? Should someone be a minister if they are unable to either speak or write in order to expound upon God’s word? Should someone be a prophet if they do not prophesy?
What Is a Prophet?
Let’s cut right through the brown smelly stuff and leave that where it belongs. We need to to go God’s word to answer a biblical question.
In the OT, there are six words for “prophet” or “prophetess”, most of which are related. In the NT, there are five words for “prophet” or “prophetess” (ibid.), again most of which are related.
The Hebrew root word for the normal words rendered prophet is naba’, and it simply means “to prophesy”. So, one key is that any derivative from this word means someone who prophesies. It is often compared to “to cause to bubble up”, as in to declare with ardor or divine emotion. For obvious reasons, it also is defined as “to show, to declare”.
A prophet, then, utters something from God! A prophet declares what God says! A prophet delivers a message from God!
It logically follows, then, that a prophet must be receiving a message from God in order to declare it!
The noun form is nabiy’, often translated “prophet”. It may be one of God’s prophets or a false pagan prophet. The word can also be translated “spokesman, speaker”! The prophet speaks what God tells him or her!
This reminds me of the instance where Moses complained to God that his speech was inadequate to the task at hand, and God answered that he would send Aaron his brother to say the words then. Later, God says:
7 And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
~ Ex 7:1
Now, could Aaron have been a “prophet”, a spokesman, if he said nothing? One of the things about most movies about the Exodus have Moses running around uttering things, but the reality is that in dealing with Pharaoh Aaron probably did most of the talking.
Likewise, if Moses did all of the talking and gave Aaron nothing to say, then how could Aaron be a “prophet”? Either way, Aaron is not being a prophet by being silent, whether it was self-willed or lack of words.
This is simply the female variant of nabiy’, often rendered “prophetess”.
Nebiy’ is the Aramaic variant of nabiy’.
An interesting variant is nataph, which literally means to drop or drip. It relates to preaching, discourse and prophesying in that the words trickle out. However, Strong’s lists a few verses, but only in the Book of Micah is it ever directly translated “prophesy”, and the context makes it sound like smooth prophesies. The relationship may be that the words are smooth as cold running water can sooth a pain or sore.
Maybe those false prophets who speak smooth words, promising their members protection just because they belong to their particular organization while everyone else goes through the Great Tribulation really do fall under this category.
The last Hebrew word is actually better translated “seer”, and it often is, as it was the old word that was once used for prophets. It heavily implies one who sees visions.
Interestingly, the first Greek word Strong’s lists for “prophet” is Ionas. However, that really is the proper name for the Anglicized “Jonah”, as in “Jonah the prophet” with “the prophet” being implied.
The last one Strong’s lists is actually a compound word meaning “false prophet”, so I’ll skip over this one. I’m showing it for completeness.
The root Greek word normally used for “prophet” is prophetes, and it means an interpreter of oracles or hidden things. One then acts as a spokesman for God by revealing things that were once hidden, and especially as to regards to future events.
I want to point out that this was a term specifically given to John the Baptist. You often hear that John did no miracles, and therefore a prophet doesn’t have to be able to perform miracles. OK, but so what? John foretold the coming of One that would follow him, and that was his main mission. John was a prophet not only in the sense that he taught and expounded God’s word, but he foretold the future as well. His job was to prepare for that very future.
A derivative of prophetes is the adjective prophetikos. It is often translated either as something that comes from a prophet or directly as “prophetic”.
The female variant is prophetis, often translated “prophetess”.
What Is a Non-Prophesying Prophet? Unfit or Liar?
So, if the main job of a prophet is to prophesy, that is utter direct revelations from God, then what do you call a prophet who never prophesies? Either they are in rebellion against God, or they are a liar.
To be a prophet in rebellion is not a place where I’d like to be. Just ask Jonah. Or, ask Ezekiel:
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
So, a “prophet” who does not prophesy is either a rebel against God or a liar. Only fools follow such people, and their foolishness will lead to their destruction.