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August 30, 2021
May I have Your Attention Please
Correctly or not, that many people consider the “prophet” to be relegated to a Hebrew Scripture character predicting some future disaster for Israel. It would be incorrect to dispute that the prophets of ancient Israel foretold of impending disasters. Yet to bracket the whole message of the prophets of Hebrew Scriptures into this narrow construct, is to misread the prophets entirely. It is also misleading to think of the “prophet” as strictly a Scriptural figure. Technically speaking, a “prophet” is one who proclaims a “divinely” inspired message. There are three major functions of a prophet, but one single qualification. True prophets are called by the Divine Being – God. The prophet lives out this calling via one or more of three functions; They speak God’s message; they act as intercessors on God’s behalf; they offer God praise.
There is sufficient archeological evidence of men and women recognized to be “interpreters” of a “divine” message who are not typically recognized as “prophets”. In a fictional series of prehistoric life, Jean Auel follows a character Ayla as she travels across Europe during the ice age, from a Neanderthal community into the Cro-Magnum culture. However well researched, the books are fiction; but Ms. Auel did exhaustive research and there is a lot of insight into the lives and customs of these prehistoric cultures. A prominent figure in the most ancient of cultures was the “medicine man”, the “seer” who would interpret present signs with futuristic outcomes. Technically speaking, these would be “prophets”. In her book; The Ancient Near East, a very short introduction, Amanda Podany writes about an early “priesthood” where men and women were recognized by kings to be interpreters for the gods.[i]
A traditional understanding of “fortune” and “misfortune” that long precedes the Judeo ethic of a covenantal blessing/curse mentality, is that misfortune is the result of a god’s displeasure at some human person or activity. Conversely, fortune was a sign of the god’s pleasure. Even today, many people account fortune as a form of God’s personal appreciation for them over others. However ancient, however presented on the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus came to give the truth of God’s love – IT IS UNIVERSALLY EQUAL FOR ALL HUMANITY! Still, our human desire for “justice” cannot shake loose that concept that fortune and misfortune are related to divine approval. In truth, they are either consequences of good or bad decisions, or they are just the “fates” of life.