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Was Malachi the last prophet?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Yaqub, May 31, 2010.

  1. Yaqub

    Yaqub Member

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    بسم اللّه الرحمن الرحيم
    In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

    According to the religion of Judaism, Malachi was the last prophet that God sent, and after him, no other prophet came. Jews are not clear as to who exactly Malachi was, and differ concerning his exact identity:

    Malachi is identified with Mordecai by R. Naḥman and with Ezra by Joshua b. Ḳarḥa (Meg. 15a). Jerome, in his preface to the commentary on Malachi, mentions that in his day the belief was current that Malachi was identical with Ezra ("Malachi Hebr├Ži Esdram Existimant"). The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel to the words "By the hand of Malachi" (i. 1) gives the gloss "Whose name is called Ezra the scribe."

    Jews also believe that Malachi was the last prophet, and after him, Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) departed from Israel (
    Soṭah 48b)

    However, if we read the Book of Malachi itself, we find God's promise to send the "Messenger of the Covenant":

    Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:1)
     
  2. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Actually, while Rabbinic Judaism has taught that the last of the prophetic books was authored by Malachi, it was Ezra the Scribe who was actually the last of the prophets, based on their presumption that Malachi's life overlapped with the first part of Ezra's, but not the last-- i.e., Ezra died last, and therefore he was the last of the prophets.

    The Rabbis of the Talmud esteemed Ezra much greater than Malachi, though Ezra never authored a prophetic book, because Ezra rededicated the people to the worship of God, and assembled all the books of the Torah together as one, whereas before they had all been read separately. And it is from Ezra we inherit the universal Jewish custom of publicly reading a section of the Torah every Monday, Thursday, and Shabbat (Sabbath, Saturday) in the synagogue, as well as on every festival and holiday.

    The position given in BT Sotah, by the way, concerning the departure of ruach hakodesh after Malachi, is only one opinion. Though nearly all sources in Rabbinic thought agree that after Malachi and Ezra, there were no more formal prophets, nor will there be until the mashiach (messiah) comes-- for proof of which they cite the very verse in Malachi mentioned above. But any Rabbinic Jew would tell you that the mashiach has not come yet. So prophecy remains, for the present, a thing of the past.
     
  3. Zardoz

    Zardoz Wonderful Wizard
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    I agree, but respectfully add these clarifications. These are just some opinions, shared by some but not all.

    1. There is no prophecy for Jews until Mashiach ben David comes, and we still wait for him.

    2. There is no prophecy for Jews outside of Eretz Yisrael.

    3. Notice that conditions #1 and #2 only pertain to Jews; for non-Jews the gift of prophecy is by the will of Hashem.
     
  4. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    As you noted, everything that has been said has wiggle room-- there's always room for disagreements among Jews! :D

    I would definitely concur with #1, and with #3 within certain bounds. But even in the Talmud, the Rabbis do not all agree with #2. That is part of a debate amongst the Rabbis that was never decisively solved. Personally, I have never seen good support for the idea that there is no prophecy for Jews outside Eretz Yisrael. What about Yechezkel (Ezekiel): all his prophecies took place in Babylonia?! What about Yonah (Jonah), who went from Tarshish (Tarsus) to Nineveh (all way outside Israel) and couldn't escape his prophecizing? Eliyahu (Elijah) went to Aram a couple of times, and had his greatest revelation at Horev, which was in the Sinai wilderness, and would've belonged either to Egypt or Moav. Not to mention Moshe and all the prophets who came before (I never bought the whole "this rule only kicked in after we settled Eretz Yisrael" argument, either-- it smacks of desperate defensiveness to me).

    Besides, who's to guarantee that the mashiach will be a sabra?
     
  5. Zardoz

    Zardoz Wonderful Wizard
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    I only state what my Rebbi told us, but I'm sure he meant in our current age, not in the past. I'll clarify that in Galut Edom there is no prophecy outside of Eretz Yisrael, nu?

    Not necessarily a sabra, but if he's in galut I doubt he will have any prophetic visions until he arrives in the land.
     
  6. Yaqub

    Yaqub Member

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    Some Jews in their commentary of Malachi 3:1 suggest that is a prophecy of the Messiah son of Joseph, not the Messiah son of David. That is interesting that according to some Jews, there are actually two Messiahs.
     
  7. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Yeah. I'll be honest, I go back and forth on the whole maschiach ben Yosef thing. I'm really not sure I believe in two messiahs: the metaphysics and philosophy of it always seemed strained to me-- I've just never been convinced of a need for a mashiach ben Yosef; and besides, it just seems like an idea designed to create misunderstandings.

    Then again, who knows? Some guy comes along and says he believes in mashiach ben Yosef, I'm not gonna be the one to try and argue him out of it.

    From a purely pragmatic textual criticism point of view though, the notion of a mashiach ben Yosef seems to have been a late Rabbinic invention. It is doubtful Malachi would have had such a concept. He almost certainly meant the mashiach ben David, which is a concept that developed into the roughest draft of its present form during the Babylonian Exile.
     
  8. Zardoz

    Zardoz Wonderful Wizard
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    I am one such Jew, I needed this concept to make sense of the world. Levite correctly points out it's a topic that has generated multiple viewpoints, and I'd say that most of those viewpoints can get along with other viewpoints. Mashiach ben Yosef is not even that well known to all Jews, actually.
     
  9. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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    Mod Post

    This thread has been moved to a debate section
     
  10. 839311

    839311 Well-Known Member

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    According to the Koran, god will torture people for all eternity. How then can the title of Most Merciful be applied to such a being? The title of Most Cruel would be accurate in describing the god of the Koran.
     
  11. Yaqub

    Yaqub Member

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    Wrong, according to the Quran, God will punish evil, wicked, disbeliever, idol-worshipping people in hell, which is their rightful punishment. God is not just Merciful, He is also Just.
     
  12. 839311

    839311 Well-Known Member

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    If there was valuable benefit to the people being punished, and if the punishment was only for a certain amount of time, then I could accept this. But eternal punishment is simply causing a being suffering, without any benefit to them - only pain. Eternal torment is the most evil thing imaginable. Nothing is more evil than this.
     
  13. Yaqub

    Yaqub Member

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    Actually, nothing is more evil than worshipping something other than the One True God of Abraham. A person who sins but at leasts believes in and is true to God can be forgiven, but how can someone be forgiven by One he doesn't even believe in?

    It's one thing for you to slap me and ask ME to forgive you. It's quite another thing for you to slap ME and ask someone else to forgive you, or deny that I exist at all!
    Get the picture?
     
  14. Poisonshady313

    Poisonshady313 Well-Known Member

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    What I've heard about the Messiah ben Yosef is that he will be involved in the war of Gog and Magog, and very shortly after his death will be the anointment of the Messiah ben David.

    And when I say "shortly after", I mean that the Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David will be contemporaries... they may even know each other.
     
  15. 839311

    839311 Well-Known Member

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    I hope that God(s) forgives us no matter what our beliefs are and no matter what evil things we have done, then he would be Most Merciful in my eyes. All the best to you!
     
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  16. Zardoz

    Zardoz Wonderful Wizard
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    Yes, this is the common view of events. Personally, the idea of a Messianic figure appearing at the end of his age, instead of the beginning, makes no sense at all. However, since I see a 'Messiah' as being not just an individual but also an age and a people, the climax of the AGE of Messiah ben Yosef dying (ending) makes a lot more sense, at least to me, than looking for an individual man who dies. So I wait for only Messiah ben David, and expect the age of Galut Edom to end (die) before he can usher in the new age of Messiah ben David, an age of peace, at long last.
     
  17. Kerr

    Kerr Well-Known Member

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    While I agree, that is not the topic at hand, so I would suggest we start a new one instead of debating that in this one.
     
  18. Onlooker

    Onlooker Member

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    I have believed that Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David were one and the same.
    Yeshua paralleled Yosef in that he was a beloved son, shepherd, bread giver, falsely accused and punished and reunited with family and father. That was done. Next will be the Messiah ben David. In my view, that is the act that will fulfill all the tanakh requirements for the messianic age.
    Of course, no proof can ever be made, until it happens.
     
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  19. javajo

    javajo Well-Known Member

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    This is John the Baptist, and Isaiah also wrote of him and all the gospels record it as well.

    Matthew 3:
    1In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
    2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
    3For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

    Mark 1:
    1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
    2As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
    3The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

    4John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

    Luke3
    2Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
    3And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
    4As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
    5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
    6And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.


    John1
    23He (John) said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

    Isaiah 40
    1Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
    2Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
    3The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
    4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
    5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
     
  20. Zardoz

    Zardoz Wonderful Wizard
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    Welcome to RF, Onlooker! Feel free to make an introductory post in the new member introductions forum.

    Personally, I view Messiah as multidimensional.

    Israel

    By itself, what does 'Israel' mean? Am I referring to Am Yisrael, the People of Israel? Am I referring to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Yisrael? Or... do I mean Jacob... the man who wrestled?

    All three are Israel.

    So too with the Messiah. Messiah is an age, as in 'The Messianic Age' and it is also a People, as they live in that Age, and it is also a man, who ushers in that Age and sets the People on the path.

    In each case, the one leads to and undergoes metamorphosis to emerge as the other. Does this mean that Messiah ben Yosef will return as Messiah ben David? Or will Messsiah ben David resurrect Messiah ben Yosef? ... I don't know. As you say, 'no proof can ever be made, until it happens.'
     
    #20 Zardoz, Dec 6, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
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