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What is the difference between us and a Prophet

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Terrywoodenpic, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Bennettresearch

    Bennettresearch Politically Incorrect

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    Hi Draka,

    How does that go? "The words of the prophets are written on the bathroom walls, the tenement halls................."
     
  2. Bennettresearch

    Bennettresearch Politically Incorrect

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    I think that being a prophet in our modern world would be quite a daunting task. Let's say someone started receiving these revelations of the word of God. Would they be able to hold down a job, be around other people, keep someone from pointing them out as a nut? How do you sucessfully isolate yourself nowadays and survive? On another level, you may write a book. With all of the people busy writing books and having web sites etc, would your work get buried in the pile? I haven't googled prophet, but I'll bet you get a gazillion hits. The tradition was that prophets were sheppards. This is why Jesus is referred to as our sheppard. Preists, like Ezekiel, also became prophets. It appears that nowadays there would be no prerequisite because it would have to be something that someone was born to receive, and who is to say where they would come from?
     
  3. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Amen.
     
  4. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    I would go even further than that; I personally think that God would choose someone with very little social standing, and ambition.


    But that still brings us back to the point about prophets in general; does there have to be a difference between what is enlightenment to one person (who spreads the word through action), and a claim by someone that he has a 'message' ? - pesonally, I would be tempted to go for the former. So many who have lived a life by example, and yet were slow to come forward are the most deserving.

    The first on that leaps to mind is Mother Teresa.:)
     
  5. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    I agree with you there. But I also say that he hasn't given us all gifts. Which means that the people he gives the gift of prophesy to are very specific people. Not just everybody.
     
  6. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Terry,

    Thanks for acknowledging my efforts. I think that perhaps you are right. I'm not going to be able to explain this in such an way that it is going to be logical to you. I guess it's just one of those things that will have to remain unresolved. I will, however, respond to your last post before I finally just throw up my hands and give up. ;)

    I would have to agree that, to some extent, we all have the gifts and are all to be involved in the work.

    Absolutely.

    I guess here's where we disagree. I believe that there were specifically twelve Apostles who acted together in a quorum. There were not one hundred such individuals. Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter. He alone held them. He was the sole individual to whom leadership of the Church was given in Christ's absence. I don't believe any were "born with the gift" so to speak, although I do believe that some were fore-ordained to receive the gift at some point in their lives, depending upon their personal righteousness and obedience. And yes, it does still leave a lot of questions unanswered.

    You are 100% right about that.

    I don't think all of our questions will be answered during this lifetime, but I do believe he has revealed some of the answers to us already. ;)

    Obviously, God is free to chose whom He will. And I would add that while He has always chosen righteous men, He has never expected perfection from any of His prophets -- anciently or presently! They are, after all, men not gods.

    Kathryn
     
  7. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Nice post Kathryn;

    I especially like your last paragraph; that is so true.;)
     
  8. Deut 13:1

    Deut 13:1 Well-Known Member

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    Jewish prophets were Torah observant Jews, steeped in the law of Moses, both following it themselves, and admonishing the people to do the same when the people strayed from it. Thus, Jewish law and tradition is the ONLY framework that you can examine their prophesies in. Examining them in another framework, or even outside any framework, is an exercise in the ridiculous. It would be as ridiculous as reading an American court's opinion in a case while disregarding 200 years of common law precedent. Who would even think to do such a thing? Doing something like that both makes no sense and would render the opinion senseless. Yet, that is precisely what Christians do in my opinion. To make the Jewish prophesies, prophesied by religious, law abiding, law cherishing Jewish prophets fit your conclusions, Christians are willing turn Jewish law and tradition on its head. I understand that they may be ready, willing and able to disregard the paramount context of the prophesies. But I don't see why the prophets themselves would do that.

    This is the main reason why Jews tend to ignore the laws of Jesus and the Christian prophets that stemmed from Jesus's teaching.
     
  9. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Katzpur, in reading your conversation with Terry, it seems to me that this is a place where the Mormon pov matches more closely with the Catholic pov. Your emphasis on church hierarchy and what is revealed thru the hierarchy versus directly to the individual is more like the Catholics. While I personally love the long tradition of reasoned theology, the hopeful attitude towards humanity, and the beauty of Catholic ritual, in the end I am a Protestant in this respect, thru and thru. I believe that our relationship with God is direct, and the role of the church is merely for support, guidance, and community (which are not small things). Hence, my view of prophecy is not necessarily tied to the church, and is quite egalitarian.

    Without judging who is "right" and who is "wrong" I personally find these differences in view to be fascinating. :)
     
  10. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    So, basically, you are saying that we Christians cannot possibly discuss Prophecies, because they can only be discussed in a Judaic framework ?

    That seems a tad 'complacent' don't you think ? (ie We are right and you are wrong)
     
  11. Deut 13:1

    Deut 13:1 Well-Known Member

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    I'm saying that when looking to see if Jesus is who you say he is, you should look at the Judaic framework for determing if he meets the requirements. That's the difference between me giving a prophecy and Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah doing it.
     
  12. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Hi, lilithu.

    You are right when you say that Catholicism and Mormonism both have a heirarchy and both believe that authority is essential to the proper functioning of Christ's Church. However, Catholics do not believe in "Public Revelation" as they put it. (None of them has yet defined this term for me, but they do use it a lot.) ;) They believe that revelation (from Jesus Christ to His Church) ceased with the deaths of the Apostles. We do, too. We just believe that it has since been restored to the earth.

    Yes, your viewpoint definitely does appear to be more Protestant in nature. So, I'm curious... Why do you think Jesus Christ specifically built His Church on a foundation of Prophets and Apostles if you see them as unnecessary in today's Church? Do you also see the ordinances of baptism, marriage, etc. that He established to have had validity in His day only? And do you see any problems inherent in the fact that there are literally thousands of different interpretations of the Bible today? Do you believe that the truths Jesus taught are more or less insignificant in today's world, and that believing in Christ and striving to live a good life is all that really is of any consequence to God? I'm not trying to pick a fight. I'm just trying to pick your mind. ;)

    Kathryn
     
  13. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Namaste Katzpur,

    I know you well enough to know you're not picking a fight. :) But you do ask some tough questions!

    I must confess that I do not know what you're referring to in terms of "ordinances." I don't recall anyone talking about the sacrament of marriage until St. Paul. As for baptism, yes, Jesus was baptized by his older cousin John but that only makes me think that baptism already existed as a practice before Jesus. So I question whether it was Jesus who "ordained" marriage and baptism or any of the other sacraments of the church. In fact, what I remember is Jesus calling on people to leave their homes and families, sell everything they own and follow him. I would argue that Jesus was radically anti-establishment, and that he was a communist in the true sense of the word (everyone sharing and everyone being equal), and that religious structure and hierarchy was what he was fighting against.

    When Jesus said "upon this rock (Peter) I will found my church" I personally believe that he meant the community of all believers, not just the hierarchical organization that developed from that. It all depends on what "church" means there. And since "church" did not exist at the time as we know it, I see no reason personally to interpret that as Jesus referring specifically to the thing that later became known as the church. (We all know that there are people who belong to a church who don't really believe and there are people who believe who don't belong to a church.) I believe that Jesus was simply saying that he had brought a message, and that he was trusting Peter (and the others) to pass on that message to others, and that they would in turn pass on that message to still others, and so on and so on. The church then is the community of all believers, all followers of Jesus' word.

    I believe that the truths that Jesus taught are just as significant today as they were then. And I believe that striving to live a good life is all that is of consequence to God. That is why I do not worry about differences of belief between us - Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, UU, Hindu, atheist... - because I do not believe that God will judge us based on whether our beliefs were "right." We are judged by our hearts and actions, and anyone who sincerely tries to live a good life is judged to be right in the eyes of the Lord. The only time I am concerned about differing interpretations of the bible is when someone's interpretation harms someone else. I am concerned about interpretations that justify racism or sexism, etc. I am concerned about interpretations that put so much emphasis on the afterlife that it encourages people to ignore this life and their duty to help their brothers and sisters in need. When I read the gospels, what I see is someone who instructed us to love God more than anything (more than our own possessions, more than our own individual beliefs), who instructed us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and said that even our enemies are our neighbors (parable of the Good Samaritan), who said that feeding, clothing, and caring about the least powerful of humanity is the same as feeding, clothing, and caring about God (Matthew 25:34-45) Yes, I believe his teachings are just as important today, and honestly I think we are in dire need of hearing his message today.
     
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  14. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Surely that is as good as saying 'yes' to my question, since you know full well that the Judaic and Christian views on Jesus are different ? (not that I am saying 'we' are right and 'you' are wrong; I respect your faith as much as I hope you do mine) ;)
     
  15. angellous_evangellous

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    I will address the OP:

    The difference between "us" and a "prophet" is that a prophet is taken by God to be her voice. God communicates through the prophet by dreams, visions, or "speaking" to the prophet. Because Christianity and Judaism are communal religions, the prophets have always communicated the messages of God from the dreams, visions, or sayings to the people.

    I can't think of any reason why God would no longer send or "call" prophets, and indeed every evangelical acts like one (I heard this from the Lord, the Lord spoke to me, etc etc). Christianity has long taught that the normative prophetic experience is Christ-centered and recorded in the writings of the prophets that constitute the canon of holy Scripture, and the tradition of intpretation of the writings from the orthodox church. Thus, with the closing of the canon (both for Christians and Jews) ended the need for Prophets (the sayings of the Prophets are recorded, and contradictions to the normative experience will not be tolerated as God has revealed that he will not change), and the modern evangelical tradition has many "prophets."

    The startling paradox is that prophets have never been accepted. Go figure.
     
  16. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    From whence came Christ's own words ".......But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
    (Matthew 13:57 )
     
  17. Draka

    Draka Wonder Woman

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    If you don't mind a pagan injecture here...I, along with others, believe that God/gods/Divine Presence speaks directly to us...to everyone if we open ourselves truly up to It/Them. What message we are given may be for ourselves or for others, this is up to the Divine. So, in essence, I guess you could say that there is no difference between "us" and "prophets", because we all already are or have the capacity to be.

    I just don't recommend, in this day and age, that you broadcast that you heard something directly from "God"...this doesn't seem to go over to well or be taken seriously if you know what I mean. ;)
     
  18. angellous_evangellous

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    I will agree that there is no difference between "us" and the "prophets" as far as our capacity for interaction with the divine is concerned. The difference between our views is in the process. You say "Divine Presence speaks directly to us...to everyone if we open ourselves truly up to It/Them." In our tradition, the prophet has no choice - they are taken by God and used at her will to proclaim her message to her people.
     
  19. Deut 13:1

    Deut 13:1 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but I'm not trying to convert you, in fact, I urge against you converting to Judaism or anyone else.
     
  20. Draka

    Draka Wonder Woman

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    Really, the "opening up" to it all has more to do with understanding. We can all hear messages...whether or not we understand them or act upon them is up to how open we are in receiving them. A "prophet" may be the recipient of a message, but if they do not understand that that is what it is or that they are not crazy, then they will not know what to do with it. It all depends on the person and their mental strength and beliefs. But I guess you could say that God would only choose those who could understand Her...which is really my point...they have to be open to receive Her messages.;)
     
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