Everyone a prophet

Final, vital prophets, and other vain headliners

It is a kind of default badge for people in what they think are new movements to seek a accreditation by associating the movement with a prophet or some other icon of authority.  Whatever the choices are for an icon it is hoped that the movement acquires an aura of authenticity.  This is a madness that envelops religion.

Book mixup

Historians and theologiams have found similarities between Christianity Islam and Judaism which can only be explained by the fact existence of a common source. The “people of the book” designation must be taken literally, otherwise people would need to rely on oral tradition and, frankly, rumour speculation and folklore. Christians had the same Hebrew Bible, its (second century BC) translation into Greek, and the belief in one GOD. The unique Christian book, the New Testament, did not take shape until the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and the Arabs had neither book nor monotheism until the 7th century. The only book that could have been a source for the thoughts that reliably lift people towards Divinity must be the Hebrew Bible.

Those unfamiliar bridges

What are females?

The creation of woman is unique among the creation narratives. The existence of an alternate version means that the book cannot be trusted. Neged as the term defining the relationship between male and female cannot possibly mean the lame “beside” or “suitable” with which we are familiar. Rib, from which God made Eve, is help and protection, as ribs are known to protect the vital organs, heart and lungs. Neged also describes equals in negotiations and equals face to face. The reason the first woman is called “mother of all living” is obvious, but mother as source could not be a male honour. Man becomes part of the living chain only through women. Hence women represent the fact of being alive, and the “out front” part of the life cycle. Or do we want to imagine that God’s bringing Eve to Adam could be something other than a face to face presentation? So what’s with the hidden or invisible woman, the second class female, and the exclusion of females from any human endeavour?

What are words?

If Christians, Muslims and Jews read the first three chapters of the Hebrew Bible study Christians are less likely to grasp the foundations of human life. The vocabulary and grammar leaps off the page into a clear understanding, and the meaning does not need to pass through translations and revisions of translations such as we find in the 17th century King James version and the 19th century Revised Standard version. When one has no respect for the distance between the 21st century and the unique materials that have come to us through Jewish hands, the search is over for the counterfeit and diabolic.

Relative goodness

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

No matter what people call themselves they know what is good, they know what justice looks like, they appreciate kindness (given and received) but they all have a problem with humility. Just look at the jockeying to be first and tops in humanitarian ventures, even when the game has been called repeatedly, for kings, priests and mystics. There is no second Solomon, no remixes of covenants and promises. Isn’t goodness within the reach of all humans apart from a creed or cultural framework?

Least in tune

It makes sense that projection is involved in the claims people make about themselves. The expression of such claims are either external or internal. It is always what we wear, clothing or life itself. The liar broadcasts his abhorrence for lies, and unholy people wear their holiness on their sleeves. A prophet is only a big deal for people who want to avoid God.  Do people not have a moral obligation to read sacred texts? The landmark encounter with God in the Jewish experience is still the Exodus and Sinai Covenant. The elephant in the room of every reflection on history and personal accountability is the broken covenant; broken from inception by choosing not to hear Moses instead of God’s voice and violated to the present day via idolatry. The indications are that neither Jews, Arabs nor 21st century seekers make any significant progress without acknowledging the demise of prophets and the rise of anointed leadership without precedent. Of Yahweh, Isaiah wrote:

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

Isaiah 40:11, NASB

Ezekiel, a prophet of priestly background, also wrote:

For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.

Ezekiel 34:11-12

I [emphatic] will feed My flock and I [emphatic] will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God.

Ezekiel 34:15

It is Moses, the prophet who dared to ascend Sinai and be as God to the Egyptian king who assures us that prophets are going to be common.

But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”

Numbers 11:29, NASB

The Arabs of the 7th century were neither fans nor followers of Moses, disciples of Jesus nor owners of the Hebrew Bible or the Greek Testament. Every tenet in the Bible takes on an extreme profile while the virtues of love and moderation become mere platitudes. We are great at avoiding GOD by means of talk. A lot of yapping about God blesses no one. First and last things get reversed any way, and it is the truly eternal statutes that demand our attention: justice, mercy and faith[fullness]. So let’s take Moses and John the Baptist seriously, before we find it really challenging to exit the prophet trap. We are not going to impress God by being hard line on crime and sin. God has already shown what his answer is to human sin, and it is a sacrifice, not fixing behavior.

Should never happen

I addressed what the reader of the English Bibles would find if one performs a search for the phrase “should never” in Solomon’s preacher: flying in the face of a lazy generation.

The other result of the word search is in Ezekiel, the 16th verse of the 16th chapter.  This prophet is typically outspoken in his evaluations of the people to whom he brought God’s message.  For example, his book accounts for 32% of the occurrences  of the term harlot, harlotry, or harlotries.  His book accounts for less than 3% of the Old Testament books.  Zeke uses the terms about his own people’s wandering eyes.  It is fruitless for the prophet to mention Israel’s harlotry as a thing that should never happen.  What can anyone, prophet, judge or king, do if a hummingbird sips nectar?

It would be whipping time if a prophet does not tell his people how offensive their transgressions are to God. The prophet whose mantra is chockfull of all the good things that can happen is not worth his salt.

The prophetic priority

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.

John 5:45, NASB

Christ is a such a big deal because duh!

Two thousand years after the most seismic event in the social stratosphere, society is being treated to a sideshow of epic proportions, involving the same powers as were duly dominating the world or terrorizing it two millennia ago.   The world-ruling powers are, by definition, people who have been exposed to a wide variety of human aspiration and customs. They have demonstrated that humans can find a common place when they want to.  Christ’s world was dramatically outstanding. It included Persians,  Italians, Syrians, Greeks, and Romans.  If the whole truth is told, the Babylonians were there too, because Abraham came originally from Mesopotamia.  The tribal sideshow includes a parade of prophets, mystics, monarchs, elected heads of state, and even a church with all the government apparatus of a state.    So let me drill down into a previous post – https://eejoseph.com/2022/02/05/a-very-big-deal/ – to further define the full range of futile political and religious interest in any prophet, priest, or king before Christ or since. 

Drilling down into the remains of biblical facts

If the believer senses deadlock it is because political parties and religions sects are being transformed into cults of personality; it is because exceptionalism and a gridlock of obscene financial competition have swamped the exercise of faith in God. There are social constructs and irrelevant personal claims that people mistake for faith and spiritual matters and especially personal authority. It is not attractive.  For a lot of people a political solution is the common comfort. Some people are able to select their leaders in a secure and trustworthy environment, while others have their leaders imposed on them by heredity or violent coups or bogus elections. Others hope they have a figure who can give them unfailing reliability and security. It is not funny what questions people raise when the eyewitnesses to the unveiling of a securely hidden solution is at issue. A human being can be just before God without taking credit for the outcome. There have been ancient kings recognized as shepherd-king, but we have never seen a saviour-king like the LORD Christ Yeshua. The kings of the earth may attach themselves to their heroes, swear allegiance to a mystic of one sort or the other, but none of them dare deny that they are just human, fallible and ultimately unreliable.

The big idea about Christ

Not a single leader has demonstrated, before or after Christ’s brief public life, the material significance of Christ’s life and teaching, which, by the way, still eludes even Christians and those who have, by their traditions, rejected the natural (a) love of humanity (b) the commitment to justice and kindness and (c) the common-sense virtue of humility.  You do not have to believe in any God to be human, and humans are equipped from birth to love one another, be just and kind, and be humble.  Humans, however are not spiritual beings, despite the evangelical rabbit hole. Since our “cultures” accept nothing but the best and confess zero tolerance for immorality and lawlessness we have to admit that David and Solomon, the two most honourable monarchs of all time, are miniscule examples of what a king should be and do.  

David and Solomon are miniscule because they are both dead. Solomon gets a seat of respectability because of his actual and legendary wisdom. There is no throne we would give to Solomon due to his flagrant forays into literal idolatry, thereby distancing himself from the first commandment in Israelite thought. David, on the contrary, gets all kinds of accolades and a permanent throne because of his honest songs about his own experience and that of his people, despite being denied the opportunity to build the temple in Jerusalem on account of “blood on his hands”. David is a king who is recognized as a prophet, and I will tell you, there has been no prophet, priest, or king whose contribution to human development and destiny was not either paltry, arrogant, questionable or bogus, when compared to Yeshua of Nazareth, and still, in the year 2022, there is no prophet, priest, or king who is a genuine big deal. Not one.

The facts are in the historical record for anyone to read.  They are often hidden behind centuries of shoddy and shady approaches to interpretation and discipleship.  God does not need anyone’s opinion, tribal or national practice to form the foundation of his kingdom.  They do not know they are kidding who grap headlines by mounting a prophet, an apostle, or a witness to resurrection from the dead (or some other miracle) as proof of their authority, Christian documents are not about a prophet’s authority: they are the authority. 

Straight through to the facts via questions

  1. Do we believe in all the prophets?
  2. Who knows that many prophets are false?
  3. Do we believe in the witnesses who wrote the New Testament?
  4. How does opinion get formed without reading?
  5. Are not tribal and national practice solely responsible for destabilizing societies?
  6. Was there ever a culture that met the global necessities of governance?

Honest and conscientious answers

  1. No.
  2. I do.
  3. No. Only faith in God truly matters
  4. Through authoritarian operatives like parents, prelates and despots.
  5. Yes.
  6. No.

“Step right up, candidates for king of the hill”

Maybe our Persian brothers might want to nominate Cyrus, and we could not blame them. Gee man! How many individuals are named in prophecy, as Cyrus was, decades before their birth, and destined to expose the irrational insistence of ethnic purity? Do not fool yourself: even if all of the religions that claim to have a vital thing with the Lord Christ conquered or dominated all the planet’s governments and countries we would simply have more embarrassing righteous zealots fouling up things for the next generation just as men and women have always done.  The big idea about Christ can hardly be considered without Abraham and he had little in common with murderers and misogynist extremists.    Western and eastern reflections on Abraham and Christ have failed to capture the enduring wholesomeness of the father of the Jewish people, and way too many reflections, including nominally Christian ones, end in Anti-semitic rants and sometimes in death chants.  Abraham is the indisputable icon for prophet and father, just man and believer. God’s Anointed person for the blessing of all human families even more clearly demonstrates the case for a big, unprecedented, spiritual and global deal by means of the following characteristic elements.

  1. The alien magi at Christ’s birth (6 BC)
  2. Christ’s recognition of the extraordinary faith of foreigners and outsiders (AD 30-33)
  3. Christ’s open arms to Samaritans
  4. Christ’s treatment of women
  5. Fourteen language groups attending the Feast of Weeks (ca. AD 36) witnessing the church’s birth
  6. The intensive mission to the Gentiles by the (Jewish) followers of Christ all the way to Rome

Politics and tribalism

Those six characteristic elements of Christian revelation should suffice, but the thing we call faith is daily being confused with great-sounding slogans and cute memes.  If you are a smart ass, you can ask closed questions until you arrive at the “nothing to see here” junction.  The futility of a lot of searches for the big deal comes from the very structure of society.  The judges and priests of ancient Israel, for example, were just the kind of operative that would not recognize Christ as a candidate for priest, king and even prophet.  They were judge, jury, executioner, and impartial public servant, and they had reason to believe that they would be God’s servants as long as there were descendants of Aaron.  It seems unlikely that the levitical priests or the prophets of Israel were just standing by to turn the keys over to a nobody from Nazareth.  In the same way, the prophets and their disciples were not all that quick to discuss any limits on how they delivered their Master’s messages. How big their error in this matter is (against the backdrop of persistent missteps, Matthew 22:29, Mark 12:24, 27, Hebrews 3:10)  is the subject of Christ’s own evaluation of all who preceded him.  Perhaps a shaman from a Pacific island or a necromancer from the Arabian Peninsula will have a reason to be exempt from this evaluation. The western democrats who would like us to believe that World War II was fought to ensure succeeding generations rights and freedoms will find a reason too.  That war, the ballot box, the right to life and freedom of expression are all sacred idols.  Once we begin to talk about sacredness of secular things how can we not see the worship of an idol (false god) increasing every year as we memorialize the sacrifice of thousands of service men and women? As important as the liberation from Nazi and Fascist tyranny was it is a meagre god, and maybe the descendants of those who fought are estranged children of that non-god.

“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.”

John 10:8, NASB

Prophet, priest, and king paradigms

The functions that help us to identify where Christ should excel are his assignment as spokesman, his inheritance of David’s throne,  and his mediation as the redeemer of mankind.  Talking about Christ as another prophet, priest, or king, misses the mark by a wide margin.  This saying about “all who came before me” does not present Christ slandering the prophets, priests and kings. If they were all perfect – or at least mature – messengers at least one of them might have been designated saviour of the world. There is no question that all humans are sinners, or that every prophet knows he is a servant in God’s messaging business, and does not live forever.   Imagine if you can, how it is now fashionable to find something good to say about the destroyers of human lives, the publishers of misinformation, and the sellers of miracles, but have nothing to say about their evil ways and behaviours.   Who dares to imagine that God has nothing to say to humanity about the abuses of authority, the theft of property, and the destruction of almost all that is precious?

Let’s just get a prophet

If you want to turn the authority to review civic laws and policy over to another human just like us, go right ahead.  You had better make sure he or she is wiser than Solomon, and do not complain when he feeds you the imaginations of his people and culture.  Moses predicted that he was not always going to be consultant number one.  So Moses is not the hope of the world.   Why anyone from any country would be jealous of Moses, and be ready to protest God’s choice of one human family to be the repository of his most consequential intervention is symptomatic of the human condition that we have utterly failed to remedy.

A daring deceptive and deep dive

If one of Abraham’s descendants is going to have the authority to review and implement whatever has been spoken by the prophets he had better also be more than a mere talker.  If we are to make anything of God’s interest in rebellious and failure-prone human beings it would  be clear that his intervention should be something other than those popular death remedies for unacceptable behaviour. The person who will review Moses, and display what the condition and consequence of prophecy are, can only be the Author and Finisher of all of God’s lifesaving instructions.  The idea of the “prophet to replace the prophets” has to have something refreshingly distinct from the former, and inventions of every kind, such as objects of veneration (altars, statues, and buildings) are simply mere superstition.  He cannot be just a spokesman/prophet, because if he were, he would, as all representative heads are expected to, have to also represent what they spoke about.  Diving into the prophetic arena is a popular distraction.  Prophets who call attention to themselves instead of God and God alone confirm that their commission is bogus.

Into the talk abyss

Kings, prophets and priests will have run amok if the people to whom they are assigned put them on a pedestal without absorbing the content of their message and duties. One universal given for persons gifted to serve in one of the three arenas (prophet, priest, king) is rejection by  their native communities.  Acceptance of a prophet is a shaky foundation when it comes to absolute virtues.  Still there are many who think that all we need is a good prophet (as opposed to a bogus one) to authenticate the sects and movements of Christianity in the modern era.  The rabbis and imams, and gurus are all talkers.  No prophet or priest or king can claim with facts a fulfilled function for all humans.  It is simply not their business.  When we venture into the world of practical consequence we see all the ugliness of our ancient ancestors: tribalism, xenophobia,  murder of innocents, abuse of widows and orphans, and an open door to trample on the rights of individuals.  They provide no guarantee of personal integrity and steady spiritual growth.  Catching the idea of what God is looking for means seeing how he invested mankind with one mouth but two ears, a pair of hands, and a pair of feet.  There were prophets throughout history who may have done more than say what God says, but few will get any medals for doing what God wants to do with humanity.  Even a prophet like Jonah, a man equipped with a child’s understanding of God’s majesty, gets commended anything more than incidental talkers and not the best listeners.

Jonah gets credit

The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Matthew 12:41, NASB

Who is not a robber or thief?

Not only was Christ distinct from local predecessors, he was on a different mission from all of the world’s rulers.  For an exhaustive list – all who have preceded Yeshua – of thieves and robbers one would have to look way beyond Israelite ancestors, prophetic and priestly forebears, to all the neighbouring equivalents. If a person thinks his fate depends on what the authorities of his community have said and practiced there is no room at all for God to monitor human affairs and intervene with finality.  Prophets, kings, judges, and priests cannot be the final authority without catastrophically bringing the house down. If the prophets, priests, and kings were neither robbers nor thieves maybe they were secret Baal-worshippers, murders, liars, and coveters. The prophets and all their contemporaries had to have a reason to plead for mercy in God’s court, and we would have to believe that the murder of an innocent man is of no consequence, as happened to Christ, while the blood of goats and bulls can be credited with being at the core of divine character and atonement.

Misplaced confidence and self-interest

Good and faithful pastors, courageous prophets, and countless other graced individuals who have had God’s commendation and our appreciation can all be found in possession of things that do not belong to them.  Every single one has taken the shine off of God’s glory with their misplaced confidence that they had the last word.  Neither Christ nor any of his disciples have tried to maintain the illusion that all who came before Christ were something other than the real Mccoy. “Thieves and robbers” is not a finding of a grand jury in pursuit of a criminal charge. All the caretakers of humanity, such as the world empires and the local leaders, whether they are kings or prophets or priests does not change the fact that they failed in the quest for righteousness, and helped themselves liberally to the proceeds.  That failure is confirmed by the now-impossible daily sacrifices for sin and the annual cleansing of the sanctuary (Leviticus 16:16)

1) Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions, 2) So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans.”

Isaiah 10:1-2, NASB

As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;

Ezekiel 34:8, NASB

The prophets of Israel, the best by far of the lot anywhere on the planet, have been known to be:

  • a lot of hot air (Jeremiah 5:13
  • victims of their bias (Jeremiah 14:13)
  • publishers of lies in God’s name (Jeremiah 14:14)
  • silly (Hosea 9:7)
  • reckless and treacherous (Zephaniah 3:4)

“Thieves and robbers” still defines those in authority in many religious bodies and in secular leadership.  When leaders in the 21st century are busy  picking the pockets of their congregants,  and when ambitious politicians have not yet found a law to end discriminatory policies or guarantee access to collective security and prosperity, we know we are at the end of a rope on a tiny ledge overlooking a steep cliff.  The phrase – my predecessors are all thieves and robbers –  should now be interpreted to include those who have come after the Messiah. The brazen racial discrimination, financial scams, and shady fundraisers run by religious groups, deserve special attention. Theft and fraud are rife.  What Yeshua said about thieves and robbers is not outrageous because of possible slander of all his predecessors (not just kings, prophets, priests, saviours).  It is not outrageous for egocentrism: he was in a class by himself, even as people from the exceptional tribe of Judah are evaluated.  He is unlike anyone in the highly esteemed house of David.  While he seems the same as his peers, his zeal over the horrible abuses in the temple as Isaiah (56:7) and Jeremiah (7:11) saw, no true prophet of God would protest being called a thief or robber.

My successors are all thieves and robbers

Apparently, rugged and robust honesty is exceedingly rare.  Moses could not honestly tell the Israelites that their esteemed practices and judgments, which he himself had taught and enforced, would never end.  He did not have to.  It was near the end in his life that he discovered that a prophet would arise who would have the final say on all matters (Deuteronomy 1818-19 and Acts 3:22-23).  We do not need to track down the lives of the apostles and other church leaders to see if they ever stole or robbed. That they performed their missions successfully and admirably and were touched by pride and hypocrisy and the common barriers that deny God the glory of being effective in their daily lives is no secret.  Falling short (the expression from Romans 3:23) is no stranger to any believer, be he or she prophet, priest, king, rabbi, or imam.There would be no point to God being merciful and pursuing humans with goodness and forgiveness. 

Peer to peer

For a big deal view of Christ as distinct from thieves and robbers take a look at his seven letters to the Asian churches in Revelation 2-3. Christ is such a huge deal that any mention of God that comes without a descendant of David is going to be a symptom of theft and robbery. The thief and robber is in possession of things he claims as his own, which are the exclusive property of the one who sends him. That covers all humans who have claimed to be all that God demands. Christ is such a big deal that the mountains and fortresses of government, science, and religion can only become valleys and ravines. Christ is such a big deal that secular powers were going to abandon the common human causes and pursue a path of theft and robbery in defiance of the big deal that Christ represents.

Time’s up: change must occur

Christ is such a big deal that anyone who runs into Christ’s forerunner can not be unconvinced that the status quo was in bad shape. Change, return and repentance have to be the goto response to what God has to say, or there would be no point to fatherly love. I do not have to present any evidence to show that none of the religious movements have made a big deal of God’s intense fatherhood. I guess if God is just a Creator there needs to be no personal relationship with him. If God is not a father there is no need for either emotional or rational experience to adorn the relationship. Life’s highest target is most certainly not just doing as we are told.

No matter where you live on this planet there are few communities which have not felt the consequences of an imperial and colonial power, and even fewer that have not had several gods, and there is none where God is actually acknowledged as a father to whom people can relate along the lines of human parenthood. This absence of a caring and paternal figure also leads to men rejecting the brotherhood of all humans, because there are no absolute bonds between men in even a little village. Yahweh makes a big deal of his people as sons (see the opening of Isaiah’s prophecy and verse 5 of chapter 56), and persistently calls Israel, all the people, “son” (Exodus 4:22, Deuteronomy 32:19, Hosea 11:1). Along with the intrigue of the Roman (or other similar authorities), the local puppet kings, the shaky alliances between the religious factions, the return from exile with a persistent xenophobic policy, and the presence of an armed insurgent faction, all add up to convincing evidence that time was up, and a very different Judea needed to emerge. It was a mix from which everyone knew society needed to break. As Christ’s herald and the lone voice in the desert might have said “Who alerted you”?

Christ stumps everyone. That is why his contemporaries peppered him with what they thought tricky and entrapping questions. How can Christ be no big deal when he shows no interest in replacing anyone’s prophet, priest or king? What might he be up to, really?

  • Let us say that he is an unimaginably huge deal because a different Judea did not emerge, just as John the Baptist said (axe at the tree’s root, etc.)
  • He is a big deal when he predicts his death and and attempt to silence and murder his disciples
  • Christ is a big deal because his mission revolves around his death and that is a universal reminder of what living creatures owe one another

This debt finds no satisfaction in any thing we can bring to the table. A wise man’s perspective points us towards “[doing] righteousness and justice [which] Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3, NASB) An ancient judge, seer, and priest, Samuel, offers his view, as if the first humans were any less victims of their ability to choose than we are.

“Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”

1 Samuel 15:22

A very big deal

Why Christ is an unprecedented and inimitable big deal eludes even Christians.  Those who we think are Christian leaders – standard bearing and accountable – lare mostly something else, and quite unlike the apostles, not to mention the Nazarene himself.  The Christian buck, fortunately, stops with Christ. The race to the bottom features mere miracle talk, lots of books and comments, and it is not Christ who gets the highest praise.  Moses needed kings and priests to succeed him and make his message a success. By comparison Allah needs a human operative to make his message a success, while John the Baptist was pretty sure that God would make offspring out of stones if John’s contemporaries kept up their resistance to God’s instructions and promises. We believe that God’s appearance to Abram (Genesis 12:1, 17:2, 18:1) are not fiction. If we want to be permanently juveniles, always waiting to be told what to do, we can simply stay in line behind Moses or even our national and local governments. People telling us what to think and do is just fine if you want an entry level spiritual relationship and experience. The number of Christians who believe that righteousness and morality are both simply doing as we are told keeps growing. That there is no such thing as a successful religious nation is proven by God’s choices for world-ruling empires, as if he knew that these same powers would kick up dust long after they lost their influence. The successors of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman rulers are evidence that the mighty fall, and our human view, even the views of prophets, generals and mighty men hit the dirt.   That makes Christ the inimitable and absolute monarch of leaders.

Hello! Goodbye!

A lot of hot air is circulating about religion, religious rights, and especially how religion can fulfill the needs of civic government.  God allowed four non-religious governments to dominate the world, so where ever you dug up your religion from, please keep it out of my nation’s government.  Comparison is fascinating study, especially for theology students.  There was, a few years ago,  a rumour that a new and logical religious perspective was possible, provisionally named Chrislam.  That perspective and the rumour about a new ecumenical deal died because there is no global pattern for religious government.   An evaluation of the judicially-challenged powerbrokers of the twenty-first  century can only conclude that truth and its seekers have been replaced by phony monarchs, poor rich heroes, cruel vigilantes and crumbly opposition cutthroats.   The righteous nation dies in the womb.  In the rise of the somewhat popular religions we have the evidence that religion in government has never ended well for the governed, especially for women, children, foreigners and migrants.  Multi-faith statements and prayers are a feel-good but perforated bag that tends to turn grace and goodness into misleading and debauched gateways to more rebellion and endless revolution.  We live, work, and play with people of every description but we are not obliged to embrace their beliefs. 

More than a prophet

Prophets are talkers, often uninformed, unenlightened, prone to sink to the popular contemporary threads in opposition to decency.  Sometimes prophets are asked to play out their message, or to make their private lives a feature of the message they are commissioned to bring.  They are spokespersons.  They do not have to heal, repair, punish or comfort anyone.  It is sufficient that the nabi’ (Hebrew for prophet) says what God tells him.  Sooner or later prophets get laughed out of town by the home crowd.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”

Mark 6:4, NASB

Prophet going where no-one dares

Yeshua described the messenger who announced his arrival as “more than a prophet”.  This messenger is also evaluated as the greatest man to be born, and the messenger and his monarch showed absolutely no interest in the contemporary government aligning with the movements of kingdom of God.  The two are necessarily incompatible. Caesar and God are not equal “buddies” in governing the world.  There is a thin line between being a disciple and being an adversary (a satanas, a person who opposes or resists); and that line reveals the difference between what we can see – even after heaven smiles on us – and what is spiritual and eternal.  The person who is authorized to speak for God might as well buck the trend, trash the tradition because the tradition and the trend hand learned how to not bend towards the guarantors of their success: the children.

21) From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22) Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23) But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Matthew 16:21-23, NASB

We are a stunted society because kids and parents mutually scorn each other’s choices sufficiently to part ways

Mediation perfection towards peace

If you have wondered or worried why, after two world wars, after countless tribal and territorial conflicts, the deadly competition and bloodletting continues, you might try finding a nation or people demonstrating a meaningful commitment to the brotherhood of all humans.  The American people are not alone,  struggling to explain the distance they have covered towards a peaceful and prosperous society.  Try finding a governor, mayor, local elder who is willing to affirm the value of common human principles  ahead of his people’s self-interest.  Millions of people will never see a conflict-free decade, never choose their local or national leader, never go out on the street without the fear of being assaulted by someone who thinks you do not belong.  “Money can’t buy you love” goes the song, and more than a few believe that money was going to buy the nations peace.  The peace is largely denied in places where it is explicitly promised.   We do not know whether the UN will be able to monitor and indict, for example,  the predation and bigory, the genocidal social policies  that are shaping realities of our time, both in living colour and the virtual.  A peace won by killing one’s neighbours is a poor foundation for a sustainable society.

So where are the dream-weavers, the deal makers, the philosophers, all the wiz-kids, the wheelers and dealers of academia and commerce?   If they had what it takes to help humanity arrest the terrors of kings, generals, mighty men,  tanks and  high-flying missiles they would have used it.  Imagine though the standing ovation for the leader on the word scene who offers a plausible priority roadmap for feeding the hungry, calming the seas of strife!  Even if his plan is not really  viable that person will be called a “god”.  That is where today’s “more than a prophet” personality is going to come from.  A fabulous personality like this is bound to be a genuine mediator, expected to relate to both sides involved in any process by actually belonging to both sides.  That guy will be a quickly recognized fraud , because it is laughable that people imagine that the boss of all the prophets need a prophet, priest or king to make his benefits flow.  Our personal demonstration of accountability to the community where we live is not atonement.   It is a small drop in the ocean of salvation for all.

Prophets are not superhuman

Let me conclude with an overview of the religious movements that have risen since the Galilean and his disciples operated as heaven’s witnesses in the early first century. Against the backdrop of Moses and John the Baptist there is no human authority and when Moses himself sought God’s mind on the rights of women to inherit and hold property and gets told that they absolutely do, we know that sects (no negative significance intended) that have risen without a superhuman figure are wisps of smoke in the air. Whether they are in Asia, the Middle East, Europe or North America, they all take their cues from a prophetic figure, sometimes a learned figure. Even when the recognized figure is clearly uncharismatic or unread people follow with one eye closed. Prophets are not a replacement for God’s voice. Let us be convinced that the God who spoke to Abraham spoke to David; the God who spoke to Martin Luther speaks to all Christians, and wants to speak with us. Furthermore, the prophets of old were notably not experienced in the things they predicted or modeled, so this generation needs to hear directly from God, bypassing human opinions and dreams at the critical junctures. Calling people to follow and revere a prophet is profoundly misguided. People need a bigger deal deal than a prophet or a thousand volume of commentary on what God wants.

7) Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8) He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:7-8, NASB

Going off in a vision

What ever happened to “the Bible explains itself “? Is it just a talking point we hope will distract people from our dangerous flirting with Judaism? When the issue was the time and date of Christ returning from glory some people chose to give up on the Scriptures and decided to depend on the vision of a girl who could barely read. If they could not find the answer to the time and date of Christ’s return they should not be trusted with anything, least of all guarding the people for whom Christ died.

Those of us who spend hours looking for the threads that connect with our faith in the passion and exaltation of Yeshua from Nazareth know that the issues of life and death are not resolved by looking at shadows. Shadows like the events and materials of ancient history have no light. They are moons. Light comes exclusively from the sun and the Son of God. There is neither light nor life in the Levitical tent, no spiritual value in the exodus, no guarantee of a moral high ground in the patriarchal practices or the monarchy.

The answers to our questions are right there in plain language. If your contemporary language fails blame the translation, but by all means do not rely on a prophet or pastor.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:16

Talk about going down a rabbit hole is not overplayed

The deposit of Life in Christ is remarkably removed from the Bible. We do not experience the excellent things of the divine nature because we find something in the Bible. We have the abundant life because God has given us His Spirit. You will not die tomorrow if you did not read the Bible. God’s word and the Author of it are resident in us. You show whose you are by caring for other people, not by how well you tell others what God is and wants. God is not in the business of telling anyone the precise timing of any of his actions. Enough already with the chronology.

11. “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ For all will know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12. “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.” 13. When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Hebrews 8:11-13

You will certainly grieve the Holy Spirit if you do not love without pretense.

Going off into vision was not a light exercise. Christ is light, bread and life. Moses never had and cannot give these things.