What is a prophet?


#1

This may seem like an easy question to answer, but it’s not.

I am curious why the heroes of the Old Testament are considered Prophets but Joan of Arc and the countless people who talked to God in near-death experiences are not?

Do prophets talk to God regularly? Is the term only applied to people in the Old Testament?


#2

A prophet is one who is sent by God to speak his words to others. So yes, Joan of Arc is a type of prophet. The role of prophet is not dead, but there will be no new revelations because Jesus was God’s last revelation of himself to humankind. This means that anyone who speaks in God’s name cannot contradict Christ. If he does, he is a false prophet. The OT prophet was looking forward to the coming of Christ so the revelations God gave him were looking towards that event. Also, OT prophets predicted events that would impact the people of Israel. Jesus’ life and words are sufficient for us since he became one of us as the Second Adam and new head of the human race before God. We have no need of any new revelations because of that.


#3

from I Co 14
1 Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy.
2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to human beings but to God, for no one listens; he utters mysteries in spirit.
3 On the other hand, one who prophesies does speak to human beings, for their building up,
encouragement, and solace.
4 Whoever speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but whoever prophesies builds up the church.*

To prophesy means to spread the gospel and explain it to others. Biblical prophecy sometimes included foretelling of the future, but that is not what St. Paul is talking about, above.

In other words, this post is prophecy.


#4

I am speaking generally, as I do not propose to tell you a single thing! It does seem that “prophecy” took on a different meaning at the Incarnation. Whereas all OT prophets spoke of the Messiah to come (alternatively warning of punishment for sin), all NT prophets point back at, or more precisely, directly at the living Christ that is present to us - even dwelling within us. Yet, all prophecy must have its beginning point in God. When man formulates prophecy, it is by definition false.

And where OT prophecy foretells, NT prophecy simply tells. Yet, all such prophetic utterances must reveal nothing innovative, as public revelation is closed. Those moderns who are manufacturing parallel religions are free to prophesy themselves into oblivion.


#5

But just like they were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah back then, Christians today are also looking forward to the return of Jesus, so really, there should be prophets here today, sent by God…at least thats the way I see it. (not speaking about the false prophets either).


#6

We are told to “watch” and little more. That is intended to be enough for us. Does it test our faith? Certainly, but God retains that right.


#7

Today’s prophets, like OT prophets, are sent to keep God’s people ‘on track’…Mother Teresa was a prophet…St. John Paul II was a prophet…Martin Luther King was a prophet…


#8

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]”

this means a prophet is he who comes in the name of the lord.


#9

Well, thats also a fairly convenient way to make sure the general population stays under control, even when there is absolutely no signs or indications of anything more existing.

The people in biblical times did not really need faith, they KNEW, some saw with their own eyes, the many things Jesus and others were doing, they saw 1000s of people being healed of whatever ailed them, some by just touching the robes of Jesus! They saw many other things that could not be explained as well…in todays world, I dont recall anything remotely close to this taking place, so I can understand why some start to doubt the whole thing.


#10

This is an unfair and untrue accusation. Christ is God’s final revelation to man. There is no need for any further word from God. Christ entrusted his words and sacraments to his Church, his agent on earth. No one is trying to control anyone. Indeed, if the Church is trying to do that it’s doing a pretty poor job of it. :stuck_out_tongue:

The people in biblical times did not really need faith, they KNEW, some saw with their own eyes, the many things Jesus and others were doing, they saw 1000s of people being healed of whatever ailed them, some by just touching the robes of Jesus! They saw many other things that could not be explained as well…in todays world, I dont recall anything remotely close to this taking place, so I can understand why some start to doubt the whole thing.

Physical manifestations were necessary until Christ’s resurrection and in the early Church because the grace of God had not yet been poured out upon mankind, in the OT, and to prove that his Church was endowed with God’s power when the Church was just starting. In our times we walk by faith through the graces God gives us in the sacraments. If we stay in the sacraments, have solid prayer life, and are doing good works we have no need for wonders to convince us of God’s care of us. Miracles still happen, but they are generally given to individuals or are subtle in nature. God wants us to love and trust him in Christ in our times because Christ is the culmination of God’s message to man.


#11

You are applying cynicism to the argument, aren’t you? To believe in something or someone else is not to indulge the self, but to pour the self out on behalf of that other. To give the self to the other. Not to seek what the self desires, but to seek what the other desires.

Since what is written in the bible is timeless, we are still in biblical times. Until we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. Then, when the Perfect arrives, the imperfect (our faith, the scriptures, etc.) will pass away. Just as Jesus fulfilled the OT law, He is the NT. Nothing more is needed.

Now, as to seeing signs (which is contrary to faith), yes, He did signs, so that even the hard-hearted would know, if not believe. Thus, the sin of failing to believe remains theirs.
Look at what He said to (and about) those who desired signs before they would believe:

“When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Luke 11:29

"Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” John 20:29

And there are many such verses. In fact, regarding the Parousia, focus on His words:

"Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8

““But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[a] but the Father only”. Matthew 24:36

““But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32

So, how can we demand a sign, such as a prophet’s words, when we are to remain here in faith expecting His return? Look what Peter wrote almost 2,000 years ago:

“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8

Have a read of Hebrews 11. That entire chapter is devoted to those who had faith - faith which justified them without seeing seeing signs. Thus, all prophets that predict the end day are false. All to this point have been, and all will be. Jesus alone is the prophet of the last day, by appearing on the clouds of heaven.


#12

I think this is part of the reason our modern world is in the shape it is, alot of people have given up on God, religion, because they have not seen any evidence of it…in todays world, peoples attention span is very short, if they dont see evidence/ results pretty quickly, they are ready to denounce it and move on.

This may not be what God intended or wishes for, but IT IS whats happening in alot of people, so no way to turn that around, in order to re-gain all those people (if that is desired), they are going to need some kind of evidence or proof…without it, more and more people will only continue to slide further away from God/ the church.


#13

What people aren’t seeing is evidence of God’s presence in his people. We are God’s witnesses to others. If we aren’t faithful people won’t see God in the world–that is what a prophet is–one who shows God in his words and actions. Over the last generation we have not done our “job” well at all. Many Catholics support issues that go directly against Church teachings. They go along with whatever the world is saying and doing. A lot of that is due to poor catechesis over the last 50 years. It can be turned around, but it requires you and me to step into the gap–to pray, to correct, to be on the right side of issues and stand up for them. God doesn’t need to part the Red Sea again. Christ is all we need. But we must show him to the world by our actions and how we respond to the sins/evils of the world no matter how unpopular it might make us.


#14

Well I know many at our parish are not truly catholic, or even religious for that matter (my dad included), but the times Ive tried talking to him about the bible, he claims not to know much of what I ask about, yet he has went to mass every sunday since he was a child, (he is 59 now), I think he and ALOT of other current ‘catholics’ are just attending mass and thats about it…they go thru the motions every sunday and thats where it stops, they usually dont discuss it anymore that week with anyone, dont bring it up, etc.

I dont know how these people can even live with themselves when they are doing this kind of thing?? I think they were just brought up that way and dont know any better, but I think the fault lies with that particular church too…our parish has alot of overly wealthy people and I think the parish caters to them and takes advantage of that too often… at any of the church committee meetings Ive been to, if it werent for the churches name, it would be difficult to recognize you were at a parish meeting, NO ONE discusses the bible, God, even religion, the discussion is PURE business…100%, it was like sitting in a county committee meeting, no mention of religion, they dont even begin with prayer!!

This really makes me mad they act like this, the only true religious people Ive ever seen is Pentecostal people, I used to go to a few of these churches about 15 yrs ago, and those people live their faith, when they go to out to restaurants, ANYONE can tell they are religious! They even invite the waiter, hostess, manager to their church, they bring up bible verses frequently, etc. yet if this were a group from my catholic parish, I bet God would not even be mentioned at a similar gathering of members, they would be discussing their jobs, their homes, kids lives, etc! LOL How sad is that?


#15

Really? Look at the book of Exodus. How many times does God help them ?They saw miracles aplenty.Didn’t stop them from whining.People have a tendency to think “yeah , God did this and that- but what has he done for me lately?” People needed faith then as they do now.
There are many miraculous things that happen everyday. Jesus is not physically present. So the charisma he brought is not really there.
things that are miraculous don’t have to be super spectacular to earn the title.
What was Jesus first miracle? A really seemingly unspectacular homey kind of miracle, which actually has huge theological meanings.
More miracles than you no take place but most people don’t want to be known as a crackpot or religious nut. Hence the silence.


#16

You think this is just a Catholic problem? truly it is not. This is across the board. I knew a person who went to her Baptist church all the time. She was an atheist. She went for the friendships there.
Been on a parish council on and off for over25 years. Always prayers before , sometimes during and always after. What your experiencing is rather odd and something , frankly I’ve never seen. Business of all kinds is involved in parish council but so is God ,the bible and everything else religious because that is our business!!

When I go out with my friends we take God, Bible and church-and how it effects us.
Any time we meet together , for a meal a drink a visit , God is always present. Open you heart and see more , judge less.


#17

They need our prayers and our help. We are to be witnesses even in the teeth of indifference. There are many reasons why people may not have zeal or not be living as full a life in Christ as they may have. We need to be patient and helpful. Learn all you can, but most of all pray, pray, and pray again for love and the strength, in love, to correct in love.

I dont know how these people can even live with themselves when they are doing this kind of thing?? I think they were just brought up that way and dont know any better, but I think the fault lies with that particular church too…our parish has alot of overly wealthy people and I think the parish caters to them and takes advantage of that too often… at any of the church committee meetings Ive been to, if it werent for the churches name, it would be difficult to recognize you were at a parish meeting, NO ONE discusses the bible, God, even religion, the discussion is PURE business…100%, it was like sitting in a county committee meeting, no mention of religion, they dont even begin with prayer!!

Well, you are expecting too much of a parish council meeting. They aren’t there to discuss the Bible or spirituality, they are there to discuss parish business, hence it is a business meeting. If you want Bible studies at your parish you should ask about starting one. When we see something that needs doing most of the time it is the Holy Spirit prompting us to do something constructive about it. Merely complaining doesn’t get anything done. :wink: Wealth does not automatically make people less holy but it is a greater temptation to indifference and to sloth. If you think other Christian bodies don’t have the same problems, you are wrong. I’ve been to enough of them to know that people are people no matter what house of worship they belong to. The difference is that the Church has every grace necessary for being holy. It is up to us to avail ourselves of them. Do that for yourself first and then reach out to others in love.

This really makes me mad they act like this, the only true religious people Ive ever seen is Pentecostal people, I used to go to a few of these churches about 15 yrs ago, and those people live their faith, when they go to out to restaurants, ANYONE can tell they are religious! They even invite the waiter, hostess, manager to their church, they bring up bible verses frequently, etc. yet if this were a group from my catholic parish, I bet God would not even be mentioned at a similar gathering of members, they would be discussing their jobs, their homes, kids lives, etc! LOL How sad is that?

I was one of those Pentecostal people and I can tell you why they are so evangelistic–it’s out of fear–fear of losing their salvation if they don’t evangelize. Certainly there are souls who are sincere and are evangelizing out of love, but not all. I also knew people in my former sect who were hard and cold and did everything to look good to others and advance themselves in the church. So, do not judge by appearances. You don’t know anyone’s heart–their struggles and their temptations. Be a light to others not a dog in a manger. Pray, love God and your fellow Catholics (and all others, of course), and let God help you be a blessings to them.


#18

The office of prophet is ongoing … till the end of the Church age. ( Ephesians 4:11 and 1Corinthians 12:28 ) Along with the others mentioned in these scriptures. Prophets expose evil, turn people towards God’s ways, and predict events. (Jeremiah 29:19, Ezekial 38:17 and AMOS 3:7) Cyril.


#19

Yes, under Christ and in him, but not apart from him. :slight_smile: Such prophesies need to be verified by proper authority–that given by Christ to his Church who promised her that the Holy Spirit would guide her into all truth. No true prophecy will deny the teachings of Christ’s Church nor try to add to the deposit of faith.


#20

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