We often like to read from and quote the prophets. But if you’ve ever met a real prophet you know that being in the presence of a real prophet can be very disturbing. Prophets were famous for goring every one’s ox. No one left the presence of a prophet untouched. So troubling were the prophets of old, including Jesus, that most of them were persecuted, jailed, stoned, exiled and killed. Most of the Biblical prophets were beyond controversial they were way over the top. Prophets denounced sin and injustice in the strongest language announcing doom to a nation that refused to repent. Many Israelites thus considered them unpatriotic and downright dangerous. They justified throwing them into prison for their lack of patriotism and for the way their words questioned and upset the status quo and the judgements of those who held power. To many, these were dangerous men who had to be stopped. – Msgr Charles Pope
Far too often, the nature of the real prophet is obscured by those who lay claim as a seer, as a fore teller – yet, this is not the calling of a Prophet. The Prophet in the Old Testament made proclamations, calling for Justice, calling for a return to God’s holiness – fighting for the widows and the oppressed.
And today? Today we have people claiming the prophetic mantle who using music to incite escatic movements deliver vague ‘ifs’ contrary to Scripture, calling it a new word and denouncing anyone or anything which denies them this ‘new word from the Lord.’
What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting– they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Isa 1:11-20 NLT)
God sent Isaiah not to speak about far future things – but to proclaim the Justice of God on an unholy people. These people had grown fat with wealth and turned against the Law of Moses, destroying others in their wake. They had come to love luxury more than the things of God.
Isaiah, Amos, Jeremiah speaks to us today – not in a national form, but in a individual sense. They call us to be prophetic today, to take up their mantle, to carry God’s Justice to the People, calling for holiness and indeed righting wrongs where we can. The blogger above posts this video as well, reminding us of the mantles taken up during the Civil Rights struggle in the 60’s, but men and women not willing to back down until the problems were solved. I would prefer them to those who claim the title today.
Attached is clip of the movie about Vernon Jones –