The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the orphan, and the widow’s cause does not come before them.” Prophets are truth-tellers .
Prophets of today are called to speak the word of the Lord from within the court, mounting an internal critique. Listen up you judges who corrupt God’s laws, you so-called Supreme Court judges who violate the people’s faith conscience,times is short: They perverted justice among themselves (v. 7): “You turn judgment to wormwood, that is, you make your administrations of justice bitter and nauseous, and highly displeasing both to God and man.’’ That fruit has become a weed, a weed in the garden; as nothing is more venerable, nothing more valuable, than justice duly administered, so nothing is more hurtful, nothing more abominable, than designedly doing wrong under colour and pretence of doing right. Corruptio optimi est pessima —The best, when corrupted, becomes the worst. Power corrupts, and it always has ……
Where do we find prophets, and, specifically, where do we find them in the Bible? What is their physical and social location?
To judge by popular American perceptions, prophets are easy to recognize. Check the wilderness and woods, because prophets always stand outside, protesting the system. Look for the shaggy, crazed, wild-eyed guy, the one wearing a hair shirt instead of an Armani suit. Listen for the one who speaks in shrieks and whose personal habits embarrass polite society. Anger is the prophet’s characteristic emotion, and the jeremiad his characteristic genre. The prophet is more at home in the angular world of Flannery O’Connor than in the elegance of John Updike. It’s this image of the prophetic outsider that has inspired radicals from the Romantic period on to dress themselves in the mantle of the prophet.
At our borders, toddlers are locked in cages.
In our courtrooms, children are left to defend themselves.
In Seattle, we are building a new jail to incarcerate youth.
In times like these, I turn to the prophets. But where are they?
First, let’s clarify a common misconception. Prophets are not fortune-tellers. Source
Prophets are truth-tellers.
The Hebrew prophets boldly confronted the ruling class with harsh truths, usually about social justice.
The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the orphan, and the widow’s cause does not come before them.”
This is one among thousands of scriptures in the Bible crying out against injustice. When prophets talk about the future, it is usually to show where we are headed if things don’t change. Prophets use predictions as rhetorical devices to drive home their point to the ruling class and to mobilize a passive public.
True prophets are subversive to the status quo, so it is miraculous that their writings have survived so well in the Bible. More than half the books of the Hebrew Bible are direct challenges to people in power! What a testament to the courage of the Jewish people that they were able to preserve these radical take-downs of the elites when there must have been so much pressure to destroy these dangerous texts. The rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, stands squarely in the lineage of the Hebrew prophets who came before him.
In the Bible, prophecy often looks very different. There were, of course, lone prophets like Elijah and John the Baptist, but more often prophets were fully integrated into the “system.” Jeremiah, the paradigm of prophetic pathos, came from the fallen priestly house of Eli, and Ezekiel, Zechariah, and (possibly) Isaiah were also priests. Prophets appeared in the courts of the kings of Israel. David had his Nathan, most famous for rebuking David for adultery and murder but also capable of sly maneuvering in his efforts to put Solomon on the throne. Hezekiah turned to Isaiah for advice during the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem, and Josiah sent a delegation to Huldah the prophetess after finding the book of the law during the repair of the Temple. Even Ahab grudgingly consulted Micaiah, a genuine prophet who consistently told Ahab things he didn’t want to hear. Though trained by the austere Elijah, Elisha accompanied Ahab’s son Jehoram on an expedition to suppress a Moabite rebellion, and Elisha’s servant Gehazi regaled the king with stories of the prophet’s miracles.
So, where are the prophets today?
On July 4, one of them sat at the feet of the Statue of Liberty. Therese Patricia Okoumou, born in the Republic of the Congo and now a citizen of the United States, climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty without ropes and refused to move. She shut down the monument for hours as police went after her. She said she would not come down until “all the children have been released.”
A reporter asked her, “How did you do it?” Okoumou replied, “I did a pull up.” She must have done quite a few pull-ups to get that high up, but her point hits home for me. To tell the truth and mobilize people to action, you do not need to be struck by lightning from heaven or be visited by angels.
If you can do a pull up, move your mouth or write a word, that is all you need. So let’s stop looking for prophets from afar and start looking to our left, right and in the mirror.
The prophets are ferocious opponents of the status quo. They recognized, and felt, the injustice that kings and priests and false prophets wanted to plaster over. They shared, as Brueggemann says, the groans of the oppressed poor, and articulated those groans in cries of woe. They denounced the system, but denounced a system that they were often very much a part of.
Prophets of today are called to speak the word of the Lord from within the court, mounting an internal critique. The pressures on Nathan to keep silent after David seized Bathsheba and sent her husband to his death must have been enormous. He could have vented himself in a scathing editorial and then kept his head down. From all appearances, though, Nathan had free access to the court, was a friend of David, and a close adviser. It is said that prophets spoke truth to power, but that goes beyond cliché when we realize that prophets spoke the truth face to face with power, to powerful men and women whom the prophets knew intimately, frequently from their own position of power.
They perverted justice among themselves (v. 7): “You turn judgment to wormwood, that is, you make your administrations of justice bitter and nauseous, and highly displeasing both to God and man.’’ That fruit has become a weed, a weed in the garden; as nothing is more venerable, nothing more valuable, than justice duly administered, so nothing is more hurtful, nothing more abominable, than designedly doing wrong under colour and pretence of doing right. Corruptio optimi est pessima —The best, when corrupted, becomes the worst.
It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated.
2 Corinthians 4:8-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
“Pedophile priests” have reverberated throughout America. But beneath our anger and revulsion, a fundamental question pulsates: Are those who abuse their positions of trust to prey upon children—a category certainly not limited to those in religious orders—sick … or are they evil? We need the answer to that fundamental question. Because, without the truth, we cannot act. And until we act, nothing will change.
My job is protecting children. It has taken me from big cities to rural outposts, from ghettos to penthouses, and from courtrooms to genocidal battlefields. But whatever the venue, the truth remains constant: Some humans intentionally hurt children. They commit unspeakable acts—for their pleasure, their profit, or both.
#Antichrist #evildoers #suppressingtruth #birthpains #tribulation #sevenyears #hellonearth #those that have ears, let him hear, those that have eyes let them see!
“Hate speech” is a completely made-up concept with no actual definition or meaning
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