Prophets in Israel
Shalom, dear children
Today we learn a little about what prophets are. In Hebrew, a prophet is called ‘navee’. The verb ‘lenaveh’ means: to prophecy, to foretell. However, what does it mean to be a prophet of the people of Israel? A prophet is a messenger. He or she brings a message from G-d. This could be about G-d’s wil. Also, it could be about something that is still going to happen. An example is the prophet Jonah. G-d called him and said: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me” (Jonah 1 verse 2). G-d called Jonah to tell of His will to the people of Nineveh. G-d sends Jonah in order to give these people a second chance. That they might return from their wickedness and to turn to Him instead! “Should I not pity Nineveh, that great city?”
G-d’s will is for the people to change. To stop doing evil. Besides telling the people of Nineveh about G-d’s will, Jonah tells what will happen if they do not make things right with G-d. Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days! However, G-d saw that “they turned from their evil way; and G-d relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (3 verse 10).
Besides the bringing of a message, or the foretelling of the future, prophets play other important roles. They negotiate with G-d. Our Father in heaven is full of mercy. He forgave the evils deeds of the people of Nineveh. In this case, Jonah did not negotiate.; yet, by telling what G-d asked of them, he was a tool in saving this great city. Of course, all praise should be to G-d, who commanded Jonah to go, and who was, is, and will be merciful! Of course, it is easy to talk of prophecies that have been fulfilled already; yet, how do you know whether a prophecy is from G-d, or not? Also, how do you know whether a prophecy that has not been realized yet, is true?
A prophecy must always be tested. Not everybody claiming to be a prophet, truly is one. There are ‘false prophets’: people who were not called by G-d to speak in His Name. These people do so on their own initiative. In order to know whether a prophecy, that does not appear in the Bible, is truly from G-d, we have to look at its results. Does the prophecy come true, or not? Be careful! When a prophecy does not come true according to the prophets words, the false prophet has to be stoned (Deuteronomy 18 verse 20).
Yeshua teaches us that we should use these grave rules in order to improve ourselves. Yeshua says in John 8 verse 7, that “he who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone […] first”. Yeshua did not go against the Torah by saying this. On the contrary, He knows the Torah and the fact that the committing of certain sins ought to end in death penalty. While we deserve death, Yeshua offers us a second chance. That is mercy! However, He does add the following to encourage us: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (verse 11). When we listen to G-d’s voice, He might use us as a tool to save others. G-d does not want anybody to die. We must turn to Him, and He will answer us mercifully. Isn’t that wonderful?!
Noa Naor, Jerusalem
Verse to remember: “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17 verse 10).