Prophecy

Prophecy

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Encyclopedia
Prophecy is a process in which one or more message
Message
A message in its most general meaning is an object of communication. It is a vessel which provides information. Yet, it can also be this information. Therefore, its meaning is dependent upon the context in which it is used; the term may apply to both the information and its form...

s that have been communicated to a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

 inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come (cf. divine knowledge) as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the world is divine. The process of prophecy especially involves reciprocal communication of the prophet with the (divine) source of the messages.

Various concepts of prophecy are found throughout all of the world's religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s and cult
Cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

s. To a certain degree prophecy can be an integral concept within any religion or cult. The term has found deep usage in two of the world's largest religious groups, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, along with many others.

Definitions

  • Rabbinic
    Rabbinic Judaism
    Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

     scholar Maimonides
    Maimonides
    Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

    , suggested that "prophecy is, in truth and reality, an emanation sent forth by Divine Being
    God
    God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

     through the medium of the Active Intellect
    Active intellect
    The active intellect is a concept in classical and medieval philosophy...

    , in the first instance to man's rational faculty
    Rationality
    In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

    , and then to his imaginative faculty
    Imagination
    Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability of forming mental images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses...

    ."
  • The former closely relates to the definition by Al-Fârâbî
    Al-Farabi
    ' known in the West as Alpharabius , was a scientist and philosopher of the Islamic world...

     who developed the theory of prophecy in Islam.
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia
    Catholic Encyclopedia
    The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

     defines a Christian conception of prophecy as "understood in its strict sense, it means the foreknowledge of future events, though it may sometimes apply to past events of which there is no memory, and to present hidden things which cannot be known by the natural light of reason."


From a skeptical point of view, there is a Latin maxim: prophecy written after the fact vaticinium ex eventu.

Etymology


The English word "prophecy" (noun) in the sense of "function of a prophet" appeared in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 from about 1225, from Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 profecie (12th century), and from Late Latin
Late Latin
Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of Late Antiquity. The English dictionary definition of Late Latin dates this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD extending in Spain to the 7th. This somewhat ambiguously defined period fits between Classical Latin and Medieval Latin...

 prophetia, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 prophetia "gift of interpreting the will of the gods", from Greek prophetes (see prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

). The related meaning "thing spoken or written by a prophet" is from circa 1300, while the verb "to prophesy" is recorded by 1377.

The word prophecy comes from the Greek verb, προφημι (prophemi), which means “to say beforehand, foretell”; it is a combination of the Greek words, προ and φημι.

Ancient civilizations



Prophecy is by no means new or limited to any one culture. It is a common property to all known ancient societies around the world, some more than others. Many systems and rules about prophecy have been proposed over several millennia.

Bahá'í Faith



In 1863, Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, claimed to have been the promised messianic figure of all previous religions, and a Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

, a type of prophet in the Bahá'í writings that serves as intermediary between the divine and humanity and who speak with the voice of a god. Bahá'u'lláh claimed that, while being imprisoned in the Siyah-Chal
Síyáh-Chál
Síyáh-Chál is the common word in Persian language for "dungeon".Historically, siyah-chals were used as a harsher form of incarceration. Typically, such dungeons had no windows or outlets, other than the entrance, consisting of a short stairway into the ground.In Bahá'í history the "Síyáh-Chál"...

 in Iran, he underwent a series of mystical experiences including having a vision of the Maid of Heaven who told him of his divine mission, and the promise of divine assistance; In Bahá'í belief, the Maid of Heaven is a representation of the divine.

Buddhism


The Haedong Kosung-jon(Biographies of High Monks) records that King Beopheung of Silla
Beopheung of Silla
King Beopheung was the 23rd monarch of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was preceded by King Jijeung and succeeded by King Jinheung....

 had desired to promulgate Buddhism as the state religion. However, officials in his court opposed him. In the fourteenth year of his reign, Beopheung's "Grand Secretary", Ichadon
Ichadon
Ichadon , also known as Geochadon or by his courtesy name Yeomchok or Yeomdo, was a Buddhist monk and advisor to the Silla king Beopheung.-Miracle:...

, devised a strategy to overcome court opposition. Ichadon schemed with the king, convincing him to make a proclamation granting Buddhism official state sanction using the royal seal. Ichadon told the king to deny having made such a proclamation when the opposing officials received it and demanded an explanation. Instead, Ichadon would confess and accept the punishment of execution, for what would quickly be seen as a forgery. Ichadon prophesied to the king that at his execution a wonderful miracle would convince the opposing court faction of Buddhism's power. Ichadon's scheme went as planned, and the opposing officials took the bait. When Ichadon was executed on the 15th day of the 9th month in 527, his prophecy was fulfilled; the earth shook, the sun was darkened, beautiful flowers rained from the sky, his severed head flew to the sacred Geumgang mountains, and milk instead of blood sprayed 100 feet in the air from his beheaded corpse. The omen was accepted by the opposing court officials as a manifestation of heaven's approval, and Buddhism was made the state religion in 527 CE.

Christianity



In the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, prophecy is referred to as one of the Spiritual gifts given by the indwelling Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

. From this, many Christians believe that the gift of prophecy is the supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 ability to receive and convey a message from God. The purpose of the message may be to "edify, exhort and comfort
Comfort
Comfort may refer to:*Comfort , by the rock group Failure*Comfort *Comfort Air, German airline*Comfort food*Comfort noise, artificial background noise used in radio and wireless communications to fill the silent time in a transmission*Comfort object, an object used to provide psychological...

" the members of the Church. In this context, not all prophecies contain predictions about the future. The Apostle Paul also teaches in First Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 that prophecy is for the benefit of the whole Church and not just the individual exercising the gift.

According to Walter Brueggemann
Walter Brueggemann
Walter Brueggemann is an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian.-Life:The son of a minister of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, he was ordained in the United Church of Christ. Brueggemann received an A.B. from Elmhurst College , a B.D. from Eden Theological...

, the task of prophetic (Christian) ministry is to nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture. A recognized form of Christian prophecy is the "prophetic drama" which Frederick Dillistone
Frederick William Dillistone
The Very Rev Frederick William Dillistone, DD was the second Dean of Liverpool. He was born on 9 May 1903 and educated at Brighton College and Brasenose College, Oxford. Ordained in 1928, he began his ecclesiastical career with a curacy at St Jude’s Southsea. Later he was a tutor at Wycliffe Hall,...

 describes as a "metaphorical conjunction between present situations and future events".

New Testament


Gospels
There are instances in the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s where individuals are described as being prophets or are prophesying. Some examples include Simeon
Simeon the Righteous
Simeon is the "just and devout" man of Jerusalem who, according to , met the Virgin Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as they entered the Temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law of Moses on the 40th day from Jesus' birth.According to the Biblical account,...

, Anna
Anna (Bible)
Anna or Anna the Prophetess was a biblical figure mentioned only in the Gospel of Luke. According to that Gospel, she was an aged Jewish prophetess who prophesied about Jesus at the Temple of Jerusalem. She appears in in the episode of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.While Luke gave some...

, and John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

. The Gospels shows several instances where Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 prophesied. An example of this is the Gospel of John which shows that while passing through Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

, Jesus encountered a woman who had been married five times. In the story, Jesus relates to her details of her personal life. The woman states that "I can see you are a prophet." Additionally, Jesus prophesied about his pending death, and about the end times
End times
The end time, end times, or end of days is a time period described in the eschatological writings in the three Abrahamic religions and in doomsday scenarios in various other non-Abrahamic religions...

.

Acts
Throughout the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, there are numerous references to 1st century individuals prophesying in different ways and contexts. Examples include where the Church in Antioch is described as having both prophets and teachers.

Pauline Epistles
In the Pauline Epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

, the prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 is referred to as one of the fivefold ministries; Apostles; Prophets; Evangelists
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

; Pastors and Teachers
Teachers
Teachers may refer to:* Teachers, people who provide schooling for pupils and students* Teachers , one of the five Ascension Gift Ministries* Teachers , a British sitcom* Teachers Teachers may refer to:* Teachers, people who provide schooling for pupils and students* Teachers (ministry), one of the...

.

Other epistles
The Epistle of Jude
Epistle of Jude
The Epistle of Jude, often shortened to Jude, is the penultimate book of the New Testament and is attributed to Jude, the brother of James the Just. - Composition :...

 contains a verifiable citation from the Book of Enoch
Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work, traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel...

, which not a part of the canon
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

 for most Christian churches, which has "Enoch the Seventh from Adam" having "prophesied to" false teachers.

Later Christianity


The gift of prophecy was acknowledged in the Church after the death of the apostles. In his Dialogue with Trypho
Dialogue with Trypho
In the Dialogue with Trypho, Christian theologian Justin Martyr undertakes to show that Christianity is the new law for all men, and to prove from Scripture that Jesus is the Christ via a fictitious intellectual conversation between Justin and Trypho, a Jew...

, Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

 argued that prophets were no longer among Israel but were in the Church. The Shepherd of Hermas
The Shepherd of Hermas
The Shepherd of Hermas is a Christian literary work of the 1st or 2nd century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus. The Shepherd had great authority in the 2nd and 3rd centuries...

, written around the mid 2nd century, describes the way prophecy was being used within the church of that time. Ireneaus confirms the existence of such spiritual gifts in his Against Heresies. Although some modern commentators claim that Montanus was rejected because he claimed to be a prophet, a careful examination of history shows that the gift of prophecy was still acknowledged during the time of Montanus, and that he was controversial because of the manner in which he prophesied, and for appointing rival bishops.

Subsequently there are few examples of the prophetic and certain other gifts (until the Scottish Covenanter
Covenanter
The Covenanters were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland, and to a lesser extent in that of England and Ireland, during the 17th century...

s like Prophet Peden and John Wishart
John Wishart (bishop)
John Wishart was a 14th century bishop of Glasgow. He was archdeacon of Glasgow from 1321 or earlier. After the death of Bishop John de Lindesay in 1335, John was elected to succeed him at Glasgow, and was consecrated in February 1337 at the orders of Pope Benedict XII at Avignon by Annibald de...

). Prophecy and certain other spiritual gifts were somewhat rarely acknowledged throughout church history. From 1904 to 1906, the Azusa Street Revival
Azusa Street Revival
The Azusa Street Revival was a historic Pentecostal revival meeting that took place in Los Angeles, California and is the origin of the Pentecostal movement. It was led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher. It began with a meeting on April 14, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915...

 occurred in Los Angeles, California and is sometimes considered the birthplace of the Pentecostal movement
Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

. This revival is well-known for the "speaking in tongues" that occurred there. Some participants of the Azusa Street Revival are claimed to have prophesied. Pentecostals believe prophecy and certain other gifts are once again being given to Christians. The Charismatic Movement
Charismatic movement
The term charismatic movement is used in varying senses to describe 20th century developments in various Christian denominations. It describes an ongoing international, cross-denominational/non-denominational Christian movement in which individual, historically mainstream congregations adopt...

, which began to move into mainline denominations, also accepts spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues and prophecy.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains that its first prophet, Joseph Smith, was visited by God and Jesus Christ in 1820. The Church further claims that God communicated directly with Joseph Smith on many subsequent occasions, and that following the death of Joseph Smith God has continued to speak through subsequent prophets. Joseph Smith claims to have been led by an angel to a large hill in upstate New York, where he was shown an ancient manuscript engraved on plates of gold metal. Joseph Smith claimed to have translated this manuscript into modern English under divine inspiration by the gift and power of God, and the publication of this translation is known as the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2600 BC to AD 421. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr...

.

Further revelations claimed to have been given through Joseph Smith are published in the Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement...

, one of four sacred LDS texts
Standard Works
The Standard Works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the four books that currently constitute its open scriptural canon.* The Holy Bible * The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ...

.

Islam



Muslims maintain that Prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 experienced prophetic phenomena equated with interpretation of dream
Dream
Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, philosophical intrigue and religious...

s, visions and remote viewing
Remote viewing
Remote viewing is the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen target using paranormal means, in particular, extra-sensory perception or "sensing with mind"...

, which identify him as a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

. Prophecies could be seen in the poem of 15th Century Kurdish poet El-Begi Jaff
El-Begi Jaff
El-Begi Jaff is a leading Sufi poet from Jaff tribe of Kurdistan who was born in Sharazor in late 15th Century. He is well-known for his interesting prophecies concerning the future of Iran, the Orient, and the world that wrote in Gorani dialect.Secluded and a Sufi, he spent his life in worship...

.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 112:
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle Muhammad said, "A good dream (that comes true) of a righteous man is one of forty-six parts of prophetism."

Judaism



In the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, prophecy often consisted of a conditioned warning by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 of the consequences should the society, specific communities, or their leaders not adhere to Torah's instructions in the time contemporary with the prophet's life. Prophecies sometimes included conditioned promises of blessing for obeying God, and returning to behaviors and laws as written in the Torah. Conditioned warning prophecies feature in all Jewish works of the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

.

The rabbinic teachings, notably Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

 (Rambam), suggest there were many levels of prophecy, from the highest such as those experienced by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, to the lowest where the individuals were able to apprehend the Divine Will, but not respond or even describe this experience to others, mistakenly citing Noah
Noah in rabbinic literature
Allusions in rabbinic literature to the Biblical character Noah, who saved his family and representatives of all the animals from a great flood by constructing an ark, contain various expansions, elaborations and inferences beyond what is presented in the text of the Bible itself.-His...

.

Maimonides' theory of prophecy contains two elements (1) an explanation of what prophecy is, and (2) a ranking of the various types of prophecy and prophecy-like phenomena. I think we can use the ranking of prophecy implicate in Maimonides to substantiate our thesis that the rationalism of Maimonides is essentially a moral rationalism.


Maimonides, in his The Guide for the Perplexed, outlines twelve modes of prophecy from lesser to greater degree of clarity:
  1. Inspired actions
  2. Inspired words
  3. Allegorical dream
    Dream
    Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, philosophical intrigue and religious...

     revelations
  4. Auditory
    Auditory imagery
    In psychology and neuropsychology, auditory imagery is the subjective experience of hearing in the absence of auditory stimulation. It occurs when one mentally rehearses telephone numbers, or has a song "on the brain": the phenomenon is usually defined to be spontaneous ; it can be distressing...

     dream revelations
  5. Audiovisual dream revelations/human
    Human
    Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

     speaker
  6. Audiovisual dream revelations/angel
    Angel
    Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

    ic speaker
  7. Audiovisual dream revelations/Divine speaker
  8. Allegorical waking vision
  9. Auditory waking revelation
  10. Audiovisual waking revelation/human speaker
  11. Audiovisual waking revelation/angelic speaker
  12. Audiovisual waking revelation/Divine speaker (that refers implicitly to Moses)


Of the twelfth mode, Maimonides focuses his attention on its "implicit superiority to the penultimate stage in the above series", and therefore above all other prophetic and semi-prophetic modes.

Experience of prophecy in the Torah and the rest of Tanakh do not restrict it to Jews. Nor is the prophetic experience restricted to the Hebrew language.

The Tanakh contains prophecies from various Hebrew prophets (55 in total) who communicated messages from God to the nation of Israel, and later the population of Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 and elsewhere. In Jewish tradition Daniel
Daniel in rabbinic literature
Allusions in rabbinic literature to the Biblical story of Daniel contain various expansions, elaborations and inferences beyond the text presented in the book of the Bible.-Ancestry:...

 is not counted in the list of prophets.

Malachi
Malachi
Malachi, Malachias or Mal'achi was a Jewish prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He had two brothers, Nathaniel and Josiah. Malachi was the writer of the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Neviim section in the Jewish Tanakh...

, whose full name was Ezra Ha'Sofer (the scribe), is acknowledged to have been the last prophet of Israel if one accepts the opinion that Nechemyah died in Babylon before 9th Tevet 3448 (313 BCE).

Native American prophecy


Numerous cases of prophecy exist among the Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 populations. The Onandaga and Hopi
Hopi
The Hopi are a federally recognized tribe of indigenous Native American people, who primarily live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi area according to the 2000 census has a population of 6,946 people. Their Hopi language is one of the 30 of the Uto-Aztecan language...

, among others, have prophecies that appear to relate to the times we are entering now. For example, the Onandaga talk of a time when the water will not be fit to drink from the streams. This, they say, will signify the beginning of a period they call the great purification, where the peoples will go through immense trials to purify themselves of the corrupting influences that have beset them. This, they say, will be seen as a period of joy for those who understand what is happening and engage this period as a time of purification, but will be a period of immense suffering for those who cling to their corrupted worldview and lifestyles. The Book of the Hopi can be seen as a work of prophecy — it discusses both the ancient history of the ages that came before, the current age, and the times to come.

There exists a problem in verifying most Native American prophecy, in that they remain primarily an oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, and thus there is no way to cite references of where writings have been committed to paper. In their system, the best reference is an Elder, who acts as a repository of the accumulated wisdom of their tradition.

In another type of example, it is recorded that there are three Dogrib
Tli Cho
The Tłįchǫ or Tåîchô First Nation, formerly known as the Dogrib, are a Dene Aboriginal Canadian people living in the Northwest Territories , Canada....

 prophets who had claimed to have been divinely inspired to bring the message of Christianity's God to their people. This prophecy among the Dogrib involves elements such as dances and trance-like states.

Nostradamus


Esoteric
Esotericism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek , a compound of : "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward",...

 prophecy has been claimed for, but not by, Michel de Nostredame popularly referred to as Nostradamus
Nostradamus
Michel de Nostredame , usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties , the first edition of which appeared in 1555...

 who claimed to be a converted Christian
Conversion to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. It has been called the foundational experience of Christian life...

. It is known that he had suffered several tragedies in his life, and had been persecuted to some degree for his cryptic esoteric writings about the future, reportedly derived through a use of a crystal ball
Crystal ball
A crystal ball is a crystal or glass ball believed by some people to aid in the performance of clairvoyance. It is sometimes known as a shew stone...

. Nostradamus was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 apothecary
Apothecary
Apothecary is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist and some caregivers....

 and reputed seer who published collections of foreknowledge of future events. He is best known for his book Les Propheties ("The Prophecies"), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, Nostradamus has attracted an esoteric following that, along with the popularistic press, credits him with foreseeing world events. His esoteric cryptic foreseeings have in some cases been assimilated to the results of applying the alleged Bible code
Bible code
The Bible code , also known as the Torah code, is a purported set of secret messages encoded within the text Hebrew Bible and describing prophesies and other guidance regarding the future. This hidden code has been described as a method by which specific letters from the text can be selected to...

, as well as to other purported pseudo-prophetic works.

Most reliable academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrain
Quatrain
A quatrain is a stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines of verse. Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poems from the poetic traditions of various ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and China; and, continues into the 21st century, where it is...

s are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Moreover, none of the sources listed offers any evidence that anyone has ever interpreted any of Nostradamus's pseudo-prophetic works specifically enough to allow a clear identification of any event in advance.

Skepticism


According to skeptics, many apparently fulfilled prophecies can be explained as coincidences (possibly aided by the prophecy's own vagueness), or that some prophecies were actually invented after the fact to match the circumstances of a past event ("postdiction
Postdiction
According to critics of paranormal beliefs, postdiction is an effect of hindsight bias that explains claimed predictions of significant events, such as plane crashes and natural disasters...

"). Whitcomb in The Magician's Companion observes,
One point to remember is that the probability of an event changes as soon as a prophecy (or divination) exists. . . . The accuracy or outcome of any prophecy is altered by the desires and attachments of the seer and those who hear the prophecy.

Psychological understandings


The phenomenon of prophecy is not well understood in psychology research literature. Psychiatrist and neurologist Arthur Deikman describes the phenomenon as an "intuitive knowing, a type of perception that bypasses the usual sensory channels and rational intellect."

“(P)rophecy can be likened to a bridge between the individual ‘mystical self’ and the communal ‘mystical body’,” writes religious sociologist Margaret Poloma. Prophecy seems to involve “the free association that occurred through the workings of the right brain.”

Psychologist Julian Jaynes proposed that this is a temporary accessing of the bicameral mind; that is, a temporary separating of functions, such that the authoritarian part of the mind seems to literally be speaking to the person as if a separate (and external) voice. Jaynes posits that the gods heard as voices in the head were and are organizations of the central nervous system. God speaking through man, according to Jaynes, is a more recent vestige of God speaking to man; the product of a more integrated higher self. When the bicameral mind speaks, there is no introspection. We simply experience the Lord telling us what to do. In earlier times, posits Jaynes, there was additionally a visual component, now lost.

Child development and consciousness author Joseph Chilton Pearce remarked that revelation typically appears in symbolic form and “in a single flash of insight.” He used the metaphor of lightning striking and suggests that the revelation is “a result of a buildup of resonant potential.” Pearce compared it to the earth asking a question and the sky answering it. Focus, he said, feeds into “a unified field of like resonance (and becomes) capable of attracting and receiving the field’s answer when it does form."

Some cite aspects of cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

 such as pattern forming and attention to the formation of prophecy in modern day society as well as the declining influence of religion in daily life.www.thebeginner.eu/curious/481-the-fallacy-of-prophecy

See also

  • Divination
    Divination
    Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

  • False prophet
    False prophet
    In religion, a false prophet is one who falsely claims the gift of prophecy, or who uses that gift for evil ends. Often, someone who is considered a "true prophet" by some people is simultaneously considered a "false prophet" by others....

    s
  • List of fulfilled prophecies
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy
    Self-fulfilling prophecy
    A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. Although examples of such prophecies can be found in literature as far back as ancient Greece and...

  • Vaticinium ex eventu

Sources

  • Alcalay, Reuben., The Complete Hebrew – English dictionary, Hemed Books, New York, 1996 ISBN 978-965-448-179-3
  • Tucker, T.G., Etymological dictionary of Latin, Ares Publishers, Inc., Chicago, 1985 ISBN 978-0-89005-172-6
  • Helm, June., Prophecy and Power among the Dogrib Indians, University of Nebraska Press, 1994

Further reading

  • Jim Thompson. 2008. Prophecy Today – A further word from God? Does God-given prophecy continue in today's Church, or doesn't it?. (Evangelical Press), ISBN 978-0-85234-673-0
  • Marcus Tullius Cicero. 1997. De divinatione. (Trans. Arthur Stanley Pease), Darmstadt: Wissenschaflliche Buchgesellschaft.
  • David Edward Aune. 1963. Prophecy in early Christianity and the ancient Mediterranean world. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-3584-8.
  • Christopher Forbes. 1997. Prophecy and inspired speech: In early Christianity and its Hellenistic environment. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, ISBN 1-56563-269-9.
  • Clifford S. Hill. 1991. Prophecy, past and present: An exploration of the prophetic ministry in the Bible and the Church today. Ann Arbor, MI: Vine, ISBN 0-8028-0635-X.
  • Jürgen Beyer. 2002. 'Prophezeiungen', Enzyklopädie des Märchens. Handwörterbuch zur historischen und vergleichenden Erzählforschung (English – Encyclopedia of the fairy tale. Handy dictionary for historical and comparative tale research), vol. 10. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, col. 1419–1432
  • Stacey Campell. 2008. Ecstatic Prophecy Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books/Baker Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8007-9449-1.

External links

  • http://www.randi.org/encyclopedia/prophecy.html The James Randi Educational Foundation