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For Who Hath Stood in the Counsel of the LORD?: A Look at Modern Prophesy.

Essay by Alford D. Wayman

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/wayman29

With all the tension occurring in the Middle East many are happy to jump on the prophesy bandwagon. We
all run and buy the Left Behind books and movies, huddle in the corner with our bibles open to the texts of
Daniel and Revelation in one hand and our newspapers in the other. We need to stop and ask ourselves
how relevant is prophesy and why do so many cling to that particular gift rather then to something more
practical like healing the sick, or raising the dead. Perhaps prophesy is easier, because if one is wrong
about a prediction, it is easier to rework the math rather then calling forth a loved one from the grave and still
have them stay in their eternal slumber. Less embarrassment I surmise.

In the next few essays I would like to delve into what it required to be a prophet in the Old Testament.
Yahweh hated the false prophet as we will see in a future essay. A few questions we will look at are; how
many times could you be wrong and still be considered to be a mouth piece of Yahweh? What were the
requirements of a prophet? Are the biblical texts road maps on what will occur in the future? and lastly, Why
did Pat Robinson need to write Planet Earth 2000. if he wrote the widely popular Late Great Planet Earth.
previously?

To start off we will explore what Yahweh said the Jeremiah concerning such people. Below we read:

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood,
and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all
the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you:
they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say
still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that
walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the
counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon
the head of the wicked. (Jer 23:15-19 KJV)

So we can see one of the very first requirements of a prophet with is this text is a simple one. Yahweh asks
Jeremiah : For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who
hath marked his word, and heard it? In this text most think well if I am in tune with God, I will be able to be
his mouth piece. This assumption is wrong. This verse asks the question who has stood in the heavenly
court and witnessed the proceedings of heaven and who has been told what to say, and who wrote it down.
As we know, many have, Ezekiel, Daniel, John, Jeremiah, and the list goes on. So that puts the question to
us, For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath
marked his word, and heard it? Not many.

And how many times can a prophet be wrong? In the Old Testament Yahweh did not give one to many tries
as some are given today. Being wrong one time clearly was an indication that you were in fact not a
prophet. We read this in the text below:

The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the
prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him. (Jer 28:9 KJV)

So the result comes in Ezekiel 13:8-9:

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am
against you, saith the Lord GOD. And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine
lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house
of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

As we see those who are wrong are cut off from God, the temple, family and nation. In the next few essays
we will try to iron out a few issues concerning prophesy and possibly by doing so we may be less gullible to
ride every prophesy theory that lumbers by. Also, possibly we might gain more respect for the writings of the
prophets if we understand them in a different context then we are use to.

The Role of the Prophets

Essay by Alford D. Wayman

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/wayman29

The traditional definition of a prophet, as we know it, is one who has the ability to predict the future. This
modern belief distorts our view in what the prophets role was and the meaning of his job in the Old
Testament. The prophets of the Old Testament, although there was a apocalyptic strain that appeared after
Israel lost her independence, prophets only told which was predictable based on events that were taking
place. We should not always look for unknown predictions of Christ in the text, for when we do this we tend
to miss some very important truths buried within these writings. Many, because of their failure to study early
Israeli history fail to see the definition and role of the prophet. Below we will discuss the biblical definition of
a prophet and we shall look at some examples on how it was established and how the office changed over
time.

The biblical answer is one who is called by Yahweh to deliver a message, a person who has heard the
proceedings of the Divine Council and is told to tell the people. Three example of this occurring is in I Kings
22:18-24. Below we read the following:

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favorable
about me, but only disaster?" Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting
on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing beside him to the right and to the left of him. And the Lord
said, "Who will entice Ahab, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' Then one said one thing, and
another said another, until a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, "I will entice him.' "How?'
the Lord asked him. He replied, "I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then the
Lord said, "You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do it.' So you see, the Lord has put a
lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has decreed disaster for you." Then Zedekiah
son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, "Which way did the spirit of the
Lord pass from me to speak to you?"

A fine example of the Divine Council is found in Psalms 82. Here Yahweh is chastising the gods, or as
better known the Sons of Men, for taking advantage of the people. He threatens the gods with mortality if
they dont change their pattern of behavior. Below we read:

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: "How long will
you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? (Selah) Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the
hand of the wicked." They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the
foundations of the earth are shaken. I say, "You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless,
you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince." Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong
to you!

And lastly, we find an example within the text of Jeremiah 23:13-19:

In the prophets of Samaria I saw a disgusting thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel
astray. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a more shocking thing: they commit adultery and walk
in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from wickedness; all of them have
become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah. Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts
concerning the prophets: "I am going to make them eat wormwood, and give them poisoned water to drink;
for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land." Thus says the Lord of
hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they are deluding you. They speak
visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise the word
of the Lord, "It shall be well with you"; and to all who stubbornly follow their own stubborn hearts, they say,
"No calamity shall come upon you." For who has stood in the council of the Lord so as to see and to hear
his word? Who has given heed to his word so as to proclaim it? Look, the storm of the Lord! Wrath has gone
forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked.

During the early Israeli period the prophets or the pre classical oracles did different jobs as time past and the
jobs accumulated to that office. None of these prophets we will mention ever forgot, but added to the
functions of their predecessors. The three examples that we will look at are the roles of Deborah, Samuel,
and Elijah. Elijah will accumulate the roles of his predecessors along with the new.

Deborah comes to us in Judges, chapters 4 and 5. Here we have a holy war poem, possibly one of the
oldest, that tell us of her role. From the text we learn that Deborahs role was declaring holy war.

The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. So the Lord sold them into
the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived
in Harosheth-ha-goiim. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of
iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years. At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of
Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the
hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak son
of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, "Go,
take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will
draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his
troops; and I will give him into your hand.' " Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will
not go with me, I will not go." And she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you
are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Then Deborah
got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. (Jdg 4:1-9 NRSV)

Samuel's role was not only to declare Holy War but to anoint Kings and act as a balance to the new office of
kingship. Samuel engages in free criticism of the king, which resulted in a power struggle between the two
offices. In Samuel 10:1-9, we find Samuel anointing Saul as king.

Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, "The Lord has anointed you
ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the
hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler over
his heritage: When you depart from me today you will meet two men by Rachel's tomb in the territory of
Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, "The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father
has stopped worrying about them and is worrying about you, saying: What shall I do about my son?' Then
you shall go on from there further and come to the oak of Tabor; three men going up to God at Bethel will
meet you there, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin
of wine. They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from them. After that
you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, at the place where the Philistine garrison is; there, as you come to the
town, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre
playing in front of them; they will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and
you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. Now when these
signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you. And you shall go down to Gilgal ahead of
me; then I will come down to you to present burnt offerings and offer sacrifices of well-being. Seven days
you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do." As he turned away to leave Samuel,
God gave him another heart; and all these signs were fulfilled that day. (1Sa 10:1-9 NRSV)

Later in Samuel 15:14-18, we read of Samuel openly criticizing King Saul:

But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of cattle that I hear?" Saul
said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the
cattle, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed." Then Samuel said to Saul,
"Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night." He replied, "Speak." Samuel said, "Though you are
little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel.
And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, "Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight
against them until they are consumed.' (1Sa 15:14-18 NRSV)
Lastly, we will see that Elijah combines all the prophetic functions. In 1 Kings 18:40 he declares holy war, 1
Kings 19:15-16 he anoints a king, and in 1 Kings 18:17-18 he criticizes the King.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, "Is it you, you troubler of Israel?" He answered, "I have not
troubled Israel; but you have, and your father's house, because you have forsaken the commandments of
the Lord and followed the Baals. (1Ki 18:17-18 NRSV)

Now that we have discussed the role of the early prophets, in the next essay, we will look at the forms of
prophetic speech that is used to help us better understand the material. Some examples of this will be from
later prophets, like Micah, Isaiah, and Hosea. We will also see how the role of the prophet changed after
Israel was no longer a free nation.

Robert Oden, The Old Testament: An Introduction [sixteen lectures on eight audiocassettes] (Springfield, VA
22150: SuperStar Teachers/The Teaching Company, second edition, 1995), Lecture 11: "Prophesy In Israel
and the Ancient Near East."

For this I will lament and wail: The Role of the Prophets Part III

Essay by Alford D. Wayman

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/wayman29

One of the pressing issues that so many seem to be confused with is the issue of prophesy. In the last
essays on the topic, we covered the roles of a few prophets when Israel was a nation. However, this all
changed when they were conquered. As mentioned, in the last essay "The Role of the Early Prophets", we
will examine the role of some of the later prophets particularly; Micah, Isaiah, and Hosea. We will see how
the role of this office changed when Israel was no longer independent. We need to understand what time
period each prophet was from and the set of circumstances, both politically and religiously, that each
prophet was facing.

Looking first to Micah, it is thought that his first writings were just before the Tiglathpileser III's Assyrian
invasion of Israel's Northern capital of Samaria in 722 B.C. The text of Micah consists of seven chapters.
The composition consists of oracles of destruction followed by oracles of promise. It is a patchwork of
editing. Some believe that 2:12-13 and parts of chapters 4 and 5 are later additions. Mainly, Micah seen the
coming threat and started warning the people.

Micah saw the advancing Assyrian army as the arm of Yahweh moving against Samaria as a form of
punishment to the people. We see this happening today also. After the devastating attacks on the twin
towers many said it was brought on by an angry god because of homosexuality, Hollywood, and a host of
other perceived sinful acts and conditions in our society. Micah complained also about a false sense of
security that prevailed.

Micah was the accuser in the name of Yahweh. So just like some of the other prophets he was concerned
with social and political justice and rails on the corruption that in his view, had become a part of the reason
for the fall of Samaria. A ray of hope is put in the middle of the writings, where the temple will be restored,
people from all nations will come to worship, and a new ruler will be in place who will promote peace and sin
will be eliminated.

Putting all this into modern day perspective we have seen this type of scenario run its course many times.
The Assyrians were sweeping across the landscape in that region conquering the surrounding nations and it
was only a matter of time. Sin or no sin the same would come to Israel. When a nation is facing an
unknown adversary or an unknown fear, the prophets start their work. This, in my opinion, serves a three
fold purpose. First, it causes self reflection on ones place in the world and life's meaning. Next, it unites a
nation or group behind a common cause. And lastly it gives a people, group, or nation the ability to act or
prepare. In the end we see an address to the enemy:

But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Do not
rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I
must bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he takes my side and
executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall see his vindication. Then my enemy will
see, and shame will cover her who said to me, "Where is the Lord your God?" My eyes will see her downfall;
now she will be trodden down like the mire of the streets. (Mic 7:7-10)

So the question should be asked, Is this a prediction of the future, or is this a religious elder who took it upon
himself to express his views of why the coming destruction was about to come? So do people like Dr. Tim
LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Jerry Falwell, and other serve a purpose in our society? Many questions can
arise on such a hot topic issue, especially in the United States where fervent religious convictions can lead
to such views of the world. As it was in Micah's time, such perceptions of the world offer us the chance to
reflect of our lives if we believe or not. Next we will take a look at Isaiah and his views of the pending
destruction and examine his political and religious role in Israel's society.

Brown, E. Raymond., Fitzmyer, Joseph. And Murphy, Ronalde. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.
Prentice-Hall, Inc, New Jersey, 1990.

Walton, John H, Matthews, Victor H. and Chavalas, Mark W. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old
Testament. InterVarsity Press. Illinois 2000.

Quoted biblical texts are taken from the New Revised Standard Version.

Zion Shall Be Redeemed By Justice: The Role of the Prophets Part IV

Essay by Alford D. Wayman

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/wayman29

Concerning Isaiah and his role as a prophet, we come upon an interesting dilemma that Israel was in
politically at the time the oracles from Isaiah were given. At this time in history so much was happening that
at times it is hard to keep track of what was occurring. We find Isaiah at a time when Syria and Israel
invaded Judah to force it into forming a coalition to attack Assyria. This ended with the result of Assyria
conquering both Israel and Syria in 733-732 B.C.

Then again, Isaiah would speak out against Egypt's attempt to persuade Judah to revolt against Assyria in
714 B.C. under King Hezekiah. The revolt was put down in 701 B.C. with Hezekiah surrendering and paying
a large debt; which is found in the biblical texts in II Kings 18:13-16. An ancient Near Eastern text exists of
the Assyrian king boasting about the surrender. In this essay we will be dealing with strictly chapters 1-39
due to the fact that none of the later texts can be dated with confidence after 701 B.C.

When reading the oracles of Isaiah we find that certain themes run through the texts. A few of them being
that Yahweh controls all nations and their destinies, Yahweh's master plan and policies are carries out on the
historical platform, and any human who has plans to the contrary are doomed to fail. Also, themes against
pride, the need for judgment, and justice run thick through out the text as it did with Micah. Isaiah also
leaves room for hope as Micah. Being from the Zion tradition and the covenant we read in Isaiah 2:2-4:

In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and
shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, "Come,
let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their
swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more. (Isa 2:2-4 NRSV)

In the view of Isaiah it was wrong for one, person or nation, to peruse their own destines. Failure to faithfully
trust in Yahweh, in his mind, displayed a lack of faith. Therefore judgment was needed to chastise and to
bring about reform and compliance. It was these themes that shaped his chastisement of Judah, and the
devastation that was happening around him. Isaiah felt it was his responsibility to chastise the people
because he felt he was commissioned to by Yahweh.

In no way am I trying to minimize the writings and oracles of Isaiah; but the topic of destiny and the role
God plays on the political table are still alive and well today. Themes used by the biblical figures can be
applied to almost any tragedy or platform where they are needed. Failure to faithfully trust in Yahweh, still
displays a lack of faith, and at times patriotism or citizenship no matter who the God or gods. The themes
mentioned above seem to be well used by some in television ministry, radio, and internet.

So are these people who hold such views prophets? Are we still huddled in our corners worried about Jerry
Falwell's "New World Order"? Or, are they the people who hold the biblical world view that when one strays
from God's covenant, social, political, and religious plan that destruction is at hand. But can this be applied
to tragedies that happen as a part of being human on this earth? If the last argument is answered with a
"yes" then we must ask ourselves why those who follow God and his covenant suffer also. What about the
Job complex? Next we will discuss what role Hosea played as a prophet and the issues that he had to
confront in his day.

Brown, E. Raymond., Fitzmyer, Joseph. And Murphy, Ronalde. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.
Prentice-Hall, Inc, New Jersey, 1990.

Walton, John H, Matthews, Victor H. and Chavalas, Mark W. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old
Testament. InterVarsity Press. Illinois 2000.

Quoted biblical texts are taken from the New Revised Standard Version.

The Sword Rages in Their Cities: The Role of the Prophet Part V

Essay by Alford D. Wayman

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/wayman29

We come to another complex setting, when viewing the events in which Hosea wrote. Also, worth
mentioning here, the prophet Amos and Hosea were counterparts and wrote almost at the same time
period. So far we have discussed the different views of the prophets Isaiah and Mica and their roles. As
with Amos, Hosea also will rail against corruption and the influence that the cult of Baal had of the
worshipers of Yahweh; and both believe that the coming destruction is due to the broken convent. In the
text of Hosea, Yahweh is the holy warrior, but this time is comes to make war with his chosen people. We
find one text that also shows the responsibility of the real prophet. At times like Amos, Jonah, Moses, Isaiah,
and others found the task daunting and under the stress they felt inadequate to present the message given.
Especially, if it is unwelcome chastisement of a nation, but as Amos puts it: The lion has roared; who will not
fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy? (Amo 3:8 NRSV) Below, we will discuss the role of
Hosea and the political and religious background under which he wrote his oracles.

Hosea's writing come to us at a time when there was great turmoil in the political landscape of the Israeli
government structure. It is believed that the oracles of Hosea were written between 750-732 B.C. After the
successful reign and death of Jeroboam II (786-746 B.C.), Israel started to deteriorate and its influence
politically started to waver. Jeroboam II was able to have prosperity because at this time Assyria had its own
problems at home, with weak rulers and enemies. However, in the next 20 years after the death of
Jeroboam II, the ambitious king Tiglathpileser III came to power and pressure mounted. In Israel, the nation
fell to assassinations, revolutions, and social upheaval. Within 20 years after Jeroboam II's death, as many
as six kings would rule Israel. These accounts can be read in the text of II Kings 14-17. In the end, King
Hosea, who was appointed by Assyria as a vassal, joined a coalition against Assyria and was taken captive
after a siege and the capital of Samaria was destroyed and Israel was led into exile. It is in this climate that
Hosea gets the calling:

The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri, in the days of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and
Hezekiah of Judah, and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel. When the Lord first spoke
through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, "Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of
whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord." (Hos 1:1-2 NRSV)

Hosea is from the northern kingdom of Israel and he shares his theology with Jeremiah and the texts of
Deuteronomy. Due to this possibility, it is believed by some, the Hosea may be the most edited book,
because the writings in the north were filtered and rewritten by the southern scribes after the fall. The texts
start out as chapters 1-3 being an allegoric marriage to a harlot. There is debate on whether the marriage
that Hosea is commanded to make with a harlot was actually played out or if it was written as a metaphor.
Regardless if the actual marriage happened or not, the allegory message of Yahweh to Israel as a form of
prophetic technique is seen in other texts. Yahweh tells the prophet to act out a certain scenario as an
allegory to the message given. We see this happen in Ezekiel, as one eaxmple.

In the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal,
write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very
day. And utter an allegory to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Set on the pot,
set it on, pour in water also; put in it the pieces, all the good pieces, the thigh and the shoulder; fill it with
choice bones. Take the choicest one of the flock, pile the logs under it; boil its pieces, seethe also its bones
in it. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city, the pot whose rust is in it, whose rust has
not gone out of it! Empty it piece by piece, making no choice at all. (Eze 24:1-6 NRSV)

The next section of writings, chapters 4:1 -9:9 are oracles against the people, priests, and kings. It is within
this time that Yahweh expands from being a tribal god to a universal god. In the past, the admission of other
gods were present however in these such oracles, as with Isaiah, Yahweh, now a universal god, distains the
practices what have been integrated into his ceremonial, and temple rites. The Asherahs, Anats, Astartes
and Baals of the people and house of Yahweh would have to be cleansed. It is in these texts that Yahweh
becomes so offended at the practice that he devalues the temple and sacrifices because they have become
saturated with the rites and elements of the Baal cults. As mentioned in Isaiah, in Hosea we read of this
also:

Though they offer choice sacrifices, though they eat flesh, the Lord does not accept them. Now he will
remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. (Hos 8:13 NRSV)

Lastly we come to the poems accounting Israel's history of sinfulness in chapters 9:10-14:10. Here it seems
that the case for judgment and exile is laid out, and the offences are brought to light. Yahweh, the holy
warrior of Israel is now set to wage war against Israel and Baal once again. Due to the violation of the
covenant Israel will be scattered and strangers will occupy her land.
Many modern day "prophets" try to fulfill the same role. Today many things may be metaphorically
attributed to Baal. And any time there is turmoil, war political unrest prophets come out by the droves. It
seems that more and more they are there to cash in or the misery of the people. They preach it everyday,
and not just when doom and gloom are in the air. They may not write books or novels, rent convention halls,
and prey on the emotions of the masses for their own agenda. We may take a lesson from Hosea's writings
about the saturation of idolatry in the rituals, rites, and worship of our own time.

We need to ask ourselves are the sacrifices more important then justice or the covenant? Also, is prophesy
for the sake of prophesying doing our society good? And how many "prophets" experience a catharsis, and
are overcome by the great commission? How many can say as Isaiah, "Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man
of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of
hosts!", before we start writing books and talking? In our next essay we will discuss the book of Daniel and
highlight some misconceptions about the revelations, using the texts of the intertestamental period. In the
texts of Maccabees I and II we will see how the writings correspond to the time of Greek occupation of the
Jews.

Armstrong Karen, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, NY: Ballantine
Books, 1993)=.

Brown, E. Raymond., Fitzmyer, Joseph. And Murphy, Ronalde. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.
Prentice-Hall, Inc, New Jersey, 1990.

Oden Robert, The Old Testament: An Introduction [sixteen lectures on eight audiocassettes] (Springfield, VA
22150: SuperStar Teachers/The Teaching Company, second edition, 1995), Lecture 12: "Amos and Hosea."

Walton, John H, Matthews, Victor H. and Chavalas, Mark W. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old
Testament. InterVarsity Press. Illinois 2000.

Quoted biblical texts are taken from the New Revised Standard Version.