prophecy

Hebrew Word of the Week

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Hebrew

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Today’s Hebrew word of the week comes from 2nd Chronicles 15:8. It looks like this:

נְבוּאָה

and it means prophecy.

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“And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.”

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A prophet (נָבִיא) is a person who receives a message (nĕ•vu•ah) from God to give to another.

The King James Bible uses this word only 3 times in the Tanach (Old Testament). It is a word that means a written or spoken prediction. In the other two scriptures, 2 Chronicles 9:29 and Nehemiah 6:12. In the passage in Nehemiah, it is referring to a false prophecy.

“The principle that “G‑d communicates to mankind through prophecy” remains a foundation of the Jewish faith.” — Mendy Hecht

And in a letter to the Jews of Yemen, Maimonides recounts an age-old tradition that “shortly before the messianic era, prophecy will return to the Jewish people.”

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When I began the research for this word, I was surprised that with all the prophets (נְבִיאִים) in the Old Testament, surely there must be more references to prophecy. One-hundred eleven times people are commanded to prophesy (נָבָא), and you can see the root letters in the verb prophesy also in the noun derived from it, prophecy (נְבוּאָה).

Jews believe that prophecy is for making course corrections in Jewish society or in society at large. They also see prophecy when it is predictive as God communicating to His people to encourage them or to warn them of judgment if they do not mend their ways. When a prophet gives a message that is not in the Torah, they consider it a “one time only” instruction from God. A prophecy can never annul a law or add one.

In Jewish thought, one can make oneself a prophet. The criteria are these:

• one must be wise

• of a clear and lucid mind

• of impeccable character

• utterly in control of one’s passions and desires

• of a calm and joyous constitution

• one must shun materiality and the frivolities of life

• devoting oneself entirely to knowing and serving God.

But lest we think that we can make ourselves receive prophecy, the Jewish mind does not regard making oneself worthy of prophecy equal to receiving prophecy.

 

Indeed, that is the purvue of God and God alone.

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Some will fall by the edge of the sword, others will be carried into all the countries of the Goyim (nations), and Yerushalayim will be trampled down by the Goyim until the age of the Goyim has run its course (Luke 21:24 CJB).”

“I do not want you, believers, to be unaware of this mystery [God’s previously hidden plan]—so that you will not be wise in your own opinion—that a partial hardening has [temporarily] happened to Israel [to last] until the full number of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25 AMP).”

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One day, the remnant of the Jews that survive the coming day of God’s wrath will say Baruch haba!

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