Part 2 The Prophet cont'd...
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Although such philological analyisis is important, an even clear picture emerges when we look at the context of the word. Here too, we see that the word Nava, meaning "prophesy," actually denotes more than just speaking out in God's name.
The clearest example of this occurs with regardto Ezekiel, in his vision on the Valley of Dry Bones. Before these bones were resurrected, God told the prophet, "Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord God, 'From the four winds, come O spirit, and blow into these corpses that they should live'" (Ezekiel 37:9). What God is telling Ezekiel to do is not to be a spokesman or to predict the future, but to channel spiritual force into these dead bodies. So potent was this spirit force that it literally had the power to bring the dead back to life (italics are mine).
Kaplan, page 28f.
In this account, Ezekiel is told to prophesy three times, and in each of these cases, it is evident that his prophecy is channeling and "bringing" of spiritual force (italics are mine). It is significant to note that in all three of these places, the word Nava, meaning to prophesy, is paralleled in the same verse by the root Boa, meaning to come or bring. The appearance in all three cases of these two words in the same verse is not conincidence, but a deliberate pray on words, indicating that the prophetc is one who brings spiritual forces to bear.
Kaplan, page 29.
This interpretation clears up several very obscure passages which speak og prophecy. The very first mention of a prophet in the Bible occurs after King Abimelech had attempted to take Sarah away from Abraham, and had been warned by God in a dream not to do so. God then tells Abimelech, "Now restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you" (Genesis 20:7). There are many forced attempts that try to explain why this verse mentions that Abraham was a prophet, and what effect this would have on his prayer. But if we understand that the main power of a prophet is the ability to channel spiritual energy, the reason is obvious. Through his prayer, Abraham was able to channel such spiritual energy, and it was therefore likely that his prayer would be effective.
God tells Moses, "I have made you as a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron your borther will be your prophet (Exodus 7:1). As we have a;lready seen, it is from this verse in particular that a number of commentators derive the interpretation that a prophet is primarily a spokesman or interpreter. But actually, if one carefully looks at the account, one finds that it was Moses, and not Aaron, who spoke to Pharaoh, indicating that Aaron never acted as a spokesman in this respect. What we do find, however, is that Aaron was the one who brought about the first miracles. Aaron was therefore said to be Moses' prophet, since it was he who channeled the prophetic energy necessary to perform these miracles.
Kaplan, page 29f.
Of course, this channeling of spiritual energy could occasionally also result in a prophetic message. This, actually, is the main difference between a prophet and other mystics. While the experience of other mystics is indistinct and inarticulate, that of the prophet is clear and specific. One of the mystic's greatest difficulties is describing the mystical experience because of its indefinable, incommunicative nature, where even on the highest levels, it is nothing more than a general sensation of spiritual power. The true prophet, on the other hand, is able to channel this spiritual power, focusing it clearly enough to obtain an unambiduous message or vision.
The ability to focus spiritual energy was a task that took great discipline and many years of intensive training. The word that the Bible uses to describe the process of seeking prophecy is Hit-nave, the reflexive (hit-pael) sense of the verb Nave, to prophesy. This literally means that the individual is "prophesying himself." The meaning of this is that he is focusing spiritual energy into himself, trying to obtain a clear message while in a mystical state.
Another way in which a prophet can focus spiritual power is when he causes others to attain a prophetic experience. A clear case of this occurs with regard to the seventy elders, when God told Moses, "I will distill from the spirit that is on you, and I will place it on them" (Numbers 11:17). A similar idea is found in the case of King Saul's prophetic experience, where Samuel planned for a group of his disciples to focus prophetic energy on Saul. The scriptures relates, "He came down there to the plateau and saw a band of prophets coming toward him, and a spirit of God succeeded on him, and he prophesied among them" (ISamuel 10:10).