Prophets & Prophecy

Several weeks ago upon reading that week’s Torah Portion I got stuck on a verse pertaining to prophecy. Because of my past experiences I seem to always get stuck when reading about Prophecy and Prophets. That particular weeks Torah Portion included Deuteronomy Chapter 18, this chapter lays it all out before us.
A popular movement today in Christianity is called “the Prophetic”. People will travel many miles to “get a word from God”. This raises the question, how much of what is labeled under prophecy in todays “Christian Prophetic Church”, is actually prophetic?
Usually if we just read the Bible these questions are answered for us, and little commentary is needed. Looking at chapter 18, vs. 10 divination, soothsaying, enchanting, sorcery, (vs. 11) charming, consulting with ghosts, or familiar spirits, necromancer. Why are these two verses, with this list, at the beginning of a section where he talks about prophecy?
Some people would rather talk to another person for answers than pray and ask G-d. They feel that they don’t “hear from G-d”. Of course then the question arises, “what god are they asking from?”
I read in vs.16 that G-d established Prophets and Prophecy because the Israeli did not want to hear directly from Him. G-d seems to be in agreement, or perhaps understands in vs 17. Verse 18 tells us that G-d will raise up whoever He will among them (the Israeli) to speak whatever He commands them to. Take note He says “among them”, who was “them”? — the Israeli.
And then it goes on to describe false prophesy. Concluding verses telling us how to know if we are among a false prophet. It is very simple,……. if what the person prophecies does not not happen, then he or she is a false prophet. The last verse tells us to stay away from them. The Prophets of the G-d of Israel always gave true and accurate prophecies, they never made a mistake, or missed hearing what G-d was relaying through them. Most prophecies were to the nation, or to the leader of the nation.
I guess the “prophetic church” doesn’t know these verses are here. My heart goes out to the desperate people that travel many miles to get a “word” and stand in long lines hoping to get an answer from “the prophet”. Is this person giving “a word from god” a “prophet”, or are they possibly from the list given in verses 10 and 11?
The first mentioned in this list is the devination or a deviner, one who can predict the future. Devination contains the word “divine” or one who claims to hear from god. The last is the necromancer, who not only speaks with the dead, but can raise the dead. The second on the list is soothsaying, another form of predicting future events. There is a slight difference between devination and soothsaying, devination is more religious oriented, where as soothsaying is not. Interesting to note that like the first two are similar, so are the last two. We are not to try consulting with the dead. Our focus needs to be on life, and how we are living it.
The G-d of Israel has an “open door” policy, for us to come to Him any time, any where. We are not required to have a person between us and our creator, we can ask G-d directly ourselves from home.

by, Jim Behnke

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