Prophecy

talib-al-kalim

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There are many prophets of the past.

Adam - Prophecy to any human?

According to the Muslim teachings, Adam is the first prophet because he received the Word of God.
In my understanding, on the background of our present scientific knowledge, Adam is the only person in the traditional row of prophets who is not an individual person but rather a symbol of all mankind. With this understanding, what does it mean that Adam is prophet?
a) Mankind received a knowledge of God; He engraved in our hearts?
b) All men an women are prophets, as they are able to be in contact with God?
c) Some of the rules that may enable us to live in harmony with the Eternal Law of God have been revealed to mankind before historically related revelation?
d) Any other proposal?

Noah (Nuh, Atrahasis) - A common prophecy to mankind?
He is the earliest prophet of whom a human tradition exists. According to the Atrahasis Epos, Noah=Atrahasis obeyed the advice of En-ki (The Great God) and only Him. Even in the Atrahasis Epos which has been written down by more-or-less polytheists, he was at least a practicing monotheist (someone who serves only one God); he may even have been a philosophical monotheist (who believes that there is only One God and denies that any other deities may exist).
According to the Jewish tradition, he is also considered to be the ancestor of all mankind of today. Rabbinic Judaism has deduced from this that the laws that were established to Noah are valid for all mankind; quoting Wikipedia:
  1. Not to worship idols.
  2. Not to curse God.
  3. Not to commit murder.
  4. Not to commit adultery or sexual immorality.
  5. Not to steal.
  6. Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.
  7. To establish courts of justice.
Scientific research on the Great Flood could not find any evidence on a worldwide flood; in contrast, there is much evidence that the event behind the related tradition must have been more or less local. Nevertheless, we might ask:
- Are there any commandments or insights that have been related in traditions of the majority of human cultures?

Abraham and his Stem - The recognised prophets
Abraham, Ismaïl, Israel, Ja'akov and his twelve sons, Moses and the many prophets to the Jewish people until Mikhah are the common stem of reknown prophets to all Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity (with Universal Unitarians), Mandean, Islam (with Alevite and Ahmadddiyya), Druze, Baha'i, Mormons, extinct sects as Gnostics and Manicheans, mention other sects I do not know). Although some of them do not figure on the official dogmatic lists of rknown prophets, all teh sects do not discard any of them.
- Was it a Plan of God to illuminate so many prophets to the descendants of Abraham?
- Was it because the People of Abraham, in particular the People of Israel, accepted guidance through prophets?
- Was it the pleasure of God to send prophets to those who would probably accept them and listen to His Word?

Prophecy in Christianity
The later choice in Rabbinic Judaism puts Mikhah the last prophet. No Jew in or after the Maccabean period is considered a prophet by Jewish scholars. There is some evidence in the Gospels that at the time of Jesus, the Jews did not only expect the Messiah, but they didn't discard the possibility that there may be a new prophet, either. Both, John the Baptist and Jesus, had been seen as prophets. Paul mentiones "prophecy" as one of the possible skills of a Christian in the community. Nevertheless, Christians have never accorded the title of a prophet thereafter. The remaining non-Christian Judaism discarded not only Jeus , but also John the baptist, who seems to have been a well-recognised as a prophet by the Jews in in his time.

Mani - A false prophet?
Mani, a Persian, seems to be the first person after Jesus who claimed or was attributed the title of a prophet. He saw his to integrate the (orthodox) Christian, Gnostic and Parsian elements into one religion. He was not recognised either by the orthodox Christians, nor by all Gnostics, nor by the Parses, and later, not by Islam, either. The Manichaean religion was not a small community, but it was finally extinguished through Islamic conquerers and Christian Empires.
- Can humans recognise a false prophet? Jesus said: We can recognise them by their deeds. But from the sources we have, there are no deeds of Mani that would make him clearly recognisable as a false prophet.
- Does God make false prophets fail? Is the extinction of a religion a clear sign of God?
- Is the recognition of prophecy rather a matter of human empires and power?

Muhammad - the last prophet?
According to the Quran, Muhammad is the last prophet. Why?
- All prophets after Mikhah failed to admonish and teach all pubilc they had. His chosen people divided into two religions after Jesus. Mani did not succeed to unite orthodox Christians, Gnostics and Parses; rather his work resulted in a new sect. The Quranic message might have reunited Jews, Christians and others, but instead, a new sect was created. Did God decide to stop revelation to prophets, because humans divide on them instead of listening?
- Does God make real prophets succeed? Is the success of a religion a clear sign of God?

Nanak Dev, the Bab and the Baha-ullah, John Smith, and Ourselves - Can we accept newer prophets?
Newer persons claim to be prophets but finally, they only founded new sects. Neither of them has taught what would be inacceptable on prior scripture - if they had declared their scripture a result of their own reason, they might have been recognised in the original religion (Nank Dev in Hinduism, Baha-ullah in Islam, maybe even John Smith in Christianity)
- Is it possible that God appoints new prophets?
- Do humans still have a possibility to receive the Word of God?
- Were the prophets of the past really different from us, who can also receive of our prayers at least in our minds?
- Is prophecy absolute or relative?
- Is inspiration ordering our thoughts or injecting them?
 
- Were the prophets of the past really different from us, who can also receive of our prayers at least in our minds?

I don't think they were fundamentally different from us. Their way of relating to the facts of our existence, which they report about, is fundamentally human, it is our birthright, so to speak, and accessible to anyone, in principle. Even to atheists like myself.

- Is prophecy absolute or relative?

Relative, in my opinion, judging from how the various revelations have aged.

- Is inspiration ordering our thoughts or injecting them?

Neither. The thoughts always come after the fact, they are our attempts at making sense of what occurred. This is always the case, in everyday life as well as in the deep flow of inspiration. We make meaning, and that is our unique talent, but the inspiration is not about meaning.

Names often feature prominently in prophetic and inspired literature. I think this is an important clue. In your example of Adam, his prophetic work was all about names. Speaking a name is not about meaning at all.

In my opinion, as always.
 
A few thousand years ago it appears there was a plethora of prophets...fairly a dearth of them in the past couple thousand years.

Did we give more credence to inspired ramblings over 2000 years ago...or today do we put folks who hear voices in asylums...or just let them write books and internet memes?

What is the change? Is it in perception, of does G!d not find the people to speak thru today.
 
A few thousand years ago it appears there was a plethora of prophets
Yes .. the world was not global as it is today, and the majority of people did not read and write.

What is the change? Is it in perception, of does G!d not find the people to speak thru today.
When there is need, G-d sends/appoints prophets.
Question: Is the truth available in the last 2000 years? Yes.

Will another prophet be sent to mankind in the future?
Yes. Jesus will return, and unite the believers to fight the evil that will be widespread.
i.e. save the world from extinction
 
Yes .. the world was not global as it is today, and the majority of people did not read and write.
you make two statements which seem to lead to two conclusions that I don't believe you intended.

Less people equals more prophets?

Or illiteracy increases belief in prophecy?
 
The Jewish prophets...all based (as stater above) were quite local to that one area of the world...but we had lots of population centers... the.chosen ones are a real thing?

Or what happened to prophets in Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe?
 
you make two statements which seem to lead to two conclusions that I don't believe you intended.

Less people equals more prophets?
They were more FREQUENT, yes.
They did not have books, and they needed reminding more often,
due to corruption, being less civilised etc.

Or illiteracy increases belief in prophecy?
The nature of "society" was different.
 
Or what happened to prophets in Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe?
I believe that the middle east is where 3 main continents join..
..and it was probably the most populous in the world, due to agreeable climate etc.

There have been prophets in other locations, but Jesus and Muhammad are well-known globally,
in this era.
 
The Jewish prophets...all based (as stater above) were quite local to that one area of the world...but we had lots of population centers... the.chosen ones are a real thing?

Or what happened to prophets in Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe?
The concentration of prophets in the middle east is probably due to those two aspects:
1) There was a tradition of prophecy in this society. People expected and accepted that a few elect had better access to God than others.
In Contrast, East Africans had their own monotheist religion (now superseeded by Islam and Christianity), but they did not have prophets; the traditions were shared in the people from generation to generation.

2) The Abrahamic religions come from there. Prophets in other regions do not have the same meaning to our religions, as they taught in an other context.
There have been prophets in Asia who were prophets in the context of their religious tradition. Parshvanta, Siddharta, Mahavira in India, Kong Fuzi (the last three almost contemporaries of each other).
 
The Jewish prophets...all based (as stater above) were quite local to that one area of the world...but we had lots of population centers... the.chosen ones are a real thing?
They also needed a Jewish kingdom to deliver their message of "... or else ..."

Once the "... or else ..." actually occurred - the destruction of the first Temple, the Exile - the prophets sort of lost steam, but that was the start of a more universalist, less local, understanding of the religion. Andthe cue for a long line of Messiah candidates, to replace the prophets, in a way.

(Just my reading of the texts and chronology. I'm not Jewish, and I don't claim to understand these texts and concepts in the Jewish way)
 
Who figures in the long line of Messiah candidates, in your view?

Well, Jesus comes to mind.

Then, a century later, Simon bar Kochba.

I think there were a few who are still known, in the subsequent centuries. To my understanding, the claimants shifted from military to mystical orientation.

Around the time of the crusades, Abulafia, for example. And a number of less-well-known ones.

Shabbatai Zwi, of course, in the 17th century.

Jacob Frank in the 18th.

Some Chassidic groups may believe that their founders were, in a mystical sense, the messiah, but I'm not sure I understand these correctly.
 
Well, Jesus comes to mind.

Then, a century later, Simon bar Kochba.

I think there were a few who are still known, in the subsequent centuries. To my understanding, the claimants shifted from military to mystical orientation.

Around the time of the crusades, Abulafia, for example. And a number of less-well-known ones.

Shabbatai Zwi, of course, in the 17th century.

Jacob Frank in the 18th.

Some Chassidic groups may believe that their founders were, in a mystical sense, the messiah, but I'm not sure I understand these correctly.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (died 1994) was considered by some of his followers to be The Messiah (and probably a few still do). I was a member for a short period but never bought the Messiah stuff.
 
There are many prophets of the past.

Adam - Prophecy to any human?

According to the Muslim teachings, Adam is the first prophet because he received the Word of God.
In my understanding, on the background of our present scientific knowledge, Adam is the only person in the traditional row of prophets who is not an individual person but rather a symbol of all mankind. With this understanding, what does it mean that Adam is prophet?
a) Mankind received a knowledge of God; He engraved in our hearts?
b) All men an women are prophets, as they are able to be in contact with God?
c) Some of the rules that may enable us to live in harmony with the Eternal Law of God have been revealed to mankind before historically related revelation?
d) Any other proposal?

Noah (Nuh, Atrahasis) - A common prophecy to mankind?
He is the earliest prophet of whom a human tradition exists. According to the Atrahasis Epos, Noah=Atrahasis obeyed the advice of En-ki (The Great God) and only Him. Even in the Atrahasis Epos which has been written down by more-or-less polytheists, he was at least a practicing monotheist (someone who serves only one God); he may even have been a philosophical monotheist (who believes that there is only One God and denies that any other deities may exist).
According to the Jewish tradition, he is also considered to be the ancestor of all mankind of today. Rabbinic Judaism has deduced from this that the laws that were established to Noah are valid for all mankind; quoting Wikipedia:
  1. Not to worship idols.
  2. Not to curse God.
  3. Not to commit murder.
  4. Not to commit adultery or sexual immorality.
  5. Not to steal.
  6. Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.
  7. To establish courts of justice.
Scientific research on the Great Flood could not find any evidence on a worldwide flood; in contrast, there is much evidence that the event behind the related tradition must have been more or less local. Nevertheless, we might ask:
- Are there any commandments or insights that have been related in traditions of the majority of human cultures?

Abraham and his Stem - The recognised prophets
Abraham, Ismaïl, Israel, Ja'akov and his twelve sons, Moses and the many prophets to the Jewish people until Mikhah are the common stem of reknown prophets to all Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity (with Universal Unitarians), Mandean, Islam (with Alevite and Ahmadddiyya), Druze, Baha'i, Mormons, extinct sects as Gnostics and Manicheans, mention other sects I do not know). Although some of them do not figure on the official dogmatic lists of rknown prophets, all teh sects do not discard any of them.
- Was it a Plan of God to illuminate so many prophets to the descendants of Abraham?
- Was it because the People of Abraham, in particular the People of Israel, accepted guidance through prophets?
- Was it the pleasure of God to send prophets to those who would probably accept them and listen to His Word?

Prophecy in Christianity
The later choice in Rabbinic Judaism puts Mikhah the last prophet. No Jew in or after the Maccabean period is considered a prophet by Jewish scholars. There is some evidence in the Gospels that at the time of Jesus, the Jews did not only expect the Messiah, but they didn't discard the possibility that there may be a new prophet, either. Both, John the Baptist and Jesus, had been seen as prophets. Paul mentiones "prophecy" as one of the possible skills of a Christian in the community. Nevertheless, Christians have never accorded the title of a prophet thereafter. The remaining non-Christian Judaism discarded not only Jeus , but also John the baptist, who seems to have been a well-recognised as a prophet by the Jews in in his time.

Mani - A false prophet?
Mani, a Persian, seems to be the first person after Jesus who claimed or was attributed the title of a prophet. He saw his to integrate the (orthodox) Christian, Gnostic and Parsian elements into one religion. He was not recognised either by the orthodox Christians, nor by all Gnostics, nor by the Parses, and later, not by Islam, either. The Manichaean religion was not a small community, but it was finally extinguished through Islamic conquerers and Christian Empires.
- Can humans recognise a false prophet? Jesus said: We can recognise them by their deeds. But from the sources we have, there are no deeds of Mani that would make him clearly recognisable as a false prophet.
- Does God make false prophets fail? Is the extinction of a religion a clear sign of God?
- Is the recognition of prophecy rather a matter of human empires and power?

Muhammad - the last prophet?
According to the Quran, Muhammad is the last prophet. Why?
- All prophets after Mikhah failed to admonish and teach all pubilc they had. His chosen people divided into two religions after Jesus. Mani did not succeed to unite orthodox Christians, Gnostics and Parses; rather his work resulted in a new sect. The Quranic message might have reunited Jews, Christians and others, but instead, a new sect was created. Did God decide to stop revelation to prophets, because humans divide on them instead of listening?
- Does God make real prophets succeed? Is the success of a religion a clear sign of God?

Nanak Dev, the Bab and the Baha-ullah, John Smith, and Ourselves - Can we accept newer prophets?
Newer persons claim to be prophets but finally, they only founded new sects. Neither of them has taught what would be inacceptable on prior scripture - if they had declared their scripture a result of their own reason, they might have been recognised in the original religion (Nank Dev in Hinduism, Baha-ullah in Islam, maybe even John Smith in Christianity)
- Is it possible that God appoints new prophets?
- Do humans still have a possibility to receive the Word of God?
- Were the prophets of the past really different from us, who can also receive of our prayers at least in our minds?
- Is prophecy absolute or relative?
- Is inspiration ordering our thoughts or injecting them?
Nanak Dev, aka Guru Nanak is said to be the founder of Sikhism. He was critical of both Hinduism and Islam and had followers from both traditions. He was alive at the same time as Kabir.
In fact the main Sikh scripture, which contains the writings of the 10 Sikh Gurus also contains many writing of Kabir.

I doubt very much that neither Kabir nor Guru Nanak would like to be thought of as prophets or manifestations/incarnations of any god (imo).
 
In the Absolute Truth thread I suggested
I think the line of annointed messengers concept may be at root a Twelver Shia doctrine, adapted in Baha'i beyond Islam, to create a more universal (unending) global line of divine messengers?
@Ahanu responded
And I am responding to him here, moving the discussion?
About 25 close type pages written from a Baha'i perspective, in the style of a scientific paper?

The opening passage from the Kitáb-i-ˆqán above may serve as an example where Bahá’u’lláh explicitly states the idea of an unending succession of revelation, ranging from Adam to the Báb.

5) Two main themes that are relevant for this paper are therefore the closely related ideas of:
• the chain of successive revelations
• the linkage of Adam and the Báb (and ultimately Bahá’u’lláh)

It is also significant that it is within this immediate context of the quoted passage of Bahá’u’lláh where Shoghi Effendi first employs the technical term progressive revelation.

6) A similar statement “from Adam” is also found elsewhere in the Kitáb-i-ˆqán where Bahá’u’lláh refers to “all the Prophets, from Adam even unto the ‘Seal,’ [Muhammad].”

7) The idea of a chain of prophecy can also be found in statements by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, e.g., “From time immemorial the divine teachings have been successively revealed, and the bounties of the Holy Spirit have ever been emanating.”


8) More specifically, ‘Abdu’l -Bahá speaks of “From the days of Adam” while implying the idea of a chain of prophecy: From the days of Adam until today, the religions of God have been made manifest, one following the other, and each one of them fulfilled its due function, revived mankind, and provided education and enlightenment.

9) In another passage ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explicitly identifies various religious figures while expressing the idea of a chain of prophecy:

For the position of Adam, with regard to the appearance and manifestation of the divine perfections, was in the embryonic condition; the position of Christ was the condition of maturity and the age of reason; and the rising of the Greatest Luminary [Bahá’u’lláh] was the condition of the perfection of the essence and of the qualities. This is why in the supreme Paradise the tree of life is the expression for the center of absolutely pure sanctity—that is to say, of the divine supreme Manifestation.


From the days of Adam until the days of Christ, They spoke little of eternal life and the heavenly universal perfections. This tree of life was the position of the reality of Christ; through His manifestation it was planted and adorned with everlasting fruits …"

Obviously the Baha'i believe it, but how does this show that the idea is not an adaptation by Baha'u'llah of the original Twelver line of prophets, extended to a global line? It was just a thought, anyway. No that important.

I don't believe that Adam and Eve were actual people anyway.

Sorry I didn't try to read the whole paper ...
 
Last edited:
Sorry I didn't try to read the whole paper ...
The paper is divided into sections. Each section covers a religion and sect of interest. The paper gives a brief overview of the idea of the chain of prophecy in Babism, Shaykhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Obviously the Baha'i believe it, but how does this show that the idea is not an adaptation by Baha'u'llah of the original Twelver line of prophets, extended to a global line? It was just a thought, anyway. No that important.

I do not believe the idea itself originates there.

Mani, who belonged to a Jewish Christian sect, was probably one of the first in Jewish Christian circles to extend the concept to a global line. The paper cites Mani through al-Biruni's version of his texts:

"Wisdom and deeds have always from time to time been brought to mankind by the apostles of God. So in one age they have been brought by the apostle called Buddha to India, in another by Zarathustra to Iran, in another by Jesus to the West. Thereupon this revelation has come down, this prophecy in this last age through me, Mání, the apostle of the God of truth to Babylonia."

The concept of the seven pillars of the world in Jewish Christian circles like Mani's and others is of particular interest. According to the Ebionites, these seven pillars of the world are none other than "the True Prophet" that appears in each age and finds its fullest expression in Christ:

"Both the Ebionites (c. 200 C.E.) and the Elkesaites (c. 100 C.E.) identify Adam and Christ as prophets. They also believed in a series of successive incarnations. The Pseudo-Clementines and Ebionites also speak of a reincarnated verus propheta (true prophet) .This 'True Prophet' is viewed in a recurring fashion as 'the seven pillars of the world' and which can be enumerated as: 1) Adam 2) Enoch 3) Noah 4) Abraham 5) Isaac 6) Jacob 7) Moses. The eight and final pillar is that of Christ. However, the idea of seven pillars that the world rests upon is, according to Schoeps, derived from the old Jewish Haggadah. He further states that: 'All the seven are alike in that each is a saddiq (righteous man), i.e., a true prophet. Also, the picture of the wandering Shekinah (the glory of God) was widely known and frequently associated with the seven righteous men. The names change, but the patriarchs and Moses are constant members of the group; in them the glory of God returns to the earth after the sins of the earliest period had driven it away. The later cabala developed these views into a doctrine of the reincarnation of the original man Adam Kadmon.'"

Although they were not mentioned in the article, I would also draw attention to the seven highest angels (which, of course, are superior to the others). The idea of the seven pillars of the world reminds me of these celestial counterparts. Anyway, this is the territory for the idea of a spirit descending to reside in each prophet. It is passed on from teacher to disciple.
 
Although they were not mentioned in the article, I would also draw attention to the seven highest angels (which, of course, are superior to the others). The idea of the seven pillars of the world reminds me of these celestial counterparts. Anyway, this is the territory for the idea of a spirit descending to reside in each prophet. It is passed on from teacher to disciple.
And here is the wildly speculative part on my end.

There are “seven exalted angelic princes” in Qumran texts. In my opinion there is a possible connection with angelic transformation, these seven exalted angelic princes, and John's Paraclete/the Spirit of Truth in certain ancient Jewish Christian circles knowledgeable of Qumran tradition. Baha'is and Muslims need to start looking more into this. 👀 This tradition is somehow getting passed down through Islam. "Truly your Lord is God, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then mounted the Throne . . . " (7.54) According to Ismai'lis, the six days of creation are six periods of revelation (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad).
 
Muhammad - the last prophet?
According to the Quran, Muhammad is the last prophet. Why?
- All prophets after Mikhah failed to admonish and teach all pubilc they had. His chosen people divided into two religions after Jesus. Mani did not succeed to unite orthodox Christians, Gnostics and Parses; rather his work resulted in a new sect. The Quranic message might have reunited Jews, Christians and others, but instead, a new sect was created. Did God decide to stop revelation to prophets, because humans divide on them instead of listening?
- Does God make real prophets succeed? Is the success of a religion a clear sign of God?
I like the concept of the 'Seal of the Prophets'. I think we need to consider the concept of the seal and see what it can possibly mean.

Firstly we know the Bible offers that the Book is Sealed, then Muhammad becomes the Seal of the Prophets, also indicating that there will become a time when the seals are opened.

This is also tied into scriptures when Jesus offered that he had more to say unto us and that we would be guided unto all truth, the key thought here I am considering, is that we will be guided, not compelled, nor forced, not given instant knowledge, but more like when the seals are opened, we get to choose to listen to and to read the opened scrolls.

Regards Tony
.
 
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