A prophet is an individual who, in religious terms, is claimed to have been contacted by divine or supernatural entities, or to speak for such, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering knowledge or information of such entities to others. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy. Traditionally, prophets are regarded as having a role in society that promotes change due to their messages and actions. The English word "prophet" comes from the Greek προφήτης (profétés) meaning advocate, and has become applied generally to anyone who makes predictions based on nearly any means of analysis or assessment, whether correct or not.
- And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
- The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, "What do you see, Amos?"
- The Roman came into the Promised Land that had become less and less as promised. The rich got along quite well with the foreign occupation; it provided protection from desperate peasants and patriotic resistance fighters. It provided protection from prophets who could be labeled "agitators" now, without any qualms.
- Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope (1959), in Man on His Own (1970), p. 121
- The prophet's mantle, ere his flight began,
Dropt on the world — a sacred gift to man.
- Thomas Campbell, Pleasures of Hope, Part I, line 43
- I shall always consider the best guesser the best prophet.
- Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 5, a Greek adage
- The Prophet ... remains always a man apart, a narrow-minded extremist, zealous for his own ideal, and intolerant of every other. And since he cannot have all that he would, he is in a perpetual state of anger and grief; he remains all his life "a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth." [Jeremiah 15:10] Not only this: the other members of society, those many-sided dwarfs, creatures of the general harmony, cry out after him, "The Prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad" [Hosea 9:7]; and they look with lofty contempt on his narrowness and extremeness.
- Ahad Ha'am, "Priest and Prophet" (1893), in Selected Essays (1904), as translated from the Hebrew by Leon Simon (1912), p. 130
- The best prophets lead you up to the curtain and let you peer through for yourself.
- The striking surprise is that prophets of Israel were tolerated at all by their people. To the patriots, they seemed pernicious; to the pious multitude, blasphemous; to the men in authority, seditious.
- Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets (1962), p. 19
- When you spread out your hands in prayer,
- I hide my eyes from you;
- even when you offer many prayers,
- I am not listening.
- Your hands are full of blood!
- Wash and make yourselves clean.
- Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
- stop doing wrong.
- Learn to do right; seek justice.
- Defend the oppressed.
- Take up the cause of the fatherless;
- plead the case of the widow.
- A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and in his own house.
- Jesus, in Matthew, XIII. 57
- Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit…
- Jesus in Matthew 7:16
- And those dwelling on the earth rejoice over them and enjoy themselves, and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those dwelling on the earth. And after the three and a half days spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them.
- ... it is always the habit of man to reincarnate his heroes and divinities, so that Barbarossa and Odin tend to become indistinguishable, and Moses is forever reappearing—in our own time as Joseph Smith, Mary Baker G. Eddy and a long series of lesser prophets. No doubt Noah, as a small boy, heard in his Chedar school of an Ur-Noah, and played with a toy ark. And the Ur-Noah that he heard of probably had predecessors of his own.
- As it was, deformed and made mad by his hellish life, he had become what prophets had probably always been: not frauds, for they themselves believed what they had seen, but pitiful creatures, dreaming some salvation from this crushing world in their malfunctioning brains. Yaum ed din, the crazy little man, the prophet Aida’s John the Baptist, had said: the Day of Religion, the Muslim’s term for Judgment Day. Yaum ed din, the last consolation of the crazy and the weak.
- Jamil Nasir, in Tower of Dreams (1999), Chapter 9 (p. 123)
- If I have eschewed the word prophet, I do not wish to attribute to myself such lofty title at the present time, for whoever is called a prophet now was once called a seer; since a prophet, my son, is properly speaking one who sees distant things through a natural knowledge of all creatures. And it can happen that the prophet bringing about the perfect light of prophecy may make manifest things both human and divine, because this cannot be done otherwise, given that the effects of predicting the future extend far off into time.
- Nostradamus, in The Prophecies (1555), Preface
- And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
- Numbers 12:6-8
- I tell you in truth: all men are Prophets or else God does not exist.
- Jean-Paul Sartre, in The Devil and the Good Lord (1951), act 1
- If your prophet was sexually insecure, or if his later interpreters were, that religion demanded celibacy or repression or even hatred of women; if the prophet was a homophobe, he preached persecution of homosexuals; and if he was both lecherous and greedy, he preached polygyny. If he was luxurious, he preached give-me-money-and-God-will-make-you-rich; if he felt put upon he preached God-of-Vengeance, let’s kill the other guy; and no matter how much well-meaning ecumenicists pretended all the gods were one god under different aspects, they weren’t any such thing, because every prophet created God in his own image, to confront his own nightmares.
- Prognostics do not always prove prophecies, at least the wisest prophets make sure of the event first.
- Horace Walpole, letter to Thomas Walpole (9 February 1785)
- The prophets ... hurled their "woe be unto you" against those who oppressed and enslaved the poor, those who joined field to field, and those who deflected justice by bribes. These were the typical actions leading to class stratification everywhere in the ancient world, and were everywhere intensified by the development of the city-state (polis).
- It is characteristic of the prophets that they do not receive their mission from any human agency, but seize it.
- To determine whether a man is indeed a prophet, one must consider whether he has been following the way of "holiness" (qedushah) and "separation" (perishut). A prophet separates himself from the vanities and the intrigues of the times and "from the general ways of the people, who walk in the darkness of the time." The path of holiness, like the "way of the wise men," is a preparation for theoria. The prophet trains himself to keep his mind completely clear of vain and empty matters.
- Raymond L. Weiss, Maimonides' Ethics: The Encounter of Philosophic and Religious Morality (1991), p. 153