"The Way of G-d"
Part 3: "The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural"
Ch. 4: "The Prophetic Experience"
There's something of a counter-agenda in the world. And it's that of the
transcendent forces of evil and wrong which we'd spoken of before (see
1:5:8). Their G-d-given task in life is to sometimes thwart G-d's
intentions -- but only when it suits His ultimate agenda.
But let's explain. While G-d does indeed have an overarching benevolent
agenda for the universe, He nonetheless allows for things that seem
to prevent that agenda from actuating. (And as we'd explained, evil and
wrong exist to allow for free choice.)
So, one of the things the forces of evil and wrong were allowed to do was
to obfuscate G-d's prophetic messages, in order to test people's beliefs.
That's part of the dynamic behind prophets saying things that sometimes
mislead the people who depended upon their revelations.
Other things were allowed to go wrong as far as that's concerned, too.
Some so-called "prophets" actually expressed utterly false notions -- and
even performed miracles at the same time to prove them! Again, all in
order all to test their listeners' faith.
(Understand of course that miracles are "merely" supernatural,
extraordinary wonders and they needn't be rooted in truth or goodness
whatsoever. They need only be wondrous. Just know, then, that not
everything "miraculous" is evidence of truth!)
In any event both seeming- or near-prophets sometimes advanced false
ideas. Near-prophets did so inadvertently when they misread the messages
sent them, as we'd cited before. But seeming-prophets did so purposefully,
by communing with the transcendent forces of evil and wrong in an attempt
to arrive at something akin to prophecy and thus achieve a degree of
notoriety, status, power, and control.
Now, while the seeming-prophets weren't under any delusion that their
powers were coming from G-d (though their adherents were), the same sort
of misleading experience could also come upon legitimate near-prophets who
weren't trained well enough to know the difference. That was one of the
reasons why it was so important for a disciple to study under a master
But once someone would have achieved full-prophecy, there'd be no way for
him to be influenced by the forces of evil. All his messages would have
come from G-d.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel z"l,
and Sara Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid, z"l.
Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org