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.
- 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?"
- "A plumb line," I replied.
- Then the Lord said, "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer."
- 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
- I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- The historian is a reversed prophet.
- Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, in Athenäum (1798) I, 2, 20: Fragmente
- 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