More Biblical Prophets and Their Sins
Biblical prophets were great men of God but even they are not our ultimate example. They were all fallible and did fall. This is part 4 (Go back to part 3) of an examination of the lives of Biblical prophets that may help us keep from discouragement - God used them in spite of their failings - He can use us too.
Moses is identified as a prophet by both Old and New Testament writers:
"And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved." (Hos 12:13)
"This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear." (Acts 7:37)
Other verses show that Moses was sent by God to speak to the children of Israel - Exo 15:20; 1 Sam 12:8; Psa 77:20; Isa 63:12; Mic 6:4.
"And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand." (Exo 2:11-12)
Running from justice
"Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well." (Exo 2:15)Disobedience to a direct command from God and unbelief
"Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." (Num 20:8-12)
Speaking his own words rather than waiting for God
"Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains. Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee. And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:" (1 Chron 17:1-4)
Here is an example of a prophet speaking his own words which, it turned out, were not in agreement with the message God wanted him to speak. The Bible does not indicate that Nathan was reprimanded for doing that. The prophets have their own opinions and may express them at times. Not every word spoken by a prophet is necessarily a direct message from God.
Although Noah did not write any of scripture he spoke for God:
"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" (2 Pet 2:5)
"Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." (Gen 6:22)
Nudity and drunkennessNoah became drunken with wine which lead to other problems.
"And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." (Gen 9:20-21)
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" (Eph 5:18)
Biblical prophets might be accused of plagiarism in some cases yet they spoke for God.Quoting pagan sources
"And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (Acts 9:5)
"And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (Acts 26:14)
The line "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" is from Euripedes in a play about Dionysus son of Zeus. Not only did Paul quote this, but he said that Jesus quoted it.
Another point to note regarding how inspiration works is that Paul referred twice to the same event in which Jesus said these words to him, yet he reported Jesus' words differently in each case:
Here is another example of Paul quoting from people who were certainly not Biblical prophets:
"For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device." (Acts 17:28-29)
"For in him we live, and move, and have our being" is from Epimenides in his poem Cretica speaking of Zeus. "For we are also his offspring" is from Aratus speaking of Zeus in Phaenomena. This is also found in Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus. Notice that in vs. 29 Paul agrees with the quote and applies it to the true God without explaining to the Athenians that it's not the same God. The whole Mars' Hill incident shows this principle (See Acts 17:22-31). Here is another example:
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Phil 2:12)
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" was quoted from Mahaparinibbanasutta which is part of the Buddhist Sacred writings.
"One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;" (Titus 1:12-13)
The phrase "The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies" was from Epimanides' Hymn to Zeus. According to vs. 13 Paul agreed with the quote. One interesting aspect of this is that the reason why Epimanides said this was because the Cretians did not belief that Zeus was immortal.
From all this it would seem that Paul either read the Greek Pagan literature or went to their plays, or both.Harshness and rude vulgarity
"I wish those who trouble you would castrate themselves." (Gal. 5:12, literal translation)
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," (Phi 3:8)
This translation waters it down quite a bit. The Greek word used here is "skubalon" and was actually a swear word in first century Greek. The most accurate modern equivalent is (excuse me) "sh-t."
We don't think of Peter as a Biblical prophet and he wasn't called a prophet but he did pen books of the Bible. And we well know that Peter was guilty of denying his Lord and, later in his ministry, he made mistakes also:Denying Jesus
"And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept." (Mark 14:66-72)Discriminating against the Gentiles
"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Gal 2:11-14)
Peter, through his example, led others, including Barnabas, to act in the same way.
So, on this page, we have seen more evidence that Biblical prophets were men subject to the same passions we are. They said and wrote things that many would deem questionable today.Go to page 5 for yet more examples.
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