Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?

So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, you will know them by their fruits.


Josephus complained bitterly about people who called themselves 'prophets' during the build-up of the first Jewish Revolt against Rome; these would lead a group of people out into the wilderness, or up the Mount of Olives or Mt Gerizim (the Samaritan holy site) or across the Jordan, promising to lead them into a new Exodus in which the pagans would be driven out and Israel freed from slavery to them... 

Josephus took a dim view of any popular movement, being an aristocrat from a prominent priestly family himself -- a man who seemingly failed to understand why the rebel groups he nominally commanded would want to burn the tax & debt records in any city they took. But these people and the tradition they came from did seem to be bad news, continually expecting God to confirm and follow their interpretations of Israel's prophesied destiny, according to schedules they calculated from diligent and wrong-headed attention to their scriptures -- and the result of their efforts was always violent repression by the Romans. 

One such revolt is said to have left 2000 insurrectionists crucified along the road that passed by Nazareth about the time Jesus was born. No doubt he heard about it, many times, as he was growing up.

Does this passage apply to anyone in our current times? Few of us believe in prophets anymore, but we are offered a wide array of futurists, politicians, and people who interpret the Bible in much the same way that Judean  revolutionaries once consulted it in search of 'the day and the hour' when God would finally do their will... instead of praying for a better sense of God's will.

And there are so very very many people -- who think they've figured out what evil needs to be perpetrated, in hopes some promised good will result...

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I don't equate the "gift of prophecy" (vocal ministry?) as elevating anyone in itself to the status of a prophet.  The prophet Joel prophesied:  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

The gift of prophecy spoken of by Joel and practiced in Pentacostal churches and in Quaker Meetings everywhere(often called "vocal ministry") is a gift (freely given - ask and you shall receive).  The role of a prophet is a calling.  God calls his prophets:  Who shall I send?  I don't think you have to know you are being called - you get a revelation and decide to spread that revelation by making it an important, if not the most important, part of your life.  God isn't limited by our belief in Him or our understanding of Him.  So yes there are prophets on the world stage.  We just don't recognize them until years later when we can look back and see that they were right about not taking a certain path.

The early Abolitionists were prophets, Quaker and Non-Quaker alike.  The question that must be discerned on today's American political scene is are those advocating restrictions on gun rights Prophets or False Prophets?  Time will tell.  In the meantime it doesn't take a prophet to discern that the money spent on weapons and jails would be better spent on mental health.

As I and several others (just now) have pointed out, you're [Kirby] apparently missing the point of what a prophet does contribute vs the ego-based predictions of a 'futurist' -- who is likelier than not to be a contemporary version of those 'false prophets' -- that is, a shill for some industry, organization or other narrow interest group.

We've got people asking for Biblical references; you should consider the story of Micaiah (Kings 22 -- ). This points up the most significant difference rather well, I think. And does not imply that a 'false prophet' (by that or any other name) can not be perfectly well-intentioned...

I'd say the phrase "vs ego-based predictions of a 'futurist'" only communicates your [ Forrest's ] disdain and lack of understanding of futurists.  Who says a 'futurist' must be any more ego-based than someone who chooses Biblical terms for themselves?  Assuming so looks to me more like knee-jerk succumbing to stereotypes, as if individual engineers couldn't be more spiritual than individual bishops (we're bewitched by these terms).

If I'm going to use that label ("prophet") then I'd choose Albert Einstein as a good example.  It's not that prophets are always heeded, as we learn from his case.  He wrote to FDR hoping the US would find a way to forestall using an atomic chain reaction in anger, ever.  He wasn't saying "beat the Germans to it by nuking Japan."  He was not trying to make WW2 go nuclear, as it eventually did.  He was explicit about that. 

Plus he was communicating deep insights into the inner workings of God's designs, and proving correct in hindsight about many of them (they've been confirmed).  Einstein was a prophet, bar none.  But the people were callow and stupid and failed to heed this Great Ambassador from God, this Rabbi, and as a consequence, great suffering was visited upon them and their minds were lowered to those of soulless beasts (no offense to non-humans, just wanting to sound Biblical).  You know the rest of the story.

Another great prophet:  Linus Pauling.  He stood up to dictatorial types. 

Back to Albert for a sec, what he hadn't realized is how many Nazis would make it into the US in the fog of war, only to join forces here with local supremacists of various types (see 'War Against the Weak' by Edwin Black), in hopes of creating a Fourth Reich, this time with the US a superpower instead of Germany.  Of course only buffoons and bozos would embrace such foolish notions, and that they did, in vast numbers. Does that bring us up to date?

Anyway Pauling dared to tell the truth to the American people:  that they were being used as guinea pigs during atmospheric tests and those doing the testing cared naught for their health and safety.  That was a tough message to get across, in an age when Americans were such innocent obedient sheep, easy to sacrifice.  He was put on Official Washington's watch list, as possibly unAmerican (his gaining two Nobel Prizes proves the King of Sweden has superior intel, but we knew that -- at least Fuller got his Medal of Freedom from Casey-Reagan).

But then I'll go back to saying I don't feel forced to use Biblical words or genuflect to those who do, mistakenly thinking Biblical = God-fearing / no-ego whereas Secular = ego with no understanding of teleological forces.  Lets be clear:  many engineer-futurists are deeply religious, just not Christian, which makes them all that much more effective given Christianity is a wounded deer in the forest (thanks to its many false prophet "followers" like Jerry Falwell). 

That Bible-believers are the more spiritual among us, the most free-of-ego, is maybe not what the data indicate?  C.S. Lewis is with me:  an atheist is often many rungs higher on the spiritual ladder, than a Christian who projects all responsibility on others and just speaks truth to power all day (snicker).  I like visiting with Humanists of Greater Portland (e.g. Dr. DiNucci, their current president) because when it comes to spiritual depth, that can be hard to find among run-o-the-mill "Christians" -- although many Quakers have proved exceptional in my experience, so I do tend to hang around them as well.

When Forrest says "ego-based" he may be simply stating that the futurist, in his methods, his goals and his questions, is often acting out of his will, whereas the true prophet, by definition, has insight into God's will or a different view of reality that isn't connected to "technique." In this sense, simply saying something about the future that is true, or giving good advice, does not make one a prophet. The source of that advice or revelation about the future must equally be considered. If I know that someone is a Satanist because they told me or because I recognized the significance of a symbol on their person, it is not a sign of prophetic gifting. By contrast, if I know this by revelation despite the lack of outward signs, it could be.

As far as I can tell, nobody is saying that futurists or scientists or secular or non-Christian people are bad people (some of my best friends are secular or non-Christian!). I don't even think that anyone is saying that ego-driven action is, necessarily, a bad thing. (I wonder if previous negative experiences are coloring your perception of this, Kirby?)

However, prophetic ministry serves as a uniquely form of God's corrective medicine, which is why prophets were and are regularly vilified, condemned, persecuted or, even, killed. Futurists, engineers and designers rarely provoke such ire, which suggests that, though they may be very important, their role is a fundamentally different one, not equivalent to that of the prophet.

'Ego' can validly refer to consciously-directed mental mechanisms. The alternative is not 'Christian' -- or 'Biblically-based' either (which was what the false prophets of Jesus' day tended to be)  but a vision 'so grounded in God [as an actual, non-figurative reality underlying the lessor realities we know and are] that all things take their rightful place.

Einstein was a real nice guy, highly intuitive, and speaking the truth as he knew it. There's a difference. The prophets of the Bible were worthless as guides to the structure and workings of the physical world, which was simply not their subject matter.

Among near-contemporaries, Dorothy Day comes closest.

Also, I need to make chili the rest of the day, and you need to read about Micaiah. & listen more before responding, please. (If this is your art form, you will want to do it better!)

Do you share your chili recipe?

Forrest Curo said:

Also, I need to make chili the rest of the day, and you need to read about Micaiah. & listen more before responding, please. (If this is your art form, you will want to do it better!)

Einstein spoke and wrote of his non-anthropomorphic conception of God.  In the New York Times even.  If a criterion for being more than just a nice guy, highly intuitive, is writing about God, then Einstein qualifies.  I stick to my guns on this one:  he was as great a prophet as any in the Bible.

In the Bible, those poor slobs don't have much science.  They're very ignorant compared to people in our age, not their fault.  It's called evolution and humans today have miraculous powers compared to humans back then.

It makes complete sense, then, that we have different roles now, different division of labor.  The ragged houseless guy with a sign saying "The World is Ending" has become a caricature of what a prophet is. 

To me, that's an indication the word ("prophet") is long past its pull date in the vernacular.  People who love Biblical language never want to admit any of it has gone stale as the Bible is like wine to them, worth reading to the exclusion of much else ("no Hume for me, gotta re-read James for the Nth time" -- blech). 

A lot of old language has gone stale.  A lot. We really don't need to rub children's faces in it, though I see many doing that (I'm a subscriber to the Everything is Terrible Youtube feed -- lots of "Christian" poopka).

But I'm OK with those who still cultivate their taste for such stuff.  I just don't use it as a litmus test for "spirituality".  Out here in Portland, that's easy, as no one else here does either hardly, among the literati and cognoscenti.  I'm one of the digerati. 

To me, Quakerism is a lot about keeping meticulous / accurate records for the glory of God.  Here in my Singapore office (science fiction), on the 48th floor, the idea you could be a Quaker clerk, yet know nothing of SQL, is just laughable, ridiculous.  Go back to Quaker school!  Get a real education!

Kirby Urner
Technology Clerk

PS:  I agree I promised to do more homework earlier, lots of titles were proposed.  Expect to next hear from me sometime after Halloween.  I have lots on my plate.  No need to gorge (pig out).  Enjoy the season! 

Science is fine for the material world our bodies exist in (As a civil engineer licensed in NYS as a PE I think I am familiar with science), however it is insufficient to take into account the spiritual world that the physical world is immersed in.  Just as there are formulas such as F=MA and E=MCsquared for the physical world there are formulas for the spiritual world such as judge not that ye be not judged that determine what happens to individuals in the physical world (Did I hear a Buddhist say Karma?).  Living by rules that govern the first 50 to 100 years of your life while ignoring rules that affect the rest of it isn't intelligent, it's not good planning and it shows no foresight.  Speaking of James did you know that he tells us how to be perfect?  Check it out.

Um, chili:

Take one small kosher chicken (optional) and let your Significant Other roast it the night before. Have a few nibbles & pop the rest into the fridge.

Also take a pretty big pot and put 7 cups of beans into it. (I like 1/2 black beans and 1/2 pinto, myself.) Boil this a few minutes the night before and leave to soak.

You may also want (I do):

3 Habanero peppers (flavorful and will promote a healthy flow of human emotional fluids from eyes & nose. Wash hands after handling & before touching anything delicate. Juice on skin (from other peppers as well) will soak in all the way to your joints, may relieve inflammation but will surely hurt awhile, esp if you subsequently wash dishes in hot water.) May not be to everybody's taste. Try one pepper/pot for a start if you're used to normal gringo spiciness level.

3 Anaheim peppers

2 onions

1 package of carrots

several potatoes, cooked already

~3 sweet potatoes

any other peppers that want to participate

a couple large cans of tomato sauce

garlic & cumin.

Whack things to suitable bites & throw in at various times, depending on how much you want any particular ingredient to cook. Carrots & sweet potatoes will take awhile. The schmushed potati should go in last, after the beans soften, to thicken the glup. (Around this time the glup gets very prone to sticking on the bottom; watch, & stir often!) Chicken, onion, and some of the peppers will be better if you fry them together awhile and put them in toward the end. Meanwhile boil the bones & skin so the resulting broth will help flavor things.

You will want the Habaneros very finely whacked, and thrown in early enough that they disappear without leaving too many concentrated hot spots (which can provide considerable suspense and surprises in eating the chili later.)

James, aren't you glad you asked?! (I think I'll go collapse now!)

Yes, I'm glad I asked.  I'm a chili lover.  email your address to and I will send you some of my homegrown chili powder.  Had so many peppers last year that we took this year off.  I still have enough powder to get me through the coming year.   Have never put potatoes, sweet potatoes or carrots in my chili but I will try to sneak them in one at a time.  I like to add some dark chocolate and I make my own chili powder from various dried peppers.  The wife is not a real heat lover but I go all out for Quaker events although I generally go the vegan route then.  I too like the black and pinto beans but throw in others to please as many as possible.  Do you pre-cook the sweet potatoes?  I also add broth and coconut flour on occasion depending on how it looks to me.

Hello again!

I have one additional observation.  I participate in both QuakerQuaker and MennoDiscuss.  MernnoDiscuss is a conservative-leaning, but not ultra-conservative (they don't participate in Internet dialogue), Mennonite forum.

In comparing the two fora, I note that MennoDiscuss participants operate from a mostly common Biblical frame of reference; this is true for both ethnic Mennonites and converts.  They may disagree about many things, but they use a common language and refer to common Biblical and historical texts.  It is significant of course that MennoDiscuss has a conservative bias.  If there were really liberal Mennonites involved, there would probably be fewer commonalities.

QuakerQuaker is also somewhat conservative as far as Quaker fora are concerned, but our discussion of prophets and prophecy shows that we operate from quite disparate assumptions.  Some of us think in terms of "secular" assumptions and secular literary sources, and others proceed from more traditional Quaker and Biblical premises.  Dialogue across these disparities tends to be superficial and "scattered".   The dialogue lacks a coherent ("centered") character.

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