n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - True and false prophecy : relating a perspective from the Book of Jeremiah to the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition : research article

Volume 94, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-9556



Prophecy is one of the distinctive characteristics of the Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions. The phenomenon of prophecy, however, has a long tradition that played a significant role in the Old Testament. The problem of true and false prophecy also has a long history and was, in particular, a burning issue in the time of Jeremiah. In a time of crisis in the years just before the Babylonian exile, contradictory prophetic voices caused much confusion amongst the people of Judah. Several passages in the book of Jeremiah highlight the conflict between the prophets who all claim to speak in the name of YHWH. In Jeremiah 23:9-40, a collection of oracles on true and false prophecy, this issue is addressed once more. In combination with the cycle of kings in 21:1-23:8, the message is that the leadership in Judah has failed. Both the civil and the religious leaders have failed the people and contributed to the resulting Babylonian exile. The aim of this article is to discuss the issue of false prophecy by focusing on 23:9-40. The discussion focusses on the following aspects as it evolves from the mentioned cycle regarding the prophets: the commission to be a prophet, the content of prophecies, the means of revelation to the prophets and the ethical conduct of the prophets. The idea is to relate the findings of the discussion to the ongoing debate regarding what defines a true prophet and a false prophet.

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