From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Warning icon orange.svg This page contains too many unsourced statements and needs to be improved.

Prophet could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

Preach to the choir
Icon religion.svg
Crux of the matter
Speak of the devil
An act of faith
For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:11

A prophet is a person who claims to have received a message or revelation from a supernatural being (often, a god). The religions which are based on those revelations are called revealed religions. Prophets are regarded as fully human, but divinely inspired, unlike the Christian messiah, who is regarded as a human manifestation of God. The basic concept of prophecy is that the prophet is speaking for the supernatural; but often enough this involves revealing what is going to happen so that prophecy has acquired a secondary meaning of prediction by supernatural means.

While prophets are said to receive supernatural guidance, they can be fooled. For example, 1 Kings 13:12-24 describes an unnamed "man of God" who was supposed to abstain from food and drink but was tricked into breaking his vow by some guy who claimed he got a message from God to give the prophet something to eat and drink. And then God kills the prophet rather than the guy who lied to him, because that's apparently just how Big G rolls. Anybody can claim those contrary to the visions they receive are from the Devil and that ultimately can prevent cognitive dissonance.

Commonly accepted prophets within Abrahamic religions include Noah, Abraham, Moses and David. In the Hebrew Bible one of the three sections is the Nevi'im or prophets, which is divided into former (mainly history: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and latter prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve minor prophets). Islam considers Jesus to be a prophet, and holds Muhammad to be the last and greatest prophet of all.

Prophets are not just an ancient manifestation.

  1. More recent examples include Joseph Smith, Jr. of Mormonism.
  2. Current examples of self-proclaimed prophets include: David Koresh or Jim Jones.

False prophets[edit]

Religions that postulate prophets must address people who claim to be prophets but fail in their predictive power, and those who simply say things the dominant group disagrees with. The concept "false prophet" is often invoked to deal with such problems.

People are supposed to be able to distinguish a false prophet by their lack of predictive power. However, when one considers the batting record of modern prophets, it starts to look like they're all false. In the Bible, readers are warned to "beware of false prophets and false messiahs leading thee astray." The Antichrist in the Book of Revelation is said to accompanied by a "False Prophet" who is cast into the Lake of Fire along with the Antichrist and Satan to suffer for all eternity.


Many prophets over the course of history have harbored a desire for profits. Sadly, the pun is purely coincidental.


  • Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. – Matthew 7:15
  • And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast--miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. - Revelation 19:20
  • "I am a False Prophet, God is a superstition!" - Eli Sunday, There Will Be BloodWikipedia, 2007

See also[edit]