Sunday, June 24, 2018

Met Georges Khodr: The True Prophet

Arabic original here.

The True Prophet

Today I will talk to you a little about prophecy, as we celebrate a great prophet. In the Old Covenant, this gift did did not, as most people think, exclusively mean speaking about things in the future. The prophets spoke about the times in which they lived. They spoke first of all about what God wanted to realize in His people. That is, they were God's shepherd's staff over the people. But the days to come were guaranteed in their words.

There is prophecy in the New Covenant. People think that prophecy has ended, but this is not true. The Apostle Paul mentions it as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, because even if Christ had said everything, there still must appear people who remind us of what has been said. Thus, the realization of Christ's words among sinful people in order to bring the recalcitrant back to their Lord, in the moment we are in now, in the circumstances we are going through, is not something that all people possess. There are those who teach, but do not convey the word of God with precision and power. There are those who convey God's will without being theoretical teachers. God sends His Spirit to some in the time of the New Covenant in order to strike people, to uproot evils from their souls, as was said by the tongue of Jeremiah: "I destroy and I build. I uproot and I plant."

It is the role of some strict believers in the Church to ruin the plans of others. It is not that they wish them evil, but so that sin may be destroyed and not rule over the Church. There is holy animosity, divine anger that blows like a storm. Harmful weeds must be uprooted and good plants must be planted. In the Church, there is inevitably authority. There are those who exercise godly, pure, righteous authority and there are those who wield authority over people for their own glory and do not bring them to God's glory. The great sin-- and there is no sin beyond it-- in the Church, in society, in governance, and in the world is for people to lord over other people. Therefore there must appear those who bring low the mighty from their thrones so that the humble may be elevated. This can only happen if we shout the word of God. The word of God must shake souls and bodies. It must break bones and ribs. It must put a limit to sin, lest God's name be exploited for the sake of lusts. This is the role of any prophet in the New Covenant. God is translated day after day, or else He is absent. And it is the occupation of false prophets to make God absent.

In the time of Elijah, there were prophets of Baal and Ishtar. They were Jews who were born into truth and then mixed in their minds the image of the true God with with the image of pagan gods and so the Prophet Elijah fought them. Perhaps deep down the idea is that Elijah put an end to idolatry, and every sin is the worship of an idol. And so John the Baptist was necessary. The Evangelist Luke says that John the Baptist came "with the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17). It was necessary for John to tell Herod that he had transgressed the Law. John knew that it was dangerous to contradict kings. He knew that speaking the truth could lead to being slaughtered, but he was not afraid of anything. He preferred death to keeping silent about sin. There is expiation in Christianity. Not expiation for people's sins that have been hidden, but for their sins have have been declared.

How do we know how to distinguish between righteous prophets and false prophets? How do we know that Elijah was a prophet of God and that the others were prophets of demons? Elijah gave the criterion when he said, "Living is the God before whom I stand" (1 Kings 18:15). That is, if you always see God in the face of Jesus Christ, if your hand does not touch money, if your heart does not beat for authority, if you see God's light before you, then you are a true prophet. Otherwise, you are covering your demon in God's name, you are sanctifying your lusts, you are calling imperiousness obedience, you are calling prudery chastity... In this way, the true prophet is distinguished from the false prophet. The true prophet is poor and does not lord over people... In the end, we have not known prophecy except on the cross. When the Savior was slaughtered, the Word of God was announced, speaking in humankind. It went with love. Those who love are the prophets.

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