Prophecy and History
in Relation to the Messiah

The Warburton Lectures for 1880-1884

Alfred Edersheim



And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you,
while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written
in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning
Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might
understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:44, 45.

We may almost be pardoned the wish that St. Luke had, at least in this instance, not so closely adhered to his plan of narration, and told us in detail to what special lines of prophetic thought Christ had pointed the minds which He opened, and what special prophecies, dimly apprehended of old, He had now illumined with the radiance of His risen glory. Yet it is perhaps best for the Church that to all time only these gigantic measurements should have been laid to the Scriptures of the Old Testament: that they form one organic whole, being bound together by the prophetic element which is common to them all; that their prophecy is of the Christ, that He should suffer and rise again, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations—in other words, that they tell of His humiliation, exaltation and reign; of the story of sin, righteousness, and judgment; of man, Christ, and God; or, in more scientific language, that they contain the anthropology, soteriology, and eschatology—in short, the history of the Kingdom of God.

But whatever prophetic Scriptures Christ may have opened at that time, their Messianic interpretation would, to judge by the Old Testament quotations in the Gospels, not have been according to the straitness of the letter, which regarded a prophecy as exhausted by one special event, but in the expansiveness of the spirit, which, starting from a definite event as the terminus a quo of fulfilment, followed the prophetic element in it through its unfolding to its finality in the Kingdom of God, which is the goal of all prophecy. As the words of our Lord imply, the whole Old Testament is prophetic, not only in its special predictions, but even in its history, from the ‘Out of Egypt I have called My Son,’ to ‘A prophet like unto me shall the Lord your God raise up unto you.’ Thus the Old Testament pointed beyond itself to the perfectness which it announced and for which it prepared. That perfectness consists in the removal of all the evil which sin has wrought, in the restoration of man to God, and in the fulness of blessings which flows from fellowship between God and man. This is the Kingdom of God. To announce it and to prepare for it, was the object of the Old Testament. More especially was Prophetism the moral and spiritual element in the Old Testament, which was intended to meet the people in their successive stages of development, to point out to them the lessons of the past, to explain the meaning of the present, and so to prepare them for that future which it announced. God’s dealings with Israel in the past were ever on the lips of the prophets. In their hands the Law lost its deadness of the letter and became instinct with a new life. Circumcision, sacrifices, the priesthood, and all the other religious institutions in Israel—and what institution in Israel was not religious?—were shown to have a spiritual background, to point to spiritual realities, and to have a spiritual counterpart in that blessed future which the prophets were specially commissioned to announce, that so through the lessons of the past and the discipline of the present they might prepare men for that future which was the end and goal of all.

To this moral element in prophetism as its inmost characteristic the present Lecture will be devoted, leaving another aspect of it for future consideration.

1. All prophecy has the moral and spiritual element, I shall not say for its aim, but as its basis and essential quality. The distinction seems important in this, as in the case of miracles, especially those of our Lord. An endeavour has sometimes been made to vindicate for them what is called a moral object. But this would be to transfer our human modalities to what is Divine. The Divine has no object outside its own manifestation. The moral is its quality, not its aim. And it is the moral and spiritual in man, the remnant of the Divine in him, and that which renders him capable of restoration, which, consciously or unconsciously, stretches forth its hands towards God, rises towards its spring, tends heavenwards. Consciously or unconsciously, it underlies not only the idea of, but all the great institutions that are common to all religions. It forms the fundamental idea of sacrifices, priesthood, prayers, prophetism, and of that grand thought of a reign of universal peace and happiness which, in one form or another, exists in all religions. In part these may be regarded as the result and survival of a primeval tradition; and, in part, they are the outcome of the deepest aspirations, and (why should I not say it?) of the true Divine instincts of the human spirit.

Even that which in some respects is farthest from, and yet is also nearest to, prophecy—heathen divination—was not destitute of this moral element.2 It were a narrow and mistaken view, judging it by its later development, to regard heathen divination as merely imposture or delusion. In its fundamental idea it represented deep consciousness of distance from God; a longing to know His will, to be guided by it, and to have fellowship with Him; and, finally, a feeling that God was indeed near to man, that He cared for him, and guided the events of his life. These are also among the premisses on which the Old Testament proceeded. Only, starting from the same premisses, the Old Testament pointed in a totally different direction, and accordingly reached the opposite results from heathenism. Heathenism endeavoured to attain its desire by divination (mantic), which sought all either in nature or from man; while the Old Testament pointed for all to the living God. Heathen divination was either by means external, such as signs, auguries, the stars, conjuring the dead; or else by means internal, such as dreams, visions, and the ecstatic state. But neither in the one nor the other case did it seek its satisfaction in spiritual fellowship with God. That element was wholly wanting. The direct opposite of this is characteristic of the Old Testament and its prophecy. Here everything is spiritual, comes from, and points to God. Divine revelation meets the moral wants of man, and directs him to God. This one thing appears most clearly throughout the whole Old Testament: that there is absolutely no power in any outward things to produce prophecy, nor yet has the prophet himself any power to produce it within himself by any means of his own, but that in all cases it comes straight from God, to whom, when, how, and where He pleases; that a man becomes a prophet as God gives him the message, and is such only and so long as God continues to send it. On the other hand, God did meet this deep want and longing of His children by sending His prophets and putting His Word into their mouths. Hence to receive or else to resist them could not be matter of indifference, since they were the direct ambassadors of God; but it involved either obedience to Him, or else guilt. And in the New Testament we have in this also progressed to the finality of widest fulfilment. Of old there were intermittent springs, now we have a perennial fountain; then the Holy Spirit fell on individuals at special times, now He dwells permanently in all His people; then there were prophets, now we have One ever-living Prophet, an everlasting link that binds us to God, One Who not only brings the promises, but in Whom they are Yea and Amen.

Otherwise, also, the points of contact between heathenism and revealed religion are most important. They seem to start from the same point (as terminus a quo), for the outgoings of the human spirit are ever the same. But the road they take, and hence their end (the terminus ad quem), are widely different, for they are under very different guidance. These common underlying ideas: a sense of guilt, longing after the Divine, and belief in His connection with our earth, equally express themselves in heathen and in Jewish sacrifices, in the belief in the Golden Age, and in the expectation of the Kingdom of God. As regards the latter, there is indeed this characteristic difference, that, except as directed by the Jewish Sibyl, the Golden Age is past, while in Revelation it is the goal towards which all God’s manifestations and all man’s developments tend. But these institutions and ideas were the outcome of the common consciousness, wants, aspirations, and expectations of all mankind, and, as we believe, the result of a common original tradition. But how differently they were developed, and to what different goal they led in heathenism and under the Old Testament, appears best when we compare the final outcome of the two: in the one case Jesus Christ, in the other the heathen world. And, as regards this period of comparison, Hoffmann has well expressed it, that what Cæsar Augustus is for the understanding of Roman history, that Jesus Christ is for that of the history of Israel. And the absolute contrast of final results between the two developments starting from the same point is due to this, that, as St. Paul indicates, heathenism sought not the realisation of its wishes and wants by seeking it from God—they retained not God in their knowledge nor glorified Him—whereas revelation in the Old Testament pointed to the living and true God, to simple faith or receptiveness, and to submission to His Word and Will, and then met that faith by a reality which bound heaven to earth, made sacrifices a type of Christ, prophecy a direct message from God, and the great hope of the future a Kingdom of God on a ransomed earth. And to go one step further: Even as regards the knowledge of God, heathenism closely approximated to, yet remained at infinite distance from the Old Testament. In its highest outcomings heathenism reached to a unity, but it was the unity of a principle, or an abstraction—an It, not He; Fate, not Jehovah. And even under the Old Testament the standpoint of present knowledge was only that of Jehovah as the God of all the earth and the Father of His people Israel. It was prophecy which pointed beyond this to the finality of all in the Christ, and to God as in Him the God and Father of all His people. In a world of which politically and religiously the one great characteristic was the most rigid nationalism, it stood alone in the moral grandeur of setting forth the brotherhood of humanity, the sonship of adoption, and the universal Fatherhood of God.

It is this moral element as leading up to God, whereas heathenism led away from God, which is characteristic of Revelation and of the Old Testament in every one of its institutions, and which also clearly marks the difference between mantic and prophecy. And this leads back to a question left unanswered in the former Lecture. It will be remembered that, so far from seeing anything incompatible—a dilemma in which we must make our choice—between the prophet as preacher to his times, or as the predicter of future events, we perceived in these two aspects a deeper unity. We are now prepared to go further, and to recognise the necessity of this union of the preacher and the predicter in the prophet. It is due to the moral element in prophecy. Moreover, we have here the means of understanding and applying that test by which the Old Testament would have us distinguish the true from the false prophet. Commonly two passages are quoted for this purpose. But, as generally interpreted, it must be admitted that the tests which they are supposed to supply would be vague and unsatisfactory. For in Deuteronomy 13:1-5, we have only this characteristic of the false prophet, that he leads the people away from Jehovah and after other gods; while in Deuteronomy 18:9-22, the canon is laid down, that if the thing predicted did not come to pass, the prophet had not spoken from God, but presumptuously and from himself. At first sight it might seem as if both these tests were practically worthless. For, this test that the false prophet led away from God, might, from the standpoint of Anti-Jehovahism, seem to involve a petitio principii; while, as regards the test of a prediction by its fulfilment, many years might have to elapse before it could be applied, so that it would scarcely afford the means for present discernment whether a prophet spoke from the Lord or from himself.

But further consideration will correct this superficial view. For, first, we mark in these two canons a distinction between prophet and prophecy. The latter might be either prediction in the narrowest sense, or else prophecy in the wider sense. If prediction in the narrower sense, it would, with rare exceptions, which mark special high-points in prophetism, be a sign or an announcement of immediate judgment or deliverance. In that case, the second canon—that of fulfilment or non-fulfilment (Deut 18:9-22)—would naturally apply. On the other hand, prophecy in the wider sense would grow out of exhortation, warning, or consolation, and, in the nature of it, form part of, or be connected with, a whole group of teaching. To it the first Canon—about leading away from God—would, as we shall presently show, be applicable as a moral test. And that the second Canon in Deuteronomy 18:22, chiefly referred to predictions of signs or judgments in the immediate future, appears from this, that the words, ‘if the thing follow not, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously,’ are immediately succeeded by these, ‘Thou shalt not be afraid of him (or, of it).’ Manifestly this addition would only have meaning if the prediction referred to the immediate future.

But what of predictions in the more distant future? The test of these is, as already hinted, furnished by the first canon (Deut 13:1-5), which, be it carefully marked, applies not to prophecy, but to the prophet. Israel is emphatically warned, that even if signs or wonders were wrought, the guidance of a prophet was not to be followed if he led away from the Living and True God. This canon embodies most important and wide reaching principles, distinctive of the Old Testament as compared not only with heathenism, but we had almost said with every other school of thought. It sets forth the dominance of the moral and spiritual over every other consideration. Power, even that of working miracles, is but of inferior consideration: truth, right, God—the Divine, the spiritual—are everything. This is a height not only far beyond the ideas which we commonly attach to the Old Testament, but, I venture to add, beyond the horizon of modern society, which worships power as such, whatever its origin or character may be. It is the spirit of that Pan-Jehovahism which found utterance in the sublime proclamation, unique in its meaning and bearing; equally marvellous as coming from little Judæa and down-trodden Israel, and as spoken at that age into all the world; marvellous as a dogma, a prayer, a call, and a prophecy; marvellous also as a summary of the Law and the Gospel, of Providence and Grace; of the past, the present, and the future: ‘Jehovah reigneth, let the earth be glad; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof’ (Psa 97:1). The words of the original, in their rugged grandeur, seem like steps hewn in the eternal ice, leading up to some Alpine height. We need not quote this Psalm further, nor compare it with the others in the Psalm-range, among which it rears its crest. But I venture to assert that none but a Jehovahist, an Old Testament prophet, could have so written, because none but he had the living burning conviction that Jehovah He is God. Such a history as that of the Old Testament produced such belief; and such belief produced such expectancy and utterance. It produced a Moses, an Elijah, a Daniel, and, even when crumbling into decay, had its unnumbered martyrs. Such utterances could not have been those of uncircumcised heathen lips, nor can we conceive them as the conviction or outcome of heathen minds, whose highest speculations have nothing of the true Divine life pulsating in them.

First God, then everything else: be it man, kingdoms, demons, power, even Word as from God, or signs and miracles! This is the truth which Israel’s history had evolved, which Israel’s institutions embodied, which Israel’s prophecies set forth, and by which, in turn, according to Deuteronomy, Israel’s prophecy was to be tested. This then is the meaning of the canon in Deuteronomy 13: Try the prophet by his confession of God. And similarly, we read it in the New Testament: ‘Try the spirits, whether they are of God…Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which confesseth not Jesus is not of God; and this is the spirit of the Antichrist’ (1 John 4:1-3).

Nor was the application of this canon so difficult as at first sight it may appear. In the case of a prophet or a prophecy which, avowedly, led away from God, there could be neither doubt nor question. But even in the case of a prophet, professedly of God, who brought a message as from Him, the mode of decision is indicated. The Old Testament offers a leading case, hitherto too much overlooked, which furnishes, so to speak, a supplement and an explanation of its canon. In the 28th chapter of Jeremiah, a prophet is introduced, who prophesied differently alike from his predecessors and from Jeremiah. It is after the deportation to Babylon, and Hananiah is within the sacred precincts of the Temple, in the presence of priests and people, and in that of Jeremiah himself, predicting the speedy restoration of the holy vessels, of the king and the people, that had been carried to Babylon. Apparently Jeremiah does not charge him with being only and always a false prophet. But the question arose, whether in this special instance Hananiah, differing from all others, acted as a true or was a false prophet? To apply the canon in Deuteronomy: would it lead to, or away from, following Jehovah, the Living and True God? The answer could not be difficult. It was the Will of God, frequently expressed, that in the then state of the people, their captivity, and the cessation of the Temple-service, should not be of short duration; and that Judah should willingly submit to God in this judgment, and to the instruments which He had appointed to execute it. But the prediction of Hananiah was in precisely the opposite direction from this leading of God, and to have given credence to it would have led away from God. It is this to which Jeremiah referred when, after expressing as a patriot Israelite his intense desire that the prophecy of Hananiah might prove to have been God-sent, he added: ‘Nevertheless hear this…The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old, prophesied both against many countries, and against many kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.’ This, in the then state of Israel and the world, was evidently in accordance with the mind of God; there was moral evidence that it was of God. ‘But,’ continued the prophet: ‘the prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of that prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that Jehovah hath truly sent him’ (vv 6-9). In other words, such prophesying, as leading away from Jehovah, wanted the moral evidence. Let it be tried by the test of fact.

Looking back upon it, I shall not call this the vindication, but the manifestation and assertion of the moral element in prophecy. This self-limitation of prophetism, this submission of itself to the criterion of God-obedience, not only contrasts with all divination, but is absolutely grand in its moral elevation, and affords yet another evidence of its Divine character. Once more we come, as we might have expected, on New Testament lines. For it was this moral element which our Lord presented to His enemies as evidence of His own Prophetic Mission, when He said: ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true' (John 7:17,18).

Closely connected with this moral test, there is another aspect of the moral element in prophetism, another self-limitation and submission to God. In heathenism, prediction was absolute; in the Old Testament, prophecy was never absolute, but always subject to moral conditions. Commenting on the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel, which declared that the prediction of death to the wicked and life to the righteous were not absolute, but would be reversed on their moral change, St. Jerome aptly observes: ‘Nor does it follow that because a prophet foretold, that which he foretold should come to pass; for he does not foretell in order that it might take place, but lest it should take place (‘nec statim sequitur ut quia propheta pædixit, veniat quod pædixit. Non enim pædicit ut veniat, sed ne veniat’). It, is in this sense that Holy Scripture, taking the human point of view, so often speaks of God’s repenting. All the prophets who announced judgment also called to repentance, and all such calls—as so many in the prophecies of Isaiah; in Jeremiah 4:3-5; Ezekiel 18:30-32; Joel 2:12-14, and in other passages—were accompanied by the promise that in case of obedience the predicted judgments would be averted. More especially do we here recall the words of Jeremiah (18:7-10): ‘At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it—if that nation against whom I have pronounced turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build, and to plant it: if it do evil in My sight that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them.’

It is not fate that presides over prophecy, nor does fatality follow it. But there is a Living and True God Who reigneth, and the moral is the rule and characteristic of all prophecy. The Old Testament has settled, or rather anticipated, this great theological problem of so many ages: the combination and compatibility of God’s sovereignty and decree with man’s liberty and responsibility—not by either of our two clumsy devices or modes of cutting the knot,—that from above in what is called Predestinarianism, or that from below in what is known as Arminianism—but by putting the two in juxtaposition. And this lesson of what may be called the moral conditionalness of prophecy is specially indicated in that marvellous allegorical history, the Book of Jonah, which more than any other reaches beyond the Old Testament standpoint, and anticipates the lessons and facts of the New Testament. Nor, I trust, will it be considered presumptuous to suggest that this moral conditionalness—with all the possibilities resulting in this case—would, in part, be the answer to such a question as this: What, if the Jews, instead of rejecting and crucifying, had received Jesus as the Messiah? And it is in this sense that I would understand the words in which our Lord explained the true position of the Baptist: ‘And if ye are willing to receive (it, or him), this is Elias, which, was for to come’ (Matt 11:14).

But even thus I have not yet given a full view of the moral element in prophecy. For this purpose I must refer to at least two other points. For, first, prophetism, while confirming the historical reality of all the institutions of the Law, presented their spiritual bearing, without which it declared the observance of the letter to be not only meaningless, but an absolute perversion of their Divine purpose. Beyond the opus operatum and the letter were the Spirit and the spiritual reality to which they pointed. Circumcision of the flesh pointed to that of the lips and the heart; by the side of Israel after the flesh was Israel after the Spirit; by the side of the Levitical, another Priesthood, to which ‘Holiness to the Lord’ was the consecration. Sacrifices were meaningless without brokenness of heart and spirit, and they pointed to one great sacrifice of suffering. Festivals, fasts, and all other rites were a perversion and an abomination, unless pervaded by the moral and spiritual element.

Secondly. Prophetism emphatically presented itself, not as a finality, but rather as a preparation for a higher, better, and more spiritual state of things. Even as in the New Testament we are told that those miraculous Charismata of the Spirit: prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, belonged to a still imperfect or preparatory state of the Church, so did prophecy, while with one hand pointing back to the Law of Moses, and with the other to prophetism, tell of a time when God would make a new Covenant with His people, and give them a new Law, not graven on stone, but written on the heart, of which the seal would be circumcision of the heart: a Covenant of which the fundamental fact would be a new deliverance, not from the bondage of Egypt, but from that of sin, when He would forgive their iniquities and remember their sins no more—or, to quote the imagery of another prophet, when He would sprinkle clean water upon them and they would be clean (Eze 36:25). Then would prophecy indeed cease; no man would any more teach his neighbour, for they would all know Him, from the least to the greatest of them. Nor would the spirit of prophecy rest then only upon a few chosen individuals, but the wish of Moses of old would be fulfilled concerning all Israel, and the Holy Spirit be outpoured on all their sons and daughters, nay, even on the slaves and handmaidens, so that all would prophesy (Joel 2:28,29)—for in those days would He cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David, Who would execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

[For more on "the Branch of Righteousness" please see The Branch, or, Four Aspects of Messiah's Character by David Baron.]
Thus prophecy pointed beyond itself, and to a spiritual fulfilment connected with the Advent of the promised Messiah. And not only so, but it also pointed to that period as that of the Kingdom of God, not now of narrow Judaic dimensions, but wide as the world; not of national glory, but of spiritual righteousness. This is the highest moral element, the moral climax in prophecy, and in that sense is Jesus the Messiah also most fully the Prophet. But this line of argument stretches too far to be followed to its end in the present course of Lectures.

In conclusion we may gather together the threads of this argument in a few plain and easily-answered questions. Is it not so that the goal which the Old Testament indicated when pointing beyond itself, beyond its rites, institutions, and prophetism, to a spiritual fulfilment, has, as a matter of fact, been attained in the New Testament and in Christ? In His own language: is it not so, that the salvation which is of the Jews has come to all men, since, not in Jerusalem only, but everywhere, the true worshippers worship the Father in Spirit and in truth? And is not all this because of, in, and through Jesus of Nazareth? Then ‘Is not this the Christ,’ the Messiah? and did not Philip truthfully say it, ’We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets did write’? And, lastly, have not all things been fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Him?

Here we might, under ordinary circumstances, have paused for the present. But the terrible circumstances in which we find ourselves at this time, not only require language the most explicit and emphatic, but excuse that which is most impassioned. A great crime is being enacted over the world, which cries to Heaven for vengeance, and to the Church for testimony and self-vindication. While we speak of that salvation which is of the Jews, and of the joyous fulfilment of all promises in Christ, other thoughts obtrude themselves, and, like heavy clouds, crowd our horizon, and darken out the light of our gladness. For once more has the wild howl of unchained passion against Israel risen above the sweet music of the dying Saviour’s last prayer: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Once more has the blood-stained hand of rapine, lust, and murder sought to shake from out the jewelled memorial cup, in which the Church had gathered and held up in a constant Prayer of Intercession, the tears which Jesus had shed over the Jerusalem that would not receive Him—tears, that can never be dried up. And once more has the white raiment of the Church been fouled with blood; her fair name been made a byword, and her hymn of charity drowned by wild orgies. The hand raised to point to the Cross drops in anguish. How can we strike Judah’s lyre when her captives lie murdered, mangled in our streets? How can we respond with the Antiphony of Fulfilment to the Hymn of Promise made to the virgin daughter of Zion when her maidens are outraged, her old men murdered, and her dwellings plundered by those who bear the Name of Him in Whom all these promises are Yea and Amen? The Church veils her face in mourning; a thrill of horror, a pang of anguish, a cry of indignation pass through universal humanity. Whether and what in the wonder working Providence of Him who brings good out of evil may be the outcome of this to Israel, we cannot say. But in the name of God, let us clear ourselves of all complicity in this sin and shame. We who do believe in Christ, and because we believe in Him, as the true Messiah—we protest with one heart and mind against this and all like movements! In the name of Christianity, in the name of our Church, in the name of this land of liberty and light, in the name of universal humanity, we abhor it, we denounce it, we protest against it. And yet more, as we believe, so we pray: Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and by Thy glorious reign put an end to bloodshed, rapine, and sin!3

Deuteronomy 18:9-22
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

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