Yah Has Spoken, Who Would Not Prophesy: Haftarah Vayeshev Reflections

Hebrew Vision News Exclusive

by Miykael Qorbanyahu aka The End Time Scribe

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For the Master יהוה does no matter unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A  lion has roared! Who is not afraid? The Master יהוה has spoken! Who would not prophesy?

Amos 3.7-8

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Love has waxed cold the world over because of the increase of lawlessness. Not that anything which is now taking place is new under the sun, but the continuous and present weight of social injustice and oppression have placed a most unnecessary and extremely heavy burden on humanity due to the constant onslaught of political ills and economic maladies that those in power have wracked on the backs of the poor. From Papua New Guinea to Syria, Brazil to Libya, Yemen to the Ukraine, Sudan to South Africa, Nigeria to the Congo, the murderous desire for power and wealth typically coveted by those in office have ensnared both the perpetrators and victims of injustice in a vicious cycle that calls for those who desire to be on the right side of history to both speak up and organize to cast off the brutal shackles of affliction. It is true , most unfortunately, that in the hands of man, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This also holds true in the United States of America, which is arguably the most hypocritical of all countries, where the terms law and order, in truth, does not mean the rule of law in order to maintain the well-being of a harmonious society; contrarily, it refers to both the demonization and criminalization of Blackness and poverty for the sole purpose of preserving the brutal hegemony and imbalanced status quo of Global White Supremacy (GWS), aka Western Civilization, the most recent and effective tool of usurpation by Helel ben Shachar, the Adversary of יהוה. This reality has clearly been exemplified throughout the history of the United States and it’s cynical and exploitative relationship with so-called African-Americans and other peoples with melanated skin. Motivated by profit and resources, there also exists an underlying spirit of envy and fear that further pushes those who classify themselves as White to the dark abyss of depravity.

Indeed, the gross disparity in wealth, opportunity and justice among the haves and have-nots in America is indicative of the historic, parasitic-relationship that the United States has continually misappropriated with the descendants of Africa and the poor working class. In addition, the utter disregard for the unfortunate by government agencies and the (arbitrary) enforcers of the law has even resulted in an escalating war against the homeless, recently making it “illegal” to feed the hungry and shelter vagrants. A Christian assembly in Maryland was even recently fined $12,000 for allowing homeless individuals to sleep outside of their building. This continuous offensive of government forces against those less fortunate hearkens back to the days of the herdsman from Tekoa, Amos, who begins his prophetic mission with the words,

יהוה roars from Tsiyon, and gives forth His voice from Yerushalayim. And the pastures of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Karmel shall wither.

Amos 1.2

When Amos received his prophetic calling in the region of Judea, the Northern Kingdom, under King Yeroboam II, lived exorbitantly. Marked by rank corruption, injustice, exploitation and even enslavement, the conditions that were present among the covenant people of יהוה precipitated the eventual judgment of national destruction and exile of Ephrayim into Assyria of which the prophet Amos had forewarned. Due to his righteousness as a faithful servant of the Most High, Amos was given a tip as to what was about to take place with his countrymen, much as Abraham was prior to the desolation of Sodom and Gomorroh when the Messenger sent to Abraham declared, shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do. Yet despite the warnings of the prophet, those in power continued to abuse their position and neglect their responsibilities of being the guardians of justice, peace, truth, righteousness and social order. Thus, the complete erosion of Israelite civilization was now underway, as the Judeans rejected the Torah, turning instead to the nations idols of their day, and the leeching lenders of the Northern Tribes of Israel sold

the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals, who crush the head of the poor ones in the dust of the earth, and turn aside the way of the meek…And they lie down by every altar on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their mighty one they drink the wine of those who have been fined.

Amos 2.6, 8

Most hypocritically, the leaders of Amos’ day feigned righteousness and religious piety by scrupulously carrying out the religious rituals related to the worship of Israel’s national Eloah while shamelessly conducting themselves with treachery and deceit which, in turn, indignantly aroused the rebuke and reproof of the prophet, whose words were courageously spoken from his mouth as they were placed in his heart by the Sovereign of sovereigns Who furiously sent him on his mission to uproot the barren fruit from the midst of the Promised Land. As the messenger of the Most High Elohim, it was the prophet’s mission to cause the people to turn away from their sins and iniquities and enter the gates of repentance by warning them of their destructive path and the most serious consequences that would ensue if they chose not to heed the prophet’s caution.

What is most profound to note regarding the calling of Amos is that it presents a profound historical lesson in that he arose from the ranks of the ordinary, working class people of his day, yet chose to speak out against the powerful mis-leadership class who ruled over his people in wickedness. As a member of the underclass, like many of the prophets preceding and succeeding him, his identification with the oppressed, as well as his discernment of the bleeding heart of יהוה, equipped Amos with the daunting task of speaking a renewed existence into being based upon the principles by which Israelite society was to be structured; the Torah. However, much like the Israelites in Mitzrayim whose desire for justice, liberation and self-determination was nearly extinguished because of their broken spirit due to their enslavement, the prophet’s words many times fell on deaf ears of the people. However, the mission that Amos had chosen to embrace was understood by him to be one of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. He also understood that it was impossible for those who were conscious of humanity’s potential and purpose to remain comfortably silent. This most pressing reality is clearly articulated in the classic work by Paulo Freire entitled Pedagogy of the Oppressed, in which he states,

Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which men and women transform the world. To exist, humanly, is to name the world, to change it. Once named, the world in its turn reappears to the namers as a problem and requires of them a new naming. Human beings are not built in silence, but in a word, in work, in action-reflection.

But while to say the true word – which is work, which is praxis –  is to transform the world, saying that word is not the privilege of some few persons, but the right of everyone. Consequently, no once can say a true word alone – nor can she say it for another, in a prescriptive act which robs others of their words[1].

For certain, it is this radical transformation and renaming of the world of which Freire speaks that the prophets, both of old and contemporarily, perceived in their vision and undertook as their personal mission in order to bring to society a restoration of humanity’s intimate relation with יהוה through His inspired oracle. This mission also entailed providing others with the example of proper conduct, according to Torah, so as demonstrated by the prophet in order to elevate and enlighten the soul of humanity from the pits of despair and darkness. Yet, due to the soul-encroaching matters of oppression in society, both historically and in the present, humanity has been presented with the challenging problem of establishing a harmonious social order in the face of a most harsh opponent which uncompromisingly requires our collective effort to bring forth the prescriptive acts to obliterate the existence of injustice and oppression.

Humanity often, however, finds itself in a state of mediocrity and complacency, reliantly to others to solve predicaments which ultimately requires everyone’s wholehearted involvement. Hence we read in the scroll of Numbers about the revealed desire of יהוה as articulated by Moshe to Yahoshua ben Nun when he informs him that the office of prophet is not to be an exclusive role for one man alone, but rather, that all the people of יהוה were prophets, that יהוה would put His Spirit upon them! This is because social justice, a matter which lies close to the heart of יהוה, is also to be matter that we, too, are to be intimately concerned about.

That prophets are iconoclasts intent on shattering the revered golden calves of profane and corrupt institutions, and furthermore, inspiring their fellow man to rise up in the overthrow of the oppressive system and inclinations that so threaten to extinguish the very hope of life from their being is seen time and time again throughout the Scriptures. And though messages of doom typify much of their message to society, in hopes to guide individuals through the gates of repentance, their intent is to rekindle the hope for a better world tomorrow which those in power strive to drain from the veins of their life today.

Undoubtedly, while the prophets of Israel were first and foremost concerned with the well-being of their nation and countrymen, ultimately they also expressed interest in the welfare of all humanity, providing dire warnings to gentile nations for their violation of the universal, sovereign law of יהוה by their infringements on the rights of humanity. This is because the prophets divine inwardness and empathy with their Creator sensitized them to the horrendous plight of humanity gone astray. We see this clearly with Amos, who, though living in the southern region of Israel, castigated the northern king for his unlawful rulership and ruthless interaction with the peoples of Ephrayim. Not only this, but Amos also lambasted the people who complacently accepted Yeroboam’s vicious yoke. Nonetheless, it is this same motivation that inspired Amos which should be the imperative as the kingdom of priests and holy nation of Israel we are called to as relates to our outcry against injustice that assails the state of our world today. For we are the stars of heaven and the light sent to shine for the Gentiles.

In the final analysis, it is our calling as ordinary men and women, to be extraordinary in Spirit and Truth, and to proclaim the Word of יהוה to this sin-sick, corrupted world. For when we, as a nation of prophets and the lion spoken of by Amos, assume our role as the rebukers of the wicked and the reprovers of the wrong, then the words of the Apocryphal book of II Esdras will come to pass, whose prophecy states that

Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Look in front of you and consider what you see.” When I looked, I saw what seemed to be a lion roused from the forest, roaring; and I heard how it uttered a human voice to the eagle, and spoke, saying, Listen and I will speak to you. The Most High says to you…And as for the lion whom you saw rousing up out of the forest and roaring and speaking to the eagle and reproving him for his unrighteousness, and as for all his words that you have heard this is the Messiah whom the Most High has kept until the end of days, who will arise from the offspring of David, and will come and speak with them. He will denounce them for their ungodliness and for their wickedness, and will display before them their contemptuous dealings. For first he will bring them alive before his judgment seat, and when he has reproved them, then he will destroy them. But in mercy he will set free the remnant of my people, those who have been saved throughout my borders, and he will make them joyful until the end comes, the day of judgment, of which I spoke to you at the beginning. This is the dream that you saw, and this is its interpretation.

II Esdras 11.36-38, 12.31-35

Selah…

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[1] Freire, Paulo. The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum International Publishing Group. 1970. pg. 88.

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