Do not prophesize in the name of idolatry

The Literal Commandment

'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' (Deuteronomy 18:20)

 

The literal commandment is that the prophet who speaks in the name of other gods (idols) should die.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah declares "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)

We are commanded not to prophesy in the name of false gods or idols. This is because idolatry is pointless and only serves to turn us towards falsehood and away from the G-d who is the Truth.

Idols are nothing. Scripture describes idols in this way:

Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good." (Jeremiah 10:2-5)

 

If anyone would turn to idolatry and prophesy in its name then they are denying the truth of G-d's Word and Who He declares Himself to be.

These commandments prohibiting idolatry picture Messiah by pointing to idols and telling us He is not like them.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not prophesying in the name of idols.

 

Traditional Observance

Some traditions hold the origins of this passage to be Deuteronomy 18:20 while others point to Deuteronomy 13:

"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

 

This passage indicates that we should not heed the words of a prophet speaking in the name of "other gods" also affirming the point that we should not prophesize in the name of idolatry.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and we should not prophesize in the name of false gods or idolatry.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 42
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Deuteronomy 18:20
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 18
  • Verse 20
  • English But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.
  • Hebrew כ אַךְ הַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר יָזִיד לְדַבֵּר דָּבָר בִּשְׁמִי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר לֹא-צִוִּיתִיו לְדַבֵּר, וַאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר, בְּשֵׁם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים--וּמֵת, הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא.
  • Greek 20 πλὴν ὁ προφήτης, ὃς ἂν ἀσεβήσῃ λαλῆσαι ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου ῥῆμα, ὃ οὐ προσέταξα λαλῆσαι, καὶ ὃς ἂν λαλήσῃ ἐπ᾿ ὀνόματι θεῶν ἑτέρων, ἀποθανεῖται ὁ προφήτης ἐκεῖνος.
  • Parashah 48- Shoftim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 518
  • Sef. Hach. Command The prohibition against prophesying in the name of an idol
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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