The world recently marked the twenty-first anniversary of the transition of Robert Nester Marley (Bob Marley), the Jamaican born reggae artist whose music did and continues to transcend race, culture, and even religion (May 11, 2002). Many regard Bob Marley as a prophet, while some others have their reservations. Opinions will always vary, but who is a prophet? This is the motivation for this brief piece.
Many religious teachings have carved out a niche for prophets among us, and thereby suggested that others are not prophets unless they are so recognized by standards set by religious organizations. It is not the intention of this piece to exploit the incidents of sex-abusive priests in the United States today, but as it is always important to learn the lessons of life from such incidents. In this case, the coming into light of the abusive behavior of some ordained priests who were hitherto revered by members of their congregation as being next to God has given credence to one fact at least – THE HOOD DOES NOT MAKE THE MONK.
In the same vein, it could be said that THE TITLE DOES NOT MAKE THE PROPHET. May be the conclusion of who is a prophet has been an unconscious self-suggestion made by men for ages based on what generally obtained. It is common to expect prophets to have a special demeanor and characteristics, recluse and most sanctified in appearance or behavior. Many believe that prophets are perfect human beings extra-ordained by God. While these impressions are respected by this piece for the perspectives they represent, it could be said that there is no specific obligatory standard that one must meet to be a prophet. In fact as sons and daughters of God, we are all prophets, and no opinion, dogma, convention, or standard set by men or religious organizations will change that. The difference only lies in our choice to recognize and dwell on the individual gift of prophecy innate in us, such that we can consciously harness and utilize this gift of God.
Mention must be made that there are many amongst us today who are well versed in the art and life of prophesy, but they are so humble that they never mention their abilities in public. They therefore remain obscure to the public eye. These are spiritually mature individuals who respect the laws of silence and non-interference especially when the space and life of another individual is involved in the subject of the prophecy. To boast of a prophetic experience or information only exposes one’s spiritual level of consciousness. It also brings about the appropriate retribution known in some parlance as karmic consequence.
To be able to expand one’s consciousness to the extent that one is capable of recognizing an impending occurrence is a gift innate in us all. Today, this gift can be expressed in various forms. It is however profitable for one to keep his prophecy to himself. There are of course situations where one’s calling may require an obligation to warn others of an unfavorable consequence in the future if precaution and correction is not taken in the present. Such prophets as Prophet Jeremiah belong in this category. Also, even the average meteorologist who tells the weather would qualify here. This must, however, be differentiated from the circumstance where one goes public with a prophetic vision or knowledge just for selfish gain and to the disadvantage of another. While the differentiation may not be clear, the key lies in the question – to what use is an individual putting his knowledge of the future?
The power of prophecy is such that those oblivious of their ability to prophesy for themselves could be easily deceived or exploited by those who are aware of this ability and engage in it to exploit and manipulate others. To go public with a negative prophecy could set in motion, the negative thought forms that could bring the negative suggestions to manifest. There are many gullible individuals among us who pick on the suggestions of others and give life to them with ease. This therefore makes it necessary that anyone who has the good interest of others in mind will not casually make negative statements in the name of prophesy. Rather than say, “God say make I tell you,” such a person would say, LISTEN WITHIN YOU FOR WHAT GOD MAY TELL YOU.
This brief piece will not leave out the importance of dreams in prophecy. Most prophetic knowledge come by way of dreams – that time when the physical self and senses have surrendered for the inner self to reign. It further becomes important to mention that some individuals who receive visions and knowledge in dreams must be cautious in their interpretations of such dreams and on the sharing of such information, while those of us who happen to come across such information must be careful the way we digest them. This brings to mind the concept of ‘dream symbols’ for which there are several published books out there. This piece will simply point out that there are no universal dream symbols. Every dream symbol has a specific meaning depending on the life and circumstance of the dreamer. Be not deceived.
In many cases, individuals who have had dreams or prophecies about themselves have gone on to interpret them as applying to the world or others, when in fact the message was a coded one for their personal consumption and utility. For instance, a person may see his world collapsing in the dream, and he would come and declare to the public that the world would collapse at a date he had been given in the dream. Eventually, such a person’s life would collapse on that date, if for instance he is arrested for false prophecy, or his followers leave him. We had many of such prophecies during the late seventies and recently during the dawn of the 20th century. They are still out there, and will continue to come. We just have to be wary of them.
This piece humbly suggests that it is rather beneficial for us to be our own prophets. It does not have to be a dramatic ability so long as we recognize this gift of God in us. The way we live our lives today, and even a mere commonsensical analysis of an issue in the present could make one (prophetically) aware of what tomorrow holds in store. It is that simple, yet, it is not, because words are never enough.
Below is a brief compilation of some of the words of Bob Marley ARE THESE PROPHETIC STATEMENTS OR SIMPLE LYRICS?
SO MUCH TROUBLE
STIFF NECKED FOOLS
WAKE UP AND LIVE
AMBUSH IN THE NIGHT
TIME WILL TELL
WAR (Quoting Emperor Haile Selassie’s speech to U.N.)
KEEP ON MOVING