The thirty-third chapter of the Qur’an, “The Confederates,” explores the universal call to prophecy. If all men are called to be prophets, then all men must not just prophecy, but heed the prophecies of others. Yet men vary in both abilities. From the very first guide to the truth — “you” — to the very best — Truth Himself — no one is relieved from the mission to point to God. In exhortations, in biblical allusions, and in references to the world of his own life, the Qur’anic author urges us all to participate in Christ’s husbandry of the church, and in Christ’s role of the seal of the prophets.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21
A reading, from the Book of Numbers:
Now the Reubenites and the Gadites owned a very great number of cattle. When they saw that the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead was a good place for cattle, the Gadites and the Reubenites came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon— the land that the Lord subdued before the congregation of Israel—is a land for cattle; and your servants have cattle.” They continued, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession; do not make us cross the Jordan.”
But Moses said to the Gadites and to the Reubenites, “Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the hearts of the Israelites from going over into the land that the LORD has given them? Your fathers did this, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. When they went up to the Wadi Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the hearts of the Israelites from going into the land that the LORD had given them. The LORD’s anger was kindled on that day and he swore, saying, ‘Surely none of the people who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not unreservedly followed me— none except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they have unreservedly followed the LORD.’ And the LORD’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness for forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD had disappeared. And now you, a brood of sinners, have risen in place of your fathers, to increase the LORD’s fierce anger against Israel! If you turn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness; and you will destroy all this people.”
A Song, from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
And rely on horses,
Who trust in chariots because they are many,
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
Nor seek the LORD!
Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster,
And will not call back His words,
But will arise against the house of evildoers,
And against the help of those who work iniquity.
Now the Egyptians are men, and not God;
And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the LORD stretches out His hand,
Both he who helps will fall,
And he who is helped will fall down;
They all will perish together.
A reading, from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians:
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.