The mark of the archetypal prophet is to be God’s spokesperson. Mostly the prohet is seen as being human with their most significant attribute being their willingness to be a channel of God’s word. The archetype of the prophet is most developed in the Semitic religions and those such as Christianity which flowed from it.
The founding prophet
Many faiths have a number of prophets so often need to find a way of marking the uniqueness of a prophetic founder. In Islam, Muhummad is given the status of the last prophet of God – he who has the last word. Amongst Mormons, Joseph Smith is seen as the restoration prophet, who restored the church to its original form. For Judaism, Moses is ascribed as the greatest prophet.
Although some traditions will not allow any contemporary prophets others do and there has been a revival of those acting out of the prophetic archetype in Pentecostal Christianity where it is considered one of the gifts of the spriit. It reached its zenith in Africa with the advent of charismatic relsious and sometimes military figures living from this archetype.
Key to the living of this archetype is the capacity of an individual to identify on of their internal voices as the “voice of God”. We all have inner voices which speak with different authority into our minds; when we identify one of those internal voices as God our immersion in this archetype begins. Studies have shown that modern day prophets do speak within a tradition and their proclamations are most often in line with what others would expect God to say. But not always – inflation is the danger here – that the prophet begins to think that the voice of the ego is the voice of God. The dangers of too much inflation of this archetype can lead to the kinds of abuse so evident in cults with a strong charismatic leader professing to be the prophet of God.