Numbers 11:24-33 relates how the LORD gathers seventy elders to Moses at the tent of meeting, and places the same Spirit that abided in him within them, so that these elders begin to prophesy. But then something strange happens: Eldad and Medad, still within the camp, begin to prophesy as well. Joshua, jealous for Moses’ authority, asks him to order them to stop, but Moses will have not of it: “Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” (11:29)
This is a type of the LORD’s gifts to those within and without the church: some are called to prophesy at the Tabernacle, and this is a marvelous thing, for the LORD is uniquely present there; those who are called by baptism and the Spirit to prophesy at the true Tabernacle which is the Eucharistic altar should know that they stand there in the very gate of heaven (cf. Gen 28:17). But they should not begrudge the LORD’s generosity in giving gifts to those not gathered with them — those in schism from that assembly, or even those who do not know the LORD by name. The challenge is affirming both this scandalous particularity and this surprising generosity.