By Steven J. Hogan
~ A Saturday Morning Post #52 ~
Prophecy is a critical and significant portion of Scripture, especially since we now live in the end times. Listed below are a number of general and instructive truths about prophecy that will give you more clarity and understanding as you study specific prophecy passages.
* The Bible is theological, historical, biographical, poetical and prophetical in nature. When we use the words prophetical or prophecy, we are speaking of that portion of the Bible that predicts what is taking place in the future. 1 Peter 1:10-12, Matthew 24:3-41
* Whatever God has prophesied will come true with 100% accuracy. In eternity past “God was declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:10). Because God is truthful, supreme, holy, omniscient, powerful, wise and sovereign, then He will most definitely fulfill all that He has prophesied concerning His purposes and plans. Psalm 33:11
* All prophecy was given in a “dark place”, that is, during this present evil age, the time from the sin of Adam until the end of this age. A major portion of prophecy points to that time when “the day dawns”, when Christ returns and sets up His wonderful and glorious kingdom on earth. “You will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19
* God’s purpose in prophecy is not to tell you everything that’s going to take place in the future, but only those things He wants you to know. This should motivate you to study God’s prophetic word so you can find out exactly what He wants you to know. “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.” Mark 13:23
* There is fulfilled prophecy and unfulfilled prophecy. At this time in history many prophecies that were predicted in the past have already been fulfilled. Other prophecies are still unfulfilled, that is, were predicted in the past but will be fulfilled in the future. Some examples of unfulfilled prophecy are Isaiah 60, Zechariah 14:9 and Matthew 24:15-31.
* It is important when you read the Bible to specifically know what is prophecy and, in particular, what is still unfulfilled prophecy. Ask yourself if what you are reading has taken place yet? If not, then you know it is unfulfilled prophecy and will be fulfilled in the future. Psalm 47
* Old Testament prophets who predicted the coming of the Messiah and events related to His coming thought that they would all be fulfilled in the same time frame; but now we know that many prophesies were to take place in two stages, at His first coming and at His second coming. Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 61:1-2, Micah 5:2-5, Zechariah 13
* The fact that we can study the Bible and see that God has fulfilled many prophesies in the past gives us a confidence that He will fulfill His remaining prophecies in the future. Seeing first coming prophecies about Jesus already fulfilled gives us assurance that second coming prophecies will also be fulfilled. Psalm 22, Isaiah 9:6-7, Micah 5:2-5, Luke 1:26-33, Revelation 12:5
* Prophecies about Christ’s second coming are now more relevant than at any time in history, and that’s because we live in the end times, in the last years of this church age. Like never before we need to pay attention to unfulfilled prophecy, for we will be seeing it coming true right up to the return of Christ and the rapture of the church. Luke 12:56, 21:5-36
* A large amount of prophecy found in the New Testament will be fulfilled in the near future. There is a great deal of relevant, essential and vital information God wants you to know about the end times and Christ’s 2nd coming. Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation are all prominent passages predicting what will be taking place in the end times.
* The most important and most extensive prophecy themes in the Bible are the first and second comings of Christ, that is, “the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” Psalm 22, Isaiah 53-54, 1 Peter 1:10-12
* God did not have to give us Bible prophecy. He could have let everything that’s going to take place in the future be a big surprise to us. But He told us the future so we could have confidence in His character and in His word, and so we could have hope. At this stage of the church age, God wants His children to know what to expect, to be looking forward to the future, to be prepared for what will be taking place, and to be serving Him right up until the coming of Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
* What a privilege to be alive at this time in history, in the closing years of the church age when many prophecies will be fulfilled. God’s prophetic words about the end times are no longer sealed (Daniel 12:4, 9). Might we be like the prophets who “made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you.” 1 Peter 1:10-11
* Prophecy about the future focuses on events taking place during three time periods. There will be events leading up to Christ’s return, events taking place at Christ’s return, and events taking place after Christ’s return. Prophecy about the end times focuses on the Jews, the Christians, the Antichrist and Jesus Christ. Matthew 24:15-21, Revelation 12-13
* There are some reasons why people don’t think much about prophecy, and why it doesn’t affect their lives. They do not read it. They do not believe it. They love the world and don’t love Christ, and therefore aren’t thinking about the fact that He’s coming back soon. They are more interested in what man says about the future than what God says about the future. They are more interested in fiction than in the truth. Or they may think that prophecy is not to be understood, or cannot be understood. May this kind of thinking not be true of you.
* “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
P.S. An article that goes well with today’s post is: Why Study the Subject of Prophecy?