FACTS ABOUT BIBLICAL PROPHECY

 

1. Not all prophecies are predictive, though many warn of what the future holds (Daniel 2; Matthew 24; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 13).

2. Not all prophecies are meant to come true but are warnings of what is at stake (Jonah 1-4).

3. Not all prophecies are directed at everyone, though most people can learn from them (Daniel 4).

4. Not all prophecies are meant to call out bad behavior. Some are purely to instill hope to a discouraged individual or group. (1 Kings 19; Isaiah 53:4-6).

5. Not all prophecies are meant to be scary. Some communicate the ultimate reason for trusting and following God. (Revelation, 21).

6. The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of disorder, but peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,…

I Corinthians 14:32-33

 

UNDERSTANDING PROPHECY: Prophecy 101

 

When you come across the term "prophecies," almost always they exclusively refer to foretelling future events, and rely heavily on the themes of fate and destiny. But the biblical definition of prophecy is more straightforward. It's a message from God communicated to a man or woman raised to speak prophetically. It can be one isolated case, or God raises individuals to carry a prophetic mantel. Both the prophet and prophecy must be tested. The only way for testing is "time." See the many references to prophecies in the Bible.  However, there are many different types of prophecies. Prophecies foretell future events, they come to bring God's people to repentance and forewarning of judgments as well as rebukes. Today, many prophecies come to edify and restore the soul of man. 

MODERN PROPHETS ARE NOT PERFECT. 

 First, men aren't perfect. This is also true of the fivefold office of Prophet, Apostle, Teacher, Evangelism, and Teacher. An interpretation and or error does make one a false prophet, any more than an occasional error that a teacher makes, makes him or her a false teacher.  If a prophet makes an error, they should acknowledge it and repent like any other office. It is the overall pattern of the prophecies that proves either the veracity of error of the prophet. Time is needed. So, lets not be quick to label one a false prophet, but allow grace to correct a vessel of God. 

On the other hand, all prophecies MUST align with scripture, and predictions must come true. 

 

With any office there can be a tendency toward tunnel vision and the spirit of presumption. In recent days many prophets predicted Donal Trump to win, but they were mostly wrong. Why? There was an influence of their own tunnel vision and a spirit of presumption. They were locked in on Donald Trump winning because no one could consider the alternative. Prophets must;  remain objective and uninfluenced by politics, ideology, or political affiliation. They must speak for God via principles of the Kingdom government. 

 

  • Deuteronomy 18: 22 "If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

PROPHETS WARN OF POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES (AND HOPEFULLY INSPIRE CHANGE)

There are several prophecies of this type throughout the Bible, as some are  "predictive" unless there's a behavior change. However, in these cases God doesn't want any of these prophecies to come true. The whole point is to bring attention to a problem and explain its consequences and repercussions. God explains this to his prophet Jeremiah:

"Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ... 'Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. he instant I speak concerning a nation and a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, and if that nation ... turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster I thought to bring upon it. d the instant I speak concerning a nation or kingdom, to build and to plant it if it does evil in My sight and does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.'" (Jeremiah 18:5-10, NKJV, my emphasis added).

One example of this is in 1 Samuel 2-3. The High Priest of the time, Eli, had already heard a message from God about what would happen if his wayward sons' behavior wasn't appropriately addressed. I  he continued to let them regularly commit adultery and manipulate the ceremonial sacrificial system in their favor, their lives and his lineage would be "cut short." But as time passed, their behavior persisted. So,  God used a new prophet, the young boy Samuel, who was already close to Eli, to deliver a message. I  was solely to remind Eli that he already knew what would happen if he "did not restrain" his sons from desecrating the community's place of worship.

 2. Donald Trump and his administration were informed that        God wanted his heart turned towards the suffering and broken nation to show mercy, empathy, and comfort. The Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelical leaders in his orbit turned their backs on the people. This second area was the sin of omission, resulting from not doing something God's Word teaches that we should do when confronted with it.

 

  • Matthew 25:38-40, "When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? A d when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? A d the king will answer me, Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me."​

 

  •  Colossians 3:12" So, as those who have been chosen o

    God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion,

    kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience;

  •   Proverbs 21:13  He who shuts his ear to the cry of the

     poor Will also cry himself and not be answered.

  •   Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

 

TO EXPOSE COMMON PITFALLS

OF HUMAN NATURE

Sometimes God had to send a human messenger to remind His people what it meant to live a Godly life. Throughout the Old Testament, God's chosen nation kept ping-ponging back and forth, particularly in Jeremiah and Lamentations. They'd follow God with fervor for one generation, then fall away from the next. Some kings followed God, and some chose to rule the nation according to their desires. God sent numerous prophets to get their attention to keep them in check. They often needed a stern reminder that their hardships resulted from choosing their way over God's. 

Hosea, whom God called to proclaim a message to Israel and Judah, wasn't a message of words or preached from a platform in front of a listening crowd—it was a message lived out symbolically. Since these nations went back and forth on their commitment to God, He commanded Hosea to marry and start a family with an "unfaithful woman"—"for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord."

 

Sure enough, Hosea's wife, Gomer, would occasionally run off with other men as they tempted her with gifts, wealth, and flattery. But God instructed Hosea to welcome her back with love every time, just as God accepted His chosen people back every time they repented.

 TO HELP US UNDERSTAND 

THE FUTURE

It is not to tell us the future but to prepare us for it! Many of the most famous Bible prophecies, such as those in Daniel and Revelation, predict the power and progression from one nation to another. Daniel's declining metal quality speaks of the government's declining quality and end-time leaders' character. They also include some details about how that progression affects the ways people live. These prophecies are typically loaded with figurative language, as the prophets had to think of the most effective way to describe events and complex concepts for the readers. For example,

"Then I saw a second beast coming out of the earth. I  had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon." (Revelation 13:11)

Reading this, you might think of beasts, horns, and dragons. This beast represents a mighty person or nation. It has an appearance similar to a sheep, which symbolizes meekness and loyalty, but its evil will ultimately be revealed as it opens its mouth to speak "like a dragon." Hence, even words must be balanced with one's behavior over time. We cannot be quick to conclude just on leaders' words.

But symbolic messages like these can also help us grow spiritually, rather than being told exactly which king would do what when this figurative imagery paints a larger picture. Prayerfully, with discernment, we can keep up with the Bible and the world's progression.

TO GIVE US HOPE!

Several of the critical Bible prophecies contain scary language. But the best part of studying prophecy is the perspective you get from reading God's word.

 

The  end of  the book of Revelation, specifically  chapters 21 and 22, contains, "It's all going to be okay!" "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:3-4)

"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give it to each person according to what they have done. ... Blessed are they who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and go through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:12-14) If we know how the story ends and ends well, what perspective does that give us for the more dire prophecies we discover along the way? Everything may happen throughout the world, but God will triumph over all. Just imagine how knowing that can aid in your studies. No matter what odd depictions of the future (or the past or the present) you find in the Bible's prophecies, justice will always be served, and God will save those who follow Him. 

1. Isaiah 4
2. Isaiah 5
3. Isaiah 51:17-23 

4. Jeremiah 24
5. Jeremiah 19
6. Ezekiel 1
7. Ezekiel 37:1-4

8. Ezekiel 4