Prophecy reveals God's will and plan for humanity. In the biblical prophecies, God declares that human sinfulness is forgiven through repentance and faith in the salvation work of Jesus Christ. The prophecy proclaims God as Almighty Creator and Judge above all and assures mankind of his love, grace and faithfulness and motivates the believer to a godly life in Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 46,9: 11-24,44; Luke 48: 4,17-14; Daniel 15:2; Judas 3,14; Peter)
Our beliefs about Bible prophecy
Many Christians need an overview of prophecy as shown above to see prophecy from the right perspective. The reason for this is that many Christians over-emphasize prophecy and make assertions that they can not substantiate. For some, prophecy is the most important doctrine. She occupies the largest place in her Bible study, and that is the topic that she most wants to hear. Novels about Armageddon sell well. Many Christians would do well to observe what our beliefs about biblical prophecy say.
Our statement has three sentences: the first says that prophecy is part of God's revelation to us, and it tells us something about who he is, who he is, what he wants, and what he does.
The second sentence says that Bible prophecy heralds salvation through Jesus Christ. It does not mean that every prophecy deals with forgiveness and faith in Christ. Still, we say that prophecy is the only place where God reveals these things about salvation. We could say that some Bible prophecy deals with salvation through Christ, or that prophecy is one of the many ways in which God reveals forgiveness through Christ.
Since God's plan focuses on Jesus Christ and prophecy is part of God's revelation of his will, it is inevitable that prophecy has a direct or indirect relation to what God does in and through Jesus Christ. But we do not try to pinpoint any prophecy here - we'll give an introduction.
In our statement, we want to give a healthy perspective on why prophecy exists. Our statement contrasts with the claim that most prophecy deals with the future, or that it focuses on certain peoples. The most important thing about prophecy is not about people, not about the future, but about repentance, faith, salvation and life here and now.
If we did a poll in most faiths, I doubt if many people would say that prophecy has to do with forgiveness and faith. They think that they are focused on other things. But prophecy is about salvation through Jesus Christ, as well as a number of other things. When millions look to biblical prophecy to determine the end of the world, when millions associate prophecy with events that are still in the future, it is helpful to remind people that one purpose of prophecy is to reveal that human sinfulness can be forgiven through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
I would like to say a few more things about our statement. First, it says that human sinfulness can be forgiven. She does not say human sins. We talk about the basic state of humanity, not just about the individual results of our sinfulness. It is true that individual sins can be forgiven by faith in Christ, but it is even more important that our faulty nature, the root of the problem, be forgiven. We will never have the time nor the wisdom to repent of any sin. Forgiveness does not depend on our ability to list them all. Rather, Christ makes it possible for us to forgive all of them, and our sinful nature as the core of it, in one fell swoop.
Next, we see that our sinfulness is forgiven through faith and remorse. We want to give a positive assurance that our sins have been forgiven and forgiven on the basis of repentance and belief in the work of Christ. This is an area where prophecy is concerned. Faith and remorse are two sides of the same coin. They occur virtually simultaneously, although the belief in logic comes first. If only we change our behavior without believing, it is not the kind of remorse that leads to salvation. Only remorse accompanied by faith is effective for salvation. The faith has to come first.
We often say that we need faith in Christ. That's right, but that phrase says that we need faith in his work of salvation. We not only trust him - we also trust in something he has done that enables us to be forgiven. It was not just him as a person who forgives our sinfulness - it's also something he did or something he does.
In this statement we do not specify what his work of salvation is. Our statement about Jesus Christ says that he "died for our sins" and that he "mediates between God and man". It is the work of salvation that we should believe in and through which we receive forgiveness.
Theologically, simply by believing in Christ, people can receive forgiveness without having any precise beliefs about how Christ is able to do this for us. There is no particular theory about the atoning death of Christ that is needed. There are no special beliefs about his role as a mediator needed for salvation. However, it is clear in the New Testament that our salvation was made possible through the death of Christ on the cross, and he is our high priest who stands up for us. If we believe that Christ's work is effective for our salvation, then we will receive forgiveness. We acknowledge Him and worship Him as Savior and Lord. We realize that he accepts us in his love and grace, and we accept his wonderful gift of salvation.
Our statement says that prophecy deals with the mechanical details of salvation. We find evidence of this in Scripture, which we quote at the end of our statement - Luke 24. There the risen Jesus explains some things to two disciples on the way to Emmaus. We quote verses 44 to 48, but we could also include verses 25 to 27: "And he said to them: O you foolish people, slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Didn't Christ have to suffer this and enter His glory? And he began with Moses and all the prophets and explained to them what was said about him in all the scriptures » (Luke 24,25: 27).
Jesus did not say that the Scriptures spoke only of Him, or that every prophecy was about Him. He did not have time to go through the whole Old Testament. Some prophecies were about him, and some were only indirectly about him. Jesus explained the prophecies that most directly pointed to him. The disciples believed part of what the prophets had written, but they were weary of believing everything. They missed a part of the story, and Jesus filled in the gaps and explained it to them. Although some prophecies of Edom, Moab, Assyria or Egypt and some were about Israel, others were about the suffering and death of the Messiah and his resurrection to glory. Jesus told them this.
Also note that Jesus started with the books of Moses. They contain some Messianic prophecies, but most of the Pentateuch is about Jesus Christ in a different way - in terms of typology, in the rituals of the sacrifices and the priesthood that prophesy the work of the Messiah. Jesus also explained these concepts.
Verses 44 to 48 tell us more: "But he said to them: These are my words that I said to you when I was still with you: Everything that is written by me must be fulfilled in the law of Moses , in the prophets and in the psalms » (V.44). Again, he didn't say that every single detail was about him. What he said is that parts that were about him had to be fulfilled. I think we could add that not everything had to be fulfilled when he first came. Some prophecies seem to point to the future, his return, but as he said, they have to be fulfilled. Not only did the prophecy point to him - the law also pointed to him, and the work he would do for our salvation.
Verses 45-48: "Then he opened their understanding to them so that they understood the Scripture, and said to them: It is written that Christ will suffer and will rise from the dead on the third day; and that in his name preaches repentance for the forgiveness of sins among all peoples. Start in Jerusalem and be a witness to it. » Here Jesus explains some prophecies that concerned him. Not only did prophecy point to the suffering, death and resurrection of the Messiah - prophecy also pointed to the message of repentance and forgiveness, a message that would be proclaimed to all peoples.
Prophecy touches on many different things, but the most important thing about it and the most important thing it reveals is the fact that we can receive forgiveness through the death of the Messiah. Just as Jesus emphasized this purpose of prophecy on the way to Emmaus, so we emphasize this purpose of prophecy in our statement. If we are interested in prophecy, we should be sure that we do not overlook this part of the passage. If we do not understand this part of the message, nothing else will be of any use to us.
It is interesting to read Revelation 19,10 with the following in mind: "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." The message about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. It's all about this. The nature of prophecy is Jesus Christ.
Three more purposes
Our third sentence adds several details about prophecy. He says: "The prophecy proclaims God as Almighty Creator and Judge above all and assures mankind of his love, grace and fidelity and motivates the believer to a godly life in Jesus Christ." Here are three other purposes of prophecy. First, it tells us that God is the sovereign judge of everything. Second, it tells us that God is loving, merciful, and faithful. And third, that prophecy motivates us to live properly. Let's take a closer look at these three purposes.
Bible prophecy tells us that God is sovereign, that he has authority and power over all things. We quote Isaiah 46,9: 11, a passage that supports this point. "Remember the past, as it has been from ancient times: I am God, and no one else, a God to whom nothing is like. I have announced from the start what is to come, and ahead of time, what has not yet happened. I say: what I have decided happens, and everything I have in mind I do. I call an eagle from the east, from a far country the man who carries out my advice. As I said, I'll let it come; what I have planned, I also do. »
In this section, God says he can tell us how everything will end, even if it is just beginning. It's not hard to tell the end of the beginning after everything has happened, but only God can announce the end from the beginning. Even in antiquity, he was able to make predictions about what would happen in the future.
Some people say that God can do this because he sees the future. It is true that God can see the future, but this is not the point that Isaiah is aiming for. What he emphasizes is not so much that God sees or knows in advance, but that God will intervene in the story to make sure it happens. He will bring it about, even if in that case he may summon a man from the East to do the work.
God announces His plan in advance, and this revelation is what we call prophecy - something announced in advance what will happen. Therefore, prophecy is part of God's revelation of his will and purpose. Then, because it is God's will, plan, and desire, he makes sure it happens. He will do whatever he pleases, all he wants to do, because he has the power to do it. He is sovereign over all nations.
Daniel 4,17: 24 tells us the same thing. This happens immediately after Daniel announces that King Nebuchadnezzar will lose his mind for seven years, and he gives the following reason: «It is the decision of the Most High about my Lord the King: you will be removed from the community of men out, and you must stay with the animals of the field, and they will let you eat grass like the cattle, and you will lie under the dew of the sky and get wet, and seven times will pass over you until you realize that Supreme power has over the kingdoms of men and they give who he wants » (Daniel 4,21: 22).
Thus, the prophecy was given and executed so that people would know that God is the supreme among all peoples. He has the power to use someone as ruler, even the lowest among men. God can give dominion to the one he wants to give her because he is sovereign. This is a message conveyed to us through biblical prophecy. It shows us that God has omnipotence.
Prophecy tells us that God is the judge. We can see this in many Old Testament prophecies, especially in the prophecies of punishment. God brings unpleasant things because people have done evil. God functions as a judge who has the power to reward and punish, and who has the power to ensure that it is carried out.
We quote Judas 14-15 for this reason: «It also prophesied from them Enoch, the seventh from Adam, and said: Behold, the Lord comes with his many thousand saints to judge all and to punish all people for all the works of their godless change with which they have been godless and for all the naughty things that the wicked sinners have spoken against him. »
Here we see that the New Testament quotes a prophecy that is not found in the Old Testament. This prophecy is in the apocryphal book 1. Enoch, and was incorporated into the Bible, and she became part of the inspired account of what the prophecy reveals. It reveals that the Lord is coming - that is still in the future - and that he is the judge of every people.
Love, mercy and faithfulness
Where does prophecy tell us that God is loving, merciful, and faithful? Where is this revealed in prophecy? We do not need predictions to know God's character, because He always remains the same. Biblical prophecy reveals something about God's plan and actions, and it is therefore inevitable that she will reveal something about his character. His intentions and plans will inevitably reveal to us that he is loving, merciful, and faithful.
I am thinking here of Jeremiah 26,13: "Now improve your ways and your actions and obey the voice of the LORD your God, then the LORD will also repent of the evil that he has spoken against you." If people change, God will give in; he is not anxious to punish; he is ready to make a fresh start. He has no resentment - he is merciful and ready to forgive.
As an example of his faithfulness, we could look at the prophecy in Leviticus 3:26,44. This section is a warning to Israel that if the covenant breaks, they will be defeated and taken into captivity. But then this assurance is added: "But even if they are in the enemy's country, I still do not reject them and I am not disgusted with them, so it should be over with them." This prophecy emphasizes God's faithfulness, mercy, and love, even if these specific words are not used.
Hosea 11 is another example of God's faithful love. Even after describing how unfaithful Israel was, verses 8-9 read: "My heart is different, all my compassion is on fire. I don't want to do anything to ruin Ephraim after my fierce anger. For I am God and not a man and I am the Saint among you and do not want to come to devastate. » This prophecy shows God's constant love for his people.
The prophecies of the New Testament also assure us that God is loving, merciful, and faithful. He will raise us from the dead and reward us. We will live with him and enjoy his love forever. Biblical prophecy assures us that God intends to do this, and past fulfillments of prophecies assure us that he has the power to do it and do exactly as he intended.
Motivated to a godly life
Finally, it says that Bible prophecy motivates believers to lead a godly life in Christ Jesus. How does that happen? It gives us, for example, a motivation to turn to God because we are assured that He wants the best for us, and we will always receive good when we accept what He offers us, and we will ultimately receive evil when we do not do it.
In this connection we quote 2 Peter 3,12: 14: «But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; then the skies will melt with a great crash; but the elements will melt with heat, and the earth and the works on it will find their judgment. If all of this is going to melt away, how do you have to stand in holy change and pious being. »
We should look forward to the day of the Lord, rather than fear Him, and lead a godly life. Probably something good will happen to us when we do it, and something less desirable if we do not. Prophecy encourages us to live a God-fearing life because it reveals to us that God rewards those who seek Him faithfully.
In verses 12-15 we read: «... who await and strive for the coming of God's day when the heavens will melt and the elements will melt from the heat. But we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth after its promise, in which justice resides. Therefore, my dear ones, while you wait for it, try to be immaculate and immaculate in peace before him, and our Lord's patience for your salvation, as well as our dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him. wrote to you. »
This scripture shows us that Bible prophecy encourages us to make every effort to have right conduct and thoughts, to live a godly life, and to be at peace with God. The only way to do that is, of course, through Jesus Christ. But in this special scripture, God tells us that he is patient, faithful and merciful.
Jesus' ongoing role is essential here. Peace with God is possible only because Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and enters for us as High Priest. The Law of Moses foreshadowed and predicted this aspect of Jesus' work of salvation; through him we are strengthened to live a godly life, to make every effort, and to be cleansed of the patches we draw. It is through faith in Him as our high priest that we can have the confidence that our sins have been forgiven and that salvation and eternal life are guaranteed.
Prophecy assures us of God's mercy and the way to be saved by Jesus Christ. Prophecy is not the only thing that motivates us to lead a godly life. Our future reward or punishment is not the only reason to live just. We can find motivations for good behavior in the past, present and future. In the past, because God was good to us, and in gratitude for what he has already done, and we are willing to do what he says. Our current motivation for just life is our love of God; the Holy Spirit in us causes us to like him in our doing. And the future also helps to motivate our behavior - God warns us of punishment, probably because he wants this warning to motivate us to change our behavior. He also promises rewards, knowing that they too motivate us. We want to receive the rewards he gives.
Behavior was always a reason for the prophecy. Prophecy is not just about predicting, it's about explaining God's instructions. That's why many prophecies were conditional - God warned against punishment, and he hoped for remorse so the punishment would not have to come. Prophecies were not given as useless trivialities about the future - they had a purpose for the present.
Zechariah summarized the message of the prophets as a call for change: "Thus says the Lord Zebaoth: Repent of your evil ways and your evil deeds! But they disobeyed and paid no attention to me, saith the LORD » (Zechariah 1,3-4). Prophecy tells us that God is a merciful judge, and because of what Jesus does for us, we can be saved if we trust him.
Some prophecies have a longer range and do not depend on whether the people did either good or evil. Not all prophecies were for this purpose. Indeed, prophecies come in such a wide variety that it is difficult to say, except in a general sense, for what purpose all prophecies serve. Some are for this, some for that purpose and there are some that we are not sure what they are for.
If we try to make a statement of faith about something as diverse as prophecy, we will make a general statement because it is accurate: Biblical prophecy is one of the ways in which God tells us what He is doing, and the general message of prophecy informs us about the most important thing God does: it leads us to salvation through Jesus Christ. Prophecy warns us of
In the coming judgment, she assures us of the grace of God and therefore encourages us to repent and
to join the program of God.