Why are there prophecies?
There will always be someone who claims to be a prophet or believes he can calculate the date of Jesus' return. Recently I saw a report about a rabbi who was supposed to associate the predictions of Nostradamus with the Torah. Another person foretold that Jesus' second coming will be at Pentecost 2019. Many prophet-lovers try to connect the current news and biblical prophecies. Kark Barth admonished people to remain firmly rooted in Scripture as he strove to better understand the ever-changing modern world.
The purpose of the biblical script
Jesus taught that the purpose of Scripture is to reveal God - his character, purpose, and nature. The Bible accomplishes this purpose by pointing to Jesus, who is the full and definitive revelation of God. A Christ-centered reading of Scripture helps us to remain true to this purpose and helps us to avoid misinterpretation of the prophecies.
Jesus taught that he is the living center of all biblical revelation and that we are all of Scripture (including the prophecies) should be interpreted from this center. Jesus sharply criticized the Pharisees for failing on this point. Although they searched for eternal life in Scripture, they did not recognize Jesus as the source of this life (John 5,36: 47). Ironically, her prior understanding of Scripture blinded her from knowing that Scripture was fulfilled. Jesus showed how to correctly interpret the Bible by showing how all of Scripture points to him as her fulfillment (Luk 24,25-27; 44-47). The testimony of the apostles in the New Testament confirms this Christ-centered method of interpretation.
As a perfect image of the invisible God (Colossians 1,15) Jesus reveals the nature of God through his interaction, which denotes the mutual interaction of God and humanity. This is important to keep in mind when reading the Old Testament. This is particularly relevant to keep us from doing things like trying to apply Daniel's story in Löwengrube to a current situation in our world, for example when voting for a political office. Daniel's prophecies are not there to tell us who to choose. Rather, the book of Daniel tells of a man who was blessed for his loyalty to God. So Daniel points to the faithful God who is always there for us.
But is the Bible important?
Many people question that such an old book as the Bible can still be relevant today. After all, the Bible says nothing about such modern things as cloning, modern medicine, and space. Modern science and technology raise questions and riddles that did not exist in biblical times. Yet, the Bible is of great importance in our time because it reminds us that our technological advances have not changed the human condition or God's good intentions and plans for humanity.
The Bible enables us to understand our role in God's plan, including the coming fullness of His kingdom. Scripture helps us to understand the meaning and purpose of our life. It teaches us that our life does not end in nothing, but is headed for a big reunion, where we will meet Jesus face to face. The Bible reveals to us that there is a meaning in life - we were created to be united with our Triune God in unity and fellowship. The Bible also provides a guide to equip us for this rich life (2 Timothy 3,16: 17). It does so by constantly pointing us to Jesus, the one who gives us plenty of life by giving us access to the Father (John 5,39) and sends us the Holy Spirit.
Yes, the Bible is reliable, with a distinctive, highly relevant goal. Nevertheless, she is rejected by many people. The French philosopher Voltaire said in 17. Century ago that the Bible would disappear in 100 years in the darkness of history. Well, he was wrong. The Guinness world records that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. To date, billions of copies have been sold and distributed through 5. It is both humorous and ironic that Voltaire's house in Geneva, Switzerland, was purchased by the Geneva Bible Society and served as the Bible distribution center. So much for the predictions!
The purpose of prophecies
Contrary to some, the purpose of the biblical prophecy is not to help us predict the future, but to help us recognize Jesus as Lord of history. The prophecies prepare the way for Jesus and point to him. Notice what the apostle Peter wrote about the calling of the prophets:
This bliss [as described in the previous seven verses] has been sought and researched by the prophets who prophesied the grace destined for you, and what time and what the Spirit of Christ pointed to, who was in them and previously testified of the sufferings that should come over Christ and the glory afterwards. It has been revealed to them that they should not serve themselves but what has now been preached to you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven " (1 Peter 1,10:12).
Peter says that the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) is the source of the prophecies and their purpose is to predict the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It implies that when you have heard the Gospel message, you have heard everything you need to know about prophecy. The apostle John wrote about this in a similar way: “Rather worship God! Because the prophetic message that the Spirit of God gives is the message of Jesus » (Revelation 19,10, New Geneva Translation).
Scripture is clear: "Jesus is the main theme of the prophecies." The biblical prophecies tell us who Jesus is, what he did and what he will do. Our focus is on Jesus and the life He gives us in communion with God. It's not geopolitical alliances, trade wars, or anyone predicting anything in good time. It is a great comfort to know that Jesus is both the foundation and the consummation of our faith. Our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The love of Jesus, our Redeemer, is the focus of all prophecies.
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