Who has the power of prophecy?

To whom does prophecy belong?

French – American Bible Society – 1846 open Bible

With the Book of books the Bible we have a most remarkable book in our hands. Its account of the origin of evil; its unparalleled record of God’s dealings with the nation of Israel; its searching message through their prophets; its “good news” proclaimed by Jesus Christ and his apostles; above all, its unerring analysis of the weaknesses of human nature and its contrasting portrayal of the holiness, the truth and the mercy of God, made especially plain in the person of His Son – all these are outstanding features found in no other book in the world. They prompted Henry Rogers over 100 years ago to declare:

“The Bible is not such a book as man would have written if he could, nor could have written if he would.” {In The Superhuman Origin of the Bible Deduced from Itself}

In other words, God is needed to explain its existence.

One of the Bible’s unique features is prophecy.
Now strictly prophecy is not just foretelling the future. A prophet was one who “spoke for” another, a spokesman; and prophecy was the message the prophet spoke on behalf of God. But since Bible prophecy contains quite a lot of “prediction”, or foretelling future events, for our purpose here we shall take the term in that sense.

From the beginning of the set apart Scriptures we can find that man rebelled against God but that God provided a solution for in the future. When people read the Bible they get to know the past but also can learn about the future days. The different writers told people around them what God requested them to look for and to follow up.

In the history of mankind there have been a lot of people who said that they could foretell the future and could foretell fortunes.

In the 41st chapter of Isaiah God challenges the idols and the idol worshippers or idolators of the day to prove that they possess divine powers. This is how He does it:

“Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them (the idols) bring them (the reasons) forth, and declare unto us what shall happen: declare ye the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or shew us things to come …” (verses 21,22, RV)

The basis of this challenge is clear: the pagan worshippers claim that their idols are gods. Very well; let them produce the proofs. And the proofs demanded by God Himself are that the idols shall announce future events, and also declare “the former things”, that is, explain how creation took place in the beginning. The point is made crystal clear in the next verse:

“Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods …” (verse 23)

Here God Himself is asserting that to be able to foretell the future would be a proof of Divine power. More than once in this part of Isaiah’s prophecy, God declares that He is the only one who has this power, for only He is God; there is no other:

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me …” (46:9)

The God of Israel is here declaring that there is no other worthy object of worship but Himself; and goes on to assert the signs of His power in these terms:

“… declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (46:10)

Come to think of it, whoever would dare to say,

“My counsel shall stand …”

– except God?

What man is there in the whole world who could say any such thing? To carry it out needs someone who not only knows future events before they happen, but has the power to see that they take place as He has decreed. In other words, to utter prophecy which will inevitably come true, you need God. No other cause can explain it.

The New Testament makes the same claim. When Jesus was about to leave his disciples, he promised them the help of the Holy Spirit in their task of preaching the Gospel in the world. One of the effects of this gift was to be:

“He shall declare unto you the things that are to come” (John 16:13);

in other words, the disciples were to be given a knowledge of future events. It is certainly implied that without the special gift they could not have done this. Their ability to declare the future was to be an evidence of the Divine power they had been granted.

Again, in the last book of the Bible, chapter 1, verse 1, it is declared that God gave to Jesus Christ a revelation,

“to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly come to pass …” (Revelation 1:1).

The knowledge of the future came from God through Jesus; without that revelation, His servants could have known nothing of it.

The conclusion is clear: the Bible says quite definitely that the power to foretell the future belongs to God alone.

Part 2

Does the Bible foretell the future?

Well, we have only to examine history and our own experience to realise that men of themselves have no knowledge at all of the future. Why, we do not even know what will happen to us tonight, or tomorrow on our way to work, let alone next year; or of what will happen to the world in 100 years, to say nothing of in 2,000 years! If men had the slightest knowledge of the future, how many decisions would have been different! How many accidents would have been avoided! How many disasters would never have been allowed to take place! How many wars would never have been started! The experience of our own lives and of the history of men both convince us that mankind has no sure knowledge at all of what is yet to be.

But suppose the future has been foretold, not once, but many times? And always in the same book, the Bible, and in no other book in the world? Ought not that to make us sit up and take notice? That is why we say that the prophecies of the Bible are most important; they deserve to be carefully examined, for a great deal depends on them. They are a striking sign that there exists in the world a power greater than mankind.

“Yes, but …”

Those who do not believe that the Bible is the word of God do not like its prophecy at all. Once grant that it has correctly foretold the future and you have gone a long way to admitting the existence of God. So they try to explain it away.

“The prophecies”, they say, “were not really forecasts of the future at all – they were written after the events ‘foretold’”.

Now this argument can only be made to appear to have any force if you can prove that the Bible documents, especially those of the Old Testament, were written a long time after the events they claim to foretell. It must be stated clearly that they have no direct evidence for this; the conclusion is the result of interpreting the evidence to support their own theorising. As a matter of fact, all the research of the last 100 years tends to show that the Bible documents are authentic: they really do belong to the age in which they claim to be written.

But there is a short cut in this matter which will do very well for our present purpose. No one can deny that the Old Testament documents were in existence by about 200 BC, because they were being translated into Greek (In what is called the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament) about then, and you cannot translate something that is not there!

Another objection is to say,

“Well, these Bible ‘prophecies’ are really clever political forecasts by people who could interpret the events of their day and their likely outcome.”

“Clever political forecasts”, issued in the centuries before Christ and remaining true for over 2,000 years to the present day? What sort of wizards do they imagine the Bible prophets were to be able to accomplish such feats? Merely to state the matter thus is to show how utterly improbable such an explanation of their words would be.

But the surest answer to this objection, as to all others, is to read some of the prophecies themselves.

Therefore we invite always people to go and look for themselves, to investigate the bible books. We also ask them to compare the writings in those chapters with what they learned in their church. The many religious groups may or may not give much attention on what is written in the Bible. According to us the Bible in all instances should be our “Guide“.

In our next chapter we shall have a look at the days of the prophets of Israel.

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Preceding

God’s Self-Revelation

The Greatness of the eternal God

The real God

God as Father

Born of the Father

The Love of God

The Wrath of God

The New Testament and Judgement

To be prepared for the Day of Judgment

Living as a believer in Christ

A participation in the body of Christ

Do you believe what Christ’s Apostles taught?

Different wineskins

Bible Reading: is it worthwhile?

The importance of Reading the Scriptures

The Bible: is it contradictory?

One Bible, many Churches

The Development of Differences

Bible Teaching and Vital Doctrines to be Discover

Examples of Living Faith

Avoiding friction and distraction in the body of Christ

A participation in the body of Christ

Brothers and sisters in Christ for you

The Christadelphians or “Brethren in Christ”

Video: Introducing the Christadelphian Community

Unlocking Bible Prophecy

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Memorizing wonderfully 60 Written for learning to have hope

Memorizing wonderfully 62: 1 Timothy 4:14 Not neglecting gifts given

Isaiah’s Book of the Messenger of Glad Tidings

Contents of the Book of Revelation

Brexit, The Bible, What next?

Next:

Prophecy concerning Babylon and Israel

The most incredible feature of the prophecies

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Additional reading

  1. Many Books, yet One
  2. Are there certain books essential to come to faith
  3. Bible in the first place #1/3
  4. A Book to trust #2 Book of Truth
  5. A Book to trust #8 Father of the universe wanting His creatures to know Him
  6. An uncovering book to explore
  7. Eternal Word that tells everything
  8. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  9. Bible, helmet of salvation, God’s Words put in the mouth of prophets for perfecting, to reprove and correct
  10. Bible, sword of the Spirit to come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man
  11. Creator and Blogger God 8 A Blog of a Book 2 Holy One making Scriptures Holy
  12. Creator and Blogger God 9 A Blog of a Book 3 Blog about Prophecy
  13. Creator and Blogger God 11 Old and New Blog 1 Aimed at one man
  14. The Bible is a today book
  15. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  16. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  17. Reliability of message appears from honesty writers
  18. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation
  19. Challenging claim 2 Inspired by God 1 Simple words
  20. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  21. Where to learn the truth
  22. Living lives in total darkness by lack of understanding the times that lie ahead
  23. God has visited His people
  24. The Word being a quality or aspect of God Himself
  25. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  26. You God hold the future
  27. Fear knocked at the door
  28. No curtain placed over tomorrow
  29. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  30. Trust the future to God
  31. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  32. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  33. Out of the seed of Eve
  34. Messianic prophesies 1 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
  35. Date Setting
  36. Was Russell and Rutherford “Illuminati”?
  37. Russell himself never claimed to be a prophet.
  38. Dave Norris and his writings on the Belgian Bible Students
  39. Gaza in Bible Prophecy
  40. The Rapture Wars
  41. Powerful Russia rising from the ashes
  42. Rejoicing in the day
  43. Coming to the end of the year
  44. Time for global change
  45. End Times
  46. Finish each day and be done with it
  47. Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past

+++

Related

  1. I’ll Own My Past, But It Will Not Define My Future
  2. Where is the future heading?
  3. Utopia or Dystopia?
  4. 25 Utterly Staggering Predictions Of Things To Happen In The Next Billion Years
  5. Plans In My Mind
  6. Bible Code Revealed !??
  7. What Makes The Bible Different From All Other ‘Holy’ Books?
  8. The Basics of Bible Prophecy
  9. Who Needs Prophecy?
  10. Who is a Prophet? 1.
  11. The Golden Idol
  12. “Are We There Yet?”
  13. “The End Is Near! Really? Which One?”
  14. Yehowah’s Witnesses Belonging to The Way are Tied to Bible Prophecy
  15. That Wonderful Time To Come
  16. The Telescoping Property of Prophecy
  17. Daniel 11 Verses 1~20 – Insight into fulfilled Prophecy
  18. Revelation Chapter Twelve As Prophecy Outline
  19. Matthew 2: Wise men and moving around
  20. The Early Church Fathers On The End Times
  21. Does Isaiah 65:17-25 refer to an earthly Millennium rule of Christ on Earth?
  22. Rapture vs Second Coming
  23. EndTimes Prophecy – A Fresh Look with Michael Basham and Benjamin Baruch
  24. Olivet Discourse: The Great Tribulation will be a time worse than ever before

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