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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 08 2024

God’s purpose for prophecy

The books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are prophetic, and Genesis, Psalms and Paul's epistles also contain important prophecies. Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 contain an extensive prophecy Christ gave shortly before He was crucified, and the book of Revelation describes prophetic visions about the period from the early Church until Jesus Christ's return and beyond.

Prophecy takes up over a third of the Bible and there are important reasons why. 

Prophecy reveals who and what God is.

Prophecy describes the greatness of God and fulfilled prophecies reveal the power of God: “‘I am the Lord…I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you'" (Isaiah 42:8-9).

Prophecy reveals God exists and the Bible is His revealed Word.

Throughout the centuries human beings have denied the existence of God. The Apostle Paul wrote that people "did not like to retain God in their knowledge," preferring to act out their selfish and evil desires (Romans 1:28-32). People go to great lengths to explain away scientific evidence, such as the complexity of DNA, our universe, and the fine-tuning of our planet for the existence of life. They also deny the reality of fulfilled prophecies, but God offers this challenge to any who would doubt Him: "I am the first and…the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me?...what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come ... .Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?" (Isaiah 44:6-8).

Prophecy shows God is in ultimate control.

In Isaiah 46:9-10 God declares no one can remotely approach His power, using prophecy as an example: "Remember the former things, those of long ago;...I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come…My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please."

The prophet Daniel, who served under the rulers of Babylon and the Medo-Persian Empire, said that God "removes kings and raises up kings" and "reveals deep and secret things" (Daniel 2:21-22). Daniel had no doubt that God is in complete control, raising up and striking down kings and empires to fulfill His purpose.

Prophecy reveals the consequences of obedience and disobedience.

A theme often found in Bible prophecy is that choices and actions have consequences: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7). Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 describe in detail what happens when a nation chooses to obey and honor God and what results when a nation turns its back on God. Sadly, the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah failed to heed these warnings, and they stand as a stark example to modern nations such as the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others who've been greatly blessed by God, but now increasingly deny Him and trample His Word underfoot.(See our study guide: The United States And British Commonwealth In Prophecy.)

Prophecy reveals God's will—He wants all to receive His gift of salvation. 

God wants us to understand the painful consequences of choosing the wrong way and the blessings that come from obeying Him. He doesn't want any of us to suffer: “'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die…?'" (Ezekiel 33:11). The prophecies of the Bible almost always end with hope and good news because God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). 

Bible prophecy reveals God is working out an incredible plan to bring us to eternal life in His divine family.

The Apostle John described the incredible future God has in store for us: "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2-3). God’s plan is for us to serve Him when Jesus Christ establishes the Kingdom of God on earth. "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

Prophecy should motivate us to repent and turn to God. 

Another of God's purposes for prophecy is to urge humanity to repent and to wholeheartedly follow God, as the Apostle Peter explains: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). The message of every prophet of the Bible is that if we listen to God, heed His warnings and change, we can avoid the terrible times prophesied to come. "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him…for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).

 

Click on this link for a list of some of the Bible’s fulfilled prophecies: What Are Some Of The Bible’s Major, Fulfilled Prophecies?

  • Source:

    The Good News magazine (Sep-Oct 2013)