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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 27 2020

The purpose of biblical prophecy

Between a fourth and a third of the Bible is prophecy and many of God’s greatest servants, including Jesus Christ, were prophets.

The purpose of biblical prophecy
Photo of a portion of the Great Isaiah Scroll facsimile (Wikipedia.org)
by Scott Ashley

Some of the longest books in the Bible, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, are prophetic. Genesis, Psalms and Paul’s epistles also contain important prophecies, as well as Jesus Christ’s discourses in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. The Bible also concludes with the book of Revelation, which is a series of prophetic visions describing the period from the early Church through to Christ’s return and beyond.

Biblical prophecy reveals God’s greatness and power, confirming His existence and that the Bible is His revealed Word: “… 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, NIV).

Down through the ages men and women have denied the reality of God, preferring to believe He doesn’t exist. In the first century the Apostle Paul wrote that people “....did not like to retain God in their knowledge...” (Romans 1:28) -- since accepting His existence interfered with acting out their selfish and evil desires .

History is a witness of the many events foretold by God hundreds and thousands of years before they happened. When compared to other ‘holy’ books the Bible alone contains hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled just as they were recorded years ahead of time—and there are still hundreds more prophecies waiting to be fulfilled!

In Isaiah 46:9-10 God declares no one can approach His power, using prophecy as an example: “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; 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” (NIV) .

Another theme found again and again in Bible prophecy is that choices and actions have consequences. Paul summarized this concept very well in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, known to Bible students as the “blessings and curses” chapters, describe in detail what happens when a nation chooses to obey and honor God (blessings) and what results when a nation turns its back and disobeys Him. Sadly, the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah failed to heed these warnings, and they stand as a stark example to 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.

It is also clear from biblical prophecy that God’s will is that all repent and receive His gift of salvation. The prophecies of the Bible no matter how devastating almost always end with hope and good news. This is because, as Paul told Timothy, God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Through biblical prophecy, we have God’s assurance that He is in perfect control, that He is a God of love and that His desire is for us to turn to Him in heartfelt repentance.

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