Some of the Bible’s longest books, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, are prophetic, and many of its other books, like Genesis, Psalms and Paul’s epistles, also contain prophecies. Prophecy is important to God and it should also be important to us for the following reasons:
- Prophecy reveals that God exists and that the Bible is His revealed Word
Throughout the centuries, men and women have denied the existence of God, but prophecies, fulfilled in every detail, counter this claim. The Apostle Paul tells us people “did not like to retain God in their knowledge,” since accepting His existence interfered with acting out their selfish and evil desires (Romans 1:28-32).
- Prophecy reveals God’s greatness and power and shows He is in ultimate control
In Isaiah 42, God connects His creative power with His ability to reveal the future long before it comes to pass: (Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 42:8-9). No one or nothing can compare to God in His might and majesty. God speaks and bring galaxies, stars and worlds into existence! He creates living beings from nothing and can declare what will happen before it takes place!
In Isaiah 46:9-10 God declares, using prophecy as an example, that no one or nothing can remotely approach His power: “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” (NIV). He ends this statement saying, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (NIV) .
- Prophecy shows the consequences of obedience and disobedience
A theme found again and again in Bible prophecy is that choices and actions have consequences. One of the biggest mistakes individuals or nations can make is to assume they can act as they wish without those actions eventually catching up with them.
Paul summarized this very well in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Two long chapters of the Bible—Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28—also clearly spell this out. They’re commonly known to Bible students as the “blessings and curses” chapters.
- Prophecy reveals God’s will
Our Creator wants all to receive His gift of salvation and to understand the painful consequences from choosing the wrong way and the blessings that come from obeying Him. He says: “Say to them: ‘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, O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 33:11).
- Prophecy reveals God’s plan for humanity
God wants to be a Father to us, and we will be His sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18). “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).
- Prophecy should motivate us to repent and turn to God
We see that another of God’s purposes for prophecy is to urge humankind to repent— to turn from our own evil ways and to wholeheartedly follow God. In Jeremiah 25:4-5 we see Jeremiah summarizing the message of God’s prophets to His people: “The Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets … They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings …’”
Isaiah repeats this theme: “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; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”(Isaiah 55:6-7)
All prophecy is ultimately a message of hope, and the prophecies of the Bible almost always end with good news. We have God’s assurance He is in perfect control, and that He is a God of love (1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16).
As Paul told Timothy, God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). If and when we do so, God promises to bless and care for us, intent on fulfilling His purpose for us.