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What is Prophecy

QUESTION: What is Prophecy?


According to the dictionary, prophecy is the foretelling or prediction of what is to come. Prophecy is that which is declared by a prophet and especially a divinely inspired prediction, instruction. or exhortation. Prophecy is then a divinely inspired utterance or revelation. Prophecy is therefore the action and function or faculty of a prophet. God has given us a way to authenticate a prophet and His prophecy. "But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, 'How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?' If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). Therefore, to authenticate a prophecy, prophets gave a near and a far prophecy often in the same passage with no indication that the two prophecies spoke of two different times or individuals. The near prophecy came to pass in the prophet's lifetime and that gave authenticity to the far prophecy.

In prophecy, the prophet stands before the people to give God's view of history. Moses is known as the first great prophet and he and all other prophets foreshadowed the Great Prophet, the chosen one, the Messiah, the Christ. "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to Him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, 'Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.' The LORD said to me: 'What they say is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in His mouth, and He will tell them everything I command Him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the Prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account'" (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). The context of this passage is a conversation between Moses and God where God tells Moses that He will raise up a "prophet like you." That this was expressly said of the LORD Jesus Christ is confirmed in the New Testament:
  • "They asked [John the Baptist], 'Then who are you? Are you Elijah?' He said, 'I am not.' 'Are you the Prophet?' He answered, 'No' (John 1:21).

  • "Philip found Nathanael and told him, 'We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote -- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.'" (John 1:45)

  • "After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, 'Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world'" (John 6:14).

  • Also see Acts 3:22-23 and Acts 7:37.

The fact that Biblical prophecy is true is proven by the fact that 44 of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, which is the first advent of the LORD Jesus Christ, were literally fulfilled and documented in the New Testament. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus Himself read a prophecy concerning Himself. "The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19). This is a quote of a passage of prophecy found in Isaiah. "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn" (Isaiah 61:1-2). The LORD Jesus read only the part of this prophecy that dealt with His first coming as the suffering servant and not the last part of Isaiah 61:2 that deals with His second coming in glory and judgment. Prophecy is God telling man that He is in control of history and the future! It is His story!

Learn More about Bible Prophecy!

What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

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