The Role of Prophecy
Watch Webcast 33:20
Section 7: The Role of Bible Prophecy
TWO FOLD PURPOSE OF PROPHECY
Prophecy, according to 1 Corinthians 14, involves building up, exhortation, and comfort (14:3), edification (14:4), conviction and conversion (14:24,25), and instruction (14:31). (See also 2 Peter 3:1-3, "to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.")
Prophecy also served to warn man regarding his failure and need of repentance and salvation at the hand of God, while at the same time confirms the certainty of God's plan. (Example: Heb. 11:7)
NOTE: Prophecy is not for the purpose of satisfying idle curiosity about future events, but to assist believers to act in faith, to be moved with fear, and to make such preparations that will save their household.
PRINCIPLES IN UNDERSTANDING PROPHECY
- Analyze the passage in terms of history, context, and its literal meaning.
- Note exactly to whom or to what the passage refers. Observe whether the prophecy is forthtelling or foretelling. Is it directed at comfort, exhortation, or edification, or is it speaking about what will happen?
- Distinguish between direct and symbolic predictions.
- Remember that God's ultimate revelation in Christ illuminates all earlier revelations.
- Keep in mind that apocalyptic imagery is difficult to interpret, and to be successful interpreters, we must follow the basic principles for interpreting all figurative language. The imagery should have made sense to the original readers.
EXAMPLE OF FULFILLED PROPHECY - DANIEL 2
Prophecy of Nebuchadnezzar's Image
- Head of Gold - Babylon
- Breast & Arms of Silver - Medo Persia
- Belly & Thighs of Brass - Greece
- Legs of Iron - Rome
WARNING AGAINST FALSE PROPHETS
It is recorded for us in 2 Timothy 4, beginning in verse 3:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
See also: Deut. 13:1-5, 18:20-22; Jeremiah 14:14; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1-3
SOME FAMOUS PROPHETS: