Dear Pastor Ron:
This series of articles will deal with Bible prophecies and man’s future. The question I have for my readers is: Are biblical prophecies and the prophetic gift important for the Christian in today’s world? Do these prophecies contribute anything to the Christian’s salvation today? With these questions in mind let’s see what the Scriptures say about the prophetic gift.
We read from Hosea 12:13 where it says: “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.” Certainly we have read of the mighty acts God performed in order to free His people Israel from Egyptian slavery, yet God says in Hosea that it was through a prophet that God did these mighty acts, and that it was through a prophet that He preserved them. And in Amos 3:7 we read: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing but he reveals his secrets unto his servants the prophets.” These two texts show us the central role that prophets play in God’s dealing with human salvation. But again I ask, can we say that this prophetic role applies to God’s people today, the New Testament Christians?
If God says that He will do nothing (in looking after His church) without first revealing it to His servants the prophets, then we should expect that even today the prophetic gift should be found in the New Testament church. And yes, we find this to be the case. Here are some texts that show this; in Acts 2:16-18 we read that at Pentecost the disciples were filled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; Peter asserted that this was in fulfillment of the promise in Joel 2:28 where God predicted that He would give His church the prophetic gift in the last days; in Acts 21:8 we read that Phillip had four daughters that were prophetesses; and in Acts 15:32 we find that both Judas and Silas were called prophets. Further, we read in Romans 12:4-6 that the prophetic gift is indeed given to the church today; in 1Cor. 12:7-11, 27-28 we see again that God did give the prophetic ability to His NT church. Once more, we read in Ephesians 4:11-13 that among other gifts given to the NT church, the prophetic gift was given for the edification of the church that it may come to the nature and fullness of the image of Jesus Christ.
From these texts we understand that God gave, among others, the prophetic gift to the NT church in order to keep it in the straight path of God’s salvation. This tells us then, that we should find in God's church today the prophetic gift; and its purpose is to lead people to the direct message of Christ for these last days. We can therefore say that the purpose of prophecy, whether in the Old or New Testament, is to demonstrate that God is in charge of this world and that He has given the Bible and prophets to guide all men to the reception of this gracious salvation that all might be saved before it is too late. We will now take time to look at the veracity and surety of God’s existence through the messianic prophecies that predicted that Jesus was not just God, but that His life before and after He lived were all prophesied that all men might know God and His purpose for humanity.
In the Scriptures we read that God calls men to know through the prophecies that He is God and that He can predict anything at anytime and at His pleasure; and that His predictions will surely happen in order that we may be acquainted with God and His love towards us regardless of whether we accept these prophecies or not. In Isa. 46:9, 10 we read: "Remember the former things of old: For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" And in Isa. 48:3, 5 we read: " I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass"....5: "I have even from the beginning declared it to you; before it came to pass I shewed you it: lest you should say, My idol has done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, have commanded them."
Finally in Num. 23:19 we find these words: "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
Jesus appealed to these messianic prophecies to prove that he came from God to carry out His mission. In Mat. 5:17 He said “Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” The expression ‘came to fulfill’ tells us that there were predictions made. And in Luke 24:27 Jesus said: “and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” And in verse 44: “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning me.’” And again in John 5:39, 40, 46-47: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” And in Acts 3:18 Luke says: “but those things which God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” In 1 Cor. 15:3 we read: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
When the disciples and Paul write concerning the “Scriptures” they are of course referring to the Hebrew Scriptures, (what is mistakenly called the Old Testament), for this was the only Scriptures from God that existed at that time among them. Let’s look at some examples of Messianic scriptures: The Jewish feasts were all about the Messiah’s (Jesus) mission. The Passover feasts (see Leveticus 23:5) all foreshadowed Jesus death. Paul writes in 1 Cor. 5:7: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us"; the unleavened bread, we read about in Leveticus 23:6, represented Jesus’ holiness that He gives to us. In 1 Cor. 5:8: we read: "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
The First Fruits of the harvests that were waved before the Lord (Leviticus 23:10, 11) prefigured the resurrection of Christ and the second coming. In 1 Cor. 15:23 Paul writes: "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming."
The feast of Pentecost (known as the feast of weeks) found in Deuteronomy 16:10 depicted the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:5, tells us "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." And in Acts 2:1-4 we find: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
The Trumpet that was blown announcing the commencement of the feast of the day of atonement as found in Leviticus 23:24 represented the final gathering of God’s people. In Mat. 24:31 we read: "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
The day of atonement found in Leviticus 23:27, 28 announced the cleansing and judgment of God’s followers. In Rom. 11:26, 27 we read: "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." And in Rev. 14:6, 7 we read of the final judgment that takes place before Jesus returns to earth with His rewards: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."Finally, the feast of tabernacles prefigured the final gathering of God’s people at the second coming of Jesus. In Zech. 14:16 we read: "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations Which came against Jerusalem Shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, And to keep the feast of tabernacles. "
In the next article we will continue these messianic prophecies. May God bless you all.
Pastor Ron Henderson is a Seventh-day Adventist pastor working in Alberta, Canada. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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