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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Prophecy is its own apologetic

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docs
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Joined: 2006/9/16
Posts: 1973


 Prophecy is its own apologetic

Prophecy is its own apologetic.

I read the Quran through last year (not for everyone I know) and one of the things that stood out to me in my reading was the absence of prophecy. All I remember was reading one prophecy and that was one that referred to the triumph of the Byzantines over the Persians within a matter of years and that struck me as perhaps being a educated guess. Besides this one, there were a few general statements regarding the times before judgment day etc. but besides the singular prophecy I mentioned I saw no real prophecy. Honestly speaking, it wasn't that I was actively looking for a absence of prophecy, it was just that after reading I realized there wasn't much at all. That's not a prejudiced statement it's just a statement of fact. This lack of prophecy was in sharp contrast to what I am used to when reading and studying the Bible.

I think the large volume of prophecies found in the Bible, particularly the large number of fulfilled prophecies, set it apart from any other book. Prophecy has been described as God's divinely appointed apologetic regarding Himself. It is an apologetic itself.

21 - "Present your case", the Lord says. "Bring forward your strong arguments," the King of Jacob says.

22 - Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place: As for the former events, declare what they were, that we may consider them, and know their outcome; or announce to us what is coming.

23 - Declare the things that are going to come afterward, that we may know ye are gods; indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together. (Isaiah 40:21-23)

26 - Who has declared this from the beginning, that we might know? or from former times, that we may say, "He is right!"? Surely there was no one who declared, surely there was no one who proclaimed, surely there was no one who heard your words. (Isaiah 41:26)

8 - "I am the Lord, that is My name; I wil not give My glory to another, nor my praise to graven images.

9 - "Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you. (Isaiah 43:8-9)

6 - "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: 'I am the first and the last and there is no God besides Me.

7 - 'And who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; yes, let him recount it to Me in order, from the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place.

8 - 'Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'" (Isaiah 44:6-8)

21 - Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long sinnce declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. (Isaiah 45:21)

9 - "Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,

10 - Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established,
and I will accomplish all My good pleasure; (Isaiah 46:9-10)

5 - Therefore I proclaimed them to you long ago, before they took place I proclaimed them to you, lest you should say, 'My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.'

6 - You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known. (Isaiah 48:5-6)

Being able to prophesy of future events before they happen and then being able to actively work so that they come to pass sets the Christian God apart from all other deities. God Himself invokes the phenomenon of prophecy as the open and undeniable evidence that sets Him apart from all other deities and competing truth claims. Prophecy is one of the strongest apologetic arguments that the Christian faith and the Christian himself has. Fulfilled prophecy hardly needs a defense in a way because historically verified and fulfilled prophecy is again an apologetic in itself. Things prophesied and then fulfilled takes one beyond a general deistic concept or a belief in an unknown god who is a transcendent prime mover or the likes. The Christian God foretells things before they happen and then actively works for their fulfillment and this is verifiable from the record of history. And this God not just works to bring about things prophesied but to bring them about in line with His plans and purposes. Acknowledging Him and His stated purpose because of historically fulfilled prophecy helps sheds light on His identity and nature. If He foretells things and then they come to pass then other things He has said about Himself and His nature and His purpose can be relied upon to be true. Which makes the prophesied appearance of Christ and His message all the more significant. It all helps underline the eternal nature of a God who can foretell the end from the beginning because only one standing outside of time can do this. Prophecy, abundant and overflowing in the Bible from beginning to end, shows not only THAT God is, it also shows WHO He is, the eternal Creator of the universe and the sender Of Jesus Christ. On the road to Emmaus, Christ began "with Moses and with all the prophets", and "He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (Luke 24:27). When Paul stood before King Agrippa, he replied, "And so, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:22-23). Christ and Paul both referred to the foundation of the prophets.

Forgive me for my little lesson here regarding things that many of you are no doubt aware of. It's just that the prophecies of the Bible stand in a league of their own because the God who prophesies in this manner is in a league of His own if you will. Be encouraged once again.

Thanks.

"For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
(Revelation 19:10)


_________________
David Winter

 2011/1/28 13:28Profile









 Re: Prophecy is its own apologetic

Hia Doc. I have a question for you, seeing that you have a working brain (that I cannot claim of myself - Amen).

What do you say to a Christian that you love dearly who claims, "Eschatology is not prophesy" and vice versa?


The Revelation 19:10 - "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Amen!


By what spirit did Jesus, Paul, Peter, Jude, and John speak through, in order to write what they did in the Scriptures regarding the future events that we call "eschatology"?

Thanks for the brain power.
That's what the Body of Christ is for. Working together as one. Thanks!

 2011/1/29 9:19
docs
Member



Joined: 2006/9/16
Posts: 1973


 Re: Prophecy and eschatology

I'm very sorry for not having got back before now. I saw your reply and question but has just been too busy with work and the like. I hate to log in and make a fast and furious reply and then log out quickly. I have a little time now but what I have to say may not be that earth shaking. As far as prophecy and eschatology not being the same and vice versa, I guess I'm under the opinion that it's hard to separate the two. Along the way, I have come to see that eschatology really began with the astounding prophecy of Moses found in Deut 4:30,

"When you are in distress and all these things come upon you, in the "latter days" (emphasis mine), you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice."

Talk about a prophecy! Moses was so far ahead of the game it's hard to state it adequately. Before the people had set one foot in the promised land Moses had already prophesied of their stubborness which would bring times of trial and conflict to Israel even unto the latter years of their history and this age. The record of the Hebrew people in history has surely borne this out to be true. Only the Holy Spirit within Moses could speak such a remarkable and accurate forecast. Though he was prophesying about Israel in the "latter days", it's still the testimony of and about Jesus being prophesied of because Jesus is intimately involved in the latter days of Israel's history and the end of the age. History we know is His story. So the spirit of prophecy was at work here testifying in reality about things regarding Jesus - it was the testimony of Jesus. I would say that was the same spirit of prophecy that spoke through Peter and Paul and the other writers as they testified of Jesus and the last days.

I think the last days offically (if that's the right word) began at Pentecost when Peter stood up and referred to the eschatological prophecies of Joel and said, "but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: :And it shall be in the last days, God says, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions ..." (Acts 2:17). Peter also mentioned in his sermon at Pentecost "wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke..." (Acts 2:19-21 - Joel 2:28-32). So not only were the last days to be characterized by an outpouring of God's Spirit but also the church of the last days was mandated to warn of the coming awesome day of the Lord that would be accompanied by a final upheaval that would reach even into nature. The time of its coming has seemed slow for sure but it was part of the message as surely as salvation in Christ is.

I'm sort of going on here but the latter years or the last days are full of prophecies concerning things to come. It's built around the study of prophecies regarding the end of the age and the transition into the next. Though many things have already been fulfilled, the famous Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 contains prophecies in my opinion because the question was not only about the destruction of the temple etc. but also about the "end of the age" (Matt 24:3). The same with Revelation - many things are already fulfilled but many of the prophecies there are still to occur. So I don't know where your friend may be coming from exactly. Sure much prophecy has been fulfilled but there's still much to occur and be fulfilled. Maybe he's one who has been turned off by much of the abuse and fluffy sensationalism that the field of modern eschatology has endured. If he is perhaps offended by that he has good cause. There's soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology and it seems eschatology has fallen on hard times and is the most neglected of the three. Still, if current world events are moving inexoriably in the direction the Hebrew prophets and Jesus said they would in the last days then the serious study of last things is even more imperative in my opinion as the church seeks to awaken from a prophetic slumber of sorts and present a true prophetic witness to a lost world. It's hard to see prophecy and eschatology as not being intimately related in my opinion.

"For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev 19:10) Amen to that. It's all testifying of Him.

Maybe some of that helps and I'm sorry again for not getting back to you sooner.



_________________
David Winter

 2011/2/3 16:15Profile









 Re:

Brother, somehow I knew it would be worth the wait.

""Still, if current world events are moving inexoriably in the direction the Hebrew prophets and Jesus said they would in the last days then the serious study of last things is even more imperative in my opinion as the church seeks to awaken from a prophetic slumber of sorts and present a true prophetic witness to a lost world.""

Your entire post was excellent and I thank GOD for the gift of expression that He's given to you. Grateful that you are using it to His Glory!

Thank you Docs. Thank you for the testimony of Jesus. For releasing the Spirit of prophecy.

LORD Bless you & yours. Amen

 2011/2/3 16:26
enduretoend
Member



Joined: 2011/1/31
Posts: 21


 Re:

Very nice, thanks docs.

 2011/2/3 16:36Profile





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