Recently I have been studying the Word and one subject has really stuck out to me – that is the prophecies that we find all the way throughout the Bible. ‘Prophecy’, to translate it simply, is another word for ‘foretelling’ or ‘predicting’. However I’m not talking about mystical crystal balls and the ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaaaaahs’ of a fairground fortuneteller…
When we look at Biblical prophecy we need to understand that this is God speaking through men. Now immediately that rubs people up the wrong way because, to someone who doesn’t believe, that just couldn’t happen. But let me tell you friends – it did happen and it still happens today; God speaks to men and women, and men and women alike can prophesy the living and powerful Word of God to us.
What has really struck me again is the consistency of the power and accuracy of the prophecies in the Bible. An examination of the texts themselves, I admit, is not proof in itself that this is divine revelation (ultimately as Christians we trust the Bible to be the Word of God because of faith and an inner conviction of the Holy Spirit) but by looking at the prophecies that have come true, it does add serious weight to our conviction of the absolute authority of the scriptures and cause many headaches to the harshest of sceptics.
Great examples of the power of the Word of God are the prophecies that centred on the coming of Jesus Christ. Over 300 foretold his coming! Let’s put aside the ridiculous argument that a mortal man tried his best to pose as the Messiah by ‘fulfilling’ ancient predictions. 700 years before Jesus’ birth it was prophesied that he would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) – how can any man decide where he is going to be born? There are scores of prophecies about the nature of his betrayal, torture, brutal death, the actions of others at his death, and his resurrection! Again, why would any con man would want to go through with what Jesus went through in his final moments at the cross?
Ok, this, as you’ve no doubt noticed, is not an in-depth look at the prophecies surrounding Christ or other subjects in the Word. I’m simply stirred to blog this today because of the lies that ‘others’ have spouted in the guise of prophecy. As I’ve said the Bible has plenty of examples of fulfilled prophecies and that gives us faith and strength to trust that remaining Biblical prophecy will also be fulfilled – you see, the Bible takes responsibility for it’s words.
I get angry and cross when I hear other “prophecies” that have been thrown out there by men and religious cults that have no tested or real grounding in the Bible (but bits cobbled together) and that have not come from by Divine revelation. Just think back to the doomsday-mongers around the millennium.
There are people, leaders of religious cults, that have said so much about what will happen on this day or that day…and then nothing happens – but they take NO responsibility for their words. They simply choose to ignore it or gloss it over in such away that they somehow come out ‘clean’ while the people who trusted their words are left in ruins having trusted so sincerely yet were misguided.
The “prophet” of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Warren Jeffs, predicted the end of the world at least three times in recent years. He has gathered his followers to be lifted up into heaven with him. Each time, the apocalypse did not materialise. Jeffs explained that the delay was caused by the unfaithfulness of the membership.
This wasn’t the first time this had happened.
In January 2005 a religious columnist for the Toronto Star wrote that: “The Rapture Index stands at 153 today” referring to his measure of the nearness of the end of the world (idiot). He concluded, “The final day will be the one after tomorrow. (Thursday, Jan 27.) For some of you, this is the news you’ve been longing to hear. For the rest of you, tough. You’ll be holy toast.”
He was very wrong.
Hal Lindsey (thankfully) no longer makes specific predictions about the end of the world. In his book The Late Great Planet Earth he predicted the battle of Armageddon to begin in 2000
He kindly also cited 2048 as an alternative date.
Finally, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have got it wrong time and time again. This is from the Watchtower (the JW staple) from 1908 “…the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.” The Time Is at Hand, page 101 (1908 edition).
They have since come up with other dates for the end of the world…they were wrong too.
Why won’t these people stand up and take responsibility for their mistakes and lies? The great sadness is that hundreds of thousands have been led astray by their mistakes. However the Bible teaches that one day they (as shall we all) will have to give an account for every word they have spoken. On the day there will be no covering up or glossing over.
I am so grateful that we have in the Bible the proved, tried and tested authoritative Word of God. The proof of the pudding is in the eating – the proof of the prophecy is in their fulfilment.
And we mustn’t become so holier than thou when looking at this subject – we’ve made mistakes too. But we must take responsibility for our words. If we stand up and ‘prophesy’ and that ‘prophecy’ does not come to pass, we have to hold our hands up and admit that we got it wrong.
Thank God we have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in all truth. Let us train ourselves to hear his voice that we would say what God wants us to say.