The Positive Value of Prophecy
This past week most of us had the opportunity to focus on the many things we can be thankful for. Of course, we should try to have a continual attitude of gratitude toward God and His many blessings. However, a reminder is still good for us, whether we live in the United States or elsewhere.
The daily news we read and hear is rarely uplifting these days. But there is a factor that can lift us above the gloom and doom and is something we can be very thankful for. And that is prophecy.
Certainly prophecy contains substantial information on things that are yet to befall our nations. Gloom and doom if you will. But it is an expression of the will of God and God is perfect. So, in looking at prophecy we are drawn closer to the mind of God.
“Though much of OT prophecy was purely predictive, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling. It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, it is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary.
We can support this point of view by reading the Apostle Peter’s encouraging words written as a general letter to the Church. In 2 Peter chapter one, Peter knew he did not have long to live and was encouraging the Church members to be diligent to make their election and calling sure. From that point he went into the confirmation of the prophetic word they had received. He confirms that prophecy is not of any private interpretation, nor from the will of man, but from men who were inspired directly by the Holy Spirit.
Prophecy provides the will of God to us. It is interesting that having written that, Peter immediately addresses false prophets and false teachers who wanted to infiltrate the Church with their own reasonings and deceptive words. This is surely why Peter emphasized that prophecy is not of any private interpretation. It is a very clear warning for us on how we approach prophecy.
In our understanding of prophecy, God’s word has a definite requitement. This knowledge was given to Daniel as he tried to make sense of the end-time information he had been given.
“Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, ’My Lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand’” (Daniel 12:8-10).
Therefore, wisdom is necessary in order to have a correct appreciation of God’s revealed will at the time of the end. The necessary wisdom is a direct fruit of God’s Holy Spirit.
“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).
This is where Peter was coming from when addressing the Church and some of its internal problems. His conclusion of his second letter says it all“… but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ …” (2 Peter 3:18).
Mark records Christ’s words when He said it had been given to the disciples (and subsequently to us), that it had been given to them “to know the mystery of the kingdom of God”, but not to others. (See Mark 4:11.)
Prophecy cannot be understood by natural means. God reveals His will through the Holy Spirit working with our minds. When we allow our minds and understanding to be guided by this source, prophecy becomes a very positive factor in our lives.