ALL PROPHECIES ARE FROM GOD
“Search from the book of the Lord, and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them.” (ISAIAH 34:16)
Isaiah understood that his words were the words of the Lord and not his own. It also tells us that Isaiah meant that his prophecy should be understood literally. “After Edom has become a wasteland, men will take out the scroll and verify that Isaiah’s predictions came true.” (Wolf)
“Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?” (ISAIAH 40:13-14)
God needs no counsel, no instruction, no teacher, and no one to show Him the way of understanding. Our instruction from the Lord is not to seek for all kinds of mystical or hidden spiritual messages in the prophesies but to occupy until Jesus comes. When we read the prophesies and realize how quickly they are coming into fulfilment, there is not much time left to shine our lights in the darkness.
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them. Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (ISAIAH 43:6-8)
God is Master of both the past (the former things) and the future (new things). Being the Master of both the future and the past, God also has the present well in hand and therefore He can declare… “new things, even before they spring forth.”
“Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (ISAIAH 42:5-9)
Peter’s message in the New Testament is also very clear. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 PETER 1:19-21)
“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, And drives diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, And makes their knowledge foolishness; Who confirms the word of His servant, And performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ To the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ And I will raise up her waste places; Who says to the deep, ‘Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers’; Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”’ (ISAIAH 44:24-28)
Here God proves that He is who He claims to be by announcing the name of a deliverer for Israel’s Babylonian exiles – and Isaiah wrote this more than 200 years before Cyrus fulfilled this prophecy. The prophet alluded to the king who would bring about Israel’s release from captivity in Isaiah 41:2, but in this passage, he mentions him by name! With such amazingly specific claims, God proves who He is through predicted and fulfilled prophecy. No other god, or any other religion can do this.
“Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’ (ISAIAH 46:8-10)
The essential point is that God’s people must remember that He knows the end from the beginning and is in control of all things. We can have tremendous courage in our God when we understand and remember who He is and what He does.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (ISAIAH 55:8-9)
The rain and snow eventually do return to heaven, but not before accomplishing their purpose on earth. Even so, God’s Word, when He sends it down from heaven, does not return to Him void. Instead, it always fulfills His purpose on earth.
THE BIBLICAL HISTORY OF PROPHECY
God sent prophets throughout history to guide and warn His people. One of the first things Jesus did after the resurrection, was to rebuke some of his disciples for being “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25).
The prophets were most prominent after the tribes of Israel divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. All of the great prophets, lived during these few centuries, from roughly 800 B.C. – 450 B.C. Most of them prophesied before the Babylonian Exile, but there were also a few (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) thereafter. In the historical books in the Old Testament we also read of other prophets, such as Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Prophets arose when the priests failed to teach God’s law to the people, and kings and judges failed to govern the country justly. The prophets were thus sent to declare to the people where they stood and the prophecies contained words of rebuke, words of assurance, threats, and sometimes words of consolation. Often the prophets also had messages for the nations surrounding Israel as these nations were relevant to Israel’s own situation.
Israel as a nation had to die, but it will also be resurrected. God will bring judgment upon his people, but he promised to bring them back to their land and to restore a remnant of them spiritually.
“The surety of the judgments of the LORD. “Search from the book of the LORD, and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them. He has cast the lot for them, And His hand has divided it among them with a measuring line. They shall possess it FOREVER; From generation to generation they shall dwell in it.” (ISAIAH 34:16-17)
“DOUBLE FULFILMENT” (NEAR AND FAR VIEW, OR MULTIPLE FULFILLMENT)
Thomas Hartwell Horne explains “Double Fulfilment” in the interpretation of prophecy as follows: “The same prophecies frequently have a double meaning, and refer to different events, the one near, the other remote; the one temporal, the other spiritual or perhaps eternal. The prophets thus having several events in view, their expressions may be partly applicable to one and partly to another, and it is not always easy to make the transitions. What has not been fulfilled in the first, we must apply to the second; and what has already been fulfilled, may often be considered as typical of what remains to be accomplished.”
THE PRINCIPLE OF DOUBLE FULFILLMENT IN INTERPRETING PROPHECY – DAVID JEREMIAH
From the abovementioned definition, we make the following observations: 1. The first fulfillment of the prophecy is usually found in a person or an event close in time to the prophetic utterance. 2. The first fulfillment is usually only a partial fulfillment of the total prophetic message. 3. The ultimate fulfillment is usually found in the person of Christ or the affairs of His kingdom. 4. The first fulfillment is usually temporal, whereas, the ultimate fulfillment may be spiritual or eternal. 5. Part of the prophetic message may be fulfilled close at hand, and that fulfillment in turn becomes a second prophecy.
A double fulfillment prophecy loses none of its literalness when it is fulfilled the second or even the third time. This would violate our basic system of hermeneutics. “Double fulfillment is literal fulfillment and therefore consistent with basic rules of interpretation. By accepting the doctrine of double fulfilment, we avoid opening up the door to all kinds of unbiblical notions as we so often find with those who use allegorical interpretation.
It is important to note the unchronological character of the Old Testament Prophecy. Because two events are spoken of together or in close sequence, is no proof that these events will take place simultaneously or even in immediate succession, unless the Scripture specifically affirms so. Often two widely separated events were referred to in the same chapter or verse, as the Holy Spirit enabled the prophet to bring these events together.
The most important aspect of the prophecy to the prophet was the immediate not the future. He wanted the people to repent and return to the God. Nevertheless, according to Christ’s own words, the message of the Old Testament was the coming Messiah. Although the prophets looked first at their own situation, they ultimately prophesied about the first and the second coming Messiah.
One of the most powerful arguments for the literal fulfillment of prophecy relating to Christ’s second coming is the fact that prophecy was literally fulfilled at His first coming. Those who argue that prophecy will not be fulfilled literally in the future go against God’s past pattern and have no biblical basis for their claims.
“Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” (HABAKKUK 2:2-3)
A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (DANIEL 12:4)
The words had to be kept safely until the time of the end. Daniel’s prophecy certainly was of some value in his own day. But there would come a day, the time of the end, when his prophecy would be of even more importance. When John wrote the book of Revelation, God gave us a very good insight to the things awaiting both believers and unbelievers.
Daniel describes a characteristic of the time of the end. Many take this prediction as being fulfilled in the travel (run to and fro) and information explosions (knowledge shall increase) of our modern age. But this has more the idea of searching after knowledge rather than rapid forms of transportation. People would run around trying to find answers to important questions, especially in reference to future events taking place.
True Christians would seek answers in the Word of God and thus, ‘knowledge of the book itself shall be increased.’
The “Blue Letter Bible” website mentions that Daniel has revealed enough to us so that the book really can be sealed. From Daniel 11:36 to Daniel 12:3, we see:
- A world ruler, utterly opposed to God.
- A world religion, based on the abomination of desolation.
- A world war, which defeats the ruler.
- A time of great tribulation for Israel lasting three and one-half years.
- Deliverance for the people of God after the tribulation.
- Resurrection and judgment.
- The reward of the righteous.
Sadly, very few churches preach on prophecy and it’s literal meaning.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (HOSEA 4:6)
“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.” (HOSEA 14:9)
A FEW IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER …
Time is running out and a return to the Lord is immenent if we had gone astray.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it. In that day the fair virgins And strong young men Shall faint from thirst.” (Amos 8:11-13)
“Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger.” (ZEPHANIAH 2:3)
“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (ISAIAH 55:6-7)
What a glorious promise! When we turn to the LORD, He will have mercy on us and abundantly pardon!
Secondly, need to be aware that are living in an age where “the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” more than ever. (1 PETER 5:8) It is so easy to be drown into the wrong things this world has to offer. Continuously pray that God would “deliver us from the evil one.”
Also, do not allow tests, trials and tribulations to beat us down. During such times, we do not always understand why these things are allowed to happen to us or why prayers are not answered in the way we want them to be. But God is wiser than us and “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (ROMANS 8:28)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (ISAIAH 55:8-9)
As Christian watchmen (and women), all of the evil we see all around us sometimes makes us weary as we are in this world, but not of this world. I guess, if we’ll be honest, we can relate to Habakkuk in our weakest moments.
O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” (HABAKKUK 1:2-4)
Are You not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he? Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice to their net, And burn incense to their dragnet; Because by them their share is sumptuous And their food plentiful. Shall they therefore empty their net, And continue to slay nations without pity?” (HABAKKUK 1:12-17)
BUT GOD … knows the future and we are not without hope. The blessing of fellowship is enormous as we are able to encourage one another to endure until that glorious day.
“Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” (ISAIAH 35:3-4)
“Search from the book of the LORD, and read: not one of these shall fail.” This time of great tribulation is certainly coming upon the earth. This is beyond all doubt and our part isn’t to bring it or to prevent it, but simply to be ready, and to “pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).