Understanding Biblical Prophecy PART 2—The Purpose of Prophecies.

To begin with, prophecies were/are given to reveal the heart of God to men.

Jeremiah 7, for example, says, “The WORD that came to Jeremiah FROM THE LORD, saying, ‘Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear THE WORD OF THE LORD, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’ THUS SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place” (vv. 1-3).

This statement may qualify as prophecy since prophecy is ANY divine message. It does not necessarily have to tell the future. The Old Testament abounds with such “prophecies,” which are not predictive in nature.

These kinds of prophecies simply revealed God’s will at the given time. We may term them “a divinely-inspired message.”

Also, prophecies provided hope and comfort to the Jewish people, in trying times. Jeremiah 29:10, for example, says, “For THUS SAYS THE LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.

Here, God promises deliverance from exile. This is to inspire comfort and optimism in the hearts of the people (in bondage).

Most importantly, prophecies in the Old Testament pointed to Christ, the coming Messiah. Revelation 19:10 says “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit (or essence) of prophecy.” This means Jesus is the POINT of prophecies. He is the REASON for the same.

The Prophets spoke about Him:

Luke 24:25-27 (NKJV)

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the PROPHETS HAVE SPOKEN! 26 Ought not (or “was it not necessary for”) the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at MOSES and ALL THE PROPHETS, He expounded to them in ALL THE SCRIPTURES the things CONCERNING HIMSELF.

On the Emmaus Road journey (Luke 24), Jesus reveals HIMSELF from what the Prophets of the Old prophesied. He is right to do so, because they spoke of HIM.

Acts 10:23 (NKJV)

43 TO HIM (Jesus) ALL THE PROPHETS WITNESS that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

In the writings of the prophets, therefore, would be found statements concerning Jesus and His work.

Genesis 3:15, for example, promises a Seed, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

This Seed (or Child) is spoken of (ahead of time) as He Who would destroy the devil. Throughout the Bible, this concept of the Seed is discussed and elaborated upon by other Prophets, one of which is Isaiah:

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)

6 For unto us a CHILD (or a Seed) is born, unto us A SON is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Prophet Micah also chimes in on this, in Micah 5.

Micah 5:2-5 (NKJV)

2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” 3 Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. 4 And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; 5 And this One shall be peace.

Observe the details in Micah’s Prophecy:

A. The Messiah’s place of nativity would be Bethlehem (vs. 2a).

B. That Messiah would be a ruler in Israel (vs. 2b).

C. He would be born of a woman (vs. 3). This speaks of the virgin birth.

D.The Messiah would be male (vs. 4)—the masculine pronouns “His” & “He” are used for the Messiah.

E. His reign would be universal (vs. 4 says: “to the ends of the Earth“).

F. He would be a king of peace (vs. 5)

ALL OF THESE prophecies were FULFILLED in Christ Jesus, a Jewish man (Luke 2:21-24), who was born of a woman (Matt 1:18), at Bethlehem (Matt 2:1-11, Luke 2:4-7). He is the Promised King of Israel (2 Sam 7:12-13, Matt 2:1-2, 27:11), who reigns in peace (Matt 12:15-21). His Kingdom is universal (Micah 4:1, Psalm 72:8, Zec 9:10, Matt 28:18-20).

Thus, the Scriptures speak concerning the coming Messiah and His Kingdom.

Over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the life of Jesus. This reveals the omniscience of Yahweh, the God Who sees ahead, “Tell and bring forth your case; yes, let them take counsel together. Who has DECLARED THIS from ANCIENT TIME? Who has told it from THAT TIME? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me” (Isaiah 45:21).

God can tell the future because ONLY HE knows it. This is evident in prophecies.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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