Introduction to Prophecy

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org


Approximately one third of the Bible is history. Approximately one third of your Bible pertains to salvation, and the remaining one third of the Bible is PROPHECY.
God must have considered Prophecy very important to devote so much of the Bible to it.

WHY PROPHECY?

Prophecy is one of the seven (7) proofs that God exists! This proof states that God can predict the future and bring it about to pass. God gives us prophecy to let us know what is going to happen in the future. WHY? So we can prepare for it!
HOW would we prepare for it?
 
By reading and studying our Bibles.

By repenting and obeying God.

It is interesting that in the midst of the prophecies of the Book of Micah, there is a question: What does the Lord require of you?
The Prophet Micah stated: "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8).

Letís look at these three phrases: "To do JUSTLY" - The New Living Translation translates this as: "to do what is right".
How do we know what is right? Isn't righteousness doing what is right? What is Righteousness? The answer is found in Psalms 119:172: "All thy commandments is righteousness." God wants us to keep His commandments. The Bible emphasizes that those who would live in fellowship with a holy God as His people must live in a way which reflects the holiness of God (Lev. 20:7; 1 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:5).
"To love MERCY" is to have loving kindness, to be compassionate, kind and forgiving. "Mercy" (hesed, Heb.) is a rich word which includes the idea of faithful love in action (Jer. 2:2). "To WALK HUMBLY" is having or showing feelings of humility rather than of pride; being aware of one's shortcomings and to be modest and meek.
Walking with God implies a manner of life characterized by gratefulness and obedience to God (Isaiah 38:15). "Humbly" stresses that man must remember that he is man, and God is God. We must remember that God is the creator and we are the created.
God gives us prophecy so that when you hear it, you can do something about it. What can you do? You can repent and obey God.
Example: Jonah gave a prophecy to ancient Nineveh. What happened? The people of Nineveh repented. God then changed his mind and relented of the punishment of the prophecy.

We can not change the world! We can not change our neighbors! We can not change our family! We can not change our mates! We can only change ourselves!
God gives us prophecy so that when you hear it, you can do something about it. You can repent and obey God.


SEVEN TIPS TO UNDERSTAND PROPHECY

Tip # 1 - Read the Book

Read the entire Bible. There are prophecies even in the book of Genesis.
Read the books of the major and the minor prophets. Read the book of Revelation and the book of Daniel. 

Tip # 2 - Pray for Understanding

The Apostle John quoted Jesus as saying: ""Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24). Notice the phase: "Ask and you shall receive." Ask God for a better understanding of prophecy and He will answer your request.

Tip # 3 - Watch and Pray

"Watch therefore, and 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).
Watch world events. Keep your eyes on Jerusalem. When the Jews in Israel start offering sacrifices, you will know that time is short.

Tip # 4 - Let the Bible interpret the Bible

Don't read your own interpretation into the Bible. The Apostle Peter related: "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Pet 1:20). We must let the Bible interpret the Bible. When you come across a prophetic symbol (7 stars), look in the Bible to find the answer, (angels of the 7 churches). Rev. 1:16, 20.

Tip # 5 - Learn more about history as it relates to the Bible

We need a grasp of history to understand prophecy. We need to learn more about the history of: Israel, Judah, Jerusalem, Assyria, Babylon, and the Roman Empire.  In reading the books written by the prophets much of this ancient history is repeated over and over again. 

Tip # 6 - Endure to the End

We need to endure to the end so God will protect us. ""Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (Rev. 3:10). See also Matthew 24:13 and Revelation 14:12.

Tip # 7 - Keep the Commandments

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says: "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Prophecy gives us vision and hope. With prophecy we can see beyond the gloom and doom of our present world dominated by Satan the devil.
With prophecy we can see into the next millennium when the saints will be ruling with Jesus Christ.
Watch and pray that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before Jesus Christ.


 

SEVEN KEYS TO PROPHECY

Key #1 - Prophecy has to be revealed

 
The name of the book of Revelation comes from the Greek word: apocalypse or apokalupsis, ap-ok-al'-oop-sis; Strong's Concordance #602. from G601; disclosure:--appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.
Dan 12:9 (NKJV) "And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
Dan 12:10 (NKJV) ""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."

The first part of verse 10 says: "the wicked shall do wickedly" The Bible talks about scoffers in the last day.
They will ridicule prophecy and say that Christ has delayed his coming.

The last part of verse 10 says: "the wise shall understand."
God will give wisdom to His people and reveal prophecy to them.

Prophecy is SEALED until God wants it REVEALED.

Key # 2 - God will reveal prophecy to His servants
 
Amos 3:7 (NKJV) "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets."
When the time is ready God will reveal it.

Key # 3 - Prophecy is dual
There is a saying: History repeats itself.
This is true about prophecy. There are types and an anti types. There is the former and the latter.
Much of prophecy is given to us in the form of history.
A certain prophecy may be talking about ancient Assyria or Babylon,
but it's dual meaning is the future Babylon the Great.

Key # 4 - Prophecy teaches us to keep God's commandments which includes the Sabbath and God's Holy Days


One thing interesting about the book of Revelation is that it teaches us to keep the commandments.

Rev 12:17 "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

Rev 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."

Prophecy teaches us to keep God's Sabbath and Holy Days.
The prophets in the Old Testament tell about the Sabbath and the Holy Days of God being kept in millennium.

Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 45 and 46 and Zechariah 14

God's Sabbath and Holy Days were kept in Old Testament times and will be kept in the millennium. Why then are they not kept today? Because Satan has deceived the whole world into not keeping them. (Rev. 12:9).

Key # 5 - The book of Revelation puts the prophecies in their proper place

The book of Revelation is unique in that it puts prophecy in it's proper prospective.
It ties all the prophetic books together placing prophetic events in the proper place.
The book of Revelation is chronilogical with a few inset chapters.

Key # 6 -  Let the Bible interpret the Bible

2 Pet 1:20 (NKJV) "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,"

There are certain prophecies that we may speculate on.
When will Jesus return? Everyone likes to speculate on this.
Another example would be the Marriage of the Lamb.
But wherever possible, we must let the Bible interpret prophecy.

In the Olivet prophecies of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus revealed end time events to his disciples. He told them about false prophets, war, famine and pestilence.
Revelation 6 talks about the seven seals, horses that are white, red, black and pale.

By letting the Bible interpret the Bible, we see how these two passages are talking about the same events.

Jesus Christ is the Word of God. (John 1:1 - "In the beginning was the Word.")
The Bible is the Word of God.
The Bible is about Jesus Christ.
He was the God of the Old Testament and the Saviour of the New Testament.
All the prophecies point to the return of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is going to setup the kingdom of God and rule for a thousand years.
Rev 19:10 (NKJV) says: For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.""

Key # 7 - Prophecy is written in symbols

There are many symbols used in prophecy.
Revelation 1:13-16 talks about lamp stands and stars.

The meanings of these symbols are explained in:
Rev 1:20 (NKJV) ""The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands:
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands which you saw are the seven churches."

What would mountains and hills mean in prophecy? This represents major and minor nations.
What would seas and the waves represent? The sea represents the sea of humanity.
The waves are the power of the sea which represents government over humanity.