By Larry Highley
Unless you have been living in a cave the past few weeks, you probably know that a hurricane named Matthew devastated the Bahamas and barreled up the eastern seaboard of the United States from Florida to North Carolina. Ahead of this storm people from governors, to everyday citizens warned of the impending doom that the storm would bring.
These warnings of future calamity got me thinking about Biblical prophecy. Approximately one third of the entire Bible is devoted to prophetic language. However, many pastors across the nation avoid teaching on prophecy because they do not see the relevance in prophecy to the Gospel message, or they at least do not see how prophecy helps the unregenerate find Christ. This mindset is a fallacy that needs to be addressed as every word of Scripture is profitable for teaching, correction, and reproof as Paul wrote through the Spirit’s inspiration in 2 Timothy 3.
You might be wondering what hurricanes and prophecy have to do with each other. That is a fair question, and on the surface, they would not appear to have a connection at all. Stick with me. Have you ever wondered why God felt the need to include so much prophecy in the Bible? There are three main reasons why I believe we have so many prophetic words from the Lord.
The first reason is that God wants to glorify Himself. Can you imagine a better way to do that than by predicting future events with 100% accuracy? When you hear the name, Nostradamus, you immediately recognize it. Why? He got famous making many predictions some of which came true. Now his track record for predicting future events is pretty impressive, but he has nothing on our God. As already noted, God has never predicted anything that did not come true. There are some prophecies that have yet to come to fruition, but the ones that have been fulfilled have been completely and fully realized.
Even under the most critical of scholarly scrutiny, the Word of God is undefeated.
It has never been proven false; not once! To God be the glory. Amen!
Second, we have so much prophecy given to us from God because God knows how His created human beings struggle with faith. What better way to inspire confidence in God’s Word than to include predictions that come true over extended periods of time? Even though the Jews during Jesus’ first advent missed the irrefutable evidence that He was the Messiah that had been promised by the prophets of old, today we can easily look back through their inspired writings and see clearly that Jesus alone fulfilled, or will fulfill, all the things the prophets’ inspired writings predicted He would. I do not know about you, but that gives me hope and confidence that I know the Bible is the truth. I know that His Word to us is accurate, valid, and trustworthy.
No religion has ever had a text that could tell the future with complete certainty.
Our God loved us enough to give us many of the specific details about future events to help us know Him better and have a faith that we can be confident in.
Finally, we have prophecy in large part as a warning sign. Jeff preached through Revelation last year and we were prompted to remember something, “Jesus is coming, so be ready!” Like hurricanes, Biblical prophecy did not appear out of nowhere. We have plenty of time to see things coming and make decisions about the potential consequences of our actions or lack thereof. Think about it, why are we even left on earth after we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ? I submit that there is no rational reason for this except that we are to be His ambassadors until His return. We are to proclaim the truth in love and keep the prophecies about His second coming in the forefront of the unbeliever’s mind. That is part of why God has revealed these things to us in advance. It is not so we might have insider information, but that we might use this advance knowledge to warn others that time is running out to make eternal decisions about Jesus. Many will scoff at these warnings just like many scoff at the warnings to evacuate from the areas in the paths of hurricanes. Some have even lost their lives because their unbelief in the danger of the storm did not sway them to action. We must give the message that God’s longsuffering patience is not everlasting. He will act one day, maybe one day soon, and then it will be too late to avoid the consequences of procrastination. Jesus is coming. Are you ready?