What are the aims of Bible Prophecy?
- To provide convincing evidence – fulfilled Bible prophecy is evidence for the authenticity and reliability of Scripture.
- To warn the wayward – the message is a ‘wakeup call’ to get right again with God before time runs out.
- To encourage the faithful – the message shows that God is in control and is working out His purpose for good.
- To give glory to God – God is pleased when His prophecy is proclaimed, and vindicated when it comes to pass.
What do the terms mean?
- Prophesy (verb) – to speak forth the word of God, being “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21); when future events are predicted, foretelling is involved.
- Prophet/ess (noun) – the man or woman who prophesies; Scripture warns about false prophets (e.g. 2 Peter 2:1-3).
- Prophecy (noun) – the spoken and/or written set of words by the prophet; sometimes introduced with “thus says the LORD”; can be a whole chapter (e.g. Jeremiah 51) or even a whole book (e.g. Joel, Revelation).
- Fulfilment – when the spoken or written word of God comes to pass, the event takes place, the predicted circumstance occurs (e.g. Matthew 1:22-23 cites fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14).
- Initial Fulfilment – God’s word is seen to be fulfilled immediately or in the near time, by the initial audience (e.g. the child is born and predicted events occur, Isaiah 7:15-17, 8:3-8)
- Later Fulfilment – the prophetic word is experienced or seen to be fulfilled many years later by a different set of people (e.g. Jesus is born of the virgin Mary, Matthew 1:18-21)