The fulfillment of prophecy has often been an important argument in helping establish belief in the Bible. If it is an Adventist evangelistic series, you can be sure that at some point in time the evangelist will talk about Nebuchadnezzar dream in Daniel 2, and how that dream accurately predicted the future of the world up to and including our world today. When heard for the very first time, such stories are not only thrilling but faith building!
Unfortunately, prophecy has also led to many far-fetched predictions and faith-destroying disappointments. Just note, for example, the following claims made within the last twenty years: In 1988, Edgar Whisenant published a book entitled, 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988; Pastor John Hinkle Pastor of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted the end would come on June 9, 1994; Marilyn Agee thought it would come on May 31, 1998; and most recently, some saw significance in the date 06/06/06. In the midst of such failed predicts, how can one have any confidence that prophecy is not just a bunch of fanciful speculation about the future?
This week”s lesson gives us the opportunity to consider a number of important questions as we seek to better understand what Biblical prophecy is all about, and how it can encourage, rather than discourage us, in our faith.
- Matthew 13:14
- 1 Corinthians 12:9-10
- 1 Corinthians 14:22
- 2 Peter 1:20
- Revelation 22:7
Questions for Discussion:
- What does the Bible mean when it refers to “prophecy”? Look up, for example, each of the texts listed above. Does the word “prophecy” mean the same thing in all of them? Prophecy is often used as a way to attract people to evangelistic meetings. What does Paul mean, therefore, when he says in 1 Cor 14:22 that prophecy is for believers, not unbelievers?
- What is the purpose of prophecy? Did God want to give us some sort of “crystal ball” that would satisfy our curiosity about the future? Or did he have some other purpose in mind?
- Adventists are not the only Christians interested in Bible prophecy. Christians from all different types of backgrounds have seen all kinds of events, past, present, and future, as connected to the Bible. How can we be certain that our views are any more valid than theirs? Are there, for example, certain aspects of prophecy that can help us have some degree of certainty that we are on the right track?
- Many Jews completely overlooked the prophecies that point to Jesus as the promised Messiah. How can we, as we await his second coming, avoid making a similar mistake?