Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Preemptively prophetic: Is 48:5-7

"Therefore I declared them to you long ago, before they took place I proclaimed them to you, so that you would not say, 'My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.' You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known. They are created now and not long ago; and before today you have not heard them, so that you will not say, 'Behold, I knew them.' " (Isaiah 48:5-7)
How do we know that God exists? How do we know that God is real? What is our confidence that the Bible is true? One reason is the overwhelming evidence of fulfilled prophesy as recorded in the scriptures. From ancient times, God has repeatedly spoken of things to come so that, as they came to pass, we might be encouraged in our faith in Him. God's ability to declare the future before it comes to pass gives strong evidence of who He is. With each fulfilled prophesy we are reminded that there is a God who knows the end from the beginning. We believe that God is and He is aware and involved in our lives on this earth.

While the ministry of prophets was common under the Old Testament, God still moves prophetically today. Jesus spoke of the prophetic ministry of the Holy Spirit, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13) Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal to us things yet to come. We also see the New Testament ministry of a certain prophet named Agabus as recorded in the book of Acts, "As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, 'This is what the Holy Spirit says: "In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." ' " (Acts 21:10-11) The Holy Spirit spoke prophetically through the prophet Agabus to warn Paul of what was to happen to him when he returned to Jerusalem, and when those things were fulfilled, Paul was able to take strength knowing that it was God who was directing his steps and that the things that were being done to him would turn out for the glory of God.

I believe that God still wants to speak prophetically today, not only to warn us about the future, but also to given evidence of Himself. Jesus gives prophetic gifts as one of the ways Christians can "manifest" the Holy Spirit. When we prophesy, God is made manifest. "But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you." (1 Corinthians 14:24-25) Let us never loose our zeal and our desire to prophesy. As Paul said, "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." (1 Corinthians 14:1)

David Robison

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