The Biblical Meaning of Prophecy
What is the true meaning of prophecy according to the Bible?
If you ask those around you, you may get various interpretations or words that are filtered through a certain mindset, doctrine or teaching. Here are some popular examples/definitions of the word:
- Foretelling or prediction of the future.
- Words inspired by the "spirit".
- An angel’s delivery of revelation.
- Rendering and interpreting the “new” things of God.
In the modern counterfeit "church" system there are “prophets” who use their “gifting” and “title” as a “super prophet” to render out the above definitions of "prophecy" in order empty people's wallets by getting them to support their conferences, charities, ministries, book clubs, cds, dvds, TV shows, and whatever products they can sell to them so that they may receive “special revelation” only they can "divinely" render.
This is not what Biblical prophecy is about, nor is it what defines a prophet. The truth of the Bible can expose this very easily, but the problem today is that many are not searching for it in the right place. The right place is the very Word of God, which often takes a back seat to grand delusions of “new revelations” in the "church" system today.
Prophecy according to Scripture can be defined as the forth-telling of the very will of God of the past, present and future, which is summed up in the consummation of God’s eternal purpose through Jesus Christ.
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. - Ephesians 1:9-10
If God summed up all things in Christ, then there is no room for the above false examples.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. - Ephesians 1:18-23
The prophecies in the Bible in the Old and New Testaments fulfill the truth of God’s eternal purpose:
- Christ’s resurrection.
- Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
- Christ has all dominion, power, and authority for all eternity.
- All things are under God’s feet.
- God appointed Jesus head over the Ekklesia.
- The Ekklesia are the fullness of Christ, which is His body.
- Christ fulfills everything.
Now, go back and read the above popular definitions of prophecy in the modern church today and then compare them with the true meanings. It seems many have strayed quite a ways away from the straight and narrow.
Purpose of Prophecy
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. - Hebrews 1:1-2
This verse means that God spoke in the past through His appointed prophets, but today, or in these last days, it is through Jesus Christ, who is the heir of all things.
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” - Matthew 17:5
While Jesus was still here on earth, he promised the apostles and prophets of His day that the Holy Spirit would give them the eternal truth to speak the will of God.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. - Ephesians 2:19-22
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
Additions, Subtractions and Deviations?
The above verses answer where true revelation comes from, what the foundation of God is, what the Body of Christ is and in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. There is no need for “new” revelation. The old is true and the "new" is false. We are to obey all that Jesus commanded, not to make up our own "new" revelations, expanding and adding to Biblical theology and entertaining angelic visitations of revelation.
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! - Galatians 1:6-9
To really get the grasp of prophecy is to understand that God has spoken His will with all authority in the Bible. To reject these fulfilments of prophecy in Scripture is to reject the Bible as God’s word.
There are so many twisted gospels out there today that pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ by claiming inspiration from angels, or another spirit.
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. - Jude 3:3
“Once for all”, think about that for a second.
What does that really mean?
Jude understood the all-inclusiveness put by God on His inspired Word to the apostles and prophets; therefore, nothing can be added or taken away and no one has any right to change them. There is a clear warning in rebelling against this.
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. - Revelation 22:18-19
This is not just limited to the book of Revelation, but to the true prophetic list above.
The complete revelation of God is in Scripture, you do not need to consult a “super spiritual, super prophet” to solve the mystery of God for you.
If indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific,that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, - Ephesians 3:2-6
All in All
In the book of Joel, a prophecy was foretold that the spirit of God would come His people in the last days, which is confirmed again in the New Testament.
In these Scriptures, we can conclude that the prophets from the Old Testament, such as Joel for example, were filtered through Scripture. Scripture must interpret prophecy.
But this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy - Acts 2:16-18
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. - 2 Peter 1:19-21
Peter in this text explains the all-inclusiveness of the will of God and of man.
Also, we can conclude that the apostles and prophets of the New Testament prophecies must be interpreted through Scripture. There is no other way to finding the truth of God’s word; otherwise, false prophets will continue to have a hay day with their false doctrines bilking the masses of truth and their money.
Remember, prophecy is the forth-telling of the very will of God of the past, present and future, which is summed up in the consummation of God’s eternal purpose through Jesus Christ.
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