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The Biblical Meaning of Prophecy

Updated on May 18, 2017

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 or 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 supposed prophets who use their special gifting and title as a 'super prophet' to render out their 'prophecies' in order empty people's wallets. They want you to come to their seminars, conferences, charity events and get you to purchase their religious wares so that they may receive their 'special revelation' because they believe they have been chosen by God to render them to you.

This is not what Biblical prophecy is about, nor is it what defines a prophet. The truth of Scripture can expose this very easily, but the problem today is that many are not searching for it. They rely to much on the grand delusions of ecclesiastical church men who do everything on their behalf.

Prophecy Defined

Prophecy can be defined as the forth-telling of the very will of God of the past, present and future being summed up in the consummation of God’s eternal purpose through 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 counterfeit examples given above.

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 Christ 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 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 Christ 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 Christ 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 Scripture. To reject these fulfillments of prophecy in Scripture is to reject it as God’s word.

There are so many twisted gospels out there today that pervert the gospel of 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 Christ.

Comments Appreciated

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    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      7 weeks ago from East London, South Africa

      An excellent overview of what Biblical Prophecy is all about! So many "false prophets" today who are merely filling their bank accounts with people who are being fooled with lies as the Bible predicted. Why do people not go back to the Bible?

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago


      I'd be interested in reading your hub when it is done.

      Many try to claim/conspire that the prophecies were after the fact, but the specific details cannot be refuted. People who say Jesus Christ was a mythical character are ignorant of the facts; even historians attest to the evidence that He did in fact exist.

      Thanks for reading.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Appreciated the read. Though not popular with so many, what you wrote I believe to be true.

      I'm currently working on a hub that examines the messianic prophecies and their fulfilment in Christ. I hope to elevate them above the deceptive haze of contemporary 'prophecy' so blatant around us. Voted up.

    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 

      7 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      I had this long response and it got zapped. No clue how or why.


      Good hub bro

      - Harlan

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank-you Ms Dee, and you are welcome!

      With the top picture template from the internet, I filled the blank balloons with my own text to apply it to this theme.

      Thank-you for your welcoming comment.

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      What a wonderful hub, I thank you for it! I enjoyed your clear writing and presentation of what can so easily be a complicated subject. You bring us back to the basic standard to which we must hold, our shield of faith, and that is Christ alone and who he is as revealed in God's Word. So glad this was nominated. Love the illustration/photos -- where did you find those? Welcome to HubPages!

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank-you Pamaela for your comment and for your warm welcoming fan mail.

      Regards and God Bless!

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank-you Jerami for your comment and I appreciate your encouragement.

      BTW great hubs as well. Keep them coming!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Wonderful hub and I fully agree. You researched and explained it well. Congrats on your nomination.

    • Jerami profile image


      7 years ago from Houston tx

      I agree with everyone else; great hub. ... and great comments also.

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks ripplemaker for the heads-up,

      I will peruse the links with interest.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Have you heard the good news? Your hub has been nominated in the religion and philosophy category of the Hubnuggets. Do check it out today.

      The Hubnuggets Links:

      Where to read and cast your vote:

      Participate in the Hubnuggets forum:

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you ladyjane1 for your encouraging comment.

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      7 years ago from Texas

      Nicely done. Cheers.

    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 

      7 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      I don't seek proof,the proof is already here.I am just here to present the evidence in spirit.What is now have to be known in measurement in order to know what is next to come.What is now is an "Educational Challenge"of and to world population.What is ahead will be a product and affects of this out-come.I was made a part of the process concerning the Predestination of my time to come forth...which is now.

    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 

      7 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      It is time for the increase of knowledge my friend as was spoken of by the Angel to the Prophet Daniel in Daniel 12 v 4 that until now,have not been known to humankind,so I don't expect you to see the view,even though it is before you.But many have both seen and known my words,everyone is not without understanding.

    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 

      7 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      I believe it will come out in the wash.All things will be PROVEN as to what is real and what is false.In the future there will be no doubt,one will not have to guest at it,for the time have come that the True worshipers in John 2 v 23 have come to pass.

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Yes Michael, I agree.

      The term "paper tiger" comes to mind. They are seemingly powerful in their grand delusions, but unable to stand up against the truth of God's Word. They assume authority for themselves which is not theirs and undermine God's. They also offer another Jesus that is more affirming and palatable to the sinner's lifestyle. Their tasty morsels feed the promotion of false doctrine into the heads of people who are lazy and expect others to think and study for them.

      The "anti-Christ" church believes these statements:

      1. Jesus is the Son of God.

      2. Jesus cares for sinners.

      3. Jesus was a great teacher and leader.


      You see, all that Satan cares about is distracting and blinding us from Jesus' atoning work on the cross. Satan believes the above three points too! Spiritual food is made up of fables in order to devoid us of the true Jesus and His grace.

      For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

      Hebrews 4:12

      We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

      2 Corinthians 10:5

    • Michael Adams1959 profile image

      Isaiah Michael 

      7 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

      I hear so much falseness concerning the end days, I am puzzled by it how can people come up with some of these ridiculous ideas? But then I stop to think they are not into God's true word and make their points by what they have heard from others and put together in their own minds to make them seem like a modern day prophet.

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for your comments mikeq107 and Michael Adams1959.

      I appreciate your encouragement.I know so many sincere people ("conference junkies") who have been caught up with these false teachers. They don't even want to walk out the proof in the Bible to see the truth. They are blinded (glossy eyed) by their own erroneous conclusions based on myths and heresay, rather than going straight to Jesus Christ. Christianity has turned into a self help program rather than receiving the **free**, true grace of Jesus Christ that covers everything.

      You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

      James 2:19

      We can be so consumed, sincere, and believe the existence of God, but forget that it takes trusting Him in faith for real salvation, and believing what the Bible says is truth.

      “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life."

      John 5:39-40

      Unfortunately, we are up against the anti-Christ spirit, a deception which ultimately turns people away from God's Son. This is a principality that requires the unity of believers who believe only the truth and rely on the strength of our commander, Jesus Christ, to fight this fight for the souls of our brothers and sisters until He returns.

    • Michael Adams1959 profile image

      Isaiah Michael 

      7 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

      Very well stated, AMEN!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Hub and very very true, great reserch keep it up !! Mike :0)


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