Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Possibility Of Prophecy Facts

By Barbara Martin

A fact is something that is undeniable. It is much more than an opinion, which is always subjective. In a court of law, a fact is admissible as evidence if it has been proved beyond a doubt. A prophecy is a prediction of things to come, or in some cases a word from God that a person has received. It is hard to tell if 'prophecy facts' can exist.

The Bible, which many accept as the truth, urges the reader to examine prophecies in the light of future events. If they come true, then they are really the words of God sent to men through the words and writings of a prophet. (Later letters written by Paul talk of prophecies sent to encourage the church, rather than to predict the future.) Some believe this is possible today, while others feel that it only happened in ancient times.

There are many 'validated' prophecies that scholars point to in the Bible. Some are in no way obscure, like the dreams of Pharaoh which Joseph interpreted. Isaiah the prophet of Israel wrote details of the crucifixion 400 years before that event. Daniel saw visions which historians say predicted the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, as well as the eventual end of the world.

Other passages might be seen as 'self-fulfilling'. Scripture often tell us that Jesus did something in order that the words of the prophet would be fulfilled. His acceptance of the drink from the vinegar-soaked sponge while He was on the cross is described in this way. However, the statement that 'they cast lots for my clothing' is also fulfilled, without any contrivance of the Lord's.

The words given to Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, David, Jonah, and other prophets are recorded in the Old Testament. The words of John the Baptist and of Jesus, which contain many prophecies, are in the New Testament. Of course, the whole Book of Revelations is a description of events that will come to pass before and during the second coming of the Lord. Believers accept these accounts as truth, but the world will have to wait to see if they are validated by events.

In some Christian gatherings, present-day prophets 'get a word from the Lord' about individuals or things that are to come. They may speak about the Lord's love or about His judgement. Sometimes these utterances are very apt. Only time will tell if the words are fact or imagination.

There are many books and websites on the subject of fulfilled prophecies. People use Old Testament passages to pinpoint Jesus as the Messiah, saying that his life (being born in Bethlehem, being greeted by two prophets in the Temple, dying on a tree) is plainly revealed centuries before His birth.

It's hard to present facts untainted by personal world views. It's almost impossible for two eye witnesses to agree even shortly after an accident. Christians are exhorted to believe even without physical proof. Maybe prophecies are in this category, too. As Pontius Pilate said, 'What is truth?'

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