June 9, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship
Prophecy. The word conjures up different meanings for different people. Our view of prophecy is usually based on what we have been taught by our denomination or what seems to fit our personal hopes and desires most. Denominational teaching learned at an early age or at an impressionable time in life and reinforced by repetition may be hard to shake. Also, our understanding of prophecy is frequently based on what we think God would or should do. In other words, what we would do if we were God.
Join us this Sunday as Elder Thom Rachford returns to the pulpit to continue his series on understanding biblical prophecy. Worship begins at 8:45 AM with refreshments served before our monthly prayer meeting at 10:30 AM. We hope to share fellowship with you.
Word On Worship – June 9, 2013 Download / Print
1 Corinthians 14:33
“… for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints..”
Prophecy. The word conjures up different meanings for different people. Our view of prophecy is usually based on what we have been taught by our denomination or what most seems to fit our personal hopes and desires. Denominational teaching learned at an early age or at an impressionable time in life and reinforced by repetition may be hard to shake. Also, our understanding of prophecy is frequently based on what we think God would or should do. In other words, what we would do if we were God.
Our view of what and how God is doing things must grow out of his prophetic word. We must let the prophecy and indeed all of God’s word shape our view. We should not start with a particular view and then “make” prophecy fit that view. Attempts to do this result in people, some Godly and very learned teachers, accepting only prophecy that conforms to their preconceived ideas. They want to throw out any prophecy that does not seem to fit their preconceived and entrenched view. Yes, entrenched, because apparently, no amount of study or revelation causes them to change their position.
Because it does not fit with the preconceived structure of some denominations and church bodies, they disregard or refuse to teach certain books of scripture in whole or in part. Frequently the excuse is these prophecies are too hard for man to understand. If that is true, shame on God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. God is either a mischievous trickster for giving man a book that he cannot understand under the guise of presenting all scripture as valuable or he is unable to keep evil men from inserting wrong teaching into his Holy Book. You can see how this kind of thinking would undermine God’s word, power and authority as well as His deep desire to have men see and understand His plan for relationship. Who would want this result? Satan, of course.
Sophisticated teachers, however, frequently don’t throw the prophecy out; that would be too obviously a rejection of God’s word. What they most often do is say, “what this prophecy appears to say is not what it means.” They say it is symbolic of something else and then they fill in the blank. Or they say it is a metaphor or allegory of a spiritual concept and not physical or material in any way. Often the prophecy is said to be about heaven and not earth, even if it refers to earth or physical things.
The question is illustrated by the following. How can one believe the prophecy that a virgin should be with child (the Messiah) and reject the prophecy of the Messiah’s physical return to earth? A virgin being with child is the supreme oxymoron. “With child” means pregnant – a virgin by definition has not had sex and in this world no child is conceived without sex. Yet Isaiah prophesied this nearly 700 years before it happened. And it happened. This virgin birth is believed by many. Yet many of those who believe in the prophecy of the virgin birth, reject the prophecy of Christ’s physical return to the Mount of Olives as prophesied in Zechariah 14:4. (They still however believe the same prophet for the Zechariah 9:9 prophecy that Christ would enter Jerusalem on a donkey.) How is the virgin birth less credible to believe than Christ’s physical return to earth on the Mount of Olives?
What then is the answer? How should we view prophecy? View every line of scripture as literal unless the language uses “as” or “like” which indicate a picture of rather than the real thing. Some parts of scripture are obviously poetic and should be viewed as such. The key to discernment is constant study of all of scripture. You will find there may be parts you do not agree with or like, but they are God’s word to you. Keep studying as you ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and understanding to you. He will reveal them as Jesus said in John 14:26: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
God is not the author of confusion. 1 Corinthians 14:33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. God has made His word clear enough for the one who diligently studies it to understand and complex enough to discourage the casual seeker of pat answers or just information. God placed His prophecy in the scriptures for your understanding and benefit. It is revelation of the living God who knows the end from the beginning.