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Benefits of Prophecy

Many false prophets still coming!


by Loren Stacy

     Old Testament instructions were very explicit when it came
to men who claimed to be prophets of the Lord:

But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have
not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of
other gods, must be put to death." 

     You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message
has not been spoken by the LORD?" If what a prophet proclaims in
the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a
message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken
presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:20-22,

     In the twenty-first century, one might wish that God's
standards for prophets might also carry over to men who now
interpret those prophecies. Speaking of His second coming, Jesus
told His followers, "No one knows about that day or hour, not
even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be
on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come"
(Mark 13:32,33, NIV). 

     Unfortunately this has not discouraged many from predicting
with amazing self-certainty the time our Lord said no one knows!
     Gilbert Cranmer, one of our denomination's founders,
suffered the "Great Disappointment" of October 22, 1844, because
he, like thousands of others, believed William Miller's claim
that he had figured out Bible prophecy and knew exactly when
Christ would return. But William Miller was not the last to claim
perfect understanding of the Bible's prophecies concerning the
future. In their article "Why Is It Wrong When Christians Predict
When Christ Will Return to Earth?" Drs. John Ankerburg and John
Weldon note the following modern false interpreters of end-time

Edgar Whisenant, "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in

D.A.Miller, "Watch and Be Ready! 1992 Millions Disappear." 

Harold Camping, "1994?"

Lester Sumrall, "I Predict 2000."

     Can you imagine how many folks may have become disillusioned
with Christ as these dates came and went? I'm guessing that false
teachers of Bible prophecies might be more restrained if the Old
Testament rules for prophets applied.

     How should God's people regard the futuristic prophecies of
God's Word? Is there value in studying them? Yes. Let me suggest
three benefits.

     First, they help confirm that the Bible is God's Word.
Because of the requirements noted earlier, true prophets of God
often predicted near-future events so that, when their
predictions came true, people would know that the person was a
true prophet of God and that his message concerning the present
could be trusted. Because of biblical prophecies that have since
proved accurate, we too may have confidence that, whether
foretelling or forthtelling, the words of the biblical prophets
are God's Word.

     Second, biblical predictions encourage our belief that God
is sovereign over the affairs of men. Fulfilled predictions prove
that God indeed can set up nations and take them down, use
powerful men to accomplish His purposes, and tell us in advance
exactly what is going to happen.

     Finally, biblical predictions about events still future
motivate us to stay vigilant and committed in our faith. Jesus,
who commanded, "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that
time will come" (Mark 13:33, NIV), also instructed, "Now learn
this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender
and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so,
when you see these things happening, you know that it is near,
right at the door"
(vv.28,29, NIV).


Loren Stacy G.C.Board Chairman

December 2009 "The Bible Advocate" - a publication of the Church
of God, Seventh Day, Denver, CO. USA

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