Thursday, June 9, 2011

Know God, Part Two: The God of Prophecy

In part one, I talked about the importance of studying ALL of scripture. We discovered a very special piece of communication that surfaced through an otherwise mundane genealogy list, and this was just one tiny glimpse into the vast wealth of information that can be mined from the pages of scripture. And while something like the genealogy example may not be life-altering, fun as it is to discover, there are MANY portions of scripture that are drastically life-changing, or at least SHOULD be, but are appallingly brushed over, ignored, misinterpreted, and blatantly rejected because they are either too difficult to understand at first glance, send a message that doesn't jive with what is considered socially acceptable in today's world, don't seem relevant or necessary for the "modern" Christian, or feel too "Old Testament" for a church or a believer that prefers the more likable New Testament God.

And the big ticket item that seems to fit that bill today, and the one that fueled this little series, is PROPHECY, specifically end times prophecy. Before I get into the end times though, I want to take this post to talk just a little bit about prophecy in general. There seems to be this taboo of sorts in the church today when it comes to talking about stuff that might make us sound a little bit like the crazy guy on the street corner wearing a sandwich board, yelling that the world is ending. And we have become so petrified of looking like one of "those" Christians that we end up backpedaling in some kind of desperate attempt to prove to the world that we really are sane and logical and just plain "normal." And the world likes that. They don't mind those pesky Christians too much as long as all they do is talk about peace and love and harmony and sort of just refer to God as this unnamed, anonymous big man in the sky. As long as we don't get too specific as to WHICH god we're talking about or WHOSE god we're talking about, the world's ok with that. And when the world's ok with us, they don't give us quite so hard a time. And we like that. Because it's easy. So we comply. And everybody's happy.

But "happy" isn't the goal. Glorifying God with a capitol G is the goal. Bringing honor and praise to His name is the goal. Praising Jesus is the goal. And in order to do that, we are going to have to acknowledge that we serve a DIFFERENT kind of God than any of the other false gods that the world loves. We are going to have to acknowledge that our God makes promises and BACKS THEM UP! We are going to have to acknowledge that Jesus, the meek and mild servant of the New Testament, is the same God who created the heavens and the earth, who sent the flood to destroy the earth, who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and who is going to come back again, not as a humble servant, but as the conquering KING, ready to bring true JUSTICE to the earth, a day that will be great and glorious for those who know him, and terrible and horrific for those who don't. (Joel 2:11)

And what exactly sets this fearful God apart from all the rest? What makes Him so different? Two things: He is alive! AND He has given us PROPHECY, and lots of it, that he has ACTUALLY FULFILLED and will continue to fulfill until every last one has been met. So often, Christians are accused of having "blind faith." The world believes that we are just hanging onto a bunch of old fairy tales, hoping that they might actually be true, without any real evidence to back it up. But this could not be further from the truth, assuming that you KNOW YOUR BIBLE. Christianity is the ONLY religion that DOES have scientific, archaeological, historic EVIDENCE to back up the things that we believe. We have proof to back up the specific events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ*, and beyond that, we have proof that God is who he says he is, through the power and conviction of FULFILLED PROPHECY!

BUT WE HAVE TO STUDY AND KNOW THIS INFORMATION! God has given us his word that we might READ it, ALL of it. He gave us prophecy, he told us what would happen, so that it could be fulfilled. He never expected us to trust a God who does nothing to earn that trust. He has proven his sovereignty and divinity through the fulfilling of prophecy, something NO OTHER RELIGION can claim. The mormon faith has many "prophets" but their prophecies have not been fulfilled**. Their faith IS blind. As are the faiths of all other religions of the world. But our God stands apart. Our God is alive. Our God keeps his promises.

WITHOUT THE GIVING AND FULFILLING OF PROPHECY, OUR GOD IS A FRAUD! So, if you are a believer, and you have not taken the time to study the many prophecies that were given and fulfilled throughout history, as well as the ones that are currently happening and are soon to come, you, in essence, ARE living your life by blind faith. You may believe on some level that God is who he says he is, but why do you believe that? Because your parents told you so? Because your pastor told you so? Because blogs like this tell you so? What facts do you have to back that up? If you can't immediately begin rattling off an explanation for your faith, you owe it to your God, to yourself, and to those who are in need of a witness in their lives, to KNOW what you believe and WHY you believe it. Study your bible. Study ALL of your bible. Don't tell yourself that it's the pastor's job to study the hard stuff and your job to just try to be a good Christian and simply "show up." God calls EVERYONE to know him, to learn about him, to KNOW his word, inside and out.

"Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to EXPLAIN it." 1 Peter 3:15 (emphasis added)

So let's get to know the God of the Universe a little bit better together. Here are just a few condensed examples of PAST prophecy that has been fulfilled***. I encourage you to take the time to study these and others in more depth on your own:

Daniel predicted the four great kingdoms
Bible prophecy: Daniel 2:32-33
Prophecy written: About 530 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Throughout history
1.The Babylonian Empire
2.The Medo-Persian Empire
3.The Grecian Empire
4.The Roman Empire

Edom would be toppled and humbled
Bible prophecy: Jeremiah 49:16
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 100 BC

Egypt would never again rule over nations
Bible prophecy: Ezekiel 29:15
Prophecy written: Between 593-571 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Since the time of Ezekiel about 2500 years ago

The Jews would avenge the Edomites
Bible prophecy: Ezekiel 25:14
Prophecy written: Between 593-571 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 100 BC

Nineveh would be destroyed, permanently
Bible prophecy: Nahum 3:19
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC

Ninevites would be drunk in their final hours
Bible prophecy: Nahum 1:10
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC

Tyre's stones, timber and soil would be cast into the sea
Bible prophecy: Ezekiel 26:12
Prophecy written: Between 587-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 333-332 BC

Babylon would rule Judah for 70 years
Bible prophecy: Jeremiah 25:11-12
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 609 BC to 539 BC

Babylon's gates would open for Cyrus
Bible prophecy: Isaiah 45:1
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 539 BC

The Jews would survive Babylonian rule and return home
Bible prophecy: Jeremiah 32:36-37
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 536 BC

Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed
Bible prophecy: Matthew 24:1-2
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: 70 AD

Daniel foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple
Bible prophecy: Daniel 9:24-26
Prophecy written: About 530 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 70 AD

Isaiah foreshadowed the virgin birth of Jesus
Bible prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC

The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem
Bible prophecy: Micah 5:1-2
Prophecy written: Sometime between 750-686 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC

The Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah
Bible Prophecy: Genesis 49:10
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC

The Messiah would enter Jerusalem while riding on a donkey
Bible prophecy: Zechariah 9:9
Prophecy written: Between 520 and 518 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 31 AD

The Messiah would be rejected
Bible prophecy: Isaiah 53:1-3
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 31 AD

Zechariah foreshadowed the betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver
Bible prophecy: Zechariah 11:12-13
Prophecy written: Between 520 and 518 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 31 AD

God's servant would die for our sins
Bible prophecy: Isaiah 53:4-6
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 31 AD

These are only a few out of hundreds more! These prophecies are not superfluous bits of trivia for those weird, Bible-obsessed, "uber-Christians". These prophecies are for YOU. The words of scripture, ALL the words of scripture are for each and every one of us, and they are meant to be read. They DEMAND to be read. This kind of in-depth, obsessive Bible study is not something that you can just pass off as a hobby for the Jesus freaks. In-depth study of the Bible isn't just another thing you do if you happen to have a strong interest in it or when you have a little free time on your hands. It is, and absolutely should be, WHAT you do. It needs to be ALL you do, in EVERYTHING you do. You need to know your Bible and how to apply it to every iota of your life. And you need to know prophecy. Prophecy is our proof. Prophecy is the backbone. Prophecy is what sets this God apart from the rest.

This is not an option. This is a calling. Answer it with complete abandon!

**Some incredible resources that respectfully and lovingly demonstrate the errancy of the mormon faith in comparison to Christianity:; The Bible vs. Joseph Smith, The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon, and several others.
***The collection of prophecies above are documented in more depth on this website.

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