Posted in prophecy, sovereignty

Back to Basics: The Importance of Prophecy

By Elizabeth Prata

By EPrata

As the time draws nigh, people less and less look to prophecy as a legitimate study of the Bible. They dismiss the prophetic, are skeptical of it, or simply ignore it. The silence of the pulpits is resounding, and the ignorance of the people is disheartening.

I’d like to spend a bit of time in encouraging us all to study the word, and not to ignore the prophetic. Lambert Dolphin wrote,

“A major portion of both the Old and New Testament is devoted to prophecy- nearly one third of the Scripture. Only four of the 66 books of the Bible are without prophecy-Ruth, the Song of Solomon, Philemon, and 3 John. Even the shortest book of the Bible mentions prophecy (Jude 14, 17-18, which refers to Enoch and the second coming of the Lord). Out of the Old Testament’s 23,210 verses, 6,641 contain predictive material, over twenty eight percent. Out of the New Testament’s 7,914 verses, 1,711 contain predictive material, over 21 percent.”

Illustration above, “God judging Adam” Genesis 3, William Blake, C. 1795

Joel C. Rosenberg wrote an essay based on a sermon of his, titled Rediscovering The Power and Purpose of Prophecy. He makes four main points,

“Unfortunately, many pastors, priests and ministry leaders here in the U.S. and around the world are not teaching Bible prophecy — as I see it, there are four major reasons for this.”

–First, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of belief in the power of God’s Word.
–Second, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of knowledge of — and sound training in — Bible prophecy.

–Third, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a fear of being lumped in with “prophecy nuts” and those who peddle sensationalism.
–Fourth, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of understanding of the times in which we live and the increasingly close return of Christ.

Rosenberg fleshes out each of the points.

Prophecy is the very Word of God, spoken by His mouth to His servants. (Revelation 1:1, Luke 1:70). Before the Word was written, He spoke it. The first prophecy was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden as He related to them the curse of the Fall from Grace, but promised a Messiah. (Genesis 3:15).

Habakkuk 2:2,
“I will stand upon my watch”
Illustration, James Shaw Crompton, of

Then the Prophets came, as they had since the beginning, (Luke 1:70), and God told them to write down the words. (Habakkuk 2:2, Exodus 17:14, Jeremiah 30:1-2 for example).

Poor Jeremiah. God spoke to Him and Jeremiah spoke to the people. Then God told Jeremiah to write the words down. Jeremiah did. However, Jeremiah’s words from God were so ill-received that King Jehoiakim burned the scroll of everything that had been written. The King burned it bit by bit as Baruch read it. The LORD then told Jeremiah to write it all over again, a monumental work, and this time God added words that cursed the king. (Jeremiah 30). God’s word will not be denied.

So prophecy was and is the word of the Lord, whether spoken as it was in the Old Testament or written as it was then and it is now. It will be spoken again, in the Tribulation, when God sends His Two Witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days. (Revelation 11:3).

Prophecy is extremely important, we are told many times. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 warns us not to despise prophesyings. For example, in 2 Peter 1:19 we are told it is “a sure word.” This is because almost nothing else illustrates His sovereignty more than prophecy. How so?

“And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” (Numbers 11:23). He delivers His word and tells us to test it, watch for it. This is because His Word is sure and God knows it will come true.

Pastor Jim McClarty discussed the Irresistibility of God in his 2009 sermon delivered at the Sovereign Grace Bible Conference. He made several wonderful points during his exciting 1 hour sermon, but his second point is the one I’d like to bring to you now. He said,

“God’s irrestibility is demonstrated in prophecy. Prophecy is a risky venture. There are no other major religious pieces of literature in the world that contain the amount of prophecy that the bible does. It’s one of the most unique characteristics of the bible, and it is chock full of prophecy. The reason it’s risky is, you can check it.” (Numbers 11:23, Deuteronomy 18:22).

People often think that the Old Testament times were heavily prophetic all the time. They believe that miracles happened every day and that God talked to the prophets every minute. It is not so. The miracles we read about in the Old Testament were spaced far apart, years, decades, centuries, even. After Micah, there were no prophets for 400 years, until John the Baptist came, and John performed no miracles as Elijah or Moses did. For most of the generations in the OT, they read the scrolls, listened to the priests, and lived lives in submission to Holy God and were waiting for their Messiah to come.

In our day, we read the pages of the Bible, listen to the pastors, and live lives in submission to the Messiah who has come- and will soon come again!

I love prophecy. Now, it is true that people can get carried away with the doctrine of prophecy and/or look at the newspaper and back-date prophecies into news articles. Mr Rosenberg was right that there are nuts who run away with prophecy predictions and claim to hear a word from the Lord as Jeremiah or Elijah did. Fortunately, as Jim McClarty said, we can check the prophecies in the bible. We can rejoice that our Holy God not only is the creator of the universe and the author and architect and finisher of our faith, but His word is sure. He is sovereign and that means, according to Rev. Matt Slick at CARM, “Sovereignty in relation to God means that God has the absolute right to do with His creation as He desires.”

Some verses that support this are as follows: Psalm 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;”

Faith in God is always trustworthy, even when answers to life’s issues and traumas do not always arrive. We must trust God in spite of what we see. But when we do see, as in prophecy coming true as written in the pages of His word, we rejoice that He is in control and our faith will prosper us.

“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2 Chronicles 20:20).

Other essays in the Back to Basics series:

Back to Basics
Back to Basics: Holy Spirit
Back to Basics: What is prayer?
Back to Basics: What Does it Mean to Be Born Again?
Back to Basics: How do I Know I’m Saved? Examine Yourself

Upcoming:

Back to Basics: What is Hell?
Back to Basics: What is the Rapture?
Back to Basics: How to Study Your Bible
Back to Basics: What is Justification?
Back to Basics: What is a miracle?
Back to Basics: All about Angels
Back to Basics: What is “The Lamb”?
Back to Basics: Who is Satan?

Posted in theology

Outlook for 2021: A Time of Judges?

By Elizabeth Prata

Does it bother anyone that the literal name of this new year is “2020 won”?

LOL I didn’t make that line up, I saw it on Twitter. It’s true, though, isn’t it? I feel like I’ve gone through 2020 with Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta. Beaten up from pillar to post, knocked down only to get up and be knocked down again, emerging from the year battered and bloody and barely standing. I guess the ‘difficult times’ finally came to America. (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

2020 felt like the Time of Judges. If you are skeptical, look at this summary of the Book of Judges and see if it doesn’t fit:

Continue reading “Outlook for 2021: A Time of Judges?”
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 2; He will come!

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty days of exalting Jesus though selected verses with pictures representing the prophecy, life, death, resurrection, and Second Coming of our Savior.

More information and background on this series, here

thirty days of jesus verse 2

Day 1: The Virgin Shall Conceive

Ligonier: A Shoot from Jesse’s Stump: Devotional

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 11:1

All the Named Men of the Bible: Jesse

Posted in theology

This is what repentance looks like: Dawn Hill in a moving testimony

By Elizabeth Prata

I don’t know this lady. A virtual friend on Facebook shared this video.

Dawn Hill repents of being a false prophet and for being part of the NAR. She urges women everywhere to discern properly, test all things, focus on Jesus Christ, and not swim in emotionalism and prophetic words that are only vain imaginations and fleshly lusts. She pleads with her audience to throw away her work, her book, and any and all of her old material. She urges women to submit to the authority of the Bible as the only sure word.

Continue reading “This is what repentance looks like: Dawn Hill in a moving testimony”
Posted in theology

I’m ready to go

By Elizabeth Prata

There is no doubt that lately in the United States, things are getting more negative. Lawsuits, lockdowns, fires, riots, apostasy, false teachers, and so on. Things have been worse in countries before, think; Britain in WWII. Things have been worse for the church before: Think Spanish Inquisition. But here in the U.S. our circumstances have been continually blessed since almost our inception as a nation.

Lately though, the level of sin has increased so much it is hard to even look at Twitter, where only the headlines are shown, never mind the entire news story. John MacArthur made a great point this week.

“The slide is greased, and it’s rapidly going downhill at a warp-speed,” MacArthur continued. “And to try to intervene at some point and say, ‘That’s enough,’ you’d have to start a long time ago. This is just the next small step in the disintegration of an entire nation that has no conscience.”

Daily Wire: The Slide is Greased

In a recent sermon titled The Inescapable Corruption of Sin, he said the nation is so far gone it’s like a man that jumped off a 40 story building and began thinking about how to change his trajectory or the end result of his actions halfway down.

Ouch.

Things are rough and it hurts. But it makes me think of teenagers. You know when a teen has graduated from high school but hasn’t left for college? That in-between time? It is a huge transition, and it puts a strain on the family. It’s a tense transition. Bickering and fights break out daily, sometimes by the minute.

Why does this happen? Normally families love their children, and treat them with respect and love and care. But the fighting and tension during this period of imminent change is so prevalent and common, that Psychology Today wrote about it.

Leaving for college? Why families argue more right before the separation.

The weeks before my own child left for college were filled with battles that seemed to come from nowhere and enveloped our entire household. If he wasn’t arguing with me about something, he was butting heads with his dad; and if he wasn’t fighting with either of us, he was furious that we had somehow misunderstood something he said or were acting like he was a stupid child and always telling him what to do.

Source

Just when I was feeling that I would be very happy to see him go, he said, “You know what this is about, don’t you? It’s so that it won’t hurt you so much when I leave.” I had to laugh. He was right, of course. Fortunately, I had the good sense not to insist that it might be doing the same thing for him.

Source

It’s an actual phenomenon. The fighting helps the parents and kids let go, and makes parting easier.

I got to wondering if it is the same with Christians. Certainly, seeing the level of visible sin these days is grossing me out and making me want to leave all this behind even more. Maybe the Lord is using the fighting and riots and evil to help us put our eyes more firmly on Him and to release attachment to the place where we live, and make us long for the place we are going to even more.

It’s a thought.

Lord? Soon come…please.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Source

Further Reading

I strongly recommend the sermon by John MacArthur The Inescapable Corruption of Sin. STRONGLY

Steve Lawson, 3-min video clip: I want to be with Jesus

Posted in theology

Reader Prophecy Question: What about seeing visions and prophesying in the last days?

By Elizabeth Prata

A reader wondered about the verse in Acts 2:17, where it is said,

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on 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 how that verse reconciles with the cessationist position. Cessationists believe that the sign gifts such as miracles, tongues, healing, and visions/prophecy ceased (hence the title of this position) some few years into the end time after Jesus’ ascension. The end time, or latter days, is the period between Jesus ascension and His return in the Second Coming. Therefore we are in the end time now (hence the title of my blog). Continue reading “Reader Prophecy Question: What about seeing visions and prophesying in the last days?”

Posted in theology

The Book of Revelation is not an Outlier

By Elizabeth Prata

People think the Bible is the Bible, except for that weird book at the end, Revelation. Admittedly, Revelation (not ‘Revelations) is a highly symbolic book in places. But it isn’t totally filled with symbolism as people think. People avoid the book anyway, which is a shame…because:

In Revelation 1:3, right off the bat, it begins with a blessing!

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

If you read the book, you receive a blessing. If you hear what is in the book, you receive a blessing. If you keep what is in the book, you receive a blessing. Keep means to guard what is in the book or heed what is in the book. That means, be involved with what is in the book of Revelation. It’s not an outlier, it’s integral to God’s plan, so much so, He blesses those who take time to learn its message.

Continue reading “The Book of Revelation is not an Outlier”
Posted in discernment, theology

Secrecy is a delusion

By Elizabeth Prata

You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance. (Psalm 90:8)

We all have secret sins. Some of them we knowingly perpetrate and feel guilty about. Other sins, we consider “acceptable”. A few, like David, we sin without even knowing we’re sinning. (Psalm 19:12).

When we sin and we know were sinning, we do it in the dark. The dark could be actual (adultery, porn, that certain movie or tv show, that gallon of ice cream at 2am…), or the dark could be metaphorical (lusting after a coworker in he darkness of our heart, for example). Continue reading “Secrecy is a delusion”

Posted in theology

What are oracles?

By Elizabeth Prata

An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment. Proverbs 16:10

And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened (Numbers 24:2).

The Lexham Bible Dictionary defines oracle as

A divine message communicated through a human mediator to one or more human recipients.

Wells, S. (2016). Oracle. In The Lexham Bible Dictionary.

So how an oracle different from a prophecy? Technically they both are divine messages delivered from the mind of God to the tongues of man, with intent to proclaim His revelation to a wider audience. God is using a human instrument for His tongue.

However, oracles were usually something that humans sought from God, instead of Him delivering a message unprompted by human inquiry, as usually happened with prophecy. These oracles were specific, someone was seeking an answer to a specific question, rather than the sweeping prophecies given that covered a general time frame. Of course, exceptions to this abound.

Many oracles were sought by kings and leaders for political purposes (“Will I win this battle?”) but the lay-people also sought oracles too. (e.g. 1 Kings 22:1-7)

Since some prophets or seers received compensation for oracles, the tendency was to then deliver favorable oracles to the consumer so the money would keep flowing.

Scholars like Westermann and Sweeney have identified a variety of subgenres for prophetic speech Two subgenres of judgment speech are:

  1. oracles against foreign nations, best known from their collections in the major prophets (Isa 13–23; Jer 46–51; Ezek 25–32)

  2. the woe oracle, which identifies wrongdoing and announces punishment much like typical judgment speech and is marked by the exclamation “woe” (e.g., Amos 5:18–20; Ezek 16:23). The New Testament also includes woe oracles spoken against individuals or groups (e.g., Luke 10:13; Matt 23:13–36). Wells, S. (2016). Oracle. The Lexham Bible Dictionary.

You might remember the Magic 8 Ball. It was a black ball made of hard plastic that a child could hold in two hands. It had a clear window at the top and you asked it a question, shook the ball, and waited until an icosahedron  floated tot he window with a message in it. The answers always disappointed me as a kid. “Try again later,” or “Maybe.” The ancient world was rife with oracle locations. The two most famous were the oracles of Apollo at Delphi and Zeus at Dodona. When seekers arrived and asked the oracle a question, answers that came were often vague. So if you were frustrated as a kid receiving vague answers from the Magic 8 Ball, imagine the seekers at Delphi or Dodona!  Yet still, many thousands still came to seek answers from the ‘gods.’

Of course, the only God there is, is Yahweh, and His answers (oracles) are true and specific. Romans 3:2 says

To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God, meaning, the Jews were entrusted to receive messages from God via a human medium, usually a prophet or a priest. How wonderful that He has grafted the Gentiles in, so now we can understand the oracles of God, His word via the Holy Spirit.

When we come back to the New Testament, we see that Christian teachers, functioning as prophets, also spoke the “oracles” of God. Peter said, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11, NASB). The author of Hebrews also used the word oracles to describe the words of God that had originally been communicated to the believers (Hebrews 5:12). Source: In Holman treasury of key Bible words