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Religion, Theology and Self-Improvement Sundays: What Is Prophecy? Part III

Now we last briefly took up the subject of prophecy and what it is and some of its purpose. And we concluded the last piece with some questions, some of which dealt with the country of America and whether or not this country was seen by God in advance and whether its rise and future was foretold on the pages of the Bible. Finally, we ended with the question of whether anyone would really believe you if you actually showed them where America was in the Bible.

The question of whether anyone accepts Biblical prophecy or not depends upon several factors a few of which are whether they believe in a Supreme Being That is omniscient. Also the strength of their belief in what is known as scripture must be considered. These two factors are basic to most people who accept the validity of Biblical prophecy and its fulfillment.

Next, the person must accept that the prophecy, as it is written, clearly describes a thing, person, group of people or an event. Once it is agreed that a thing, person, group of people or event is clearly described, then that person has to investigate whether, in a time after the date of the prophecy (which must be confirmed), a real thing, person, group of people or event has been produced, appeared or occurred just as it was described in the prophecy. If it does then it can be said that the prophecy was “fulfilled”. Then, the question that remains to be answered is by what power was the prophecy fulfilled?

Now we all know that anyone can say that just about anything can happen. There seemingly is no limit on the scope of possibility of the human mouth. But as we saw last week from our look at Isaiah Chapter 49 verses 3-7 the purpose of Biblical prophecy is to show that no power other than the Supreme Being could have foretold that certain things would happen. So in the prophecy must be proof that it came from the greatest of all powers.

So in essence an important question that could be raised is whether or not a person has to believe in God prior to accepting the truth of a prophecy. In one sense, yes, they do. We will get into why later. But in another sense the answer is no. A person does not have to believe in God in order to accept the truth of a prophecy, in the sense that a prophecy is a prediction that can be verified.

In this sense, a prophecy can come under the same type of verification process that a prediction of the results of a roll of a dice does. Or that a man’s prediction of the outcome of a football game does. Or a weatherwoman’s prediction of the next week’s weather – which is known as a forecast. Or a financial analysts prediction of the future movement of a stock price. All of these predictions are subject to rules of observation and reason. An atheist and believer in God can apply these same rules to a Biblical prophecy, if they so desired.

Now, if the prediction happened several thousand years ago a few other things have to be considered, the chief thing being the date of and actual language that makes up the description. These two factors are initially even more important than our knowledge of the source of the prediction. Next week we will begin to delve into testing predictions by looking at one of the most famous and critical predictions in the entire Bible.

Cedric Muhammad

Sunday, June 4, 2000

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