A Few Thoughts On Prophecy

Part -1

By Alfred Bouter

Our great Creator is the God and Author of the Bible. He is the One who from the beginning knew and told the future (Isa. 40:21, 41:4,26, 46:10) long before the events happened or will still happen. He recorded many prophecies that have been fulfilled already, guaranteeing that those which have not yet happened will surely come to pass just as He has indicated.

God’s Amazing Creation Shows The God Of Prophecy 
In one second our sun emits more energy than mankind has used since creation. Though only an average-size star, it is unique. Many stars in our galaxy are much bigger, including Canis Majoris, which is about 2,200 times bigger than our sun, and the Pistol Star, which produces one million times the energy of our sun and has 100 times its mass. Our sun and its solar system are just a pinpoint, a small speck, in our Milky Way galaxy; and the entire Milky Way is just a small dot in the universe even though it possibly contains 200 billion stars – maybe even 300 billion!

While estimates continue to rise, our galaxy is just one of between 100 and 200 billion galaxies in the universe, many of which contain 200 billion or more stars. How much time would it take to count them? The distance from one end to the other of the known universe is estimated to be over 100 billion light years. A light year is the distance light travels in one year. Since light travels approximately 186,000 miles per second, even just one light year is an astounding distance! Who can grasp this?

Quasars, at the extreme edge of the known universe, are about 1,000 times brighter than our Milky Way galaxy and emit as much energy every second as our sun could in 10 million years. Many astronomers believe that the total number of stars in space surpasses the total number of grains of sand on all the seashores of our earth. In most cases, stars are separated by trillions of miles!

On a much smaller scale, there are about 100 trillion cells in the human body and the complexity of the activities inside each cell is beyond our grasp. Science has concluded that it would take at least 3,000 super-computers to imitate the operations taking place in the human brain at any one given point in time. Processes taking place in each human cell are awesome and mind-boggling!

Our God created and maintains this vast universe, even to the smallest part (Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:17). He is involved in His creation as its Sustainer and as the Leader of the human race and its history – past, present and future. To those who reject Him as Creator, Redeemer and Possessor, He is Judge.

Important Principles 
When we study prophecy, God’s Word gives us some important principles to keep in mind:

  • Key-distinctions exist between Israel and the Church – in their callings, functions and destinies. The Church has not replaced Israel, but God has diverse plans for both.
  • There are various dispensations – periods of time in which God tests people according to the light (privileges) He has given them. Privilege implies responsibility, for which every human must give an account. Because of Adam and Eve’s fall (Gen. 3) all are guilty (Rom. 1:18-32, 2:1-11, 3:19).
  • Great differences exist between God’s plans and man’s objectives. Since man’s fall a war has been going on between “the god of this age,” who blinds the mind of the unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4 NKJV), and the Creator God, who is the Redeemer and the ultimate Judge (Acts 17:21-31).

God’s Agenda Or Man’s Ideas 
Our great God has a program for this world (Eph. 1:10), for Israel (Rom. 11:26-29), and for the Church – His eternal purpose (Eph. 3:8-11). For these plans to be carried out the Prince of Peace had to come into this world and set things right. At His first coming, when the Word became flesh (Jn. 1:14), Jews and Gentiles rejected Him as was foretold by God (Isa. 49:4, 50:2; Mt. 11:25-27). Christ fulfilled many prophecies, and many more will have a future fulfillment. Together, these prophecies can be called “the foreshadows of the Messiah.”

Our Lord is coming again, for sure, and every knee will bow to Him as He fulfills the prophetic Word regarding His two comings (Phil. 2:6-10) and other predictions. We live in a world in turmoil which will get worse before these prophecies are fulfilled and the Prince of Peace will reign. Yet, the soul in communion with God may live in peace now, in a close relationship with the Prince of Peace (Isa. 26:3). God’s agenda in this day of grace is for us to promote His interests in His way, as Saul/Paul did after his prayer, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). He submitted to Him, to do His will – an example for us today.

God’s Plan As Summarized By Paul 
“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith … according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust” (1 Tim. 1:5,11). We need “a spirit … of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7) to carry out God’s agenda for the period of grace.

This is completely different from what the “Christianized world” follows. Why? Emperor Constantine ruled in the early part of the fourth century AD. After ten major persecutions (consider Rev. 2:10), he made of Christianity – which implies a relationship with the true and living God (1 Th. 1:9-10) – the main religion of the Roman Empire, placing it beside and above the pagan religions. As Emperor he was the Pontifex Maximus (high priest) of all these religions, even though he professed to be a believing Christian.1 Constantine’s policy was not in tune with God’s thoughts, but it was allowed by Him as it relieved the Christians from persecution. Satan, at the same time, showed himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

God’s plans are also different from the present Zionists’ – even though we sympathize with the nation of Israel and their many sufferings throughout the ages.2 God’s thoughts, of course, also differ from all other religions as well as the many “one-world government” promoters, new-agers and environmentalists of our days. All these efforts are counterfeits of God’s unique plan for Israel and this world, for their agendas are basically controlled by “the god of this age” (4:4), who is “the prince of this world” (Jn. 12:31 JND). Yet our God is and remains in complete control,3 and He will fulfill His plans!

Completely different from man’s ideas, God’s agenda for the near future is to introduce His “new age” of a thousand years’ reign of peace under the rule of His Son, who is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6-7). Notice that the Lord’s two comings are found in the same passage: the Child born, in the past, and the Son given, in the future. We intend to consider this matter more, later.

The Enemy Plans A Counterfeit New Age 
Soon after Noah’s flood, Satan introduced “the great city” of Babel. It was a system of idolatry (Gen. 10-11) to lead people away from the true God who had revealed Himself as Creator and Judge (Rom. 1:18-23). Satan did this before God presented His plan – “the city which has foundations” – to Abraham, who became the father of all believers (Gen. 12:1-3; Heb. 11:8-10). Today the enemy is busy introducing a counterfeit “new age,” and he is using “the great Babylon” as his goal (Rev. 17).

In contrast to this, since the days of Acts 2, all true believers form a unified company, called and acquired by God from among Jews and Gentiles. Soon they will be taken away suddenly (literally, “snatched away”) from this scene in an event called “the rapture” (1 Th. 4:16-18). After this the apostate, or rebellious, church will continue on earth under Satan’s leadership and connect with apostate Israel and the nations of this world, similar to the situation in the Roman Empire in past days.

God’s Remnant 
While this development takes place God will have a remnant among Israel (Rev. 7:1-8) and a great harvest among the nations (vv.9-17). There is now – and ultimately will be – a battle between God and His enemy, Satan. If the Evil One could destroy all the Jews, then God would not be able to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham. Satan tried to defeat the Prince of Peace when He came in humiliation (Phil. 2:5-8). Christ, however, always had the victory: during the temptations in the wilderness (Lk. 4:1-13), on the cross (Col. 2:15) and in His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:54). Soon He will have the final victory (Rom. 16:20), public and lasting, when all the Jews and Gentiles will be brought to His feet (Phil. 2:9-10). Then, after the “times of the Gentiles” will have run their course as foreshadowed in Daniel 2:44, the Lord will usher in a new world of righteousness and peace.

Today’s Challenges 
Christians have the privilege of being in God’s kingdom (Rom. 14:17). This kingdom is now in testimony, as it is to honor God and the Lord Jesus in a world that still rejects Him. In other words, the kingdom of God today represents a moral preview of Christ’s coming reign in glory, similar to what a few disciples saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. Recorded in the Gospels and witnessed by Peter, John and James, it implies a challenge, namely that God and Christ be reflected in our daily lives. This remarkable event with Moses and Elijah visiting was a foretaste of Christ’s public reign and also a confirmation of the prophecies about it (Mt. 17:1-9; 2 Pet. 1:16-21). It confirmed how God, when His time has come, will publicly introduce His “new age” into this world.

We should not try to enforce with human means or methods what God Himself will realize in the world to come under Christ’s rule. Our battle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:10-20) and we should not use carnal weapons (2 Cor. 10:3-5) or try to imitate situations of the past. The enemy’s tactics of opposition include methods of imitation (2 Tim. 3:8), transforming himself into an angel of light for his purposes.

Satan is a master of deception and was a counterfeiter “from the beginning,” for he is the father of the lie and the murderer. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20). Already Isaiah’s days were marked by deception and delusion, and likewise are our days with “another Jesus, false apostles, deceitful workers” (please read 2 Cor. 11:4,13-15; 1 Jn. 2:18; 2 Th. 2:3; 2 Tim. 4:1-4; Mt. 24:4-5,11,24; Lk. 18:8; 1 Th. 5:3; Jn. 5:39-43).

In His moral government (Rom. 1:28) God allows and even sends such blindness. The God of Truth will send a special energy of error, a delusion, that people may believe the lie (2 Th. 2:7-12). But true believers are warned to not be deceived (Gal. 6:7; 1 Cor 6:9, 15:33; Jas. 1:16)!

God’s Plans Will Be Fulfilled 
Zechariah 12:2-4 (KJV) predicts that God will make Jerusalem “a cup of trembling” (for intoxication) and “a burdensome stone for all people” (as an unsupportable burden). In His governmental dealings with this world, in particular the Western world, God will send blindness, of which our days witness foreshadows.

Israel is the apple of God’s eye (Dt. 32:10; Zech. 2:8), even though in His moral government God calls them “Lo-Ammi” or “not My people” (Hos. 1:9 NKJV). Everyone who attacks Israel attacks God Himself. God told Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). God’s plans will be fulfilled, and we need to understand that His ways will lead to the fulfilment of these plans (see Rom. 9-11). God’s plans and ways both are the subjects of prophecy.

As Christians we expect the rapture to occur at any moment, without any signs; and we live in that expectancy (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Th. 1:9-10, 4:16-18; Ti. 2:13; Heb. 9:28; 2 Pet. 3:11-14; 1 Jn. 3:3; Rev. 22:17,20). These details belong to the blessed hope of the Church, but not part of prophecy. In this we notice a distinction, for the many events that the Lord predicted in His messages to the seven churches (Rev. 2-3) are part of prophecy as they relate to man’s responsibility on earth. But the hope of the Church is linked with Christ in heaven.

1. This arrangement put Christianity on the same level with this world’s religions, even though the Emperor gave preference to Christendom. Today’s movement towards a one-world religion is similar in essence and it is anti-biblical (Jn. 8:23, 18:36). 
2. Realizing that in God’s ways He uses all these things, we must distinguish this from His true purpose. 
3. Throughout history we notice this control. Just two examples: the First World War, often called “the Great War,” led to a homeland for Israel; the Second World War led to many Jews going back to their country, even though mainly in unbelief and distinct from the fulfillment of prophecy when all will go back.