I once replied to a non-remnant newsletter that a pastor had written on Daniel 9 and the seventy-week prophecy, seeking to bring some enlightenment that he may not have possessed. I told him that I enjoyed prophecy, and had he ever seen the connection between the seventy-week and 2,300 day prophecy. He reply was, “I don’t really spend much time on prophecy, but I do like introducing people to Jesus”. My dear friends the questions we will be seeking to address in this article is this: is Jesus and prophecy separate and should we teach Jesus separate from prophecy?
In this article you will see an expanded response to Pastor J, which I pray will be a source of encouragement and enlightenment to those that read it.
We live in a postmodern, pleasure-seeking, atheistic age, which has led the masses to believe the bible to be nothing more than a fictitious book full of “unproven” fables. This begs the question, how will we reach those with the gospel when they don’t even believe the very book that contains it? One answer to this is when they see the gospel in living illustration, being lived by those who claim to believe it. Jesus who is the gospel gave in His own life an illustration of it, living a life totally given over to uplifting and blessing others.
But for some this will not be enough, doubting God’s word has been the trick the enemy has used to lead people to fall since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6). Therefore, restoring faith in the word of God is central to bringing the lost to Christ. There is no separation between Christ and prophecy the one compliments the other. Jesus put it this way, “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe” (John 14:29). Jesus says here that prophecy leads to belief in Him, and belief in Jesus as a Savior from sin is central to salvation. Luke spoke of this when he said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Even when He was rebuking Israel for worshiping false gods (Isaiah 46:1-5), He stopped to give a piece of evidence why He is God, notice the following, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:9,10). Calvary is founded on Old Testament prophecies, without them the New Testament writers would have no evidence to verify the Messiah by, but to the contrary Matthew was able to repeatedly say, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets”. To divorce Jesus from prophecy robs God of one of His divine rights and the attribute of being omniscient. And it is this attribute that He has used time and time again to prove that He is God, and to disprove the divinity of other false gods (Isaiah 41:21-26, 42:8-9, 45:20-22).
Prophecy is at the foundation of the evidence that proves the messiahship of Christ. Jesus began His ministry leading people to see the connection between Him, the gospel, and prophecy, note what Mark says, “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, THE TIME IS FULFILLED, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14,15). This Jesus said pointing people to the prophecy of the seventy-week in Daniel 9 which foretold when the messiah was to begin and complete His work. This prophecy reveals like no other that Christ is the messiah, the long-awaited seed of the women foretold in Genesis 3:15 that would crush the head of the serpent. Even the miracles of healing that Christ performed that demonstrated His love for humanity were fulfillments of prophecy written centuries before His incarnation (Luke 4:16)
Now I will admit that it is possible to separate Jesus from prophecy, and this is often the way that the prophetic books are taught. The Jews fell into this same trap, they became experts at separating Christ from the scriptures. But, Christ rebuked them and anyone who does the same when He said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which TESTIFY OF ME” (John 5:39). All scripture which means: every story, every parable, every doctrine, and every PROPHECY is given by inspiration of God and testifies to the only one in whom all our hopes are centered. Therefore does it make sense to separate Christ from the very thing that proves His divinity and leads to belief in Him as the Messiah. For every prophecy is a promise and every promise a prophecy. And if we can lead people to see that God “is not a man that He should lie” and that He always keeps His promises, their faith can lay ahold upon the prophetic promises for forgiveness, mercy, power to do His will, confidence that He will finish the work He began in us, and the promise of His coming to right every wrong.
Prophecy ultimately is a tool which leads people to God and also enlightens God’s people on what the future holds and how to prepare. And a demonstration of saving faith is seen in preparing for what God has told us is to come. For Paul said of Noah, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of THINGS NOT YET SEEN, moved with fear, PREPARED an ark to the SAVING of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by FAITH” (Hebrews 11:7). A man that prepares for what is to come is also called a wise man while God calls a man a fool that gives no heed to what He says is to come (Proverbs 22:3). For one shall be likened unto a man that built on a rock and the other on sand. And last but not least even the first verse of the book of Revelation tells us who prophecy is all about, “THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS”.
In short, again I couldn’t agree more with leading the lost to Jesus as central to the Christian’s mission, but Jesus Himself lets us know that prophecy is one of the tools in the Christian’s toolbox that leads people to believe the truth of His word, thus awakening saving faith in His crucifixion contained in that word.
Written by Uche Mekowulu