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Miracles Unfold

Part 1- An Overview

  What is Prophecy ?
"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of ones own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

II Peter 1:20-21

To understand prophecy, the starting point could be to describe an author, or a prophet.
Simply put, a prophet in biblical terms is a person who is an authoritative and infallible teacher of God's will. Gods mind & will are sent by his power (spirit) to the prophets, who in turn spoke &  wrote, taught, encouraged and warned any who were willing to listen.

Prophets had no special power of their own. They came from all walks of life. They did not inherit this great honour of being God's mouthpiece because of their worthiness or right, or by human appointment, but were chosen, prepared & called of God, then commanded to proclaim a message.

Their words, always in God's time and at his discretion were accredited by signs or by the fulfilment of their predictions, conforming with the consistency of God's truths.

A prophets message was principally a moral and ethical challenge, to accept the teachings, to be encouraged by the message, to be assured by the fulfilment.

*Throughout the ages there have been many false prophets, but it is an individuals own responsibility to read carefully & evaluate a prophets message. The true test was whether or not his words came to pass.

*Look for proof of a TRUE PROPHET Deut 18:18-22


  Who were the Prophets ?
Prophets can be traced right back to the beginning of Israel's history. Most people have heard of the great man Moses. He was one of the first of many prophets. The heyday of the prophets was during the time when the Jewish Nation settled in Canaan.

The last prophet God sent was His own Son Jesus, who spoke about signs and events that would change the world.

The prophet Samuel was known as one of the "first of the prophets," Who by his enthusiasm & integrity gathered many followers who together worshipped & served their God & in turn influenced many Israelites for good.

Prophets like Nathan & Gad followed to become influential advisers in the kings court, especially kings David & Solomon.

As Israel's history moved on, sadly prophets lost credibility, as their messages became polluted. This happened because they became involved in the politics of nations. Hence we see the false prophets emerging.

However God always provides a faithful remnant. He sent strong individuals like Elijah and Elisha, along with Amos & Hosea to the tribes of Israel, while to the south, the same message & predictions were given through Micah, Isaiah, & Jeremiah.

As this unique nation's destiny unfolded, great men like Ezekiel & Daniel were important in maintaining the faith of those in exile, while Zechariah, Haggai & Malachi played their part as time moved rapidly along to herald the greatest prophet of all time, the Lord Jesus Christ.


  Some Characteristics of Bible Prophecy
  • The prophets spoke in the language of their day. Even they themselves did not fully understand what they spoke or wrote. (Dan 12:4-13)
  • Prophecies typically use symbols, & can contain a mixture of of metaphorical language and plain language. Prophecies can use standard symbols to refer to social, religious & political forces.
  • Modern Day examples could be;
    The eagle or Uncle Sam for USA
    The bear for Russia
    The kangaroo for Australia
  • Nations change names over time and become difficult to identify.
  • Prophecies can involve large leaps of time, which become hard to piece together. Some prophecies are like "sneak previews" depicted in a series of "snap shots".
  • Even more confusing, a prophet may abruptly stop his message altogether and the same message will continue by a different prophet.

Difficult at times: YES

BUT: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing,
the honour of kings to search out a matter"
(Proverbs 25:2)


  Keys for studying Bible Prophecy
  When studying any part of the Bible, especially with Bible Prophecy, you may find the following approach helpful.

1. What is the context of the prophecy?

  • Read the entire chapter.
  • Read the proceeding and following chapters.
  • Note    (a) Who wrote it
              (b) Time of Writing
              (c) Written to whom

2. What is the main theme/message of the section?

  • Is the prophecy about a nation, battles events or persons?
  • If long & involved this will have to be done in smaller sections.

3. What is the time period for the fulfilment of the prophecy?

  • i.e. latter days, last days, time end.
  • Look for specific boundaries of time, maybe symbolic numbers for days or years.

4. Note key words or ideas.

5. Are any of the key words literal or symbolic?

  • Use concordances, cross references or any study aids to identify word meanings.

6. What is the prophecy about?

  • Now collect all information and create an informed word picture of events - work out how it fits together.

7. Do the details of this prophecy fit in with other prophecies?

8. Has any of it been fulfilled?

  • Can you relate it to historical events?

9. Is any part of the prophecy yet to be fulfilled?

  • What is the prophecy suggesting will happen?
  • How does this relate to world events?
  • How could this affect you?

Part 2 - A Study Guide >