The Sure Word Of Prophecy

The apostles Peter, James and John were the only witnesses to the transfiguration of Christ. This was a unique event, occurring only once in history and never repeated. We can only read about this event, we can never experience it. Peter cites this event to prove that the early Christians were not following cunningly devised fables, but he added another comment which we find in II Peter 1:19-21.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

The expression "more sure word of prophecy" is translated in various ways in other Bible versions, but the Diaglott word-for-word translation states, "We have more firm the prophetic word." This tends to agree with the sense of the King James Version and suggests that Bible prophecy is a superior witness to that of the transfiguration of Christ, which was limited to the eyes of the three apostles.

We do not doubt the reliability of Peter's witness, but the fulfillment of Bible prophecy we can see with our own eyes, which has to be superior to that of an historical report. While we accept Peter's words by faith, we see the regathering of Israel by sight.

Peter tells us to pay attention to prophecy because it gives us light, divine light, which is Truth. The prophet Amos, who wrote in about 787 BC, stated in Amos 3:7, Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Such a statement amounts to an open invitation to search the Scriptures and dig out the hidden treasure of the divine plan. Jesus pleaded with the Jews in the days of his earthly ministry in John 5:39: Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. They not only testify of Jesus' person but also of his earthly ministry, his death, his resurrection, and his invitation to mankind to be partakers of eternal salvation.

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 25:2, It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. What greater honor is there for those who have the potential of being kings and priests in Christ's kingdom than to search the Scriptures for the glories that the Lord has concealed therein?

Every generation from the time of Adam has been blessed by having knowledge of Bible prophecy, and we see prophetic themes repeated to successive generations. God, speaking to the Serpent in the Garden of Eden said, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shall bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15). This same prophecy, in essence, was given to Abraham in Genesis 22:17, That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of HIS enemies. The apostle Paul, utilizing the Adamic form of the prophecy, uses it to comfort the saints of his day, reassuring them in Romans 16:20, And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

The Lord told Moses, in the face of a rebellious nation, But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord (Numbers 14:21). The prophet Isaiah, in about 713 BC, having spoken about the coming of Christ and his righteousness, reiterates the eternal intention of the Lord as a condition that will prevail in the Kingdom age, stating in Isaiah 11: 9, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Eighty-seven years later, the Prophet Habakkuk, in 626 BC, proclaims to the wicked generation of his day the same prophecy which will come to pass, which nothing can prevent. Habakkuk 2:14 states, For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. This prophecy, repeated these three times, is the essence of the purpose of God with the earth. We have the opportunity now to become an element of that glory when our Lord returns. Daniel 12:3 extends the priceless promise to us, And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

The Psalms of David sparkle with divine prophecy. Psalm 103:10-14 will touch the heart of any sincere person: He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Psalm 83 depicts Israel in peril from her enemies. In the War of Independence in 1948, the Six Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Israel encountered her hostile Arab neighbors, in league against her and committed to her destruction, just as described in this Psalm. Out of all these perils the Lord delivered Israel. This Psalm coupled with the prophecy of Obadiah and other prophets describe Israel's struggles yet to come, but Psalm 2 describes Christ's triumph against the heathen kings of the earth. Verse 8 urges, Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Psalm 72 describes the righteous rule of Christ to bring justice, peace, relief to the poor and the suppression of evil generally, thus filling the earth with the glory of the Lord. Verses 18-20 exclaim, Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

Often, when we think of Bible prophecy, our minds move in the direction of time periods and historic developments. The zenith of such prophecy is Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great image described in Daniel 2. This prophecy, given in 603/604 BC, covers the scope of world history from the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the setting up of the Kingdom of God. Every generation of Bible students who have examined this prophecy could determine in which of the five eras (gold, silver, brass, iron, iron and clay) they were living. We know that we are now living in the period of the feet and toes (iron and clay), which will see the return of Christ. Some of the details of this period we find in Daniel 11 and 12 and in Revelation 16, prophecies dealing with pushing the Turks out of Palestine and the termination of the Turkish Empire (represented figuratively by the drying up of the river Euphrates).

The great Seven Times prophecy of Leviticus 26, when interpreted on the principle of a day for a year, led to the understanding of a period of 2520 years of Israel's down treading. This span of time ties in with Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Beginning with 603/604 BC, "seven times" ended in 1917, the year in which British General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Turks and proceeded in the following year to drive the Turks out of Palestine. These events were visible to the saints during the World War I period; they were eye-witnesses to this remarkable fulfillment of prophecy.

Throughout history many attempts have been made to pinpoint the time of the coming of Christ. These have ended in failure, disappointment and discouragement. Attempts to set dates for the return of Christ are contrary to scripture, unwise in their formulation and liable to cause scorn and even loss of faith. A case in point is that of the followers of William Miller, who in 1831 told his flock that Christ would return in 1843. By 1840 some of his many followers had disposed of their belongings in anticipation of the judgment day. When 1843 passed uneventfully, Miller set a new date of 1844. When this date failed, the movement collapsed. They did not comprehend or could not accept Christ's words contained in Acts 1:7, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power. Also in Matthew 25:13,Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Some fulfillment dates of prophetic events may be determined, but the date of the actual advent may not.

There remains much work yet to be done in the study of Bible prophecy, especially that pertaining to events of the last days and the plight of beleaguered Israel. It is time to renew our interest in this area of Scripture. If the city of Damascus was suddenly obliterated, do you know where to find that in the Bible? Are you aware that present day Edomites are alive and well and are plaguing Israel and are soon to be destroyed? If we profess to be watchmen on the walls of Zion as it were, for what are we watching? Only the sure words of prophecy can give us that information.

Let us take seriously the passionate plea of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible, who in the year 1611, wrote concerning the Scriptures: "They can make us wise unto salvation. If we be ignorant, they well instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us. Tolle, lege; tolle, lege; Take up and read, take up and read the Scriptures."

E. R. Evans, Burlington, ON