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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Prophecy

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Prophecy. Prophecy is not only the predicting of future events: it included the larger office of receiving and communicating the will and purposes of God. So that we find in Scripture prophecy instructions, warnings, rebukes, as largely as predictions of things to come. And men are termed prophets, Abraham for example, Genesis 20:7, of whom it is nowhere recorded that they uttered a single prophecy in the sense of foretelling future events. Christ, moreover, in whom the promise of Deuteronomy 18:15-19 was to have its ultimate and complete fulfilment, and who was to be the great prophet of the church, performed that office, not so much by many predictions as by teaching all that it was needful the world should know. The way, too, in which prophecy is spoken of in the apostolic writings goes to establish the same view. It is described as touching the heart and conscience, convicting, instructing, edifying, comforting. 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Corinthians 14:3; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25. The heathen had little conception of prophecy in this its largest and most excellent sense: they deemed it but an inexplicable knowledge of futurity. What, then, are the characteristics of the 16 prophets thus called and commissioned and intrusted with the messages of God to his people? 1. They were the national poets of Judea. 2. They were annalists and historians. A great portion of the prophecies of Isaiah, of Jeremiah, of Daniel, of Jonah, of Haggai, is direct or indirect history. 3. They were preachers of morals and of spiritual religion. The system of morals put forward by the prophets, though not higher or purer than that of the law, is more plainly declared, and with greater, because now more needed, vehemence of diction. 4. But the prophets were something more than national poets and annalists, preachers of patriotism, moral teachers, exponents of the law, pastors, and politicians. Their most essential characteristic is that they were instruments of revealing God's will to man, as in other ways, so specially by predicting future events, and, in particular, by foretelling the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the redemption effected by Mm. We have a series of prophecies which are so applicable to the person and earthly life of Jesus Christ as to be thereby shown to have been designed to apply to him. And if they were designed to apply to him, prophetical prediction is proved. The weight of prophecy as an evidence of the truth of the religion of the Bible can hardly be overestimated. It stands alone. No other claim to supernatural foreknowledge can be put in comparison with it. And no petty objection to this or that detail, no fancied discovery that here or there fulfilment has not answered to prediction, can be admitted to shake such evidence of such a comprehensive character. The supposed chronological arrangement of the prophecies is as follows:

b.c.

Jonah

856-784

Amos

810-785

Hosea

810-725

Isaiah

810-698

Joel

810-660

Micah

758-699

Nahum

720-698

Zephaniah

640-609

Jeremiah

628-586

Habakkuk

612-598

Daniel

606-534

Obadiah

588-583

Ezekiel

595-536

Haggai

520-518

Zechariah

520-518

Malachi

436-420


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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Prophecy'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/rpd/p/prophecy.html. 1893.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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