Georgetown Prophecy Conference, 2002
Studies in Prophecy
by Darrel Cline
The value of prophecy.
Question: What is the Value of Prophecy in the Bible at This Point in Time?
Thesis: Prophecy's value is established from many different directions.
Introductory Remarks: As we begin this series of studies in the prophecies of the Bible, we need to be aware of a real and present danger. That danger is this: there is more error than truth "out there" today and no one has the time, resources, and understanding to deal with all of it. Prophecy has a major advantage over most other topics in one respect: it appeals to man's curiosity. Many folks with a hidden agenda have recognized this and capitalized on it and led many people into rabbit trails that have effectively neutralized their lives as a positive contribution in our world. And, if we are not making a positive contribution, we are making a negative one -- there is no fence to sit on here! The underlying concern behind this conference is this: everyone needs to know Truth and there is an extraordinary amount of error confronting us. That brings us to the issue before us in this first session: What is the Value of Prophecy in the Bible at This Point in Time?
Prophecy is valuable as the biblical apologetic...it enables the identification of the true God.
II. This Confusion Can Only be Addressed by Truth.
- I. There is a Significant Level of Ignorance-based Confusion Among Men.
- A. This confusion is not insignificant because man is essentially a chooser-producer who lives in a boomerang universe.
- 1. All choices are motivated by deeply held values [what the Bible calls agape].
- 2. All choices are directed by deeply held beliefs [what the Bible calls pistis].
- 3. No matter what value motivates the choice, nor what belief directs the choice, once the choice is empowered, the universe reacts to grow the seed to its harvest.
- 4. No matter what the harvest, man's experience of joy or agony will be determined by it in an exquisite harmonious dance of the harvests in process from billions upon billions of choices executed by chooser-producers.
- 5. In this kind of universe, man's greatest need is to be able to sow the seeds of life.
- B. The problem is that there are serious difficulties attached to the need to sow seeds of life.
- 1. The first, and greatest, difficulty is in attempting to decide what is valuable and what is not [the problem is determining what is important].
- 2. The second, and next most difficult, issue is the multitude of questions about how one goes about securing what is valuable [the problem is determining what is true].
- 3. The third, and least difficult, issue is the identification of the Authority which underwrites what is valuable and true [the problem is identifying the true God].
- a. As a point of fact, most people in our world today have no solid foundation for the answer to this question: why do you hold this to be valuable and that to be true?
- b. Most of the foundations put forward are historically demonstrably false.
III. The Biblical Argument for Giving Consideration to the Biblical God's Identity as the Final Authority in the Definition of What is Valuable and What is True.
- A. Ignorance is only resolved by true information.
- B. True information is not hard to find, but keeping it uncontaminated requires some serious effort.
- C. True information always has its roots in divine revelation.
- 1. If history tells us anything, it tells us...
- a. That man is so naturally arrogant that he sees himself and his perspective as superior to that of anyone else's [argument on this point simply proves the point: arguments arise from a sense of superior perspective!].
- 1) Every generation of man has considered the preceding generations as gullibly unsophisticated.
- 2) Every generation of man has had its perspective rejected by the succeeding generations in spite of his absolute confidence that his perspective was right.
- b. That the only enduring truth must come from outside of man in his arrogance.
- 2. Rationally, only an omniscient deity could possibly have a handle on what is true.
- A. The non-argument: the demonstration of the most power.
- 1. Demonstrations of power have always been impressive to men.
- 2. Demonstrations of power have always set men up to be deceived.
- 3. Demonstrations of power have a final function of enforcement of love and truth, but final functions usually come a bit late for anyone to use them to make up their minds.
- B. The biblical argument: the demonstration of the most understanding.
- 1. The biblical God has invariably told men that His superior knowledge is what lets them know Who the true God is.
- a. The identification of a true prophet was not ultimately decided by his power but by the truthfulness of his prophecies.
- b. The apologetic of Isaiah is consistently an argument that the implications of prophecy focus upon man's ability to know which God is the true one from the revelation of an infinity of knowledge (omniscience).
- 1) Isaiah 41:23
- 2) Isaiah 42:8-9
- 3) Isaiah 44:6-8
- 4) Isaiah 45:21
- 5) Isaiah 46;8-10
- 2. Even the powerful works of Jesus were done against the backdrop of prophecies about Messiah's impact when He was to come.
- a. John the Baptizer wondered if Jesus was the one.
- b. Jesus did what the prophecies had declared for hundreds of years.
Prophecy is valuable as the framework for a believer's approach to life choices...it gives a general overview of time so we do not put too much into it [what manner of persons ought we to be?].
Prophecy is valuable as a revelation of the God of prophetic utterances...God speaks to reveal what He is like so that those who wish to know can live.
Prophecy is valuable as a revelation of man so that those who are so inclined can better understand their own impulses.
Prophecy has no beneficial value as a subject for curiosity and/or speculation. Nothing is of value to the believer except what establishes a foundation for faith [stay away from fables and old wives' tales]. And no faith is of any value that is not energized by a genuine participation in the agape of God.