What is the Meaning of Prophecy—Prophecies—Prophesying

With all the lawlessness, chaos, rioting, looting, turmoil, immorality, murders, more frequent earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and nuclear build-ups going on in the world today, it all prompts one to sense the nearness of the end-times as being absolutely imminent. The prophets of the Bible have much to reveal relating to this matter as they have accurately presented God’s perfection in these foretellings.

The word prophet can mean either one of two things:

1) A prophet was a person who was given the gift by God to foretell God’s future events.
2) A prophet is a person who brings forth (preaches) God’s truth from His Words in the Bible.

In both the Old and New Testament Scriptures, prophets were called by God to see or hear His upcoming plan for things to take place, and to declare God’s truths. The prophecies of the future have all been included in the Bible; therefore, today’s prophets are called by God to only bring forth God’s Word. True prophets have been described as “the mouthpieces of the true God”

James Strong describes:
“a true prophet to be a person who speaks God’s message to the people, under the influence [leading or inspiration] of the divine Spirit.” Hence, in general ‘the prophet’ was one upon whom the Spirit of God rested. 
[The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, © 2001 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary Section: p178 and Greek Dictionary of the New Testament Section: p176 #5030]

The words prophecy and prophesy both have to do with telling what God has inspired, but prophecy is a noun, and prophesy is a verb.

The word prophecy, with the last two letters cy, is pronounced like see at the end—prof-e-see. It is a noun which means a foretelling.

“It [a prophecy] is a prediction, or a declaration of something to come. As God only knows future events with certainy, no being but God or some person informed by Him, can utter a real prophecy.”
[American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828, Permission to reprint granted by G. & C, Merriam Company, Copyright 1967 & 1995 (Renewal) by Rosalie J. Slater.]

“In general, ‘the prophet’ was one upon whom the Spirit of God rested, Numbers 11:17-29, one, to whom and through whom God speaks, Numbers 12:2; Amos 3:7, 8.”
[The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, © 2001 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Greek Dictionary Section p 216, #4396.]

God inspired Moses to write what He had said to him:

And he [God] said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
(Numbers 12:6 KJV)

The reason the prophecies were written in past tense was because God told the prophets who foretold the future events what to write by giving them a vision or a dream. The prophets were writing what they had seen in a vision or a dream.

20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [origin]. 21For the prophecy came not in old [any] time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
(2 Peter 1:20-21 KJV)

“The prophecies recorded in Scriptures, as those who uttered the prophecies could not have foreknown the events predicted without supernatural instruction.”
[American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828, Permission to reprint granted by G. & C, Merriam Company, Copyright 1967 & 1995 (Renewal) by Rosalie J. Slater.]

The word prophesy, with the last two letters sy, is pronounced like sigh—prof-e-sigh, and it is a verb. It can refer to foretelling the future or to bringing forth what is already written in Scripture:

To prophesy can also mean:
To interpret or explain Scripture.”
[The New WEBSTER Encyclopedic DICTIONARY of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE published by CONSOLIDATED BOOK PUBLISHERS Chicago Copyright © MCMLXIX, MCMLXIX, MCMLXVIII, MCMLXVII. MCMLXV, MCMLXLXIV, MCMLII by Processing & Books, Inc.]

Most prophets in the Bible were men, but there were also some women who were prompted by God, such as Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna, and the four daughters of Philip the evangelist. (Exodus15:20; Judges 4:4; Kings 22:14; Luke 2:36; Acts 21:9). Some people incorrectly interpret this historical fact to say that we have women prophets even today. However, not only are there no women foretelling God’s future events—neither are there any men doing so. The reason for this is that all of God’s intended information for us to be aware of … is already in the Bible.

In the Old Testament there were four Major Prophets and twelve Minor Prophets, and their Books bear their names in the last part of the Old Testament:

The four Major Prophets’ Books appear in this order: Isaiah, Jeremiah (who also wrote Lamentations), Ezekiel, and Daniel.

The twelve Minor Prophets were Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These twelve plus the four Major Prophets with Jeremiah’s Book of Lamentations make up the last seventeen Books of the Old Testament.

There were true prophets and false prophets throughout the Scriptures, but the ones who were inspired by our God to prophesy future events, did so with many of their prophecies so far having later been fulfilled. Approximately thirty-seven years before it happened, the Lord Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed. Indeed it came to pass in the year AD 70. There are prophecies yet to be fulfilled which will begin with the Rapture and then go into the end times.

Some claim that the most recent fulfillment was in 1948, less than seventy-five years ago. This was the year, on May 14, when the United States recognized Israel’s national sovereignty, and, the next year, a United Nations resolution recognized Israel as, once again, a sovereign nation. They base this assertion upon the following verse:

Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth [give birth] in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed [suffered in pains of labor], she brought forth her children.
(Isaiah 66:8 KJV)

When one considers the Holocaust of the earlier 1940’s and then Israel’s sovereignty occurring only three years after the end of World War II, this Isaiah prophecy can certainly warrant a person to seek the truth. However, the verse does not specify the timing with precise dating, so discernment tells us that we should probably not be dogmatic about it.

In the Old Testament, the LORD God is quoted informing us of false prophets:

Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto a false vision and divination [Pagan fortune telling], and a thing of nought [worthless thing], and the deceit of their heart.
(Jeremiah 14:14 KJV)

IF there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou has not known, and let us serve them, 3Thou shalt not hearken [listen] unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth [is testing] you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3 KJV)

When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:22 KJV)

True prophets in the Old and New Testaments not only foretold things to come, but also spoke the written Word of God, as do trustworthy brothers in Christ who bring forth the Word today.

It should be stressed once more: there are no more future prophecies to be prophesied. The completed Bible has all the prophecies that God has supernaturally instructed. We should exercise discernment and listen to His wisdom.

Therefore, all prophecies in the Bible have been fulfilled with the exception of the end times prophecies. Going into more detail; again these prophecies will be fulfilled when the end times predictions will begin when Christ returns to the air to gather His Church-believers in the air. This event is given a traditional name: the “Rapture”.  So, as of today, the end times are still in the future (unless the Rapture happens before the author has time to finish writing right now), but it could begin at any moment. In fact it could happen before reading the next sentence. If not, it could be before the sentence after that.

The Lord Jesus tells us that only His Father knows when the Father will send Him back for His Second Coming to earth. But the Rapture—that is when Jesus comes to the clouds to gather believers in the air—is based upon a seven-year troublesome episode called the Tribulation which takes place prior to His Second Coming to earth. The believers will not be subjected to the wrath of God in this seven-year Tribulation, because the Rapture will occur prior to the Tribulation period. Therefore, the Rapture is the next prophecy to be fulfilled. The Rapture will be followed by the Tribulation period. Matthew 24:36 refers to the Second Coming of Christ when He returns to this earth. Since we know He will return at the end of the last half of the seven-year Tribulation—a three and one-half year period called the Great Tribulation—it would seem reasonable to say that the Father’s timing also applies to the Rapture since it will take place just before the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
(Matthew 24:36 KJV)

And he [Jesus] said unto them [His eleven apostles whom He had chosen (Acts 1:2)], It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power [authority].
(Acts 1:7-8 KJV)

Author: Mike and Elfriede

For the past 14 years Michael Copple has studiously devoted his life to the Lord by preaching the Gospel and moderating Bible studies. He is a 1958 Eagle Scout, holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering, and achieved the highest US Air Force enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant with over 26 years service, one year of which was with Forward Air Control duties in Vietnam. For three years he was the senior enlisted member of the US Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Parachute Team; he has performed over 2,000 parachute jumps and accumulated over 15 hours of freefall. During his parachuting years Mike experienced a mishap of being a “hung jumper” outside the aircraft, and serious parachute malfunctions like a deadly seesaw night jump entanglement with another jumper, and an 85 mph wind shear which almost took his life. This experience inspired and qualified him to author the novel Calling from the Sky. A former world-wide electronic service engineer for 16 years with a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, he and his wife Elfriede currently live in the Canadian Rockies surrounded by 6 National Parks. Besides studying God's Word, they both like to exercise, cross country ski, hike, garden, and walk their dog Kansas. Visit him at https://www.michaelcopple.com/

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