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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

October 24, 2014

"When it comes to pass"

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Today there are those who think they know the exact dates for certain biblical prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. But does God intend prophecy for setting dates? Not really, at least if we take Jesus seriously.

On the evening He was arrested, Jesus said concerning His betrayal by Judas: "Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He" (John 13:19). In the course of that evening Jesus repeated this principle twice concerning other events (John 14:29; 16:4).

What is Jesus telling us here? We are to understand that biblical prophecies have their greatest impact once they are fulfilled!

That's how know who really is (or was) a true prophet of God: "How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? – when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

(Of course, the prophet must also speak according to the Bible, otherwise he is not a prophet of God. See Deuteronomy 13:1-3.)

The book of Ezekiel highlights the principle that Jesus emphasized on the last evening of His human life. God told Ezekiel to do a number of unusual things. Why? "Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and WHEN THIS COMES, you shall know that I am the Lord God" (Ezekiel 24:24).

Dozens of times in Ezekiel, God uses the phrase "and they shall know that I am the Lord" or a variant of it. In every instance, it implies understanding the prophecy after its fulfillment!

Most, if not all, of the prophets had little or no idea how and when God would fulfill their prophecies. Daniel is a classic example. Though angels explained the prophecies to him, he still did not understand. "Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, My lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end" (Daniel 12:8-9).

So biblical prophecies are not intended to be used for determining exact dates of a prophecy's future fulfillment. Instead, their fulfillment will confirm that God is really God!

So anyone is just talking nonsense who claims to know the exact date of Christ's prophesied return to the earth. But when Jesus will have returned to the earth, then all people will know that "the Lord God" exists!

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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