PROPHETIC VISIONS

Prophecies in the Book of Isaiah

There are at least four prophetic themes in the Book of Isaiah which remain to be fulfilled:

GOD'S BLESSING ON THE NATIONS

"On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine -- the best meats and finest of wines. On the mountain ... he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces ..." (Isaiah 25:6-8. Also read: Isaiah 2:1-4; 60:1-12).

THE DAY OF THE LORD

Isaiah mentions the time of judgment, the Day of the Lord, forty-five times. The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled). (Isaiah 2:12. Also read: Isaiah 13:9-13; 24:1-23).

GOD'S PEOPLE WILL BE THE CENTER OF GOD'S BLESSING

"The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet ... The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end" (Isaiah 60:14, 19-20. Also read: Isaiah 1:26; 12:6).

GOD'S BLESSING ON ALL CREATION

"The wolf will lie down with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest" (Isaiah 11:6-8. Also read: Isaiah 65:17; 66:22).

Daniel Interprets a Dream in a Prophetic Way

NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM

"You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue -- an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pur gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on the threshing-floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:31-35).

The interpretatino Daniel gave Nebuchadnezzar for his dream follows in Daniel 2:36-49. It described four empires, which were Nebuchadnezzar's empire (the Babylonian), and the three emires that followed it (the Medeo-Persian, the Greek and the Roman). Many scholars believe that the rock which became a mountain refers to Christ and the Church.

SEVENTY WEEKS

Daniel writes about "seventy sevens" of years, 490 years. "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression" (Daniel 9:24).

Details about this period of time are listed in Daniel 9:25-27. Some see predictions of Jesus' death and the destruction of Jerusalem here.

SOMETHING TO DO

One way of understanding the Book of Daniel is to read it alongside other parts of the Bible.

- With Daniel chapters 7-12 read Mark 13, Matthew 24 and Luke 21.

- With Daniel 9:27 read Revelation 11:1-3.

- With Daniel 9:20-27 read Matthew 24:1-44, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 11.

Decoding the Prophetic Lingo

The prophets were versatile if nothing else. They communicated their God-given messages in a variety of expected and unexpected ways.

PARABLES

The prophets sometimes wrapped up their messages in parrables and allegories: see Isaiah 5:1-7; Ezekiel 16:1-63.

A Parable Fit For a King (or an adulterer and murderer!)

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him".

"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from making one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead , he took the ewe lamb that belongs to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him".

David turned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity".

Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!" (2 Samuel 12:1-7. Read 2 Samuel 11, which gives the background to the parable).

Symbolic Actions: Acting Out the Message

The prophets would go to any length to convey their divine messages.

- Elijah told Joash to shoot arrows to represent victories over Syria (2 Kings 13:15-19).

- Isaiah walks around naked and barefoot (Isaiah 20).

- Jeremiah bought and his a linen belt in a crevice in the rocks (Jeremiah 13).

- Jeremiah smashed up pots in the potter's house (Jeremiah 19).

- Ahijah tore his new coat into twelve pieces and gave Jeroboam ten of them (1 Kings 11).

- Ezekiel besieged a model city (Ezekiel 4).

- Ezekiel dug through the wall of a house (Ezekiel 12).

** Ezekiel did not mourn for his dead wife (Ezekiel 24).

Prophecies in the Spirit

These were not very common, but they appear in the Old Testament, and the whole of the Book of Revelation was written while John was "in the spirit" (Revelation 1:10).

- Moses and the seventy elders experienced prophetic overwhelming by the Spirit (See Numbers 11:24-30).

- Saul had an overwhelming experience of God's Spirit in relation to prophecy (1 Samuel 10:6).

Prophetic Visions

- Daniels visions foretold the future (Daniel 7-12).

- Ezekiel's vision predicted that God's glory would be withdrawn from the Temple before it was destroyed (Ezekiel 8-11).

- Zechariah's book has eight visions in it (Zechariah 1:7 - 6:8).

- Nearly all the Book of Revelation is a vision.

The Teaching of the Prophets

We tend to think of the prophets as people who predicted future events and went around scolding everyone in sight! But prophets also had a major role as teachers of God's revelation.

How to Read the Prophetic Signs

It's one thing to read the prophecies in the Bible, but it's quite another thing to understand some of them and to interpret them correctly.

How are the Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled?

There are usually three stages in their fulfillment: Literal, Spiritual and Final.

Take the example of the promise to Abraham: Abraham was promised that he would have countless descendants, at a time when he was childless and his wife was beyond the age to bear children.

"The word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision: .. 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them'. Then (the Lord) said to (Abraham), 'So shall your offspring be'" (Genesis 15:1, 5).

After Abraham showed that he was prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac, the Lord said, "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore" (Genesis 22:17).

Stage One: Literal

The promise to Abraham was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac. The Israelites (the Jews of the New Testament) are descended from Abraham and Isaac.

In King Solomon's day, the "people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore" (1 Kings 4:20).

Stage Two: Spiritual

The promise is fulfilled today in a spiritual way. Jesus once explained that to be "Abraham's children", people needed to behave as Abraham did (See John 8:39-41).

Christians today are Abraham's spiritual heirs. "Those who believe are children of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7).

Stage Three: Final

The original promise made to Abraham wll only be fuly and finally completed in Heaven. Abraham's countless "children" are described in the Book of Revelation:

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9).

Take the example of the Rebuilding of the Temple

THE FIRST STAGE OF FULFILLMENT:

The Old Testament prophets predicted that the broken-down Temple would be rebuilt. This happened literally after the Israelites' return from exile (See Ezra chapter three).

THE SECOND STAGE OF FULFILLMENT:

Today this prophecy is fulfilled in a spiritual way, since God's Spirit lives in Christians. Paul reminds the Christians who lived in Corinth:

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's Temple and that God's Spriit lives in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16).

The prophecy is also fulfilled in an individual Christian's body: "Do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

THE THIRD STAGE OF FULFILLMENT:

In the heavely Jerusalem, this prophecy about the rebuilding of the Temple is completely fulfilled. There will not even be a Temple there:

"I did not see a Temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple" (Revelation 21:22).

Unravel the Secret Biblical Symbols

Symbols and Signs

"The Lord himself will give you a sign," wrote the prophet Isaiah.

The sign was a strange one. A virgin would give birth to a son (see Isaiah 7:14). Matthew interprets this as a prophecy about Jesus (see Matthew 1:23).

In the prophecies of the Old Testament there are many other seemingly unconnected things -- places and people which are symbols of God's promised Messiah. "Bethlehem", a "virgin", a "messenger", a "king", a "prophet", the "year of the Lord's favor" (see Isaiah 61:1-3), and a "king riding into Jerusalem on a donkey", are linked to each other in this way.

MESSIANIC THEME: The Messsiah's Place of Birth

Old Testament Prediction:

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel" (Michah 5:2).

New Testament Fulfillment:

"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David ... While they were they ... (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn, a son" (Luke 2:4, 6-7).

MESSIANIC THEME: A Virgin will Give Birth to a Son

Old Testament Prediction:

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son" (Isaiah 7:14).

New Testament Fulfillment:

"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth ... to a virgin ... The virgin's name was Mary" (Luke 1:26-27).

MESSANIAC THEME: The Name of the Messiah

Old Testament Prediction:

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

New Testament Fulfillment:

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means, 'God with us'" (Matthew 1:23).

MESSANIAC THEME: John the Baptist was the Messenger

Old Testament Prediction:

"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me" (Malachi 3:1).

New Testament Fulfillment:

(Jesus said abot John the Baptist) "This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you'" (Luke 7:27).

MESSANIAC THEME: Jesus is Seen as the Predicted Prophet

Old Testament Prediction:

"The Lrod will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him" (Deuteronomy 18:15).

New Testament Fulfillment:

(Peter said) "For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you'" (Acts 3:22).

MESSANIAC THEME: The Messiah Would Enter Jerusalem Riding a Donkey

Old Testament Prediction:

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvationh, gentle and riding on a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9).

New Testament Fulfillment:

"When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the field. Jesus entered Jerusalem" (Mark 11:7-8, 11).

Propecy as Forth-Teloilng, Not Just Foretelling

We trend to think that the main work of prophets was to predict the future. Their work was also "forth-teloilng" as well as "foretelling" the future. "Forth-telling" was passing on to people God's message for them at that time.

The Importance of Old Testament Prophets in the Life of the Nation

Prophets advised and corrected kings and queens, as well as political and religious leaders.

PROPHET
INCIDENT
BIBLE REFERENCE
Nathan

Rebukes David for adultery
and murder. David repents

2 Samuel 12
Unnamed ProphetOpposes Jeroboam I for supporting
pagan religion in Israel.
1 Kings 13
ElijahHas a showdown with the prophets
of Baal on Mt. Carmel
1 Kings 18
Unnamed ProphetHelps Ahab's army defeat Syria1 Kings 20
ElijahCondemns Ahab for murdering Naboth
and for taking his vineyard
1 Kings 21
ElishaPredicts that the siege of
Samaria will be lifted.
2 Kings 7
ElishaSends a prophet to anoint
General Jehu to be Israel's king.
2 Kings 9
IsaiahPredicts that the Assyrian army
will retreat.
2 Kings 19
HananiTells off King Asa and is imprisoned
as a result.
2 Chronicles 16
MicaiahPredicts that Ahab will be killed in battle.2 Chronicles 18
JeremiahIs imprisoned for preciting the fall
of Jerusalem and advising surrender
to the Babylonians.
Jeremiah 37-38
DanielInterprets King Nebuchadnezzar's dream
and warns him of the approaching
seven yeras of insanity.
Daniel 2, 4
AmosIn Bethel, he speaks out against the
oppression & coruption of religious & social leaders.
Amos 7


Thanks to my friend Glen Landers for this Signs & Visions study outline



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