Religion, Theology and Self-Improvement Sundays: What is Prophecy?, Part II

Last week we posed the question of "what is prophecy?" Immediately, for many, the concepts of foreknowledge, the future, and predictions come to mind. But never divorced from the divine context which connects these concepts to the Mind of God. Prophecy and its fulfillment, according to many theologians, is the highest form of proof available to man, that God exists and is supreme above all other beings.

These theologians argue that prophecy is something that God Authored for the benefit of human beings that they may come to know Him as God. According to their arguments, prophecy is part of a process designed to result in the belief in God. That is its aim and purpose - to establish conviction in the Divine Supreme Being.

Scripture does support this view, particularly the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. A clear picture of what prophecy and its aim are can be found in the 48th Chapter of Isaiah, the third through the seventh verses, which read in The New International Version (italics are mine):

3: I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.

4: For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.

5: Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.'

6: You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.

7: They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew of them.'

So God, in these verses, takes us into some of why He predicts the future and reveals His foreknowledge to human beings. It is a means of demonstrating His supremacy over other forces and powers that humanity holds its allegiance to. It causes man and woman to give credit where credit is due. His display of His knowledge of the future is a means by which people come to admit the limits of their knowledge as well as the limits of the power of their lesser gods.

But interestingly, God does not only claim to know the future, He also states that He is responsible for its coming to pass. This is evident in the 3rd verse quoted above, " I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass."

Did God's foreknowledge reach the year 2000? Did God announce these days in ages past? Did events come to pass as He announced that they would?

Did God see the founding and rise of America? Did He see all of America's future? Is it recorded in the Old and New Testament? Would human beings believe it, particularly those living in the Western Hemisphere, if a picture of America, in prophecy, could be shown to them.

Cedric Muhammad

Sunday, May 21, 2000