Powerful Prophecies, Pt. 3
Study Guide February 26, 2017
Pastor Clay Olsen
Parents make a lot of prophecies. Have you noticed that? They say things such as: “If you keep crossing your eyes like that, they’ll get stuck that way?” Well…not really…You might get dizzy or something like that, but that prophecy is not anatomically accurate. Or how about this one: “If you don’t behave I’m going to knock you into next week.” Now we’re into time traveling…Or, I knew a guy who used to say this one to his kids: “If you don’t stop that I’m going to cloud up and rain all over you.” So was he like a ‘Transformer’ from the movies or something? Or here’s a long range prophecy some parents make: “When you have kids, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about!” Now, that might have some validity in that parental prophecy!
But we’ve been pointing out that the Bible contains thousands of literal prophecies that have come to pass exactly as predicted or will come to pass exactly as predicted. And part of the reason God gave the world so many prophecies is to demonstrate to the world that He is God and there is no other…and to remind the world that God’s Word always comes to pass. Therefore, everyone should be amazed at what God has prophesied that has already come true, and then prepare for whatever else God has prophesied that is about to come true, or that is still awaiting its fulfillment.
In other words; for all people of the world, their ‘faith’ is to be activated by what God has already proven to the world about the fact that His Words are absolute truth. And, thus, all people are to then live their lives by faith in relation to the absolute truths of God’s Word.
Now then, we should give a short clarification about ‘faith’, because there is a big difference between Biblical faith and worldly presumption. Most of what people call ‘faith’ is actually ‘worldly presumption’. The religions of the world, in particular, are filled with what they call ‘faith’ when what it actually is; is ‘worldly presumption’; ‘worldly religious presumption’. They are basing their beliefs upon what they ‘assume’ is true, and then they live their lives according to the things they now ‘presume’ are true.
That’s where Biblical prophecy parts the waters of world religions like the Red Sea, because Biblical faith is not based upon the assumptions of man. Biblical faith is based upon the assurances of God’s Word. Biblical faith is based upon Biblical realities that give us an abundance of evidence and reasons to commit our trust and our lives to the God of the Bible. Again, that’s part of the reason why God had His writers record names and places and actual events so that the honest man or woman could then could know that these things were so, and therefore have a ‘know-so’ kind of faith instead of a ‘hope so’ kind of presumption about it all.
Mark it down: Biblical faith is based upon Biblical evidence. Why do you think Jesus showed Himself to hundreds of people after His resurrection? He gave them flesh and bone evidence that He was the resurrected Lord and thus they could place their complete faith in Him being their complete Savior. The Resurrection proved that Christ’s work on the Cross worked. And all the rest of the prophecies of the Bible prove that God’s Words are to be completely trusted and thus we are to now live completely committed lives in worship and in service to our Lord and Savior.
As we look into some of the many powerful prophecies that demonstrate that God’s Words are absolute truth, we may come up on some that we don’t often think about as being ‘a prophecy’. But, you see, many of the powerful events that occurred in the Bible were preceded by a powerful prophecy from God about exactly what was going to happen before it ever happened. One powerful example of that is before God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt He foretold exactly how He was going to do it through the ten plagues. And then everything He foretold would happen, did happen exactly as He had foretold. By the way, one of the fascinating things about the ten plagues that many Christians haven’t learned, but when they do learn, it then changes everything they’ve ever thought about those plagues of the Exodus, is the fact that each of these plagues was a direct attack upon an Egyptian god that corresponded to the plague. The turning of the Nile into blood was a defeat of the Egyptian god of ‘Hapi’, the guardian of the Nile. The plague of the boils and sores was a defeat of the Egyptian god and goddess of Serapis and Sekhmet. The plague of darkness was the defeat of their gods of ‘Ra’ and ‘Atum’, the gods of the Sun. And of course, the death of the first-borns was the defeat of their belief in a so-called god that gave life, called ‘Osiris’.
But the point is, again and again, God has been seeking to demonstrate by His works and His Words to the creatures of this world that there is only one Creator and God. There is no need to make assumptions about who made us and why we are here and what does the future hold for people, because God has already told us and shown us the answers to these things, and then even proven them by fulfilled prophecies so that our faith can be based upon Biblical assurances rather than worldly assumptions.
Here is another example through another event that many believers are familiar with, except for this fact; and that is, that before it became a powerful event it was first a powerful prophecy. Those of you that have visited Israel probably stood next to this remarkable piece of history. It is not known if this is the precise remnant of the Jericho wall of the Biblical account, although it very well could be. Still, it’s really amazing just looking at the size of it.
What is known is that the present day Jericho is an extension of the same Jericho that we read about in the Bible. And that Jericho is over 4,000 years old, maybe more! The present day buildings are just east of the Old Testament site, but it all refers to the same city that is one of the oldest settlements in the world. Again, this is a real place where Joshua recorded the real events that took place there, along with the real prophecy about it. Let’s look: Josh 6:1-5- “Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” KJV
“See, I have given into thine hand Jericho….and the wall of the city shall fall down flat.” Powerful! But note that this is a prophecy that God made and it was either going to be absolutely true or absolutely false. But since it was God who gave it, of course it was going to be absolutely true.
But also note that a battle was about to take place, but God already promised them the victory. Does that sound familiar? Remember Jesus’ words in John 16:33? “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” NASU Jesus has already overcome this world. The victory over everything in this world, even death, has already been won.
How about if we rename this world of ours ‘Jericho’. And Jesus says to us: “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho.” Does that change the way you now see this world. “I have given into thine hand this world. I have already overcome this world. And in Me, you are an overcomer!” That changes everything, right? Now, Too be sure, there are battles ahead of us, just like there was a battle ahead of them in Jericho. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation”…but then He also said, “…but take courage…be of good courage, for I have already overcome this world. I have already won! And therefore, so have you.”
Is that how you see this world around us, as a world that has already been defeated…already been overcome by our King Jesus? How about this…Is that how you see yourself, as one who is united to the King and who is also then an ‘overcomer’ with the King? This world, this Jericho, has already been defeated. Oh sure, there are some skirmishes, some battles, that are still ahead of us, but this world has already been given over into our hand…into the hands of God’s people. The victory is already won!
Is that how you look at life, as an over-comer, as a victor in Christ? Do you see what God was saying to Joshua? As Dr. Warren Wiersbe put it: “Remember Joshua, you fight from victory, not just for victory.”1 Think about that! Actually, rewire your entire mindset to think like that! Jesus Christ has already won the victory over this world. And as Christians, as those who are in union with Christ, we are to understand what this means about any fight we have to face, whether it’s a fight against the enemy of sickness, or the enemy of suffering, or the enemy of persecution, or the enemy of emotional or financial or relational hardship and so on. We are to know that we are fighting from victory, not just for victory. From now on, whatever we have to face until we see Jesus face to face, we now face it from our victory in Jesus Christ, who has already overcome the world, and therefore, so have we!
Again, even when facing the battle of death, we have already won, because we are fighting from victory, not just for victory. Do you remember what the Apostle said? 1 Cor 15:55-57- “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” NASU
Since the last enemy is already defeated, so then is every other enemy already defeated. When facing the battle of persecution we have already won, because we are fighting from victory, not just for victory. When facing the battle of cancer we have already won, because we are fighting from victory, not just for victory. When facing the battle of depression or suppression or any other hardship we have already won, because we are fighting from victory, not just for victory. Even temporal losses do not change our eternal victory. In fact, even temporal losses are turned into eternal gain. Remember Paul’s words on that? Phil 1:21- “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” NASU
For unbelievers temporal losses are turned into eternal losses. But for the believer in union with Christ, temporal losses are turned into eternal gain. Paul learned to think like an ‘eternal man’, not a ‘temporal man’, and so must we. It’s only when you expect everything to work out in this temporal life that you set yourself up for a fall. It’s like expecting everything to work out in the first chapter of a novel. That’s not realistic in a novel and it’s not realistic in this life. This part of our life is only the first chapter in the novel of our eternal life. It’s only the first part of your eternal story.
And that’s something else we learn about the amazing prophecies of the Bible. And that is: these powerful prophecies of the Bible are also filled with powerful promises for us. Just like this prophecy from God about Jericho was also a promise from God to Joshua and God’s people. “I have given Jericho into your hand.” Who does this world and all it contains belong to? Ps 24:1- “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” NASU And Jesus also said, Matt 5:5- “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” ESV Now remember, the meek are not the weak; the meek are the humble followers of Jesus Christ, who are set to inherit the earth, which is the Lord’s, and all it contains. How about that? When you look at this earth, this world around you, you are looking at part of your inheritance. It’s only a matter of time before this world turns over everything to the King and His rightful heirs.
So that means that wherever you are, whether on the sea or in a store; or wherever you go, down main street or down Wall Street, the thing is: Our Father owns it all. And its only a matter of time before all of it is turned over to the rightful Owner and His rightful heirs. Remember, what you are looking at is ‘Jericho’, and God’s people have been marching a long time. Soon the walls are going to come down and the final ‘Joshua’, the Lord Jesus, is going to return and lead His people in complete take-over of this world, which belongs to God and to the family of God. But that’s another powerful prophecy that we’ll explore another time.
But mark it well Brothers and Sisters: We live in victory because we live from victory, not just for victory.
1. The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament © 2001-2004 by Warren W. Wiersbe. All rights reserved.