What is the connection between knowing the prophecies and victorious living in Christ?

 

First Story

 

Jesus met two very discouraged disciples Sunday morning.

 

This is their side of the story:

 

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem [about] threescore furlongs.

24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found [it] even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

 

So what was the response they got from Jesus that Sunday morning?

 

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

 

Jesus reviewed the prophecies in Scripture concerning Himself!

 

What effect did this prophetic review have on these two discouraged disciples?

 

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

 

Their hearts burned within them as heard these prophecies reviewed by Jesus. Knowing the prophecies changed them from abject discouragement (fools and slow of heart to believe the prophecies) to comprehension as to what was going on that so energized them that they had to go then and there and share their new-found insights given them by prophecy.

 

Story 2

 

An early disciple of Jesus is being tried for heresy. What is his approach to the problem of being tried for his life?

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This is the story:

 

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called [the synagogue] of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

6:11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and [against] God.

6:12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon [him], and caught him, and brought [him] to the council,

6:13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:

6:14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

Acts 7:1 Then said the high priest, Are these things so?

7:2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

7:3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee.

7:4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

7:5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not [so much as] to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when [as yet] he had no child.

7:6 And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat [them] evil four hundred years.

7:7 And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.

 

To shorten the story, simply note that Stephen reviewed a combination of prophecies and their historical fulfillment to the people who the prophecies and the history applied. Instead of inspiring hope and an explanation concerning their current circumstances as Jesus review of the prophecies to the two believers, this review of the prophecies and national history only maddened these leaders. It was when it was suggested that God dwells in the human mind rather than in the physical temple built by man that the change came. Stephen could see he had lost his audience and that he was about to be stoned. He suddenly ends the review of prophecies and history and comes to the climax of his defense: Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers [did], so [do] ye.

7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept [it].

7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with [their] teeth.

7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

7:58 And cast [him] out of the city, and stoned [him]: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [God], and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

 

Here again prophecy and history combined had a powerful effect on the audience. If rejected, instead of having a positive effect, the rejection of truth has a powerful negative effect.

 

Story 3.

 

After the Dark Ages, God wanted to renew His covenant with believers and prepare a people to be ready to be in His presence and go to heaven with Him. What does God do to prepare people for the greatest revival and reformation that has taken place up to that time?

 

God moved William Miller in the early 1800s to study scripture. When he studied the prophecies of Daniel and revelation, he became convinced that according to the prophecies, that Jesus was to return to the world in a short time. It was the study of the prophecies that energized people to make every preparation to soon meet the Lord in the air. Their understanding of the time was correct. Their understanding of the significance of the time was correct. Like the believers on the road to Emmaus, it was their popular understand of the events that would take place when the Messiah came that had them confused and discouraged when the Messiah did not follow the popular understandings of what He would do. Miller understood the “cleansing of the sanctuary” to be the physical cleansing of this world by fire and not the moral cleansing of the mind of man and the cleansing from moral sin was the event that would take place October 22, 1844. This misunderstanding borrowed from popular theology caused great disappointment both in the time of Jesus and in the time of William Miller.

 

The point is that there is a direct connection between understanding the prophecies and preparation for the events foretold in prophecy.

 

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.

13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

 

 

Now is the time for us to prepare in our hearts and minds for the soon coming of the Lord. Knowing the future foretold us in the prophecies will stimulate and energize us to prepare and be prepared to meet out Lord and God and Savior in peace with His character-likeness in us and upon us.

 

It is time for the final fulfillment of these prophetic words:

 

Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

52:2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, [and] sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

52:3 For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.

 

As we mentioned earlier, after the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, the Messiah, the language of prophecy did not change, but the meaning of words, “Zion”” and ‘Jerusalem” and “captive daughter of Zion” no longer applies to old Jerusalem and the mountain in Palestine. Now these prophecies refer to God’s covenant-keeping church and the “body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). God’s people will prepare for His soon coming by becoming spiritually awake and by wearing the “robe of Christ’s righteousness” by becoming fully like Jesus in character. God’s people will be energized by the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is time for this to happen in fullness now! This is what knowing the prophecies and the future foretold by them will do for us.

 
The BIBLE is the book of “Basic Instructions Before Living Eternally”.