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Continuing his narration of the prophecies and visions entitled “Revelation,” the apostle John writes:
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:9-10 RSV
The angels faithful to God and the “brethren,” that is, the Christians, faithful to him, “hold the testimony of Jesus.”
In this context, “hold” means: “To have possession or ownership of or have at one'sdisposal. To have or maintain in the grasp.” www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hold
So then, both faithful angels and Christians possess “the testimony of Jesus.” They have it at their disposal. They keep it in their minds and hearts. And this “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
This “spirit of prophecy” that Jesus possesses would be the gift, or divine power, that enables him to proclaim, precisely, prophecies.
Once his prophecies are fully and perfectly fulfilled, they become his absolutely irrefutable “testimony” that he is, indeed, all he affirms to be, to wit: the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of humanity, the Head of the church and the High Priest “forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:1-6
When faithful angels and Christians witness the perfect fulfillment of the prophecies proclaimed by Jesus, they hold for themselves, retaining in the mind and spirit, the extremely valuable, indisputable “testimony” that such prophecies do, effectively, constitute, appealing to that testimony when they evangelize among the lost and edify the converted.
It is deduced, then, that the “testimony of Jesus,” in the context of Revelation 19:10, does not include all the gospel proclaimed by him. Rather, particularly, the prophecies enunciated by him through “the spirit of prophecy” he possesses.
This text of Revelation and these facts serve to highlight the tremendous importance of Jesus’ prophecies, and, by extension, the rest of the prophecies pronounced by “men moved by the Holy Spirit” who “spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:21 RSV
The apostle PETER seconded, by the Spirit, the enormous importance of authentic, fulfilled prophecies when he wrote:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy, unto which ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19 KJ21
“…more sure” than what? The answer: “…more sure” than the firsthand testimony of the apostles themselves.
Peter, James, and John affirm they saw with their own eyes, on the mount of transfiguration, the majesty of Jesus and heard a voice from heaven that said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17), referring Peter to that event in 2 Peter 1:16-18. He proceeds immediately to observe: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy.”
Why “more sure” the “word of prophecy” than the personal witness of the apostles?
Because the “prophetic word” fully and completely fulfilled constitutes an undeniable FACT, while, on the other hand, firsthand testimonies, even by persons held to be totally reliable, honest, and incorruptible, are open to questionings and personal interpretations, be the motives innocent or malicious.
“Are you certain you saw a true transformation of Jesus on that mountain? Maybe you yourself were somewhat dazed by mysterious, mystical like circumstances and surroundings, your own super charged expectations, or your illusions of supernatural manifestations. Up there on that mountain, what was your own physical-psychic state? Were you fasting? Were you, perhaps, imagining visions and voices? You would not be the first to have such an experience. Especially, in the mountains.”
Regarding signs and miracles, Satan himself is allowed by God to work “with all power and with pretended signs and wonders,” by which he deceives the gullible and ignorant who do not love the truth. (1 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13-14) It would be much more difficult for him to make suspicious or null an authentic prophecy fulfilled to the letter of the law.
It is thus that “the prophetic word,” fully and perfectly fulfilled, is very definitely “more sure” than signs and miracles.
The apostle PAUL underscores the supreme importance of authentic prophecies perfectly fulfilled when he exhorts:
“Do not despise prophecies.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20 NKJV
Paul established the church in Thessalonica about the year 50 or 51 a. d., remaining with the new Christians perhaps 3 or 4 months before having to leave because of life-threatening opposition by persecuting Jews (Acts 17:1-10).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Article: Thessalonians, the first epistle of Paul to the https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/t/thessalonica.html Article: Thessalonica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/t/thessalonians-the-first-epistle-of-paul-to-the.html
A portion of the first letter the apostle sent months later, from Corinth, to the new congregation is prophetic in nature. It is comprised of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 5:1-8.
He observes that the Christians in Thessalonica knew “well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” And that they had “no need to have anything written to” them regarding “the times and the seasons,” for they already had knowledge of them.
This undoubtedly means that Paul and Silas made prophecies known to them, with ample explanations, perhaps even from the first days of the congregation.
The second letter Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica clinches this conclusion, for in it the apostle returns to the subject of prophecies about events that would occur, some even over long spans of time. He writes:
“Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time,” reference being to the “man of sin” that would come. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
So it is that when Paul “was still with” those converted Thessalonians, during their first, rather tumultuous, weeks, “the prophetic word,” with evident rich detail, was not missing in his instructions. Certainly, he DID NOT despise “prophecies” in those circumstances, rather taking the time to thoroughly instruct the new, mostly Gentile, sons of God.
Dear minister of the Word of Christ, is it possible that you despise the “more sure word of prophecy?” That you give it little importance? That you hardly teach it at all? Do you hold and share the “testimony of Jesus” that he presents by the “spirit of prophecy” he possesses?
Some, maybe many, ministers and churches really do not give much importance to prophecies, looking askance at any who do.
For their conviction is that the supernatural gift of prophecy ceased when the revelation of all divine truth was concluded, including all prophecy of divine inspiration, by the closing of the first century. In fulfillment, precisely, of the prophecy in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 that sets the parameters for the cessation of supernatural gifts.
For an in-depth study in support of this conviction: classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=1co&chapter=013 Coffman Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13.
While they are right, that is not, inferentially, a solid reason for concluding no biblical prophecies whatsoever are being fulfilled today.
For who will deny that some of them set the end of the material universe and time itself, revealing certain, detailed circumstances and events leading up to the end?
My personal conviction is that some Bible prophecies are, indeed, being fulfilled today, and that Christians should have the knowledge to identify them, allowing themselves to be guided by them, as well as pointing them out to the masses of souls on planet Earth today so desperately in need of divine enlightenment and warnings.
Examples are presented in: www.editoriallapaz.org/prophecies-Bible-fulfillment-present-past-future
Perhaps not a few are reluctant to teach prophecies, or even mention them to Christians, much less to the secular and unbelievers, because they do not wish to appear to be in the same company with the many self-appointed, reckless, fanatical, doctrinally ignorant, false prophets and prophetesses of today. Mostly of the Pentecostal cut. Who repeatedly set new, specific dates for the return of Jesus Christ, predict events that do not occur, and scandalously sensationalize their own projections of the imminent end of the world. While at the same time getting very rich, the more charismatic and astute, at the expense of gullible, religious sentimentalists bereft of sound, biblical knowledge.
Well now, neither do I wish to be counted, at all, among such. However, I am not willing to just take bypasses around the considerable fields, mounds, valleys, mountains, and streams of the authentic prophecies laid forth by Jesus and his apostles, simply to put distance between me and the cadres of aggressive, vociferous, often charismatic, false prophets and prophetesses who are certain they know where, prophetically, they, and the whole world, are going. By the way, some of them “are more shrewd… than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8 NKJV), employing the most sophisticated digital media to spread, worldwide, their false prophecies and erroneous interpretations, while “the sons of light” seem to mostly hang back.
Remain silent, letting false prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists take over the exposition of prophecies, an area of essential knowledge of the true gospel of Christ? Negative!
On the contrary, it is my solemn duty to fully dominate this area of spiritual knowledge, joining the Christians of Thessalonica who knew well the matter of “the times and the seasons,” together with relevant prophecies. That I may also know to correctly discern “the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3), duly educating myself and as many souls as I can.
Relegating a large part of the prophecies of the New Testament to times before the year 476 a. d., or the year 70 a. d., is one of the causes for giving little importance to the general subject of prophecies. I think I do not err by asserting that many of the ministers and teachers who do it base the position they take on historical fictions, which they hold, mistakenly and lamentably, to be historical facts. For example:
Fiction. That the Roman Empire came to an end in the year 476 a. d. A stupendous error that duly informed historians do not commit, among them: Edward Gibbon, Will Durant, Ariel Durant, and Gonzalo Fernández Hernández, professor of the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
The truth. The Eastern part of the Roman Empire continued to the year 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople.
The Western part of the Roman Empire continued, in one form or another, to the year 1806, when Napoleon dethroned the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon, renowned historian of “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” sets the year 1555 for the practical end of the Holy Roman Empire.
Relevant information on the “false history,” patently false, of “476 a. d. for the definitive end of the Roman Empire” is presented in the document on the identity of the Seventh King-Kingdom-Beast of Revelation 17:9-10. www.editoriallapaz.org/seventh-king-kingdom-beast-soviet-union.html
Fiction. That Flavius Odoacer was a pagan German barbarian who took control of the city of Rome, together with much territory around it, forming an independent empire in full opposition to the Eastern Roman Empire, the capital of which was Constantinople
The truth. Odoacer, of German descent, became an Arrian Christian and identified himself with the Romans. In the internecine struggles for control of areas of the Western Roman Empire, Odoacer was triumphant in Italy for several years. He took the throne of Rome in 476 a. d., and on occasion identified himself as king, all the while acknowledging Flavius Zeno, in Constantinople, as the emperor of the Roman Empire.
It is instructive to keep in mind that, even before Odoacer, two, three, even four Roman emperors simultaneously governed different areas of the very extensive Roman Empire, sometimes by mutual accord, at others, as rivals in civil wars.
Fiction. That, historically, there existed an empire called the Byzantine Empire.
The truth. An astonishing fallacy! There never did exist a “Byzantine Empire.” The first known use of that name to identify the Eastern Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work “Corpus Historiae Byantinae,” a collection of historical sources. The citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire always identified themselves as “romaioi,” never as “Byzantines,” and their empire as “Roman,” never as “Byzantine.”
Relevant data is available in “History perverted and the errors propagated
by preachers, teachers, and writers,” included in the study on “The Sign of the Seventh King-Kingdom-Beast,” of Revelation 17:9-10. www.editoriallapaz.org/seventh-king-kingdom-beast-soviet-union.html
Fiction. That Alaric and the Visigoths, as well as Genseric and the Vandals, were pagans who absolutely devastated the city of Rome.
The truth. They were, in fact, Arrian Christians. While they did take some treasures, and, also, personages of importance, they did not leave the city in total ruin nor did they savagely abuse the citizenry.
Whatever the reasons or motivations any minister or teacher may have for opting to not give “the prophecies” of the Bible the great importance they merit, there are, surely, negative consequences for the souls who confide in them.
When a minister or teacher declares any biblical prophecy “already fulfilled,” without having sufficient, overwhelming evidence in support of his decision, or, worse still, relying on purely historical fictions, there are, of a certainty, negative consequences for his hearers or readers.
Among the possible negative consequences:
Christians as well as non-Christians are deprived of the knowledge of authentic prophecies.
Neither group is enabled to discern “the signs of the times.” Consequently, they continue to be “of the night,” of “the darkness.” They do not come to be “children of the light.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8
Neither the ones nor the others are aware of signs for modern times, such as that which occurred in June, 1967, when “the times of the Gentiles” were fulfilled with reference to their treading underfoot the city of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24).
Almost all the prophecies of Revelation are relegated to the times before 476 a. d, those times reduced even more by expositors who assure us they were fulfilled before 70 a. d.
The pure fiction of “definitive end of the Roman Empire in 476 a. d.” leads many commentators, teachers, ministers, and professors of Bible institutes to place a great part of the prophecies of Revelation, plus some of Daniel 7, in the period from 95 a. d. to 476 a. d. Believing that fallacy, they do not even consider that some of them could have a much more logical and complete fulfillment in the times after 476, including, the present. For example:
The first four trumpets of Revelation, in the context of the Industrial, Post Industrial, and Digital Ages.
The prophecies on the ten horns, the little horn, the seventh king and the eight king, in the context of the new, emerging nations of Europe during the waning years of the Middle Age (they despoil the great harlot of her riches), and of the atheistic powers that arise in the 20th century.
Prophecies on the great harlot-great city of Babylon, in the context of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and even later times.
Prophecies on the “thousand years” (the Millennium) and the “little time.”
Prophecies on the deceptive normality that reigns in the world just before the last day of time. The masses will be thinking and saying: “Peace and safety.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
Not a few who do not carefully study prophecies are so bold as to pronounce, particularly during the “call to repentance and obedience:” “Christ can return in this very instant!”
However, the apostle Paul himself warns, dissertating on prophecies:
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him… Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
Extending that prophecy along the timeline, the Lord will not come until “the mystery of God” has been completely fulfilled. That is, until his full plan for humanity and the material universe has been consummated.
This also the “prophecies” teach us if we are willing to be taught by them, and thereby avoid potentially embarrassing mistakes. Revelation 10:5-7
Do you yourself personally hold “the testimony of Jesus” he declares by “the spirit of prophecy” he possesses? Do you share it wherever you can?
Do you inculcate the “more sure word of prophecy,” or do you silence it? Do the divine prophetical lights, lamps, torches illuminate your walk and ministries? Are you of the night, of the darkness, or of the day, when it comes to the times and the seasons?
Are you proficient in the branch of spiritual knowledge composed of authentic prophecies? Relevant ones of the Old Testament for the Christian Age, as well as those of the New Testament? Or do you dismiss “prophecies” as unworthy of your attention and assiduous study?
Do you repeat historical fictions or popular interpretations of prophecies, not taking the time to carry out your own investigations? Be careful you do not misdirect and deceive your listeners or readers! Adding to the massive confusion about prophecies that drives away the secular and unbelieving of the 21st century, and that leaves believers of all kinds in uncertainty.
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