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Why Prophecy Matters, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2021 7:00 am

Why Prophecy Matters, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 16, 2021 7:00 am

When you’re reading a mystery, you don’t want anyone telling you how the story comes out. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans says that when you’re living through tough times, knowing there’s a happy ending ahead can make all the difference.

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Don't believe the lie that pain isn't real.

If it hurt, it hurt. It's just not all that there is. Dr. Tony Evans says one reason the Bible gives us glimpses of the future is to overshadow that pain with hope. Prophecy is meant to stabilize you when things appear to be out of control, particularly in times of crisis. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. When you're reading a mystery, you don't want anyone telling you in advance how the story turns out.

But when you're living through tough times, knowing there's a happy ending ahead can make all the difference. Let's join Dr. Evans as he explains why prophecy matters. When you go to a movie theater to see the particular film that you are interested in viewing, the first 15 or 20 minutes will be spent giving you previews of upcoming attractions. Those clips are designed to entice you and motivate you to want to come to see the film. Some of them give you the exact date when the film will be out. Other previews will merely give you the month in which you can expect to see the movie. Then there are other previews that merely say, coming soon. You don't know when soon is.

It's just a promise it is going to show up. We are beginning today our series on prophecy, predictions of things to come. Prophecy has to do with the future. What God has given us in His Word are clips, previews.

Enough to know that you don't want to miss the motion picture. We're going to seek to unfold God's prophetic program to you so that you get the clips of what tomorrow will look like based on what God says today. Whenever you go to the movie and see the clips, they have victory scenes and scenes of defeat, scenes of love and scenes of violence. As we go through this prophetic journey that we begin on today, you're going to see some exciting scenes, scenes you don't want to miss.

You're going to see some scenes you don't want to be a part of. But the only reason God will show you both scenes is because He wants you to understand both sides of this equation. You're going to discover your future, not only your future, the future of your family, and you will even discover throughout this series the future of this world. Today I want to begin our series by giving you the six reasons why prophecy matters. Reason number one, prophecy matters because it authenticates the infallibility, authority, and inerrancy, means without error, of the Bible. The reason that prophecy matters is that it is proof perfect that the Bible is exactly what it is declared to be, the absolute mistake-proof Word of God. The Bible, made up of 66 books covering 1,600 years, written by 40 different authors, is perfect in every detail, and one of the proofs of its perfection is its prophetic accuracy.

You can't be 100% right all the time and be a false document. No other book can lay claim to prophetic perfection. In 2 Peter 1, verses 19 to 21, we read, So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. He says God's prophetic word is sure. The reason why you can bank on what the Bible says is going to happen tomorrow is because of its accuracy about what it said yesterday that has already occurred.

Because the prophecies that were prophesied yesterday has occurred, the prophecies from tomorrow are equally sure, making the Bible a perfect prophetic document. It goes all the way back to Genesis chapter 3, verse 15, where God said, The seed of the woman would destroy the seed of the serpent. But in the Bible, the woman doesn't have the seed. The man has the seed.

It's the seed of a man. But because this woman's baby would have no human father, he uses the word seed only of a woman without a male being in the picture. In Isaiah chapter 7, verse 14, it predicts hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ when the book of Isaiah was written, it says, And there will be a virgin who will give birth to a baby boy, and you will call his name Immanuel, meaning God with us. That hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, there would be the prediction of a virgin birth, something that has never happened before or since in human history. Then in Micah chapter 5, verse 2, it says, This baby that would be born, this ruler of Israel, would be born in a little no-name town called Bethlehem. But yet the Bible is so precise, it would pick one of the smallest communities existing in Israel, like finding a needle in a haystack, and declare that that's where the baby would be born.

And it was that knowledge that would lead the wise men to look for this baby at that location because of the prophecies in the Old Testament prior to the birth of Christ. The prophecies in Scripture have to do also with human history. God prophesied in the book of Daniel that the nation of Babylon, headed by Nebuchadnezzar, would be overrun by a twofold nation, and secular historians will affirm the fact that Babylon was conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire. And then it said the Medo-Persian Empire would be overcome by an empire that would swoop upon it and destroy it quickly, and secular historians will tell you that the Medo-Persian Empire was swooped away by Alexander the Great and Greece.

But then it says that that nation would split up and be overcome by a powerful military force that would bring it to its knees, and secular historians will show you that it was the Roman Empire and its military might that came hard upon Greece and destroyed it and became the worldwide dominant power. In other words, the Bible will tell you what's going to happen before it happens, and all you're watching in history is history working itself out. Historians thought they had the Bible because Babylonian records had no record of a man named Belteshazzar. There was no record. They had a record of Nebuchadnezzar, but there was no record of Belteshazzar. You see, the Bible is incorrect, giving personalities that never existed. Yet when the archaeologists kept digging—because whenever God says something, just keep digging— when the archaeologists kept digging and digging, they came upon a plaque that was dedicated to the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar called Belteshazzar. Even when it looks like God is wrong, keep digging.

Because the Bible will always declare itself to be the inerrant, the without error word of God, something no document can claim. Jesus said in Matthew 24 and 25, when his people rejected him, he says, because of your rejection, Jerusalem is going to fall and not one stone will be left on another in this temple. That was before Jesus died, 30, 31, 32 AD. In 70 AD, Titus, the Roman general, your secular historians will teach you this. Go to any secular book.

Titus and the Roman soldiers came into Jerusalem, destroyed the city, ransacked the temple so that not one stone was left upon another. That's because when God makes a statement in his Word, you can bank on its infallible accuracy. And so the first thing you need to know is that God's prophetic word is perfect.

So in everything we talk about, it will happen exactly as God declares it to happen, because it's always happened that way. Revelation 22, verses 18, 19, here's what it says. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part in the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Translation, don't mess with God's prophetic word.

Because you will discover you lose, not him. It will happen precisely as he declares it to be, because it's always happened as precisely as he declared it would. And so you hold in your book a prophetic document. One-fourth of the Bible is prophecy.

Whole books are written about it. Daniel, Revelation, it is a prophetic book talking about the future of the world and the future of your life. Dr. Evans will come back with a look at how prophecy can give us strength in tough times when he returns with part two of today's message.

Stay with us. Remember, you'll get a total of 20 of Tony's most popular messages of the year, focusing on being empowered by the Holy Spirit, how to know God cares about you personally, today's message, why prophecy matters, and more. Just get in touch with us today, make your generous year-end contribution, and let us send you the best of Tony Evans 2021. And as a special bonus, we'll also include one of three additional resources for you to choose from, any one of which can make a wonderful gift for a friend or family member. Get the details and make the arrangements at TonyEvans.org, or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222.

Team members are standing by to help you day and night. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans is back now with more of today's message. The second benefit of studying the series on prophecy is it not only authenticates the Bible, but it validates the character of God. One of God's claims to fame is His truth. He not only declares Himself to tell the truth, He declares He is the truth. In other words, truth and Him go together. The question is, can the God of the Bible be trusted?

Because we've established prophetically that the Bible is true, but God is also true because of His very nature. chapter 46 verses 8 to 11 reads as follows. Remember this and be assured. Recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done. Saying my purpose will be established and I will accomplish all my good pleasure. Guess what God says about Himself? He says, I declare the end from the beginning. In other words, I don't have to wait to the end to do what y'all do.

See how it's all gonna work out. I can declare the end from my location in the beginning. Remember what He told Moses name was? He says, my name is I am.

I present, I personal pronoun, am present tense. God has no past and He has no future. That's hard for us to grasp because we live in a linear world. We go from A to Z, 1 to 10, beginning to end. We live linearly, life to death. That's how we live. That is not how God exists. Now, you and I will experience that when we get to eternity, but God exists in the eternal present tense. Therefore, for God, everything is now. You can't throw God a surprise party because everything is now. Everything is in His I am-ness, in His now-ness. So while you are waiting for tomorrow, He's already been there and come back. So He doesn't have to wait to see whether what He said will occur in His eternal existence.

It is now. So He can't make a mistake because it is His reality. Now, I know we like to go around talking about I know my truth. God is saying, I am the truth because everything is in His now. He can declare the end from the beginning. He doesn't have to wait for it to occur.

And so that means that the God who can prophesy perfectly about every subject can be trusted. You know, you look at a parade and you see this band comes by, that band comes by, and you see the floats come by. You can look a little bit down this way, a little bit down that way. You can see some of the parade within the purview of your capacity to see and your peripheral vision. What you don't see if you're standing on the street is what's coming from around the corner because you have a limited sight line.

God does not have limited sight line. He sees the whole parade. So when He tells you that there's this band coming from this school and it's around the corner, you can't disagree with Him because He's already seen it. How many times have you told your children, wait till you have kids? Wait till you have kids. Because, you know, they get the teenager, and then they want to tell you what to do, and they want to tell you what you don't know that they know and they ain't been here that long. They ain't been here that long, but you know they know, they know, they know. Now, of course, you've already been there and come back.

In other words, you've had the kids, you've raised the kids. So you know what the issue is. They don't know because they haven't been there yet. But because you've been there and you're dealing with them, you're explaining to them, this is not how it is.

This is how it works. But they're arguing with you because in their finiteness, they think they know more than they know. Well, if we feel that about our kids, and we're imperfect in our knowledge, how ticked off do you think God must be when we're informing Him of that little bit of information we have because we went to college? The character of God, His omniscience.

Omniscience is a word that means all knowing. He doesn't guess. He doesn't hope something.

He doesn't wish for things to happen. He knows the end from the beginning, and He knows the end at the beginning. So when He says it, you can bank your bottom dollar on it, even though you do not see it yet. It authenticates the Bible. It validates, vindicates, reveals God's all-knowing character and, therefore, His trustworthiness.

Ah, but here's one, number three. The study of prophecy, when you get it, when this thing grabs you right, this series, it will produce stability, particularly in times of crisis. Prophecy is meant to stabilize you when things appear to be out of control. Regularly throughout Scripture, the prophetic word is brought in during times of difficulty. Jesus told His disciples in St. John, chapter 14, verse 1, let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me.

In My house are many mansions. If it was not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I shall come back and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, you may be also. So don't be too troubled.

It's not over. When you understand God's prophetic program, even when you're frustrated, you can be frustrated with calm. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, 13 and 18, people who had lost their loved ones, he says, you do not sorrow as those who have no hope. Yeah, you sorrow, you cry. But because death is not the end, he says, while you're weeping, get your praise on, because it's not as over as it looks when loved ones who are committed to Christ go home to be with the Lord. He wants you to understand that there is a hopeful sorrow, not merely a hopeless sorrow, because nothing feels more hopeless than death. See, it's good to know, I'll tell you, here's good to know, this will help you with your fear of death, because fear of death is a natural thing, particularly when you, if it's around you, somebody you know, love dies, it creates a fear within you. See, it's good to know, prophetically, when you die, you're not dead long enough to know you died. That's just a good thing to know. Because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It's just good to know. Everybody else is at your funeral except you.

That's just good to know. But if you don't understand that prophetic word, and if that prophetic word hasn't gotten down in your gizzard, your gizzard, that means it's way down in there, it's been sunk in. Not your heart, but your gizzard. That's the deep heart.

See, when that thing sinks in, and you have the assurance, then of course it brings hope during times of trouble. Paul said in Romans 8 18, he says, I reckon that the suffering of this present time is not worthy to be complied to the glory that shall be revealed unto me. He knew every time he hurt down here, he was going to get more reward up there. So while it hurt to be hurt, he just saw more stars in the crowd. So it hurt to be hurt. Hurt is hurt. But he says, but because I am suffering, because I have refused to renege on my faith, I know I got more coming my way, and that helps me to buttress, handle, deal with the pain of my circumstances now. See, don't believe the lie that pain isn't real.

Okay, if it hurt, it hurt. It's just not all that there is, and prophecy helps you to grasp that. It brings stability in the midst of difficulty. Things are actually playing out precisely as God declared they would. Dr. Tony Evans, sharing some of the practical benefits of biblical prophecy, even in the here and now. As I mentioned earlier, today's message is part of our special year-end audio compilation, The Best of Tony Evans 2021. This giant collection of 20 powerful lessons is available for a limited time as our gift when you make a donation to help us keep Tony's teaching on the station. In addition to these most requested messages of the year, we'll also include Tony's Kingdom Men Rising devotional, or one of his new books for children made by God, or his latest work for adults, Kingdom Race Theology. The choice is yours, and you can find out more about each of these resources when you visit TonyEvans.org. While you're there, be sure to take some time to browse through our huge collection of CDs, DVDs, books, Bible studies, and more. We can be your one-stop shop for holiday gift giving, but you'll need to do it soon. Again, that's TonyEvans.org, or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222. Team members are standing by to help with your request day or night. That's 1-800-800-3222. Tomorrow, more from Dr. Evans on why prophecy matters, including a look at why knowing about tomorrow makes us more effective witnesses today. I hope you'll be with us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 19:24:16 / 2023-07-08 19:32:43 / 8

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