June 2 I Sunday
2 Chronicles 17-18
“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” —1 John 4:1
The Bible is full of prophetic writing, but “how can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” (Deuteronomy 18:21). Moses poses this rhetorical question to teach the Israelites how to discern prophecy. He answers, “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed” (Deuteronomy 18:22). Simply put, if the prophecy comes true, it is from God, but if it does not come true, then it is not from God.
One of the most remarkable evidences of divine inspiration in the Bible is the incredible prophetic accuracy of this book. In the Old Testament, there are around 333 prophecies written about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. To reinforce how divinely inspired these writings are, the Old Testament Scriptures were completed about 400 years before Christ and circulated around 165 years before His coming.
One fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew through Jesus’s final words as He hung on the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). We may think that Jesus is crying out in despair, but in actuality, Jesus is pointing us to His fulfillment of prophecy. His final words are also the first line to Psalm 22. In those days, the Jews did not number the psalms like we do; instead, the psalms were known by their first line. For example, Psalm 23 was known as, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” Similar to how we know hymns such as, “Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound,” or “Rock of Ages Cleft for Me” by their first line, the Jews would recognize that Jesus was referring to “Psalm 22.”
If somebody had gone on to read Psalm 22, they would come across the words: “They pierce my hands and my feet…. people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment” (Psalm 22:16-18). Anybody standing around the cross would testify that the words of Psalm 22 are exactly what they have witnessed. But those words were written 1,000 years before Christ was ever born!
If the Psalmist had got it wrong, we could say on the basis of Deuteronomy 18 that the prophecy did not come from God. However, when we find these prophecies hitting the bull’s eye again and again, the only obvious conclusion is that Scripture is from God. Because of the prophetic nature of Scripture, we know the Bible is trustworthy, authoritative and important, so may we be inspired to read His Word.
Prayer: Holy God, thank You that Scripture validates Your almighty power by the fulfillment of Your Word. Create in me a desire to immerse myself in Your Truth daily.