Prophecy fulfilled is history, and understanding it is a matter of study. Prophecy future is expectation, and understanding it is a matter of judgment. Prophecy unfolding is a matter of discernment. And that, is the prophetic challenge, and its likeness to history in general.
We can discuss what has happened, and no one can say we are wrong because it has happened. We can discuss what may happen, and no one can prove us wrong because it has not yet happened.
The challenge comes when we try to specify with certainty that prophecy is happening in the present – now, around us, in front of us, and to us. It is a challenge to prove or disprove with absolute certainty.
And yet, prophecy to be fulfilled must happen, and happen in real time. Sometimes it happens in a moment, sometimes longer, and sometimes over vast stretches of time, but it does happen, and happens in real time. The challenge is to see it, understand it, and deal with it.
The Incarnation of the Messiah was prophesied centuries before it happened, but when it happened it came in a moment. The life and times of the Messiah were prophesied centuries before, but when they happened, they unfolded in three and a half years. The Messiah prophesied His second coming two-thousand years ago. When He comes, it will happen in a moment of real time.
The prophetic challenge with the present is that when it is happening it may be only vaguely recognized or ignored, and those who raise the prospect of it actually happening are too often scorned, rejected or worse.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it” (Luke 13:34 NASV).
Something intrinsically wicked is happening to the history of the United States of America, and just like the prophetic challenge with the present, too many are only vaguely recognizing it, others are ignoring it, and those who are raising the prospect of what is actually happening are being scorned, rejected and worse.
If greater detail is needed, then you probably are either only vaguely aware of what is happening or have chosen to ignore it. If you feel a rise of rejection over my inference, then you probably will prefer to reject the implications, and stop reading.
On the other hand, if you know what I am referring to, then you are as “the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do” (I Chronicles 12:32 NASV).
So what should WE do?
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NASV).
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NASV).
That is what we should do NOW!
We may still struggle with the challenge of the present, but we will be guarded “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (II Corinthians 2:11 NASV).
Dennis D. Frey, M.Div., Th.D. President
Master’s International University of Divinity