The events that Matthew recorded as happening in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies all happened as a result of human decisions, and were worked out in the course of ordinary human circumstances. Were it not for the inspired commentary by Matthew, we would have no more reason to see the sovereign hand of God in them that we do in the most mundane occurrences reported in our daily newspapers… God recorded in His Word specific instances of His sovereign rule over history in order that we might trust Him in the affairs of history as they unfold before us today. We should remember that, for those experiencing the events recorded in the biblical narratives, God’s hand was no mare apparent to them in those events than His hand is apparent to us today in ours.
For my part, I had rather enjoy the sweet influences of the Spirit. I had rather show Christ’s spiritual divine beauty, infinite grace, and dying love. I had rather draw forth the holy exercises of faith, divine love, sweet complacence, and humble joy in God. I had rather experience all this for one quarter of an hour than to have prophetical visions and revelations the whole year.
Prophets…declare what God will do and what God requires. They speak the truth that people often do not want to hear. This rubs against the grain of a culture that treats religion as a consumer item. Those who adjust the Word of God to meet market trends, assuming the consumer is always right, are simply peddlers (2 Cor. 2:17). Those who come to religion assuming that the chief goal of God is to glorify humankind and asking, “What will it all get me?” receive only spiritual chaff.
Understanding Bible prophecy encourages in two unique ways. First, it serves as a reminder that God controls history. When, you read from the pages of Scripture how He keeps His promises, your faith is strengthened… By reflecting on the fulfilled promises of the past, you can find great comfort as you look toward the future. Second, understanding God’s promises for the future provides a solid foundation to which you can anchor your hope – a sturdy shield with which you can deflect your doubts and fears about tomorrow… When you reflect on God’s plans and promises for you and for the world, you can face the future without fear.
Typically, the prophet of the Word of God assigned by God to give a far-future prophecy gave also a near prophecy to establish his credentials. In other words, if he proves to be accurate in the historically verified prophecy, we can believe him for the one that’s so far in the future that we can’t see it.
God gave the prophecies, not to gratify men’s curiosity by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and His own providence, not the interpreters, be thereby manifested to the world.
Prophets in the Bible are often outcasts, not rock stars.
We take 100,000,000 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly…Blindfold a man and tell him…he must pick up one silver dollar…What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have of writing…eight prophecies and having them come true in any one man.