Prophecy — A Light in a Dark Place

Connie W. Adams
Peter spoke of the certainty of what he and other apostles reported. He said they were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” and then referred to the events at the transfiguration scene to which he was a witness. He contrasted that to “cunningly devised fables.” But there was another line of evidence which declared the surety of what was reported and that was the “word of prophecy.” There is no stronger evidence for the truthfulness of the gospel than prophecy and fulfillment. The source of their message was not their own “private interpretations” but “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:16-21).

In describing this powerful evidence, Peter said prophecy was “a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (v. 19).

What Was a Prophet?
Often, in the Old Testament, God spoke of these men as “my servants the prophets” (Jer. 7:25). But how did they serve? The prophet was a mouth through which God spoke to the people. The Lord told Moses that Aaron “shall be to thee instead of a mouth” (Exod. 4:16). He would speak for Moses. Later God said, “Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet” (Exod. 7:1). The message in his mouth was the word given to him by inspiration. He was “moved” by the Holy Spirit. His message was two-fold. He served as a preacher of righteousness to his own generation often calling upon the people to repent. In the course of doing that, he also looked to future times and foretold events far in advance of their occurrence. There was no natural explanation for this. They were “moved” or driven, or borne along by the Holy Spirit. Human or natural origins cannot account for the predictive element in prophesy.

What Was the Dark Place?
Prophesy was divine light shining in a dark place. What was that? The Patriarchal Age has been described as the starlight age in which promises were made to patriarchs concerning a coming Savior. The Mosaic dispensation has been called the moonlight age because God raised up prophets who foretold events connected with the coming Messiah. The Gospel dispensation has been called the Sunlight age ushered in by the “day star” and signaling the dawning of the day of salvation (Mal. 4:2).

The Old Testament history was a dark place in the sense that God’s divine plan of redemption was not fully disclosed. It is described as a    “mystery.”  Paul wrote, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:3-5). That “mystery” included God’s plan to save the Gentile as well as the Jew through the gospel. That was the “fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9). This plan included the church which was in God’s eternal purpose (vv. 10-12).

Before the fulness of this mystery was made known, prophecy was a light shining in this dark place. It pointed to future blessings and the full revelation of the mystery. As God shined the light of divine truth into the hearts of the apostles (2 Cor. 4:6), putting his treasure in these earthen vessels, even so it was the light of divine truth which shone in the hearts of his servants the prophets.

The Dawning of the Day
If the Old Testament period was a mystery, surely the coming of Christ and the beginning of the gospel age was the dawning of the “day.” Jesus described himself to John as “the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16). Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied of Christ when he said “whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). Jesus himself declared plainly: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”(John 8:12). The mystery is revealed. The darkness is dispelled. The day has dawned, the day of which the prophets spoke.

Perverting the Prophets
It is a perversion of the prophets to look beyond the gospel age for the fulfillment of the Messianic prophesies. This is the blunder of the dispensationalists and pre- millennialists. They are anachronistic  — they assign the wrong dates to events.

In Acts 13, Paul preached in Antioch of Pisidia. He had much to say about fulfillment of the prophets. In verses 22-23, he said God had sent Christ of the seed of David “which shall fulfill all my will.” Christ was sent “according to his promise.” John the Baptist “fulfilled his course” (v. 25) and pointed to the Christ of promise and prophecy. The Jewish rulers ignored their own prophets and fulfilled them in condemning Christ (v. 27). In the trials before Pilate they “fulfilled all that was written of him. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again” (vv. 32-33). The “sure mercies of David” are ours in him (v. 34).

Yet, the prophetic perverters continue to ignore these fulfillments and postpone all of that to an imagined age after the gospel age has ended. Peter nailed it down in Acts 3:24-26 when he said “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” What could be plainer? The day star has arisen and the day has dawned — the day which the prophets said should come.

Our Unique Position
Peter wrote, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Pet. 1:9-12). The salvation of souls through Jesus Christ which was preached by those guided by the Holy Spirit was that to which the prophets pointed. The prophets themselves did not understand when it would be nor how it would be developed but they faithfully delivered the message which God put in their hearts and on their tongues. We walk in the sunlight of divine revelation of which the prophets inquired and searched and even angels pondered. Paul said that by the church was the “manifold wisdom of God” shown unto “principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10).

The Source of the Light in a Dark Place
The sceptic has never been able to deal with fulfilled prophesy. How could men foretell events hundreds of years in advance giving minute details of the coming Messiah and his kingdom? Were they lucky at guessing? Clairvoyant? No, the details of Psalms 22 or Isaiah 53 cannot be explained apart from Peter’s claim that “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The source of that light shining in a dark place was the mind of God. There is no escape from this conclusion.
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Truth Magazine Vol. XLIV: 20  p3  October 17, 2000