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Prophecy

 

Prophecy

        The Chinese say that it’s very difficult to prophesy, especially about the future. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Prophecy

        There is a sense in which prophecy does for us what traveling in space has done. Much has been learned about the earth from going out there and looking back-things about weather patterns, location of natural resources, and so forth, which we could never have known from earth, where we are too close to really see what is there.

        In a similar fashion, prophecy takes us out of the limitations of seeing only what our immediate circumstances allow and helps us to see the big picture. The result should be that we become better stewards of our time and other resources now and that we live our life on eternal values. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Prophecy

        Dr. Charles C Ryrie has pointed out that, by the law of chance, it would require two hundred billion earths, populated with four billion people each, to come up with one person who could achieve one hundred accurate prophecies without any errors in sequence. But the Bible records not one hundred but over three hundred prophecies fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

PREDICTION (see also FORECASTING)

Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility--a development which we should waste little time dreaming about. 

Lee de Forest, 1926, inventor of the cathode ray tube.


I think there is a world market for about five computers. 

Thomas J. Watson, 1943, Chairman of the Board of IBM.


We don't think the Beatles will do anything in their market. Guitar groups are on their way out. 

Recording company expert, 1962.


A devout believer in astrology, French king Louis XI was deeply impressed when an astrologer correctly foretold that a lady of the court would die in eight days' time. Deciding, however, that the too-accurate prophet should be disposed of, Louis summoned the man to his apartments, having first told his servants to throw the visitor out of the window when he gave the signal. "You claim to understand astrology and to know the fate of others," the king said to the man, "so tell me at once what your fate will be and how long you have to live."

"I shall die just three days before Your Majesty," answered the astrologer. The shaken king canceled his plans!

Today in the Word, July 16, 1993.


The book The World's Worst Predictions lists some of history's all-time prophetic goofs:

King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm's newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.

In 1939 The New York Times said the problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn't have time for it.

An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.

Marshal Ferdinand Foch in 1911: "Airplanes are interesting toys, but they have no military value."

Business Week, 1958: "With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market."

Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, on December 4, 1941: "Whatever happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping."

Economist Irving Fisher on October 16, 1929: "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."

The World's Worst Predictions, in Reader's Digest, March 1991.

 

PROPHECY (see also FORECASTING)

Fiedler's Forecasting Rules. (1) It is very difficult to forecast, especially about the future. (2) He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground glass. (3) The moment you forecast, you know you're going to be wrong -- you just don't know when and in which direction. (4) If you're ever right, never let them forget it. 

Edgar R. Fiedler, economist, quoted in The Official Rules, Paul Dickson.


I am fond of a line from Niels Bohr, the physicist, and have quoted it before.

"Prediction is a very difficult art," he says, "especially when it involves the future.

Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center report that one of the largest stars in our galaxy is about to self-destruct. Eta Carinae, which has a mass 100 times greater than that of our sun, is giving signs that its life is about over. Researchers say that it could become a supernova -- a blazing, exploding star -- within the next 10,000 years. What was especially interesting about the Science 81 report was the statement that since light from the star takes 9,000 years to reach the earth, the actual explosion could have already taken place.

This striking fact reminds me of the nature of biblical prophecy. For example, the predictions found in Revelation 8 are often written in the past tense. This is done because even though the prophet is writing of a future event, he has already "seen" it. Also, in the mind of God it's as if the events have already happened. Even though Christians differ on the interpretation of today's Scripture, we can definitely say that God's judgment against sin is certain. The outpouring of His anger against those who continually resist Him is so sure that it has been written about in the past tense. This should cause us to reflect with the apostle Peter, who wrote so appropriately, "Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness?" (2 Peter 3:11). As Christians, we know what's ahead for this world, and that knowledge should keep us living close to God. 

Our Daily Bread.


The book The World's Worst Predictions lists some of history's all-time prophetic goof.

King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm's newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.

In 1939 The New York Times said the problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn't have time for it.

An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.

The World's Worst Predictions.


Years ago a hydroelectric dam was to be built across a valley in Maine. The people in the town were to be relocated and the town itself submerged.

During the time between the initial decision and the completion of the dam, the town, which had once been well-kept, fell into disrepair. Why keep it up now?

Explained one resident: "Where there is no faith in the future, there is no work in the present."

Source Unknown.


The rule on staying alive as a financial forecaster is to give them a number or give them a date, but never give them both at once. 

Jane Bryant Quinn.


Dr. George Sweeting once estimated that "more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy...Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the O.T., and seventeen O.T. books give prominence to this theme. Of the 260 chapters in the N.T., there are more than 300 references to the Lord's return--one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 N.T. books refer to this great event...For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are 8 on Christ's second coming." 

Today in the Word, MBI, December, 1989, p. 40.


D.L. Moody once said, "I never preach a sermon without thinking that possibly the Lord may come before I preach another."

Source Unknown.

 

PROPHECY, gift of

Wesley was not an advocate of sensationalism in preaching. But on one occasion, he interrupted his own sermon and shouted,

"Lord, is Saul also among the prophets? Is James Watson here? If he be, show Thy power!" And James Watson dropped to the floor and began to cry loudly for God's mercy! 

W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, Moody Press, 1984, p. 247.


At a Monday evening prayer meeting, Charles Spurgeon suddenly interrupted his sermon, pointed in a certain direction, and said,

"Young man, those gloves you are wearing have not been paid for; you have stolen them from your employer!" After the meeting a young man came to the vestry and begged to see Spurgeon. Pale and trembling, the young man confessed that he had stolen the gloves he was wearing! He promised never to steal again and begged Spurgeon not to expose him to his employer. 

W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, Moody Press, 1984, p. 219.


When Charles Spurgeon was pastor at New Park Street in London,

God used his words to bring about amazing changes in the lives of people. A man who was on his way to get some gin saw the crowd at the church door and pushed his way in to see what was going on. At that moment, Spurgeon turned and faced the man and said that there was a man in the gallery who had a gin bottle in his pocket and had come with no good motive. The startled man listened to the rest of the message and was converted. 

One evening a prostitute, on her way to Blackfriars Bridge to commit suicide, stopped at the church, hoping to hear some word that would prepare her to meet her maker. Spurgeon was preaching from Luke 7:36-50, the story of the prostitute who wiped Jesus feet with her tears. His text was verse 44; "Seest thou this woman?" As Spurgeon preached, the woman saw herself but also saw the grace of God and trusted Christ. 

W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, Moody Press, 1984, p. 231.

 

PROPHET, false

Characterized by:

1. Adultery (Jer. 23:14)

2. Lying (Micah 2:11)

3. Treachery (Zeph. 3:4)

4. Opportunistic (Micah 3:11)

5. Drunkenness (Isa 28:7)

 

FORECASTING
(see also PREDICTION)

Airplanes are interesting toys, but they have no military value.

Marshal Ferdinand Foch in 1911.


With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.

Business Week, 1958.


Whatever happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.

Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, on December 4, 1941.


Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.

Economist Irving Fisher on October 16, 1929 (March 1991, Reader's Digest).


Fiedler's forecasting rules

1. Forecasting is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.
2. For this reason: He who lives by the crystal ball soon learn to eat ground glass.
3. Similarly: The moment you forecast you know you're going to be wrong, you just don't know when and in which direction.
4. Nevertheless, always be precise in your forecasts because: Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor.
5. Another basic law: If the facts don't conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
6. If you've always had doubts about the judgments of forecasters, it's quite understandable because: An economist is a  man who would marry Farrah Fawcett-Majors for her money.
7. By the same reasoning, your suspicions about the narrow range of most forecasts are justified: The herd instinct among forecasters make sheep look like independent thinkers.
8. When presenting a forecast: Give them a number or give them a date, but never both.

Source Unknown.