Purpose of Prophecy

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Question
What was the main purpose of biblical prophecy?
Answer
When we think of prophecy, the purpose of prophecy in the Bible, we tend to think of prediction. The prophets are here to tell us things that are going to happen in the future. But that was never the intent of the biblical prophet. The biblical prophet was sent to God's people to encourage and to exhort, to encourage that God was in control and that he would take care of things as long as they were obedient, but then also, to exhort the people to obey this God that was providing them with such an abundant life. We have this in the New Testament as well. In the book of Thessalonians he says, "Look, Christ is coming back. He's going to wrap things up. God is in control. Don't worry about things as though they're going to continue the way they are because the Lord will return." But then, there's also the exhortation: Work with your hands. Do your work. Provide for your family. And so we also see that there's this element of encouragement and exhortation. Only a small part of the purpose of the prophet was to predict the future, and that's divided into two forms: near prophecy and far prophecy. And according to Deuteronomy 18 and Deuteronomy 13, the prophet would predict near-term prophetic events, and if they came true then you would know that that was a prophet, and you could trust those prophecies that were further out, or you could believe the message that the prophet was saying. And so, when we think of prophecy, we mustn't think of people forecasting the future, but messengers who come from God as spokesmen for God to encourage the people, God is in control, he is in charge of things despite the way things look, and to exhort them to obey this God.

Answer by Dr. Chip McDaniel