Friday, May 02, 2003

Prophesy (cont)

Yesterday, I wrote how Boettner claimed that the primary purpose for prophesy is not for predicting the future, but for looking back—and consequently for God’s glory in fulfilling his promises.

There is some biblical support for this in Peter’s epistle:
10Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Pet 1:10-12)
Here we read that the prophets searched intently for the time and place of the Messiah, but of course they did not succeed, for they were not serving themselves but you, i.e. the church, which can now look back and marvel at what they prophesied.

A difficulty arises among postmillennialists due to this non-literal interpretation of prophesy concerning the future glory for Israel. All postmillennialists agree that the Church is the new Israel. However, since the prophecy is not expected to be fulfilled literally, there is sometimes debate concerning whether it has already been fulfilled. (Not the preterist question—this is a milder form even among those without preterist leanings.) For example, Boettner taught that Is 2:2-3 was already fulfilled by the establishment and success of the church to date, while other postmillennialists such as John Jefferson Davis see a future fulfillment in the golden age when the Church achieves world wide domination, prior to His return.

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