Excerpted from Great Advent Movement
By J. N. Loughborough

Prophecy a More Sure Word

Though the apostles had seen this glorious sight on the mount of transfiguration, and had heard the voice of God's approval, the apostle Peter affirms: "We have a more sure word of prophecy." By this statement he is not discounting what they saw and heard on that memorable occasion. They then heard the voice of God once, but in the great lines of prophecy, extending down to Christ's second coming, we have the voice of God oft repeated. In fact, every definite prophetic prediction fulfilled or recorded in history is the voice of God to us. It must be in this sense that the word of prophecy is "more sure." The Revised Version translates it, "made sure." The prophecy is made sure by each and every specification fulfilled. Each and every event predicted, when fulfilled, is an assurance that the remaining events predicted will surely come to pass.

The Nature of Prophecy

The following testimonials from eminent Bible students on the nature of prophecy are forcible:-

Thomas Newton makes the assertion that "prophecy is history anticipated and contracted; history is prophecy accomplished and dilated. Lying oracles have been in the world; but all the wit and malice of men and devils cannot produce any such prophecies as are recorded in the Scriptures."

Sir Isaac Newton testifies that "the giving ear to the prophets is a fundamental character of the true church."

Dr. A. Keith says that "prophecy is equivalent to any miracle, and is of itself miraculous. . . . The voice of Omnipotence alone could call the dead from the tomb,-the voice of Omniscience alone could tell all that lay hid in dark futurity, which to man is as impenetrable as the mansions of the dead,-and both are alike the voice of God."

Matthew Henry said that "in God's time, which is the best time, and in God's way, which is the best way, prophecy shall certainly be fulfilled. Every word of Christ is very pure, and therefore very sure."

The Object of Prophecy

We may learn from the words of Christ to his apostles one object of the Lord in giving prophecy. Speaking prophetically of the things that would take place in the career of Judas, he said, "I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he."

The Lord says also by the prophet Isaiah, "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."

Again, "I have declared the former things from the beginning, and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. . . . I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it thee; lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not, lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them."

From this language the force of prophetic fulfillments as a proof of the divine origin of prophecy is seen, as well as its being a demonstration of the power of the Lord above all the gods of the heathen. It is also observed from these words that prophecy occupies a very important place in the Scriptures of truth. These facts being true, it is surprisingly strange that so many people give little or no attention to the study of the prophetic portions of the Sacred Scriptures.

Prophecy not Sealed

The uninformed say they are unlearned, and therefore cannot understand the prophecies. On the other hand, many of the educated, and some of them among the ministry, say: "The prophecies are sealed, and cannot be understood. We all know that the book of Revelation is a sealed book."

In the Revelation, the beloved John was given a special command not to seal the book. Also in this book a blessing is pronounced upon those that "hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein." How could the things contained in a sealed book be kept if they were not, and could not be, understood? The Lord said by Moses, "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."

That the Lord designed the prophecies of Daniel to be understood is evident from his words to his disciples respecting them. We read: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand)," that virtually says, Understand Daniel the prophet.

The Lord exposes the fallacy of the claim that prophecy cannot be understood, in these words: "The vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." Had the people to whom the prophet here refers followed the sure word of prophecy, they need not have drifted away from God's law, and substituted for his precepts the commandments of men.

Prophecy not of Private Interpretation

It is not that prophecy has some deep, hidden, mysterious meaning that so many fail to understand it. The apostle Peter has said of it, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." It is plainly implied from this language that what is essential to an understanding of prophecy is the reception of that spirit which spake through the prophets. Of that spirit, promised to all who seek it, it is written, "He will guide you into all truth."

Prophecy Fulfilled

In the study of prophecy there are certain facts that should ever be kept in mind: God, who is infallible, is the author of prophecy, and when the time comes for the fulfillment of a prediction, the very event predicted will occur. Again, as the Lord, who has power to foresee just what men will do, specifies a time when a thing will transpire, when that time comes, a true fulfillment of the prophecy is met. In other words, a false fulfillment of prophecy in the specified time for the true, is an impossibility. In harmony with this axiom, we may say, when the Lord's time comes for his message of truth to be given to the world, the message makes its appearance every time.

At one time, when the writer had given a discourse on the fulfillment of prophecy, an infidel who was present came forward and said, "I must congratulate you interpreters of prophecy as being very fortunate. In your study of history, you seem so readily to find that which exactly fits the prophecy." "Yes," was our reply, "it fits because it was made to fit. If you should go to a glove store to buy a pair of gloves, would you not expect to find those that would fit your hand?" He replied, "Of course I would, because they were made to fit." "So," said the writer, "that God who knew just what men would do, made the predictions concerning them, and when those men come upon the stage of action, and do the very things he predicted, the true historian makes a record of their actions, which, compared with the prediction, are an exact fit."

Prophecy a Light in the Darkness

The apostle Peter says we should give heed to prophecy as unto a light shining in a dark place. Without the lamp of prophecy the future would be total darkness. The purpose of light is to dispel darkness-when traveling in a dark place, to show the pathway, and to show the pathway clearly, that the traveler may be enabled, step by step, to see and choose the way. "Thy word," the psalmist says, "is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." The wise man says, "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Thus it is seen, as we pass down the stream of time, that the word of God, especially in its prophetic fulfillments, will open more and yet more, making it clearer and still clearer to the Bible student that he is surely in the pathway leading to everlasting light and eternal day.

Three Prominent Events from Eden to the End

In considering the pathway of the Lord's people from Eden down to the end, in the light of the Scriptures, there are three events that stand out in special prominence. The first is the first advent of Christ, the incarnation, the coming of Emmanuel, God manifest in the flesh; the second, the great Reformation after the Dark Ages-the 1260 years of oppression, in which the word of the Lord was almost wholly kept from the common people-a coming of the church out of her wilderness state, and the placing of the Scriptures where all might read and know his will; the third, the second coming of our Lord to bring in the times of restitution of all things spoken of by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began; this, to close up "the conflict of ages," the conflict between sin and righteousness, to bring in the age of glory, toward which all the ages have been tending.

Prophecy Gives Way-Marks to the End

In giving heed to the sure word of prophecy as unto a light that is to guide our steps, discovering to us the correct path through the darkness, it cannot be otherwise than that we shall find the pathway clearly marked out in the prophetic word all the way down the stream of time to the second advent of Christ. This being the case, those who follow closely the light of prophecy will not only recognize the signs and tokens that the great day is near, but will also recognize the work of the Lord as it steadily moves on in messages of truth which are to prepare a people to meet him in peace at his coming.

While the Scriptures declare that the day of the Lord will come upon the masses as "a thief in the night," it also says of those standing in the counsel of the Lord, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day."