Why talk about prophecy when sharing the gospel? — Insight #7

This series gives an inside view on the structure of By This Name and how it breaks through confusion in our diverse society, bringing clarity to the message of the gospel.

One of the obstacles in sharing the gospel is getting the reader to trust in the truthfulness and reliability of Scripture. If he or she doesn’t believe in what the Bible is saying, then that person will likely reject the gospel. So how do we enable someone to gain confidence in the Word of God?

God has seen fit to put into his Word a powerful, self-authenticating feature that shows his Word not only to be true, but accurate. It’s what we know as prophecy.

Prophecy is a unique, self-authenticating feature of the Bible
Simply put, prophecy is a prediction about a future event. And the Bible is replete with it—nearly 27% of Scripture is prophetic. No other ancient book provides so many prophecies about future world events. Many of the prophecies in the Bible have been precisely fulfilled hundreds, even thousands, of years after they were initially given. Each fulfilled prophecy adds credence to the fact that the Bible is a reliable text. By This Name highlights a number of fulfilled prophecies to help the reader build trust in Scripture.

If prophecy can be trusted, then the rest of Scripture can be trusted
Broadly speaking, the books of the Bible can be divided into two categories: “Must Know Information” and “Prophetic Information.” For example, if the prophecies recorded by the Bible writers have come to pass precisely as recorded, then the “Must Know Information” that these men recorded can be considered true and reliable as well. This “Must Know Information” includes important sections on the right way to live, the source of joy and more. The most important information is the gospel message—how sinful man can be made right before God through God’s provision of a Saviour.

This notion of fulfilled prophecy providing credibility to the rest of the Bible is emphasized in different places in By This Name. One significant chart is on page 228 where it details many of the prophecies about the Promised Deliverer that were precisely fulfilled by Jesus. The book links the idea that if the “Prophetic Information” in the Bible has been precisely fulfilled and is therefore reliable, then we can be confident that the “Must Know Information” can also be relied upon to be true.

By This Name page 228 Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus

Prophecy lets us know that YAHWEH is in control
There is another benefit in using prophecy to help explain the gospel message. When a reader comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he or she will be able to draw encouragement and hope from the biblical prophecies about the future events that By This Name touches on.

For example, on page 331 we see a chart explaining what the Bible says about God putting an end to the evil in the world.

btn-eternity-331It is indeed good news to hear that we can look forward to a new age in the future where evil is removed forever and all the people who put their trust in Jesus will live with YAHWEH forever. With so many prophecies already fulfilled, we can trust YAHWEH to fulfill the rest. He is in control! By This Name therefore highlights the prophecy aspect of the Scriptures to build trust and hope. And this is part of the good news of the gospel!

According to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a
new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13 ESV

Author: David Cross

Curriculum development manager and staff writer at GoodSeed's International Office.