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    INTRODUCTION

    PROPHECY has been defined as “history written in advance.” This being the case, and the prophecy proceeding from the divine mind-from One having power to foresee the future-the events of the real history would most surely fit the prophecy.LDT 7.1

    We may learn from the words of Christ to the apostles one object of the Lord in giving prophecy. Speaking 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.” 1John 13:19.LDT 7.2

    The Lord by the prophet Isaiah also says, “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.” 2Isaiah 46:9, 10.LDT 7.3

    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.” 3Isaiah 48:3-7. From the above language, the force of prophetic fulfillments as a proof of the divine origin of prophecy is seen, as well as their 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. In view of these facts, it is surpassingly strange that so many people give little or no attention to the study of the prophetic portions of the sacred Scriptures.LDT 7.4

    The uninformed say they are unlearned, and, therefore, can not understand the prophecies. On the other hand, many of the educated, and some of them even among the ministry, say: “The prophecies are sealed, and can not be understood. We all know that the book of Revelation is a sealed book.”LDT 8.1

    In the Revelation, the beloved John was told positively not to seal the book, 4Revelation 22:10 and, 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.” 5Revelation 1:3. How could the things contained in a sealed book be kept,-things which were not, and could not be, understood?LDT 8.2

    That the Lord designed the prophecies of Daniel to be understood is evident from His words to His disciples respecting the same: “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);” 6Matthew 24:15. that virtually says, Understand Daniel the prophet.LDT 8.3

    A claim that prophecy could not be understood is also clearly delineated 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 can not; 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.” 7Isaiah 29:11-14.LDT 9.1

    Had the people to whom the prophet 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.LDT 9.2

    It is not because prophecy has some deep, hidden, mysterious meaning, that a failure is made in understanding it. The apostle Peter has said of it, and of understanding 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.” 82 Peter 1:20, 21.LDT 9.3

    It is plainly implied from the above language that what is most essential to an understanding of prophecy is the reception of the Spirit that spoke through the prophets. Of that Spirit, promised to all who seek it, it is said, “He will guide you into all truth.” 9John 16:13.LDT 10.1

    In the study of prophecy, these facts should be impressed upon the mind: God, who is infallible, is the Author of prophecy; and when the time comes for the fulfilment of a prophecy, the very event predicted is there. Again, when the Lord’s time comes for His message of truth to go forth, the message, in His order, is unmistakably there every time. As expressed by another, “To the believer in prophecy, a false fulfilment in the time when the true one should come, is an impossibility.”LDT 10.2

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