By Vance Havner
No portion of theology is more neglected nowadays than Eschatology which treats of things to come. Notwithstanding the fact that about one fourth of the text of the Bible was prophetic when written, the subject of prophecy is handled almost irreverently by many professedly evangelical Christian teachers and utterly ignored by others while cranks and extremists prey upon the ignorance of church people, leading many astray and disgusting others. Sunday school lessons pass over the great prophetic truths; preachers avoid exposing their woeful ignorance about mysteries they could understand; and with the average Christian the matter of prophecy savors of Russelism and wild dispensationalism. Under the impression that it is all a puzzle that cannot be assembled he avoids it altogether.
But prophecy can not be so easily dispensed with for it is a vital part of the whole of God’s revealed truth. Nothing has distorted more the whole fabric of modern Christian thought than the fuse perspective resulting from mistaken eschatology. The new interpretation of the great prophetic section has spelled confusion all along the line.
God has given us in the Bible His plan of the ages. Of necessity great portions of this revelation had to be predictive as it unfolded. Men had to understand something of where they were going to know better how to go. Since Jesus Christ is the central theme of the Bible these prophecies revolved around Him. The first prophecy recorded, that of Enoch in Jude 14, 15 looks to His return in glory. The greater part of the prophetic story gathers around His two advents, the first as a suffering Savior and the second as a triumphant King.
But not all of prophecy directly concerns Him and as we travel in these articles the path of prophecy it is very interesting to note also the lesser predictions which have been or are being fulfilled before our eyes.
The first major prophecy concerns Noah’s predictions as to the future of his Sons (Gen. 9:25-27.) In this passage he declares that the children of Canaan, the son of Ham, shall be a servile race. This has been proven abundantly in the black races. Shem is to be blessed and through the Jews came God’s written revelation and from Shem, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. Since the Jews conquered Canaan, the Canaanites became their servants as verse 26 declares. Then Noah said: “God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” Exactly that is true today with the white Gentiles scattered over most of the word, with the British dwelling in Palestine! History has registered the perfect fulfillment of those three verses.
In Gen. 15:13, 14 God told Abram that his descendants should be strangers and servants in a land not theirs and that they would eventually come out from that land with great substance. This was fulfilled in the Egyptian bondage and the deliverance under Moses.
Another outstanding prophecy which subsequent history bore out in all details is Jacob’s predictions from his death-bed concerning his sons (Gen. 49:1-28). The tribes which sprang from these sons developed the characteristics he mentioned. Of Judah he said, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, unto Shiloh come and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” Judah kept at least a trace of her authority in the Sanhedrim until Jesus came. After the destruction of Jerusalem it vanished and unto Jesus has the gathering of a people from out of the world —His church— continued unto this day.
Marvelous path of prophecy! Sufficient proof in itself that the Old Book is the very Word of God!
Used by permission of the author from the book “Havner’s Reflections on Prophecy”.