Three Features of Christian Prophecy image

Three Features of Christian Prophecy

Richard Bauckham identifies three features of Christian prophecy, which I find very helpful in thinking on the subject: discernment, prediction and response.

First, there is discernment of the contemporary situation by prophetic insight into God’s nature and purpose. We have noticed Revelation’s dominant prophetic concern for exposing the truth of things - both in the churches and in the world - and for revealing how things look from the perspective of God’s heavenly rule …

Secondly, there is prediction … What must take place is the coming of God’s kingdom - or God would not be God. Prophecy as prediction reveals how the contemporary situation must change if God’s kingdom is to come.

Thirdly, prophecy demands of its hearers an appropriate response to its perception of the truth of the contemporary world and its prediction of what the working-out of God’s purpose must mean for the contemporary world. It is this third element that ensures that the predictive element in biblical prophecy is not fatalistic. It leaves room for human freedom, for human response to God’s will and human participation in his purpose for the world … God’s kingdom must come - or God would not be God - but the predicted manner of its coming is conditional on human response and on God’s freedom to embrace human freedom in his purpose.

- Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation, 148-149.

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