- Renée Coventry
The Prophetic Advent
As I asked the Holy Spirit what He wanted me to share this Christmas season, He impressed upon my heart The Prophetic Advent. For those familiar with Scripture, we cannot separate the prophetic from Christ's first coming. It is prophesied throughout the Old Testament. It is a fulfillment of prophecy and predictive at its core.
As believers, we find ourselves in the position of awaiting the advent of Christ's second coming. An event also heralded by the prophetic word. Are there principles we can learn from the first coming that we can apply to the second? What characterized the first that will undoubtedly do so for the second? Are we in sync with what God is doing as we prepare for Christ's return?
For this series, I will be focusing primarily on Luke's account while referencing a bit of Matthew's. So, let's start at the very beginning. At the beginning of his gospel, Luke writes,
"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught."
I'm sure that is not how you anticipated a Christmas advent devotional to begin; however, it is imperative to entering the prophetic. Revelation 19:10b states, "For the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus." This clarifies the purpose of the prophetic word: to glorify Christ. As a divine discourse that declares the purposes of God, prophecy encompasses much more than just future events. The nature of prophecy exalts the person of Truth, providing testimony of the Light which enlightens the hearts of every man (John 1:9). It is therefore imperative that we investigate all words that claim to be from God against the backdrop of His written Word.
The prophetic always aligns with the Word of God as revealed in Scripture. Luke makes a point to indicate that revelation has been handed down to us by those who have gone before us, both eyewitnesses and servants of the Word. These are some that comprise the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12:1 that testify to Christ. In a world desirous of changing the Word to fit its whims, the prophetic rhema word must align with the written logos.
How does the word we receive give insight into Christ and His work in our world? Is it an orderly word? The truth of God doesn't bring confusion but rather a clarification. Luke's phrase "exact truth" as used in this verse is one Greek word, "asphaleia," meaning sure, stable, firm, and secure from enemies and provides a mental picture of how the prophetic should behave in our lives. Isaiah 40:8 assures us that God's word stands forever. It is trustworthy. It establishes. It's immovable.
Regarding the second advent of Christ to the world, the Apostle Peter admonishes us to remember, "the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation'" (2 Pt. 3:3-4). Peter continues to remind us that the Word of God formed the world and that it currently preserves both heaven and earth.
It is imperative that as we anticipate with greater awareness the second coming of Christ, that we are students of the word because as the day approaches, false prophets, too, will come, and we must know the Word of God to discern and credibly engage those both inside and outside the church. The prophetic has a place in the church as we enter the last days, but it must hit the mark, testifying to the reality of Christ and His soon return in truth.