Servants' News

May/June 2001

Purpose of Prophecy—Prophets for Profit?

by Norman Edwards

When we read prophecy, there is a natural desire to want to understand it exactly. Daniel had this desire. Notice the conclusion of his book, Daniel 12:8-13:

8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”

9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.

10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.

12 “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.

13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance" (NIV).

When some people read the above statements, the first thing they want to know about are the 1290 days and the 1335 days. But the important message here is that some righteous people, like Daniel, would not understand it in this life, but would receive their reward when they rise at the resurrection. Also, it plainly says that “None of the wicked will understand”. If we want to understand, should not we be more concerned about removing wickedness from our own lives? Furthermore, if none of the wicked will understand, could the explanation of these prophecies be revealed in some mass-advertised books and videos? If the material advertised below really imparts “a complete understanding of the prophetic moment in which we live”, then it seems like the wicked could understand for about 47 dollars.

While the writer of the advert below sounds like he knows what he is talking about, notice the phrase “for the first time”. How can this author be sure that nobody else has understood prophecy before he has? Cannot God reveal it to whom He chooses? If he means that this is the first time that he has understood these prophecies, that probably means that the author has no track record of verifiably correct previous prophetic interpretation. All he will have is what hundreds of other prophecy teachers have—a plausible explanation of past and future events that fit Bible prophecies, but no real proof that God has granted him prophetic understanding.

While it is possible that we might learn something from someone selling their prophetic interpretation, do we want to encourage people to make money this way? Does God really teach people prophecy with all the various marketing gimmicks in this ad—claiming the price is one third off, but still charging much more than it costs to duplicate videos?

Also, please realize that it is not likely that a completely accurate explanation of Bible prophecy will ever appear in a free publication like Servants’ News. The “wicked” can use the Internet and/or subscribe to free publications. But we will certainly never claim to have a complete explanation of Bible prophecy. Thousands have done so in the past, and all failed to some degree. But we encourage everyone to read Bible prophecy and know what it says. We publish articles, like the previous one by Toli Bohonik, that offer possible explanations. But we encourage every believer to ask God to give him or her the understanding that they need. “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1Cor 14:1).

While God does warn His people about coming disasters, He does not counsel them to be diligent to study prophecy to interpret the time of the end. He tells them to be ready.

Please read the following Bible verses on the subject:

2 Peter 3:10–11:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”

Luke 21:34–36:

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Matt 24:42–47:

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.

(Note: the word watch in the last two scriptures does not mean to “watch world events”, but to watch one’s personal life.)

Please Don’t Fall for This Ad:


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