Episode 1: Prophecy and Faith
How does faith interface with prophecy? Does prophecy create faith, or is there a whole lot more to it than that? Dan Weatherall and Paul Davenport dive into the Biblical world of the prophets to discuss this and many other questions.
Dan and Paul start by talking about what prophecy actually is in the Bible. Is it simply telling the future? In actual fact, they discover that the core idea behind the idea of a Biblical prophet is that they are simply bringing words or a message from God. They do sometimes claim to say what is going to happen, but being a prophet in the Bible doesn’t automatically mean that this is what you did.
So, is there such a thing as genuine predictive prophecy? Is the point of prophecy in the Bible to predict the future so that we know what’s coming or does it serve some other purpose? Is prophecy intended to bring people who don’t believe to embrace faith in God or is it directed at people who already have faith?
Prophecy should lead to change
The real reason behind prophecy is to deal with poor human behaviour. The things that the prophets called out were often matters of social justice. The Israelite kings and rulers were oppressing the poor, taking lands from the defenseless, exacting wealth from the fatherless, leaving widows destitute. The God of the Bible, the prophets claim, is interested in this and wanted the people to change from their sinful ways of treating their fellow human beings with such contempt. He sent the prophets to promote justice and to try to get them to change from their ways.
A strange dream
Paul and Dan continue the conversation by looking at one of the times when a prophet is clearly making some predictive claims. It’s in Daniel 2:17-45. It’s about a dream that the king of Babylon saw which the prophet Daniel said was about future kingdoms and rulers who would follow the Babylonian empire. The dating of the book of Daniel is sometimes controversial, however there are reasons why even taking a more liberal view would leave you with having to accept an element of prediction in this chapter.
The conversation concludes by realising that even this predictive prophecy is designed to make the hearer change something in their life. All of prophecy is aimed at reaching humanity to get them to think about their position, their life, their values and to live in a way that embodies the love and kindness of God.