The Seed Prophecy

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Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear. While the parables He gave us in Matt. In the world His word is met with four kinds of responses. It represents people who hear the word but fail to comprehend it. In Matt. Paul put it this way.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. The words lie there on the surface for the enemy to sweep away lest any should slip into a crack and take root.

When you try to share the gospel with these people, they look at you like you've come from another planet. It's foolishness to them, as Paul said it would be.

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This refers to people who hear the Gospel message and in the passion of the moment run forward for the altar call, but never really let the Lord into their hearts, so there's no conversion. It all sounded so good at that crusade or revival meeting and they got all caught up in the excitement of the event. But they didn't really open their hearts to the Lord so the first time someone laughs at or ridicules them for their beliefs they deny the Gospel and act like the altar call never happened.

Sadly this describes an overwhelming majority of those who come forward at public events. They don't ever wander into a church afterward, or even crack open their Bible, so they were never really saved at all. Had they sincerely asked the Lord to forgive them, they could have been part of the small minority who really does get saved this way, but they didn't give it a thought.

The Parable of the Leaven

They just jumped up and ran down front because it felt good at the time. Paul warned us against letting this happen to us. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Fruit has an effect on others where salvation is purely personal. In other words, fruit is not something that happens to the branch, it's something that happens through the branch.

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And the branch does not make fruit grow by its own effort. It's the vine that does the work.

Reward Yourself

Why are there so many believers who don't bear fruit? It's because of the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. According to Matt. Preoccupation with the things of this world makes it impossible to hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

This is probably the biggest group in all of Christianity, saved but not fruitful. This is the group some other believers look at and wonder, "Are those people really saved"? Odds are the answer is yes, but you'd never know by looking at them. But before we go on, there's something we should remember. Living a "sacrificial life" is not the same as being fruitful.

Perhaps the best way to determine the meaning of the term is to examine the manner in which the Bible employs it. The classic passage which sets forth the role of the prophet is Exodus ,2. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh. A prophet was simply a spokesman for God.

Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he said, Come, and let us go to the seer; for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer. There are a number of truths which need to be appreciated if one is to understand the function of prophecy in biblical literature. Let us consider the following points. However, prophecy also concerns the revelation of events which occurred in the past; it may deal with present circumstances i. Certainly he was not present to witness those events. His prophetic testimony thus looked into the past.

In passing, we might simply mention several categories relating to predictive prophecy. For instance, there are prophecies that relate to individuals. The mission of Josiah was foretold more than three centuries before his birth cf. The role of the Persian king, Cyrus, in releasing the Hebrews from Babylonian captivity, was described more than a century and a half before his reign cf. Isaiah ; ff. The fate of cities and nations is prophetically announced in various Scriptures.

Daniel 2,7,8. Too, there is the matter of messianic prophecy. Of the more than eight hundred prophecies in the old Testament, at least three hundred center on the coming Christ cf. Jackson , The design of predictive prophecy was to establish the credibility of God and, ultimately, the authenticity of his sacred Scriptures. In this article, we will be dealing principally with the predictive nature of biblical prophecy. There are a number of criteria for determining the genuineness of prophecy—as opposed to speculative prediction.

Genuine prophecy involves proper timing. The oracle must significantly precede the person or event described. The prophecy must deal in specific details , not vague generalities which are capable of being manipulated to fit various circumstances. Exact fulfillment , not merely a high degree of probability, must characterize the prediction. A prophet who is eighty percent accurate is no prophet at all! In this connection we may observe that the prophets of the Bible, when uttering their declarations, spoke with absolute confidence.

They frequently employed a verbal form known as the perfect state, which suggests completed action. It speaks of the event as if it had already occurred though still in the future , thus stressing the certainty of its fulfillment. When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken Deuteronomy While we have noted that the prophets spoke with confidence, it is also important to observe that some prophecies were obviously conditional.

This is especially true with reference to predictions that contained warnings of impending judgment upon wicked peoples.

The Seed Prophecy

The doom prophetically announced was dependent upon whether or not that nation would turn from its evil. Similarly, when God promised the Israelites that the land of Canaan would be their inheritance, that pledge was contingent upon their fidelity to Jehovah.

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Note the testimony of Joshua When ye transgress the covenant of Jehovah your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down yourselves to them; then will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

The Hebrew nation did apostatize and lost its special privileges with God cf. Matthew On the other hand, some prophecies were absolute. Predictions concerning the coming Messiah were not predicated upon human response; they were fulfilled with amazing accuracy.

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The Messiah was to be: the seed of woman Genesis , the offspring of Abraham Genesis , from the tribe of Judah Genesis , born to a virgin Isaiah , in the town of Bethlehem Micah , etc. There was nothing conditional about these statements. If one is to accurately interpret Bible prophecy, he must surely recognize that language of predictive literature can be either literal or figurative.

But how does one determine the nature of prophetic terminology? In some instances common sense will dictate the character of the prophecy. If a literal view implies an impossibility or an absurdity, it is obviously figurative. The context will frequently shed light on the situation. In many instances, the issue will be settled by how the New Testament writers who quote or cite the prophecies viewed the matter.

When Old Testament writers declared that Christ would be the offspring of Abraham Genesis , or that he would be raised from the dead Psalm , they made straightforward predictions that were fulfilled literally. Matthew ff. He was figuratively suggesting the peaceful atmosphere that would be characteristic of the church of Christ as the various nations flowed into it cf. Isaiah ; Romans Thus, it is vital that the nature of the language in biblical prophecy be correctly identified.

Liberal critics of the Bible deny the reality of predictive prophecy as well as other miraculous elements in the Scriptures.