New Testament Prophecies
“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.”
What are prophecies?
The Bible is a unique book filled with prophecies foretelling the future. Most of these prophecies were visions granted by God to individual prophets, who then recorded what they saw (e.g., Is 1:1, Ez 1:1). Why would God feel the need to tell people what He is going to do before He does it? Jesus answered this question regarding the purpose of biblical prophecies in John 14:29 when he said, “Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.” God’s purpose in giving us the Bible is helping His people discern between truth and lies, between His work and the work of His enemy the devil. As the Creator, God has the power to prophesy and fulfill, not necessarily by peeking at the future, but by creating the reality He desires. Because the devil has no such power, God asks us to use biblical prophecies and their fulfillment to discern when, where, and how He is working (Dt 18:21-22). When God fulfills His prophecies, He is asking us to believe in that fulfillment and choose to follow and obey Him.
Yet, in carrying out His work, God has to contend with an enemy who is attempting to foil His plans and oppose Him at every turn. In other words, God is faced with a dilemma: God can carry out His work without prophesying in advance, God can speak plainly through the prophets about what He will do and just fulfill the prophecies by force despite the opposition, or God can speak figuratively about the future to hide His true intentions and fulfill in secret, only proclaiming the fulfillment after it has come. Although the Bible certainly contains examples of prophecies that were fulfilled literally as written (e.g., the virgin birth promised in Is 7:14), many of the visions God gave to the prophets were given as parables and written in symbolic or figurative language (Hos 12:10). This was certainly true for the prophet Daniel. According to Daniel 12:8-9, Daniel could not understand his own visions of the future and asked about their meaning. He was told, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.” Those prophecies were not for the people living in the time of Daniel and so God did not even reveal their true meaning to Daniel himself. The true meaning of such figurative prophecies is only revealed in the future when their fulfillment has come and the devil can no longer interfere. This is the case for both the prophecies of the Old and New Testament, but what are these prophecies about?
In the Old Testament, after the kingdom of Israel broke their covenant with God (Hos 6:7), God began sending prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel to call for the repentance of God’s people and to prophesy about how God would re-create His kingdom in the future. They prophesied a coming Messiah who would shine the light of true understanding of God and His words into the hearts of those willing to listen (Is 9). They prophesied a suffering servant of God who would be pierced on our behalf for our transgressions (Is 53). They prophesied a future gathering of God’s people as His new kingdom, as well as a righteous king who would rule over that coming kingdom (Jer 23). Not only that, but God promised the Son of Man would come to preach the words of God’s open scroll to the rebellious house of Israel (Ez 2-3). In other words, after God’s previous kingdom had gone astray, God promised to establish a new kingdom through those who believed in a promised revelation that would be delivered by God’s anointed messenger. When that promised anointed one Jesus Christ appeared, his teachings revealed the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and newly established the kingdom of heaven (i.e., Jesus’s Church) through those who believed.
Before Jesus was crucified according to prophecy to pay our debt of sin, He promised that although he had come into the world as the light of the world, night was coming (Jn 9:4-5). Jesus knew that the devil would not just sit idly by and ignore Jesus’s victory in the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on this earth; he knew Satan would attack the growing church and work to sow his lies in the hearts of Jesus’s followers (Mt 13:24-25). Jesus urged his followers to remain true to God and His word despite the heavy persecution that would surely come because of their beliefs. Jesus also prayed to God that all of his followers would remain united as one just as he and the Father were one (Jn 17:20-22).
Although the disciples were faithful to the point of death in holding to the one “Way” (Acts 9:2, Acts 24:14), the devil’s lies began to influence the growing church (Gal 1:6, 1 Cor 15:12). These lies were tares sown among the good grain in Jesus’s field (Mt 13:25) in a process that has continued to this day. As more and more disagreements arose regarding how to understand the scriptures, the one “Way” of the early church became many ways, many denominations all vying for the hearts of believers. Sometimes this continual division of Jesus’s church has even turned violent with members of one group of Christians persecuting and systematically murdering other groups of Christians. Is this current state of affairs really the will of God? No! God wants us to be one. To this end, God promised in the New Testament through His son Jesus and others about how He will re-establish His kingdom on this earth in the last days by revealing the fullness of His word through another promised messenger. Here, we will briefly discuss this kingdom, revelation, and messenger promised in the New Testament.
God speaks through His prophets
Jesus fulfilled and prophesied
Your kingdom come!
The Promised Kingdom
Just as Jesus urged us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, God and His kingdom are coming in the last days when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10). Regarding those last days, the book of Revelation promises that the holy city new Jerusalem, heaven in the spiritual world, is coming to accomplish the full indwelling of God with His people (Rv 21:2-4). To whom, then, will God come? Of course, God and His kingdom are coming to believers, but to which believers, to which denomination? As Jesus finished his Sermon on the Mount, he promised that not every one who calls him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, only those who do the will of the Father in heaven (Mt 7:21). He also promised a great harvest at the end of the age in which he will gather the wicked from among the righteous in his kingdom, setting them apart so they can shine like the sun forever (Mt 13:37-43). He promised the kingdom of heaven at the end of the age will be like a net gathering all kinds of fish, with the good fish (i.e., the righteous) being separated from the bad (i.e., the wicked) (Mt 13:47-50). Jesus promised that the last days will be like the time of Noah, when the corrupt world of Adam was judged and brought to an end (Mt 24:37-41). At that time, when God chose Noah and began working through him, it was only the few people who heeded Noah’s words of warning and boarded the ark who were saved. In the same way, Revelation promises that those who hear and heed the words of its prophecies are the ones who will be blessed in the last days (Rv 1:3). Paul promised that our Lord Jesus is coming to gather us to himself only after a period of apostasy when God’s people fall from faith and a “son of destruction” installs himself in the house of God pretending to represent God (2 Thes 2:1-4). Jesus also urged us to flee to the mountain of his kingdom (Is 2:2) when we see an “abomination causing desolation” standing in the “holy place” (Mt 24:15-16).
From all of these promises and more, we can see that the final and eternal kingdom of God is being gathered on this earth in the last days. Who is part of that kingdom? Those who believe in the fulfillment of God’s kingdom on earth and are harvested into it are God’s children born of the seed of His word (Mt 13:38). These are the ones who write God’s words on their hearts and act according to them, doing His will (Heb 8:10-12). It is only when we understand the fullness of God’s word and are changed by it that we can receive the fullness of God’s spirit and become his forever home in this world. If you are willing to listen and learn, you will recognize that Shincheonji Church of Jesus Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (Rv 15:4-5) and its twelve tribes are God’s promised kingdom and people established on earth as in heaven. You too can join the nations as they stream in to join us. Come and see for yourself!
The Promised Revelation
It should be clear from the prophecies mentioned above that Jesus and the other New Testament prophets spoke figuratively about the coming kingdom of God. This was not, however, anything new. When Jesus came to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth at the time of the first coming, this too had been hidden in the figurative language of the prophecies of the Old Testament (Jn 5:39-40). When Jesus came, part of his task was to reveal those hidden secrets of the kingdom of heaven to his disciples and make them a part of that kingdom (Mt 13:10-11). But because God’s plan includes His final kingdom being re-established on earth in the last days, no matter how great Jesus’s revelation 2,000 years ago was, it was only a partial revelation of the fullness of God’s plan.
This is why Jesus spoke everything about that coming kingdom of heaven in parables (Mt 13:34-35) and told his disciples that although he had been speaking to them in figurative language, a time would come in the future when he would speak to them plainly (Jn 16:25). As much as Paul understood about God and Jesus, when he talked about this future time, he admitted that he knew only in part and said that when perfection comes he will know fully even as he has been fully known (1 Cor 13:9-12). This is also why the only full book of prophecy in the New Testament is called the book of Revelation; the fulfillment of the book of Revelation as Jesus finally reveals the precise reality of the kingdom he promised in the New Testament. The understanding of God and the kingdom of heaven Jesus reveals in the last days become the spiritual food—the fruit of life and the hidden manna given at the proper time—that all believers at that time must eat to have life (Mt 24:45-47, Rv 2:7, Rv 2:17). That revealed word transforms our hearts and minds, preparing us to receive the fullness of God’s Spirit when He comes.
It is time to speak plainly
Come and see!
The Promised Messenger
When the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled, God used Jesus to deliver the revelation of their fulfillment to His people (Ez 2-3, Mt 15:24). In the same way, when the New Testament prophecies are fulfilled, the revelation of their fulfillment must be proclaimed to the world. How does God deliver this revelation of the fulfillment of the New Testament prophecies to believers in the last days? Matthew 24:45 talks about a faithful and sensible slave whom his master appoints to give the other slaves of the household their food at the proper time. But this food is not physical food; it is the spiritual food of God’s word (Mt 4:4). And the “proper time” at which this food is given is the time appointed for the fulfillment of the prophecies. The master who left promising to return is Jesus, and his faithful slave is the messenger he appoints to deliver the revelation to his church.
The book of Revelation gives far more details than Mt 24 about the route by which this revelation comes. According to the summary in Rv 1:1-2, God hands over to Jesus the task of fulfilling and revealing the prophecies of the New Testament. Jesus reveals these secrets by sending his angel to his servant John, and then John testifies to what he has seen and heard in fulfillment of the prophecies. We can see this same route in more detail in Rv 5 as God hands the book sealed with seven seals to Jesus the Lamb. Jesus begins to open the book in Rv 6, finishing in Rv 8. Then in Rv 10, an angel with the open book gives it to John and tells him to eat it and then prophesy again. Revelation 22:8 says, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.” Why was this angel sent by Jesus to speak through John? In Rv 22:16, Jesus said that he sent his angel to testify the events of Revelation to the churches.
Roughly 2,000 years ago, it was Apostle John who received the book of Revelation as a vision in which he was the main character. But Apostle John died shortly after receiving and recording the vision of Revelation, never witnessing the fulfillment of its prophecies. When Revelation is fulfilled, Jesus appoints a messenger like Apostle John to witness the events of the fulfillment of Revelation and receive, eat, and digest their explanation so that he can testify on Jesus’s behalf to all the churches of the world. Today, most of the events of Revelation have already been fulfilled and one person who witnessed the events of Revelation’s fulfillment was appointed by Jesus to deliver a testimony regarding those events to the churches. This promised messenger of Jesus is Manhee Lee, the leader of the 12 tribes of Shincheonji Church of Jesus. If you are curious about how these things occurred, we welcome you to come and learn more about the prophecies of the New Testament and their fulfillment in one of our free online Bible courses. Come and see!