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« on: February 04, 2010, 04:40:52 AM »

THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

BY

S. Franklin Logsdon

"It is expedient for you that I go away . . . I will send him unto you"

Copyright @ 1960

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

THE SPIRIT KNOWS THE FUTURE

"He will show you things to come"

THE FUTURE is LOCKED AWAY in the omniscience of God. It is hidden completely from the eyes of man. What it holds, what it will bring, must await the gradual unfolding of time. History is the beaten path that man has wearily traversed. Prophecy is the future that lies secretly secured in the hand of God.

But there are things to come! This is an interesting feature about the textual revelation. It arrests the attention of man immediately. All are curious about what lies beyond. Were this not true, fortune tellers could not exist. Their patrons are illustrative of the universal longing in the breast of man to penetrate the future. Of course, palm reading, crystal gazing and teacup prognosticating never bring assurance. No discerning person would repose confidence in such speculation. Jesus said that the Spirit, not man, would show us "things to come."

It is encouraging to notice that the text affirms the omniscience of the Spirit. He knows the future. It also infers His power and purpose to disclose for human comprehension and appreciation "things to come."

When, during World War I, the planes were releasing destructive explosives, Tennyson's Lockesley Hall was cited as a prophecy come true. The poet was posthumously accredited with being a prophet. Said he a generation previously:

I dipped into the future far as human eye could see,
Saw the wonders of the world and the glories that should be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sail-
Pilots of the purple twilight, casting down their costly bale.
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 04:44:30 AM »

TWO ASPECTS OF PREDICTION

That the thought expressed in these lines proved co-incidental with developments rather than anticipative of them is found in the qualification of the first line; namely, "as far as human eye could see." Perhaps we should be reminded that prophecy is both predictive and perceptive; predictive when the conclusions are obscured, and perceptive when conceptions are obvious.

Man can predicate certain conclusions on the basis of conditions or signs. Jesus reminded the Pharisees that "when it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red and lowering." Weather conditions, economic tendencies, business trends, even epidemics can be predicted on the strength of certain signs. Exposure to cold or dampness, then a sneeze, and most of us can predict a head cold. Certain situations are logical results — the outcome of evident indications. This opens a wide field for human speculation, and, in every age, men engage in this art.

In the predictive phase where the conclusions are obscured, there is a different picture entirely.

Long ago, it was made clear to Moses that "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever." By whom are they revealed? In days gone by, the power of predictive prophecy was vouchsafed to certain of God's servants, but even in such cases it was the revelation of the Lord to them. For instance, "Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision" (Daniel 2:19).

THE SPIRIT'S PREROGATIVE

In this age, the matter of unveiling the future is delegated to the Holy Spirit, and to no other. Jesus said, "He will show you things to come" (John 16:13). The uniqueness of the Spirit's position and prerogative in this respect is further emphasized in the writings of Paul: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us BY HIS SPIRIT" (I Corinthians 2:9,10). Nor does He reveal only those things which God has prepared for them that love Him. He also reveals the sorrowful doom of those who reject Christ.

The study of prophecy brings to light some very interesting observations.

- Prophecy proves the fact of Omniscience.
- Prophecy supports the veracity of the Scriptures.
- Prophecy presents a beacon for mankind.

It also poses some pertinent questions.
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 04:45:18 AM »

THE RECORDING OF PROPHECY

How was prophecy given?

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21). A paraphrase of this verse would be, "but being borne on by the Holy Ghost, men spake from God." It did not result from either the thinking or the discovery of man. No individual is quoted in the sacred Canon as delving into the future "as far as human eye can see."

The Record states that they were "borne along"—impelled by a Spirit mightier than themselves.

Man may search and submit his findings, but his field, faculties and facilities are restricted. He operates "under the sun."

He examines matter and investigates fixed laws, but when it comes to a glimpse of what is beyond, God appoints His Holy Spirit to draw back the curtain. Since He has no visible body, He has used human instrumentality with an impelling force which man does not natively possess. This is how prophecy was given.

THE EXACTITUDE OF PROPHECY

How is prophecy strengthened?

This is, admittedly, an elementary question. Prophecy is given of the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of power—of divine power. What He does, what He says, needs no added support.

- We cannot embellish the Truth with human eloquence; it is inherently beautiful.
- We cannot strengthen the Truth with forensic logic; it is already "quick and powerful."
- We cannot add to the effectiveness of Truth by any human skill; it is ever "sharper than any two-edged sword."
- We cannot augment the wonders of Revelation.

Our appreciation of prophecy, though, is definitely enhanced by the exactitude of its fulfillment. "We have also the word of prophecy made more sure" (II Peter 1:19, marg.). It is both reassuring and comforting to examine prophecy already fulfilled. A total of thirty-three Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in one day when Jesus was crucified. It would seem that an unseen Hand was that day directing in every detail. In a very real sense this was true, and in a very real sense this will be true forever. The Voice of authority speaks unequivocally on this point: "Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18).
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 04:46:13 AM »

UNDERSTANDING PROPHECY

How may prophecy be understood?

When the late Dr. William L. Pettingill, one of the strongest advocates of the prophetic Word in his generation, was conducting a Bible-teaching mission, he met, as usual, some very querulous people. One woman asked, "How do you read prophetic Scriptures?"

"The very same way you would read any written matter," was the quick reply.

"But how would you read, for instance, Acts 1:11?" she continued.

"I would begin as I learned to read as a child and with the same relaxed confidence," lie answered. "I remember reading, 'This—is —a—bird. This—is—a—dog. This—is—a—cow.' I would therefore read Acts 1:11 with the same kind of deliberation and belief. 'This— same — Jesus — which — is — taken — up — from — you — into — heaven, — shall — so — come — in — like — manner — as — ye — have — seen — him — go — into — heaven.'"

Reading, of course, is one thing; understanding is quite another. It is good to read the prophetic presentations. "Blessed is he that readeth . . . the words of this prophecy" (Revelation 1:3). It is given to us to understand as well. "Know, therefore, and understand," was the clear instruction of the Lord to Daniel; but "knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II Peter 1:20). More literally, "No prophecy of the scripture is to be presented from any private or personal point of view." Thus, to know how prophecy is not to be considered is perhaps the best assistance toward the right procedure and the proper conception. Prophecy always falls into a pattern designed by infinite wisdom and does not allow for the injection of human opinion. In His encouragement to compare scripture with scripture the Holy Spirit eliminates all possibility of contradictions in His revelation of "things to come."

THE TERMINATION OF PROPHECY

When will prophecy terminate?

Prophecy, as we understand it, will terminate when God finishes His dealings with His ancient people and fulfills all His promises to them. Daniel 9:24 is a summation of the matter.

God will:

(1) finish the transgression;
(2) make an end of sins;
(3) make reconciliation for iniquity;
(4) bring in everlasting righteousness;
(5) seal up the vision and prophecy;
(6) anoint the Holy of Holies.

This is, in a sense, the epitome of prophecy.

There is a practical aspect to the prophetic Scriptures. It is threefold in its appeal. Prophecy is given by the Holy Spirit to comfort, to encourage and to warn.
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 04:46:55 AM »

PROPHECY UPLIFT TO CHRISTIANS

To comfort

"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass" (Matthew 24:6).

This was a gloomy forecast, but time has proved its accuracy, and what painful reminders are upon us at the moment. The "must" of inevitability in our Lord's prophetic utterance has defied all peace conferences and men's hopeful arrangements to outlaw war. Battlefields, bloodshed, broken hearts and blasted hopes paint a somber picture before the eyes of a race that is helpless to change it. Scarcely is an armistice arranged or a treaty signed, pursuant to a savage conflict, until rumors begin to befog the horizon of man's dreams. Threatening storms loom much of the time with their distressing portents.

The Lord does not evacuate His people from the scene every time the Devil goes on a rampage. But He does fortify them in the midst of trial. "See that ye be not troubled," is the comforting counsel of Him who sees each falling tear and measures the quickened heartbeat.

This, then, is the shining ray which penetrates the gloominess of the inevitable.

- It is not a meteor cutting the inky darkness of the midnight sky.
- It is not a flash that fades.
- It is not a dash of light that cannot be traced.

It is a persistent light that lingers and lasts. Its source is evident. Its meaning is clear. Its message is a boon to fainting hearts and faltering spirits.

PROPHECY BOLSTERS FAITH

To Encourage

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). Look up! Lift up! Here is the terse command of the Captain of our salvation. The uplook is vision; the uplift is victory. Victory never conies without vision, and never before it.

While the hearts of unbelieving men fail them for fear, beholding those things which are coming to pass on the earth, the hopefulness of the believer is bolstered by the assurance of the coming again of the Lord, "Your redemption draweth nigh." It is the greatest inducement for the Christian to press on amid the sinful ways of men and the frightening developments of the age.
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2010, 04:47:29 AM »

THE ADMONITORY NOTE IN PROPHECY

To Warn

Prophecy is given not only to comfort and to encourage, but to warn as well.

To warn means to admonish, to enlighten by caution, to call attention to, to put in mind. "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:4, 5). And what was there in the unfolding of time and in the development of events which moved the heart of Christ to sound a warning for His people? He knew that there would appear on the stage of life certain impersonators of Himself. Indeed, He said there would be many.

The writer had just completed a message at a Bible conference and was standing with other servants of the Lord near the exit of the edifice when a man with a profuse beard made a gracious approach with these words,

"Do you not know me?"

"I think I have never met you before," I replied.

"Oh, yes you have!" he quickly and rather emphatically responded.

Then taking from his pocket a neat leather case, he withdrew an identification card bearing these words, "The Son of the Living God." There were no quotation marks about the words, and no further explanation from his lips.

"Where have you come from?" I asked.

"My father brought me here," he stated.

"And where are you going tonight?" I inquired.

"My father knows," was his terse but confident answer.

The reader may quickly dismiss this experience by attributing to the strange individual the status of a mentally unbalanced person. But he was not unbalanced. He possessed remarkable poise. He was most polite. He spoke with the clearest of diction, and with directness. True, his mind had been overpowered; his thoughts had been captured. He was representing himself to be someone he was not. Perhaps no one has ever believed him, or followed him, but Jesus prophesied that "many" shall come in His name and shall deceive "many." Some are believed and followed. A photostatic copy of a check in the amount of $185,000.00 was widely published some years ago as having been given to one who claims to be the Christ. This indicates substantial interest in a false cause and the extent to which deception may lead.
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2010, 04:47:44 AM »

THE BIRDS IN THE TREE

The Lord Jesus may not have limited His concern to individual claims. He could have had in mind organized movements as well. Jesus spoke of birds lodging in the twisted, confusing branches of the tree which represents Christendom (Matthew 13:32). These "birds" are most certainly the diversity of sects and cults and isms which are flourishing amid a decadent Protestantism. The chirping of these birds has attracted the attention of a great following. "Take heed that no man deceive you," Jesus admonished. There was never a time when this counsel was more necessary than now.

Prophetic truth reveals that there will be an increase of this diverting artifice. "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (II Timothy 3:13). They are stars, wandering stars, without light (Jude 13).

We look askance upon a man, be he ever so polite, who identifies himself as "the Son of the Living God." We count it a serious offense indeed.

On the other hand, many claim to be Christians who are not.

In both cases, there is misrepresentation. The one played the part by wearing a beard and disclaiming all earthly relationship. Others feign the Christian position by asserting that they "keep the Ten Commandments," are devotees of a certain creed, or are living a good Me. Such are misled, and this is exactly the meaning of the word "deceive" which Jesus used in forecasting the trend of the age.

The primary purpose of prophecy, then, is to comfort, to encourage, to warn.

¬~ end of chapter 14 ~

CHAPTER 13. THE SPIRIT ENLARGES VISION

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