“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18)
Two types of prophecy must be distinguished. When a prophet foretells or predicts, he represents the future in light of the present. But frequently the prophetic message consisted of rebuking, reproving, counseling, or admonishing, i.e., forth-telling rather than foretelling. As such, he portrays the present in light of the future.
It is the predictive type of prophecy that provides such a strong argument for rational faith. Neither human intuition about the future nor limited Satanic control of the future can account for the hundreds of specific biblical prophecies that have been literally and specifically fulfilled. These could only come by divine revelation from the One who both knows and controls the future.
Actually, predictive prophecy provides a double defense: Not only does it prove the divine origin, inspiration, and authority of Scripture, but since over half of the prophecies converge on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, it advocates His deity and Messiahship. One could hardly read Isaiah 52:13–53:12 or Psalm 22 without recognizing that these are prophetic portraits of Christ on the cross. Others, equally specific, deal with other aspects of His life and ministry.
Still others predict the coming Kingdom to be set up by Christ, in which we as believers will have a part. Having seen so many prophecies literally fulfilled, we can have complete confidence that these others will come to pass as well. “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). JDM