Derek Prince - Prophecy Will Only Be Understood When Fulfilled
This excerpt is from: How to Approach Biblical Prophecy
The next principle is that many prophecies are given for a specific time and situation and until we come to that time and situation we will not be able to understand the prophecy. So, in Jeremiah 30:3–7 we have a specific prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel to their own land. Let me say my observation is most of the prophecies for the end time assume the presence of Israel as a nation in their own land. In other words, they could not be fulfilled until the state of Israel was restored. This is the prophecy. Let me say a dear brother in the Lord whom I respect some good many years ago made a statement He said: "The restoration of the state of Israel could not be from God because if it were from God it would have produced peace." I have to say he could not have said that if he’d been familiar with prophecy. Prophecy says exactly the opposite. These are the words: "For behold, the days are coming," says the Lord "that I will bring back from captivity [or from exile] my people Israel and Judah," says the Lord "and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers and they shall possess it."
Now anybody who has a small acquaintance with the Bible knows where the land is that God gave to the fathers of Israel. There’s only one land that answers to that description it’s a little strip of territory at the east end of the Mediterranean. Now these are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah. For thus says the Lord "We have heard a voice of trembling of fear, and not of peace." Notice that "not of peace." "Ask now and see whether a male is ever in labor with child. So why do I see every male with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor and all faces turned pale. Alas, for that day is great so that none is like it and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble. But, he shall be saved out of it."
So far from predicting peace when Israel is restored to their territory the Bible warns us there’ll be a time of tribulation and anguish without parallel in Jewish history. And when you consider Jewish history that’s a startling statement. Concerning it the Lord says not "he will be saved from it" but "he will be saved out of it." And that applies to a lot of other situations in our lives. God doesn’t always save us from things but He saves us out of things. He lets us get into them and then He saves us out of them. And then at the end of that chapter there’s the little sort of P.S. in the last verse, verse 24: "In the latter days you will consider it." In other words, you really won’t have any use for this prophecy until the time of the end. In fact, it won’t have much meaning for you. But I’ll tell you, as far as I’m concerned it is exceedingly meaningful today because we live in Jerusalem and we see it all happening in front of our eyes.
So remember, a lot of prophecies you won’t understand until the appropriate moment. And then one main purpose of Biblical prophecy is to guide us in what we do and what we don’t do, it becomes directive. People who don’t know Biblical prophecy are liable to be praying and trying to do things which will never come to pass because God has said they will never happen. If God has said something will never happen it’s a waste of time to pray that it will happen or to try to make it happen. I’ll give you a little example from Matthew 24 and we’ll be returning to Matthew 24 in the next two sessions. Let me say this in case I forget to say it then if you want to receive as much as possible from my next two sessions read Matthew 24 and 25. And when you’ve read them read them again. because we’re going to deal with them in detail verse by verse. I’m just preempting that by going to two verses that apply to the situation after the Jews have been returned to their land.
It says in Matthew 24:19–20: "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in those days. And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath." So, you would be inclined in that situation to say "God, don’t let us have to flee." God says that’s a useless prayer you’re going to have to flee. Pray within those parameters. Pray that though you may have to flee it will not be in winter. Why? Because it will be very tough in winter especially for pregnant women or women with nursing babies. And, pray that it may not be on the Sabbath. Why would you pray that it may not be on the Sabbath? That has no meaning at all unless there’s a Jewish state. I lived in that country which was then called Palestine while it was still under the British mandate. The Sabbath was no different from any other day. But under a Jewish state in the area of Jerusalem no one has public transportation on the Sabbath. The majority of people don’t travel anywhere. So, a large group of people fleeing on the Sabbath day would become extremely conspicuous.
So Jesus says you’re going to have to flee. Don’t pray you won’t have to flee but pray that you won’t have to flee in winter or on the Sabbath day. That’s an example of many prophetic scriptures which tell us what is going to happen. And if God says it’s going to happen it is a waste of time to pray that it won't happen It's a waste of time to try and work it out so it won’t happen. What you can do is pray within the parameters of revealed prophecy. That’s number three. Now number four to avoid wrong prayer or action.