1. And I, Baruch, went to the people, and assembled them together from the greatest to the least, and said:
2. Listen, children of Israel, behold how many of you still survive.
3. For the Lord gave the law surpassing that of the rest of the world to your forefathers.
4. Because some of Israel disobeyed those commandments of the Most High, He brought vengeance, and captivity, and did not spare any from His anger.
5. And therefore, we find ourselves here now.
6. If you obey now, you will not depart into captivity in further vengeance of the Lord, but someday those in captivity will return here.
7. For the Lord is merciful Whom ye worship, and He is gracious in Whom ye hope, and He is true to do good and not evil to the repentant and obedient.
8. Do not forget what has just befallen Zion.
9. For it was not the land itself that sinned, so that it was so judged.
10. It was on your account, it was the people who caused the land to see judgment and be delivered to the enemies.
11. The people answered: We do remember the good things that the Mighty One has done, and if we are forgetting any, He mercifully knows that our memories can be failing.
12. Nevertheless, write to our brethren in Babylon a letter of good
news that you may confirm this news to them before you die.
13. For the shepherds of Israel have died, and the lamps which gave us light are gone out, and the fountains of knowledge of which we should drink are dry.
14. And we are in darkness, and amidst the briers of the forest, and thirst in this wilderness of life.
15. Shepherds, lamps, and fountains came from the Word of God, and though God's messengers die, the Word remains.
16. If you desire to know the Word of God, a lamp will be sent, a faithful shepherd will come, and a fountain of knowledge will flow.
17. I will write a letter to Babylon and send it by men, and to the other nine and a half tribes I will send a letter by bird.
18. On the twenty-first day of the eighth month, I, Baruch, sat under an oak being alone.
19. And I wrote two letters, one I sent by an eagle to the nine and a half tribes, and the other I sent to Babylon with three men.
20. I called the eagle and said:
21. The Most High has made you higher that all birds.
22. Go and delay not in any place, do not enter a nest, nor settle upon a tree, till you have gone over the waters of the Euphrates, and come to the people to cast them down this letter.
23. Remember, that in the flood time, Noah received from a bird an olive branch, after he had sent it from the ark.
24. Also remember, that ravens served Elijah his meals as they had been commanded to do.
25. Solomon also commanded birds to go forth and do his desires.
26. And therefore, do not weary, nor stray, but fly directly to those people, so the will of the Mighty One might be done.
Prophecy is the revelation of history by God before it occurs. He does want us to know many things about His purposes toward us, toward other peoples, and toward the universe. True prophecy is the prophecy that springs from the mind of God.
True prophecy is the "lamp" that is brought by a prophet "the shepherd", and a "fountain of knowledge" is released with the prophets' message. (See Baruch 77:13-16)
True prophecy affirms that God does foreknow events before they happen.
"Behold, the former things have come to pass - new things I declare unto you - before they spring forth, I tell you of them."
True prophecy shows us that God is omnipotent. He can declare things will someday occur, and the devil and all his forces cannot stop them from occurring.
"I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass."
"Prophecy" comes from two Greek words. "Pro" means "forth or before". "Phemi" means "to speak." Therefore "prophecy" is - to speak forth facts from God's mind. The prophets will often speak a "Thus saith the Lord..."
One third of the Bible is prophecy. This shows a great emphasis of God on revealing future facts to us. He knows many things we would like to know, and God seems to be intent on revealing much to us:
"He revealeth His secrets unto His servants, the prophets."
We can sometimes be surprised to see in the Bible how much God has wanted to reveal. In Jude 14, we are shown that even Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, knew that someday Christ would come with many , many saints. Abraham was called a prophet, and we are told in Hebrews that he looked for the New Jerusalem.
Moses spoke with God "face to face":
Numbers 12:8 (KJV)
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
Moses knew that a Deliverer would come "like unto men":
Deuteronomy 18:15 (KJV)
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
Prophets are chosen of God. We a told to "covet to prophesy":
1 Corinthians 14:39 (KJV)
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
"Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them."
It appears that God is trying to answer that prayer. We see how the Holy Spirit is offered to "all flesh." And all who come to the Lord are commanded to "covet to prophesy."
In the Old Testament, the prophets would gather the people together at the new moon (beginning of the month), and on the sabbaths - for the purpose of edification and instruction. These men were primarily preachers of righteousness. Many, if not most of them, were strange in some way. In fact, they were often asked of God to do "strange" things. Ezekiel was told to preach to mountains. Hosea was told to buy back his unfaithful wife at auction. Abraham was told to offer his son in sacrifice. Elijah was told to pour water on the sacrifice. Moses was told to hit a rock to get water. Jeremiah was told to buy an expensive belt, wear it for a time, then go to the river Euphrates and bury it.
One thing that stands out about prophets is that they were willing to do anything God asked of them, no matter how
stupid it seemed.
It is amazing to see how accurate the prophecy of God has been. All Bible prophecy has either been fulfilled, or soon will be:
"One jot of one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
There were 333 details of the Messiah's first coming predicted in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled all 333 prophecies. The chances of that happening by chance are 1 in 840, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.
There are 1423 prophetic verses in the 7957 verses of the New Testament. Christ is the center of all the prophecy of God:
"To Him give all the prophets witness."
"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
All learning moves from the unknown to the known. As children first learn basic addition. Then they are taught subtraction. After those are taught, then multiplication and division are taught. In the same way God has built revelation upon revelation to prepare us for the message that He is now revealing to us. The Messianic prophecy began in seed form with the prophecy to Adam and Eve about the seed of woman that would someday come and bruise the head of the serpent. From that prophecy, God has progressively revealed more and more about the Messiah:
"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they might go."
For anyone to try to prophesy without Bible study to find out the precepts, and lines that God has already revealed is foolish. Now, in these last days, we have a whole stack of lines and precepts given to prophets already. We need to study them, and then let God reveal more revelation to us. The new revelation will not contradict the old revelation, but will rather confirm and enlighten it.
Daniel started in the study of the Word of God. When he was studying the message of Jeremiah (a contemporary), he found a revelation of prophecy. He read in Jeremiah (25:11, 29:1,10) about the 70 years that the people were to suffer the captivity:
"I, Daniel, understand by the books the number of years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, the prophet, that he would accomplish 70 years in the desolation of Jerusalem."
Then Daniel turned to God to pray about Jeremiah's prophecy. As he prayed and continued to search the Word of God, he came to Leviticus 26:14-39:
"I set my face unto the Lord God... the curse is poured upon us and the oath that is written in the law of Moses."
To Moses had been given the prophecy that when a captivity would come to the people, God would punish them seven times longer if they did not repent during that time of punishment. So Daniel took both prophecies and multiplied 70 times 7, and realized that there would be 490 more years of judgment time for Israel. It was then that God sent to Daniel a revelation to reveal more details of the 490 years that were to be given to Israel:
"I am now come to give thee understanding... 70 weeks (490 years) are determined."
In order for us to understand prophecy, a detailed study of the Word of God
and its prophecy should be undertaken. There is prophesied a time in the last days when prophetic knowledge will cover the earth as waters cover the sea:
"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
There is also prophesied that in the last days, a famine for the hearing of the Word of God, despite a hunger and thirst for it, would come. This time of ignorance of the Bible's prophetic message is predicted for the same time as the flooding of the earth with prophetic knowledge:
"...last days... famine... of hearing the words of the Lord... they shall wander from sea to sea... run to and fro to seek the word (revelation) from the Lord, and shall not find it... in that day the fair virgins, and the young men shall faint for thirst."
How can this be?
The difference is that the prophetic knowledge is there, it is being given, and has already been given in the Word of God, yet though some will enjoy it, many others will faint from a thirst and hunger for it. It is not because it is not there to be fed upon, it is because they will not hear the truth. The famine is not one of lack of prophecy, it a famine because of lack of "hearing" the Word.
Some say that prophecy is a mystery, and therefore we should not study it. But God wants us to know, and He gave us one third of the Bible as prophecy. Some read I Corinthians 2:9, but fail to read verse 10:
I Corinthians 2:9-10
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him... but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit."
The Bible does speak of mysteries and hidden truths. At some points in God's revelations, men are not to know certain truths. When finally ready, the Spirit does reveal these mysteries. Paul spoke of the mystery of the church. Paul explained what had been kept hidden from the prophets until after the rejection of Jesus by the Jews. For God to have revealed the mystery of the church earlier would have caused some to say that God wanted and caused the Jews to reject Jesus.
Jesus spoke of a judgment on the church to come someday, and said that until that moment, it had been kept a "mystery":
Matthew 13:11 (KJV)
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Matthew 13:34-35 (KJV)
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus reveals 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 vials of judgment. However, John is not allowed to reveal the 7 thunders of judgment.
The Gentiles were promised blessings since the time of Abraham:
"In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Rahab, Ruth, and others pre-shadowed this blessing on the Gentiles. To Peter, however, this prophetic mystery was finally revealed in greater measure.
Daniel was a book that was to be sealed from full understanding until the last days. The Jews never understood the prophetic significance of the book of Daniel. Now in these last days we are beginning to fully understand the prophecy of Daniel.
People often rebel against new revelations. The Jews did in Jesus' first coming. The Jews, before the captivity to Babylon, refused to heed the warnings of God's true prophets. And now, many say- "That's not the way I heard it." Yet, a more complete revelation and understanding of the prophecy of the Bible is being poured out on God's prophets in these days. The truth of the Bible is not changing, but more understanding of its prophetic message is being given.