April 2, 2017
What is the Difference Between Prophecy and Prediction?
Prophecy and prediction are sometimes considered equivalent terms, where one can be easily substituted for the other. It is true that both have to do with future events. Yet, there is a slight difference. Prediction has more to do with conclusions based on professional evaluation of facts, and prophecy has to do with divine utterance.
The ability to foretell the future is of interest to many people. Oftentimes, there are business and economic reasons for wanting to know the future. A farmer may want to know if it is going to rain. If so, he will not water his fields today. An investor wants to know what will be happening in various markets around the world and so looks to economic predictions. A business manager wants to know trends so as to plan a marketing campaign. A family wants to know if they should plan a trip to the amusement park or sports arena, or if the weather will be bad. The general public wants to know what direction food and gas prices will move. There are other topics of prediction as well.
These kinds of business, economic, and weather forecasts fall into the line of predictions. Predictions are made, usually by professionals in a field, who evaluate the data in their field of expertise. A meteorologist predicts the weather. An economist predicts the economy. Various journals predict trends in various economic and business sectors.
Prophecy, on the other hand, while it does deal with future events, is not the result of the analytical study of research. Prophecies are considered divine utterances. They are considered a revelation of God’s divine will and plan. They are a prediction of the future, but they are made under divine inspiration, not through reasoning. Prophecies can be transmitted in writing or orally.
One prophetic book is the Bible. While there are many different types of prophecies, some concerning historical events, there are over 300 predictions about Jesus the Christ. They talk about his manner and place of birth, his life, his death, and the purpose for his life. The mathematical probability of 300+ prophecies being fulfilled in one person is astronomical. People talk about the chances of a business succeeding, or the chances of rain, but think about the chances of 300+ different things, spoken by inspired revelation by people who lived in different locations, and in different periods of history, all being fulfilled in one person named Jesus. It is truly astronomical.