To the great Creator God, prophecy is not mysterious. He wants us to understand the outcome is clear. God’s enemies have no chance. In the end, God wins!
Many of the prophecies of the Bible have details that can be challenging for modern readers to understand.
They abound with mysterious symbols and unfamiliar geographic references. They predict devastating curses and terrifying enemies.
Sometimes it can be good to step back and try to see the bigger picture. The overall arc of prophecy. God’s perspective of where we are now and where He will take us.
One passage where He gives us some perspective is Isaiah 40.
“The nations are as a drop in a bucket”
While other prophecies point out the power and destructiveness of enemies like the end-time beast and false prophet, here God helps us step back to see the much bigger picture.
“Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing . . .
“It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless” (Isaiah 40:15, 22-23).
From God’s perspective, the earth and its inhabitants are tiny and fleeting.
And yet He invites us to step back still further, to glimpse the vast universe that He has made.
God knows all the billions and billions of stars by name!
According to one estimate, there are at least “1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a ‘1’ with 24 zeros after it (1 septillion in the American numbering system; 1 quadrillion in the European system)” (space.com).
Even the amazing photographs from the James Webb Space Telescope can give us only a hint of the immensity of God’s creation.
When you back out far enough, the entire physical universe fades and there is only God.
From this perspective, worrying about God’s enemies winning is ludicrous. Nothing that human, or even spiritual, adversaries can do can thwart the great God’s plan.
Yet, though we are like grass that so quickly withers (verse 8), God cares about us. Though we are like dust, God has placed significance on us.
He loves us and wants us to be His people—His children.
“Comfort My people”
Even though God’s plan involves punishment for sins, He also longs to comfort those who have been chastened and redeemed (verses 1-2). He describes His tender love using the analogy of a good shepherd:
The God of limitless strength can surely empower His children to endure to the end of this evil age and inherit His Kingdom.“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young” (verse 11).
This theme of a loving shepherd echoes through the Bible, from David’s Psalm 23 to Jesus’ identification as the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep (John 10:11). That sacrifice made it possible for us to have our sins washed away and to receive God’s forgiveness and comfort.
“They shall mount up with wings like eagles”
The challenges of this life are predicted to get worse before they get better. We can wonder if we will have the strength to endure the fulfillment of end-time prophecies. Some will question whether God has forgotten their troubles.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
The God of limitless strength can surely empower His children to endure to the end of this evil age and inherit His Kingdom.
This is part of the gospel Jesus Christ brought—the good tidings of the Kingdom of God, a perfect government that will bring restoration, peace and plenty to a devastated world. Study more about this in our article “What Is the Kingdom of God?”
Before delving into the details of prophecy, it is good to have the big picture, starting with the God’s-eye perspective found in Isaiah 40. Building from there, the framework of end-time prophecy can be easier to understand and less frightening.
Then it is important to understand why God gave prophecy. It is not to give us secret knowledge to boost our ego.
Prophecy shows God’s justice in a world that is filled with injustice, and that should lead us to repentance. It shows God’s power in a world that dismisses Him, and that should encourage us to persevere. And, ultimately, prophecy demonstrates God’s love.
You can continue your study by examining the biblical references in our article “Purpose of Prophecy.”
Then download our helpful free booklet How to Understand Prophecy. It provides a framework that can enhance your understanding of end-time prophecy and of how it can change your life for the better—and for eternity!