An Introduction to the Study of Prophecy -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 100:397 (Jan 1943)
Article: An Introduction to the Study of Prophecy
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


An Introduction to the Study of Prophecy

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s Note: The material contained in this introduction is selected as a special article in the Centennial Number of Bibliotheca Sacra. In the succeeding issues the regular series on Systematic Theology which have been present in past numbers will be resumed. Angelology having been completed, the next theme in order will be Anthropology, or the doctrine of man.]

Eschatology, the last major division of Systematic Theology, is concerned with things to come and should not be limited to things which are future at some particular time in human history, but should contemplate all that was future in character at the time its revelation was given. The word now is ever moving and things yet future at the present time will soon have passed into history. A worthy Eschatology must embrace all prediction whether fulfilled or unfulfilled at a given time. In other words, a true Eschatology will attempt to account for all of the prophecy set forth in the Bible.

The neglect of the prophetic Scriptures on the part of theologians is all but complete, except for a limited survey of the intermediate state, the resurrection of the body, a passing reference to the second advent, and the eternal state. Theological writers, in some instances, have confessed their lack of preparation to deal with Bible prediction. In the opening of his treatise on the second advent,1 Dr. Charles Hodge states: “The subject cannot be adequately discussed without taking a survey of all the prophetic teachings of the Scriptures both of the Old Testament and of the New. This task cannot be satisfactorily accomplished by any one who has not made the study of the prophecies a specialty. The author, knowing that he has no such qualifications for the work, purposes to confine himself in a great measure to a historical survey of the different schemes of interpreting the Scriptural prophecies relating to this subject.” To the same end, Dr. B. B. Warfield in an article on the millennium,2

builds his argument on the untenable idea that there is no reference to such an age anywhere save in the “very obscure passage”-Revelation, chapter 20, without the slightest recognition of a covenanted kingdom for Israel with the fulfillment of every earthly promise. When, how, and where will these covenants be experienced? To Dr. Warfield the present blessing of saints in heaven is the millennium. He writes: “The thousand years, thus, is the whole of this present dispensation, which aga...

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