Lesson 7: The Purpose of Predictions



I. Divine Sovereignty 

A. God’s Immutability

  1. God’s Character
  2. Covenant Promises
  3. Eternal Counsel

B. God’s Providence

II. Predictions & Contingencies 

A. General Patterns 

  1. Observation
  2. Explanation
  3. Elaboration

B. Specific Examples 

  1. Prediction of Shemaiah 
  2. Prediction of Jonah

III. Certainty of Predictions

A. Conditional Predictions 
B. Unqualified Predictions
C. Confirmed Predictions 

  1. Words
  2. Signs

D. Sworn Predictions

IV. Goals of Predictions 

A. Popular Perspectives 
B. Correct Perspectives

  1. “Who Knows?” Reaction 
  2. Twofold Reaction



1. What do we mean when we say that God immutable?

2. What do we mean when we say that God governs creation through providence?

3. In what ways does God interact with secondary causes, or creaturely causes?

4. How are predictions affected by historical contingencies?

5. According to Dr. Pratt, what was the meaning of the symbolism in Jeremiah 18, where the potter worked with the lump of clay, shaping it as seemed best to him?

6. What do the examples of Shemaiah and Jonah imply about the relationship between predictions and historical contingencies?

7. Describe the four strategies prophecies use to communicate God’s level of determination to fulfill predictions.

8. What are the mistaken popular perspectives on the purpose of Old Testament predictions?

9. What was the purpose of Old Testament predictions?

10. What is the significance of the “who knows?” reaction?

11. What reactions did Old Testament prophets hope to inspire in their original audiences?


1. How does it make you feel that your choices and reactions to God affect the direction of history?

2. Knowing that prayer can affect the way prophecy is fulfilled, what new kinds of prayers might Christians be motivated to pray?

3. How does the idea that prophecy is fundamentally conditional make you feel? Does it reassure you? Does it frighten you?

4. Does the conditionality of prophecy challenge anything else you believe?

5. What is the most significant insight you have learned from this study? Why?
Last modified: Tuesday, 4 September 2012, 6:39 PM