John Calvin on Applying the Old Testament Prophetic Books to Current Events

Recently I was reading John Calvin’s commentary on Isaiah the Prophet and came across this quote in the preface…

“Hence we may learn in what manner the doctrine of the word should be handled, and that we ought to imitate the Prophets, who conveyed the doctrine of the Law in such a manner as to draw from it advices, reproofs, threatenings and consolations, which they applied to the present condition of the people. For although we do not daily receive a revelation of what we are to utter as a prediction, yet it is of high importance to us to compare the behavior of that ancient people; and from their histories and examples we ought to make known the judgments of God; such as, that what he formerly punished he will also punish with equal severity in our own day, for he is always like himself. Such wisdom let godly teachers acquire, if they would wish to handle the doctrine of the Prophets with any good result.” Preface to Calvin’s Commentary on Isaiah

Notice that Calvin says it is of “high importance” for us to study the prophets in order to compare the behavior of the ancient people of the prophetic books of scripture, to the behavior of people in our day, in order to discern how God working in history at the present time. As we watch the news headlines come through about the presidential election, protests, riots, police shootings, murders and coronavirus, how do we discern God’s hand in all of it? According to Calvin, we should see parallels of how God is recorded as acting in Scripture, and then apply this to out modern times. Not an easy task, but one that is fruitful, because we then discern the Holy, Righteous, Just and Gracious actions of God in our day, just as the Ancient prophets of Israel discerned it in their day.

To this end, I am planning to start producing (God Willing) a weekly program entitled “The Prophetic View”, where we will discuss news and events and try to formulate a Biblical response and discern what God is doing in both judgment and blessing.

I will still continue to offer content dealing with the doctrine of the trinity, deity of Christ, Justification, defending reformed theology and responding to attacks on Biblical Christianity.

Here is the latest episode of AFA where I discuss this new venture.

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