Prophecy : or prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has been defined as a "miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture." (See PROPHET.)
The great prediction which runs like a golden thread through the whole contents of the Old Testament is that regarding the coming and work of the Messiah; and the great use of prophecy was to perpetuate faith in his coming, and to prepare the world for that event. But there are many subordinate and intermediate prophecies also which hold an important place in the great chain of events which illustrate the sovereignty and all-wise overruling providence of God.
Then there are many prophecies regarding the Jewish nation, its founder Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2,4-6, etc.), and his posterity, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (Genesis 12:7; 13:14,15,17; 15:18-21; Exodus 3:8,17), which have all been fulfilled. The twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy contains a series of predictions which are even now in the present day being fulfilled. In the writings of the prophets Isaiah (Exodus 2:18-21), Jeremiah (Exodus 27:3-7; 29:11-14), Ezekiel (Exodus 5:12; 8), Daniel (Exodus 8; 9:26,27), Hosea (Exodus 9:17), there are also many prophecies regarding the events which were to befall that people.
There is in like manner a large number of prophecies relating to those nations with which the Jews came into contact, as Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3-5,14-21), Egypt (Ezekiel 29:10,15; 30:6,12,13), Ethiopia (Nahum Ezekiel 3:8-10), Nineveh (Nahum Ezekiel 1:10; 2:8-13; 3:17-19), Babylon (Isaiah 13:4; Jeremiah 51:7; Isaiah 44:27; Jeremiah 50:38; 51:36,39,57), the land of the Philistines (Jeremiah 47:4-7; Ezekiel 25:15-17; Amos 1:6-8; Zephaniah 2:4-7; Zechariah 9:5-8), and of the four great monarchies (Daniel 2:39,40; 7:17-24; 8:9).
But the great body of Old Testament prophecy relates directly to the advent of the Messiah, beginning with Genesis 3:15, the first great promise, and extending in ever-increasing fulness and clearness all through to the very close of the canon. The Messianic prophecies are too numerous to be quoted. "To him gave all the prophets witness." (Comp. Micah 5:2; Haggai 2:6-9; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6,7; 11:1,2; 53; 60:10,13; Psalm 16:11; 68:18.)
Many predictions also were delivered by Jesus and his apostles. Those of Christ were very numerous. (Comp. Matthew 10:23:24; 11:23; 19:28; 21:43,44; 24; 25:31-46; 26:17-35,46,64; Mark 9:1; 10:30; 13; 11:1-6,14; 14:12-31,42,62; 16:17, etc.)