Reading Time: 11 minutesBible prophecy is much more than just “predictions.” Prophecy takes us through past ages, and reflects upon the progression of sin and righteousness and justice and injustice. And yet, prophecy is not just “history” so called. Bible prophecy is “H.I.S. S.T.O.R.Y.” Prophecy is the story of Jesus. His life, His death, His resurrection, and His intercession for us now, in heaven. (Heb 7:25)
One verse that is somewhat blunt puts it like this when talking about the state of the world today, and how so many are cringing in fear at the slightest whisper of the word virus:
“…as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. (Isa 59:12-14)
- Our world today is something akin to a ripe fruit, ready to be harvested. Jesus is coming back to put an end to the long sad history of sin and to build up His kingdom of righteousness. Jesus is coming to take you home. Jesus is coming to tell you that He has never lost hope in seeing you safe with Him for all eternity. And this is the grand purpose of Bible prophecy.
And in the midst of all the world’s turmoil; God’s people will often say:
You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb. Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days. And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honoured him in a glorious way. That’s why you have put your faith and hope in God. (1 Pet 1:19-21)
You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent Lamb. Christ was chosen even before the world was created, (the everlasting gospel, Rev 14:6-7) but because of you, he did not come until these last days. And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honoured him in a glorious way. That’s why you have put your faith and hope in God. You obeyed the truth, and your souls were made pure. Now you sincerely love each other. But you must keep on loving with all your heart. Do this because God has given you new birth by his message that lives on forever. The Scriptures say, “Humans wither like grass, and their glory fades like wild flowers. Grass dries up, and flowers fall to the ground. But what the Lord has said will stand forever.” Our good news to you is what the Lord has said. (1 Pet 1:19-25, CEV)
This article does not solve all the problems or riddles of Bible prophecy: it does not profess to do so, in any way. But it will point us in the right direction. Let us continue into the new year, 2022, with the study of the vital subject of Bible prophecy until the Day dawns, and the Day-Star arises in our hearts, never more to go down. In fact, prophecy is described in scripture as “So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Pet 1:19)
Students of the Bible realize the vast importance of having correct views about those prophecies which still remain unfulfilled. What will the future be like? Can we know what sort of a world we shall be living in tomorrow? Or is there to be any tomorrow? So discordant are the voices of those who claim to know what the prophecies of the Bible predict, that the average person is tempted to say, with the perplexed and despairing Jewish exiles of the Babylonian captivity:
“We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet neither is there among us any that knows how long.” Psalm 74: 9. But it is the part of faith to believe that God is still in His heaven, even though all is not right with the world, and to believe that He must have revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures the real truth about the world’s future. How can we rightly interpret what He has given us?
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near. A star shall come forth from [the descendants of] Jacob, A scepter shall rise out of [the descendants of] Israel And shall crush the forehead of Moab And destroy all the sons of Sheth. (Num 24:17). “Again Isaiah says, “THERE SHALL BE A ROOT OF JESSE, HE WHO ARISES TO RULE [as King] OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.” (Rom 15:12). (Mat 2:2)
Sometimes it can be very challenging to sift through all the stuff we keep calling “prophecy,” because there are many voices crying out for recognition and favour; yet the only real Light in the world is Jesus. “When Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12). All prophecy, being described as “a light in a dark place” has to be about Jesus. And only Jesus. And Jesus told us who believe today that we are also :the light of the world,” (Mat 5:14), so Gods children are also a part of this Light that the world sees. “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; (Mat 5:14). “For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!” (Rom 8:18) As Paul puts it “Christ in you, THE hope in glory.” (Col 1:27)
While many look at prophecy as just a lesson in largely secular history, or cherry-picked Bible tidbits from their denominated religion or church, the Bible simply declares all prophecy, in it’s intended bearings, IS about Jesus. Prophecy is not history; but rather, HIS-Story. There are many places in both Old or New Testaments to tell us this. We could filter this all down to the lowest common denominator and simply say that when searching the scriptures, we must acknowledge that the most important and timely prophecy must be always centered around “Christ and Him crucified.” (Gal 4:4) ALL other truths are invested with Power and Influence, according to their relation to this theme. (Gal 6:14, Eph 2:13, etc). All prophecy has to be about Jesus. Bible Prophecy is HIS-STORY as reflected more by Old Testament prophets than New Testament writers at times!
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King (Messianic King) is coming to you; He is righteous and endowed with salvation, Humble and unassuming [in submission to the will of the Father] and riding on a donkey, Upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech 9:9). We see here in Scripture that the triumphal entry of Jesus riding into Jerusalem (Mat 21:1-11) was predicted here more than 500 years before it happened. Just as this prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus came to earth, so the prophecies of his second coming are just as certain to come true. We are to be ready for his return, for he is coming! “BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes (nations) of the earth will mourn over Him [realizing their sin and guilt, and anticipating the coming wrath]. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega [the Beginning and the End],” says the Lord God, “Who is [existing forever] and Who was [continually existing in the past] and Who is to come, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all].” (Rev 1:7-8, AMP).
“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, on the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. “And to Him (the Messiah) was given dominion (supreme authority), Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language Should serve and worship Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (Dan 7:13-14) Now, THAT is “the everlasting gospel” of Rev 14:6-12! The “everlasting gospel” is about this everlasting kingdom! And the stories in scripture that tell us when, how, why, and for whom this message is for:
Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, with an eternal gospel to preach to the inhabitants of the earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people; (Rev 14:6) The “warning” part of this message is seen in many places of Scripture; and there is a short passage in Galatians that sums it up very well. Christians today who want to know and make known Bible truth will be able to relate to what Paul stated in Galatians:
I am astonished and extremely irritated that you are so quickly shifting your allegiance and deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different [even contrary] gospel; which is really not another [gospel]; but there are [obviously] some [people masquerading as teachers] who are disturbing and confusing you [with a misleading, counterfeit teaching] and want to distort the gospel of Christ [twisting it into something which it absolutely is not]. (Gal 1:6-7, AMP).
This is obviously the same warning as in the text of Rev 14: “Then another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her immorality [corrupting them with idolatry].” “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “Whoever worships the beast and his image and receives the mark [of the beast] on his forehead or on his hand,” (Rev 14:8-9). Isaiah prophesies a very similar message: “”Now look! Here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.” And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; And all the carved images of her gods are shattered on the ground.” (Isa 21:9). Prophecies in Daniel also concur with the book of revelation’s fourteenth chapter: “The king said thoughtfully, ‘Is not this the great Babylon which I myself have built as the royal residence and seat of government by the might of my power and for the honour and glory of my majesty?’ While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came [as if falling] from heaven, saying, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: “The kingdom has been removed from you, (Dan 4:30-31)
We need to realize that salvation is taught not only in the gospels but also in the prophecies. The author has endeavoured to make clear the vitally important truth that the true interpretation of the prophecies illustrates how salvation is accomplished, and also strengthens the soul to resist sin. As the Word of God is the “seed” which, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, generates the new life (1 Peter 1: 23), that life is revived and strengthened as often as the Word of God is read and received into the soul (1 Thessalonians 2: 13).
The “new person” (Colossians 3:10, 2 Cor 5:17, etc.) lives and grows “by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). In purifying the life (1 Peter 1:22) and building up the soul (Acts 20:32), the Savior emphasizes the necessity of heeding “every word” of the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 4:4). Our indefatigable enemy seeks to render ineffective to students of the Bible the life-giving energy contained in certain important prophecies of Holy Writ. He does this by means of erroneous interpretations. The Savior not only says “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39), but He also enquires: “How reads thou?” (Luke 10:26). By erroneous interpretations it is possible to “add unto” or “take away from” the Word of God, against which we are explicitly warned (Revelation 22:18,19).
If you want real-time, real-life prophecy, turn your eyes on Jesus! Not the internet, or fancy sermons by preachers who want to show and tell all of their doctrinal carrots to deceive people. The Bible warns us that “…people shall arise from your own selves, speaking perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them.” (Acts 20:30).
I recall some years ago being approached by a coworker. They wanted to speak to me privately, so we went into the utility room. They said to me “You look like you are a Christian? My Mom is dying of cancer and she is very frightened. Can you please come out and read the Bible to her?”
I was very surprised to hear this person say
“you look like you are a Christian.”
How did they know? I never once mentioned anything Bible at that place because it was a work setting and I knew I had to be sensitive to others who would not appreciate the gospel. But still, Jesus was seen in me somehow, and I did go to read the Bible to that person for several months whenever I could. As some of the family were gathered round the sick bed with me, we would join hands and sing their favourite hymns. Everyone there was decidedly a Christian because Jesus was present in a miraculous way, and that lady did die unafraid. In fact, she told us just before she died: “God just walked in the room.” And the person who originally asked me to come out, not only became a Christian but they ended up going back to school and became a Pastor. (Jer 3:15).
The New Testament shows how Jesus brought fulfillment to the Old Testament prophecies. In the unfolding of the Gospel, the New Testament employs 1500 quotations of sentences and phrases from the Old Testament Scriptures. The first verse of Matthew shows one of the main reasons for the writing of the book of Matthew and the New Testament; namely, to show the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies in Jesus and His work of salvation:
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Mat 1:1)
Through Jesus the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies is made certain. (See 2 Corinthians 1:20; Acts 13:27-37) The book of Matthew contains 99 direct references to the Old Testament Scriptures. Nine times he employed the formula, “That it might be fulfilled” (see Matthew 1:22,23; Mat 2:15,17,23,etc.), and at other times he referred to the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, saying: “For thus it is written by the prophet” (Matthew 2:5); “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet” (Matthew 27:9); “But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled” (Matthew 26:56); “For it is written” (Matthew 26:31, etc.).
Thus Matthew illustrates the burden of the writers of the New Testament to show that Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and the development of His church and her work, all fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. The first words we read in Matthew’s Gospel direct our minds back to the prophecies which were given to David and Abraham. While Solomon was the son who sat upon David’s throne in the days immediately following the prediction, the longer and the real fulfillment is to be fulfilled by “a greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42). The peacefulness and the wisdom of the earlier part of Solomon’s reign when people came from afar to learn of him, find their larger application in Christ. David was to have a son who would sit upon his throne (2 Samuel 7:12,13,16; Luke 1:32,33).
At Pentecost the disciples of Jesus were united in Peter’s interpretation because he made his declaration “standing up with the eleven” (Acts 2:14). Their present spiritual application of the kingdom prophecies (which the Jews applied only in a strictly literal sense in relation to the future) made the Old Testament a new and a living book for them and their hearers. No longer was it a book containing dry records of the past, and future blessings which were unrelated to the present, but a Book containing a past and a future which lived in the present-a living book vibrant with messages from a living Christ. Not only were proofs afforded by the Old Testament itself, but the living Christ by his ever-present Spirit gave an experience in harmony with the interpretation.
The New Testament teaching is clear that, since the rejection of the Jewish nation, the church is now the “temple” in which Christ by His Spirit reigns. “The man of sin”-the counterfeit king-who was to sit “in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4) is one of the world’s most popular churches,within the spiritual temple – the professedly Christian church. Futurists-whether Papal or supposedly Protestant apply this prophecy in connection with a literal temple yet to be built in literal Jerusalem by an enemy of the literal Jews. Futurism fails to see the righteous/moral purpose of the prophecies concerning “the temple of God” referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4, and in other temple prophecies such as described in Ezekiel 40-48 and in Revelation 11:1. By applying these prophecies literally in relation to the future and Palestine, they fail to understand the present moral purpose for which they were given. Jesus even said “If you destroy this temple, I will raise it up again on the third day.” (John 2:19)
There is a place in heaven for you (John 14:1-2) and Jesus thinks that Heaven will just not be the same without you in it. To Jesus you are precious (Isa 43:4, James 5:7) just as you are. (John 6:37). With all of your joys, sorrows, struggles, conflicts, your good points, your mistakes, yes. You are important to Jesus. So much so that:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:16-19)
Bible prophecy tells us that Jesus is coming again to take you, to take us, home to be with Him forever
Are You Ready?