Prophecy is a fancy word for prediction; well, almost. The main difference between prophecy and prediction is that in the Bible, there are no predictions. In the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 46:10) God says that He knew the end from the beginning. That is pretty amazing. That means that from the beginning of time He knew everything that would ever happen. This page is for you to understand prophesy and why it is important in your reading the Bible.
Did you know that there are at least 360 prophecies concerning Jesus before He was even born? That means that God sent Prophets into the world to tell Jesus' story and put it in writing before He would even be born! That is UNBELIEVABLE!
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When applying rules to Biblical prophecy, Joel Richardson states there are seven to consider:
1. Keep First Things First - Although the book of Revelation is the most dynamic crescendo to Biblical prophecy, it isn't and shouldn't be where we start. Revelation is jam-packed with allusions to other sections of the scripture that are required to fully understand it. So, the first rule is to start from the beginning. In our case, the Torah or the first five books of Moses.
2. Keep It Simple - Beginning with what is literal, direct, and easy to understand only makes sense. Starting with Daniel or Ezekiel is like starting with Revelation. They are full of visions, dreams, and a lot of symbolism. So, start with the less debatable or hard to understand elements.
3. Build Doctrine On The Full Counsel Of Scripture - Don't develop theories, positions, or doctrines based on limited or isolated passages while ignoring the many other passages that speak on the same issue.
4. Remember To Keep It In Context - Westerners keep things in a Western perspective, failing to realize that prophesy is an Eastern view. The Bible is Jerusalem, Israel, and Middle Eastern-centric. Israel is the epicenter of the Bible and in prophecy, it isn't a spirit of Universalism or some new age religion dominating the region; it is Islam.
5. Do Not Read Prophetic Literature Like A Technical Manual - Most prophecies in the Bible are written as ancient Hebrew prophetic poetry or apocalyptic literature. We should familiarize ourselves with the characteristics of this type of literature. Including Hebrew idioms, hyperbole, and the dual fulfillment of so many prophetic passages. Our way of logic and thinking are often in conflict with the way the Bible was written.
6. Recognize The Ultimate Emphasis - The ultimate burden of all Biblical prophecy is the coming of the Messiah, the Day of the Lord (God's judgment on the earth), and the Messianic kingdom to follow. While each prophet most often first spoke of events of his day or near future events, the primary burden of the entire Bible, of every apostle and prophet, is the coming of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom rule over the earth. Understand that the Bible is an Eastern book and was not written with a Western mindset.
7. When God Is Portrayed On Earth, It Is God The Son - When God is portrayed as being physically on the earth, it is usually either a historical, pre-incarnate appearance of God the Son or a prophetic portrayal of Jesus the Messiah at the time of His return.
There are 5 primary themes that clearly emerge:
1. In the last days, the Antichrist, his empire, and his armies will arise from out of what today are the Muslim majority nations of the Middle East and North Africa.
2. These nations will form a coalition, union, or alliance and invade the nation of Israel. Severe persecution of Jews and Christians will be a global pandemic.
3. After a short but extremely terrible season of victory by the Antichrist and his armies, Jesus will return from heaven to deliver the surviving Jewish people, many of whom will have been taken captive by the conquering invaders.
4. The righteous dead will awaken and, together with the living saints, be "caught up" in the air, where they will instantly receive eternal life in their glorified resurrection bodies.
5. Jesus will destroy the Antichrist and his armies and establish His Messianic kingdom over the earth from Jerusalem.