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When studying the prophecies that are recorded in the Bible, there are a few important facts that serious students have to keep in mind. 


On several occasions during His earthly ministry Jesus told the disciples the prophecy of His coming death and resurrection.  The disciples couldn't make any sense of His words.  Afterall the Israelites were looking for a glorious restored kingdom of Israel that would be free from Roman tyranny.  They didn't know what to make of His words when Jesus said:                                 

"The Son of Man must suffer many things ...and    be killed and be raised on the third day."    (Luke 9:22)                                 

In the coming days Jesus was arrested, tried, mocked, and crucified.  After all of that the faithful eleven must have felt more confused than ever.  Some of them might have had to hide in silence from the jeering crowd.                                                                        

But the story of Jesus didn't end there.  In Luke 24:6 on that first Easter morning some women visited the tomb of Jesus.  They didn't see His lifeless body!  Instead they saw a glorious angel who said to them:     

"Remember how He spoke to you in Galilee (Luke 9:22)  And they remembered His words."                  

At last the pieces of the prophecy puzzle started to fall into place.  By the time the Day of Pentecost came the disciples fully understood God's salvation plan of spiritual rather than political salvation.


An historic prophecy may have been futuristic at the time it was written but it is a prophecy that has been fulfilled.  Around 730 BC the Old Testament prophet Micah made this important prophecy:                   

"But you Bethleham...out of you shall come forth to   Me the One to be ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting."  (Micah 5:2)              

Both Mary and Joseph were residents of a village called Nazareth.  However when the Roman government imposed a registration for taxation of the people, each person had to register in the city of his/her birth.  Since Mary and Joseph were decendants of King David, they had to register where they were both born; that is the City of David - not Nazareth but Bethleham.  Shortly after their arrival in Bethleham, Jesus was born.  The place of the birth of the Christ-child was perfectly predicted by God through Micah.

A futuristic prophecy, as one might surmise, is a prophecy that is still waiting to be fulfilled.  The Second Coming of Christ that is prophecised in Revelation 6: 12-17 and 19:11, the fourteen horrible plagues that will hit the Earth one after another, the coming Millenium, and the horrible White Throne Judgment are all events that are still in the furture that are still waiting to be fulfilled.                                           

Our challenge is to distiquish a prophecy as being either historic or futuristic?  The question as to whether the prophecy mentioned in Daniel 8:14 is meant to be interpreted as being historic or futuristic has divided many Protestant groups.  The correct answer will be given in the book.                                                                    



Let us keep in mind for a moment that the Bible text in many places uses language that is symbolic or figurative.  God could have written the Bible so that any six year old could understand all of it including Revelation.  But He didn't and for good reason.  God wants us not only to read the Bible but to study it.  We are meant to do our homework.  The only way to arrive at correct interpretations of the Bible is to diligently compare Scripture with Scripture.    


A literal prophecy is easy to understand.  There is no hidden meaning that needs further study.  But when reading a figurative prophecy we need to look below the surface in order to uncover the deep spiritual truth.                                                                         

When Jesus spoke to the people He often spoke in parables - that is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.  The Parable of the Soils found in Matthew 13: 3-23 is a good example.  The parable contained figurative language that basically asked the question, "Which soil are you?"  In verses 19-23 Jesus explains the hidden meaning of His parable.  The hard soil, thin soil, and thorny soil will not bring forth any fruit.  But the seeds that landed in the good soil brought forth an abundance of fruit.  Hence if we represent good soil our lives will produce righteous fruit.  But if we represent hard, thin, or thorny soil then our lives will be a waste.                                                          

Prophecy scriptures in some cases are no different.  The Battle of Armageddon found in Revelation 16:16 believe it or not is an example of a figurative prophecy. It will not be a battle fought with guns and tanks.  Instead it will be an example of an invisible spiritual battle.  Some time in the last days Satan's power will be drastically increased for a short season.  During that time he will be able to create even more violence, immorality, deception, false signs and wonders, and apostacy.  In short Armageddon pictures a time when it will appear as though the false gospels have won.  Shortly thereafter Jesus will return in power and awesome glory to receive His elect.                                                    

Revelation also pictures a time after the Second Coming when the Earth will be hit by a series of fourteen plagues one right after another.  One of these plagues mentioned in Revelation 9 describes those people who are left on the Earth being tormented by demons in the bodies of stinging locusts. This horrible nightmare will last five months.  I pity anyone who is left behind and has to live through those five months.                                                                 Whether the unbeliever wants to admit it or not, all of the prophecies of the Bible, be they literal or figurative will be fulfilled in their appointed time.

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