- Prophecy centres on the Lord Jesus Christ – He has fulfilled many prophecies already. Others will be fulfilled in Him at His Return.
- We need wisdom (revelation from the Holy Spirit) to recognise when a prophecy has a spiritual rather than physical or literal outcome.
- Prophecy is about applying God’s Word as well as giving warnings of future happenings.
- All prophecy is connected to God’s purposes in Christ Jesus.
- Bible prophecy prepares us for what God is doing in preparation for the Return of Jesus.
- We are told these future things to keep faith and hope alive
- We are told these things so that we will not run after false Christs
A BATTLE: Careful reading of the Bible shows that there is a futile battle going on against God achieving His purposes. Israel has been caught up in this for centuries. The Church is caught up in this. In simple terms there was a battle to prevent the birth of the Son of God. There is a battle to prevent the Return of the Son of God. Books like Daniel are a good example of how prophecy is tied up with this battle. Revelation too. The whole point is that the battle against God and His Son is futile – it is, in a sense, already lost!
“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2
This prophecy against the physical Temple was, possibly, fulfilled in AD 70. However, Jesus mentions the Temple again:
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand– then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Matthew 24:15-16 [See Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11].
After AD70 sacrifices stopped. It is possible that the suffering in Judea at that time was as great as Jesus described. Certainly, since then, the distress caused to Israelis has been beyond description! However, it is most likely that two separate events are being described – one inside the other. The posh word for this is “concatenation”. Prophecy is like that. It can have a Now and NOT YET elements contained in a single statement.
Who are the “elect”
Paul, Peter and John were Prophets. The Church (at present dominated by Gentiles) ought to refer to Paul for future hope. Paul mentions the Return of Jesus Christ many times (check through his letters and mark them all). It is useful to study his prophetic words and their context. Remember, Paul was, like John, “caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” 2 Corinthians 12:3-4
We will come back to the prophecies of Jesus, but I want us to examine what Paul reveals to the Church (elect) alongside. We will start at this passage:
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3