Introduction to Bible Prophecy
In this post we will be looking at Bible prophecy and how to unlock the keys to it. Learn the basics of prophecy and how to interpret all the different kinds of symbolism in the Bible.
John 1:1 clearly tells us that in the beginning was the Word, the Word was God and the word was with God. This correlates with other passages in the Bible that refers to Jesus as being God. For instance John 1:14 stating “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”. Jesus is therefore the eternal God and the Word of God that became flesh, but He is also the Spirit of prophecy.
Consider the following verse from Hebrews 1:1-3
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”
Jesus, being God Himself, being the Word of God, as stated in John, and being the Spirit of prophecy, is also one with the Father; Col. 2:9.
Jesus, the Spirit of prophecy, the eternal God of the creation, the one who died for our sins and reconciled us through Himself, with Himself, is the same person that speaks to us through prophecy. Jesus has always been the face, hands and mouthpiece of God the Father, showing us the Father’s love, compassion, mercy, plan of salvation as well as future destiny, done through His words, actions and prophecies.
In the Word of God, Jesus reveals to us His true nature, that of God the Father. We are not only talking about His Godly nature, but more specifically His personal nature, His personality, if you would allow me to use that word.
God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33). Likewise, His prophecies that has been authored by Him does not bring confusion, but peace. Prophecies also do not bring fear as God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and peace (2 Timothy 1).
When most people investigate eschatology, the study of the end time, it sometimes bring over them fear and confusion. This is especially true if one reads too many contradictory interpretations. When we study the Word of God and analyse the prophecies therein, it should bring peace over us if we understand it correctly. That’s exactly what the word says as it is in God’s nature to do so. The book of Revelation also states that blessed are the people who study the words written in that book (Rev 1:3) .
To summarize; so far we have seen that Jesus is God eternal, one with God the Father, the Word of God that became flesh and also the Spirit of prophecy. It is the nature and character of God to bring peace and love through His written Word, unless we are in opposition to His Word. God blesses those that study the Word, especially mentioned in Revelation with reference to prophecies. True prophetic interpretation therefore brings peace of heart and not fear or confusion.
Lets have a quick overview on how to analyse Biblical prophecies.
Rule number one is that the Bible must be its own interpreter. Too many people nowadays wander off from this point which is nothing other than personal interpretation, and not Biblical interpretation. To illustrate, lets use the book of Daniel as our example. In Daniel chapter 7 we read about four beasts that will rise out of the sea (Dan 7:3 ). If we are to interpret the beasts any way that we like, it can literally say anything you want it to say. The Bible, however, is different and interprets itself.
In Daniel, the interpretation is given to Daniel by the angel. Dan 7:23 says; “He gave me this explanation: The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it“. The Bible itself as the interpreter, says that a beast is a kingdom. The same explanation is given to Daniel concerning the meaning of a horn. In Dan 7:24 we read “The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise…”. Here again, a horn is reference to kings or kingdoms, in other words, political entities that are ruled by a king or sovereign ruler.
The Bible does not warrant personal interpretation, we must use the Word of God to interpret itself.
Rule number two; never build an entire doctrine on just a hand full of verses. The entire Bible must be in harmony with the interpretation thereof. Please follow me to Isaiah 28:10 “For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, and there a little“. Notice “…here a little, there a little…”. Isaiah is teaching us how to interpret the Word of God, His commandments, His prophecies and His teaching.
It is crystal clear that no doctrine or interpretation can be made by using just one verse, or only certain verses. All verses in the Bible that teaches on the same topic, or closely related topics, must be used in collaboration to form the bigger picture.
Rule number three; use prophetic timelines and not literal timelines. What is meant my this, is the day for a year principal. Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:5,6 explains a little more on this principal. In practise, it means to count a literal year for every prophetic day given in a prophecy. One prophetic week would therefore mean 7 literal years.
With prophecies that spans over prophetic periods of months and years, we must use the Jewish months and years. A Jewish month is 30 days and a Jewish year is 360 days. A prophecy that references to a month period means 30 literal years and a prophetical year is 360 literal years.
1 prophetic day = 1 literal year
1 prophetic week (7 days) = 7 literal years
1 prophetic month = 30 literal years
1 prophetic year = 360 literal years
70 prophetical weeks (70 X 7 days = 490 days) = 490 literal years
“time” = 1 prophetical year = 360 literal years
“times” = 2 prophetical years = 720 literal years
“half a time” = 1/2 prophetical year = 180 literal years
42 months = 1260 literal years
3 1/2 years = 1260 literal years
In the next studies, you will soon discover that the prophetic timeline versus literal timeline, as mentioned above, is spot on to the very letter. You will soon discover that the 70 weeks prophetic period given to Daniel, which was a 490 literal year period, was fulfilled to the letter by our Messiah Jesus when He was baptised, crucified and when the probation period for the nation of Israel ended with the stoning of Stephen.
The study of Bible prophecies is a very exciting topic and we can see from history, as you will soon find out, that it is indeed reliable and trustworthy and best of all, understandable.
It is the character of God to reveal His will and future plans for human kind in advance. As said before, His Word brings peace and not confusion, fear or turmoil. We must study the Word and it’s prophecies and make time to understand it, and God, in His sovereign power, will open our eyes to the truth and give us peace. This subject is most certainly one of the most exciting subjects to study.