I have a simple premise when it comes to Bible prophecy – Hope now, Confirmation later. I don’t know how this lines up with any particular school of thought; it is just my hypothesis after my own study of scripture. I’m suggesting that the before and after of Old Testament prophecy could be a good basis for understanding how to treat New Testament prophecy.
- Observation #1 – There are many prophecies in the Old Testament that have to do with a coming Messiah.
- Observation #2 – These prophecies gave the Israelites hope for the promised Messiah, especially when they were in times of difficulty.
- Observation #3 – The Israelites weren’t able to figure out the details of the Messiah’s coming, even with all of the prophecies.
- Observation #4 – On the other side of the Messiah’s coming, those Old Testament prophecies become much clearer and serve as confirmation as to Jesus’ identity.
- Theory #1 – There are many prophecies in the New Testament that appear to be about the 2nd Coming of the Messiah.
- Theory #2 – These prophecies give Kingdom Dwellers a hope for His return, especially in times of difficulty.
- Theory #3 – We won’t be able to figure out the details of the Messiah’s 2nd coming, even with all of the prophecies – not even if we chart it, lay it on top of Daniel, or count the days since the Angel first visited Mary.
- Theory #4 – On the other side of the Messiah’s 2nd coming, those NT prophecies will become much clearer and we will slap our foreheads in delightful understanding as the Truth is revealed in all His glory.
How do we treat prophecy now?
- Suggested Rule #1 – On this side of its fulfillment treat prophecy as a promise and as a container of hope.
- Suggested Rule #2 – Do not waste time, energy and faith on trying to solve a mystery that isn’t meant for us to solve. (There are other revealed mysteries in the New Testament where we can focus our efforts to more fruitful results.)
- Suggested Rule #3 – Get a job (at least that is what Paul told those who were preoccupied in figuring out when Jesus would come back in his days).
- Suggested Rule #4 – Be ready for Jesus to return on any day, but live like he might not be back for another 1000 years.
How do you treat prophecy in the New Testament? Why?