THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 6

BASIC PROPHECY

  1. THE GOG & MAGOG WAR

One of the most dramatic events of the end times is an invasion of Israel by a group of specifically mentioned nations. The prophet Ezekiel describes this invasion, known as the Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38–39). Only the supernatural intervention of God will deliver Israel from total annihilation.

Events in our world today strikingly foreshadow the prophecy of the battle of Gog and Magog in Ezek 38–39. It will make the invasions of Israel in 1967 and 1973 by the Arab nations pale in comparison. When Russia assembles this last days strike force, it will look like Israel is finished. But God is in control of the entire situation. He will mount up in His fury to destroy these godless invaders. “It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, that my fury will mount up in My anger. In my zeal and in My blazing wrath” (Ezek. 39:18-19a).

THE PURPOSE OF THE INVASION

First and foremost, the divine purpose in allowing this invasion is expressed in 38:14-16b. Through the attack God will be sanctified in the eyes of the nations.

The goal of the nations involved is twofold. First, the economies of all of these nations are crippled, especially Iran’s, due to strict sanctions imposed on it by the US. In the meantime, Israel’s economy is blooming and during recent years it has discovered massive oil and natural gas reserves. This most probably relates to the hook God said He would put in the mouth of Gog (Ezekiel 38:4). They will come to take spoil (some translations say “booty”).

Second, the invading Muslim horde will come to destroy the people of Israel and wipe them off the face of the earth (Ezekiel 38:10, 16).

TIMING OF THE INVASION

By far, the most controversial issue in Ezek 39–39 is the setting or timing of the invasion. We believe that the invasion will occur before the tribulation begins, and possibly even before or shortly after the rapture. It fits well with the seven years for burning the weapons and seven months to bury the dead in Ezek 39:9-12. Second, this view provides a reasonable explanation for how the Jewish people will be able to construct a temple on the temple mount in Jerusalem. If the armies of many of the major Islamic nations are decimated in Israel before the tribulation begins, the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem could be accomplished with much less Muslim resistance.

The invasion will occur at a time when Israel is “at rest,” “living securely,” and dwelling in “unwalled villages.” The Hebrew root batach which appears in Ezek 38:8 and 11 simply means “security.” Fruchtenbaum, an expert on Bible prophecy says, “This is not a security due to a state of peace, but a security due to confidence in their own strength. This, too, is a good description of Israel today. The Israeli army has fought four major wars since its founding and won them swiftly each time. Today Israel is secure, confident that her army can repel any invasion from the Arab states. Hence, Israel is dwelling securely.”

Some scholars however argue that the terminology in Ezek 38 fits much better with the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel when Israel will enjoy the protection of her covenant with Antichrist and will temporarily let down her guard (Dan 9:27). Most who hold this view place it closer to the midpoint of the tribulation.

THE ROLE PLAYERS

The prophecy of the battle of Gog and Magog begins with a list of ten proper names in 38:1-7. The name Gog, which occurs eleven times in Ezek 38–39, is a name or title of the leader of the invasion. Gog is an individual since he is directly addressed several times by God (38:14; 39:1) and since he is called a prince (38:2; 39:1).

The other nine proper names in Ezek 38:1-7 are specific geographical locations and they are all found in the Table of the Nations in Gen 10:2-7. The only one that is questionable is Rosh, but it is likely that the name Rosh is derived from the name Tiras in Gen 10:2, since all the other nations in Ezek 38:1-7 are also listed there. It is these specific geographical areas that will be involved.

Gog – the leader of the invasion.

Magog – Modern prophecy teachers often identify Rosh with Russia. Magog today probably represents the former underbelly of the Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Uzebekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. Afghanistan could also be part of this territory. All of these nations are dominated by Islam.

Rosh – Bible scholars often identifies Rosh with Russia.

Meshech and Tubal – Meshech and Tubal are normally mentioned together in Scripture. The ancient locations are in modern Turkey.

Persia – The ancient land of Persia became the modern nation of Iran in March 1935, and then the name was changed to the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979.

Ethiopia (Cush) – Modern versions often translate the Hebrew word Cush in Ezekiel 38:5 as “Ethiopia.” Modern Sudan inhabits the ancient land of Cush today. Sudan is a hard-line Islamic nation in Northern Africa.

Libya (Put) – Modern Libya, is another Islamic nation in Northern Africa and has been under the rule of Colonel Mu‘ammar al-Gadhafi since 1969. This geographical area could possibly also include nations farther west, such as modern Algeria and Tunisia.

Gomer – Gomer has often been identified as Germany, or more particularly East Germany before the fall of communism. It does however seem more likely that this territory relates to modern Turkey.

Beth-togarmah – This territory also relates to modern Turkey, north of Israel.

Therefore, Russia will have at least five key allies: Turkey, Iran, Libya,Sudan, and the nations of Central Asia. Amazingly, all of these are Muslim nations, with Iran being Israel’s most ardent opponent. There’s no specific mention of Israel’s neighbours such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, or Iraq (ancient Babylon) in this prophecy.

THE END OF THE INVASION

No nation on earth will assist Israel. Ezek 38:13 mentions that “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof” will question Gog and his allies but they will not physically intervene. These countries probably relate to modern Saudi-Arabia and the US and UK.

God Himself will intervene to rescue his helpless people and will use four means to destroy Russia and her allies. The four means of destruction are listed in Ezek 38:19-22: 1) A great earthquake (Ezekiel 38:19-20). 2) Infighting among the troops (Ezekiel 38:21). In the chaos after the powerful earthquake, the armies from each of the nations will turn against each other. 3) Disease (Ezekiel 38:22). 4) Torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur (Ezekiel 38:22).

THE AFTERMATH

Four key events that occur in the aftermath of this invasion.

  1. The Birds and the Beasts (Ezek. 39:4-5,17-20; cf. Rev. 19:17-18): The carnage that results from this slaughter will provide a great feast for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. God refers to the carnage as “My sacrifice” and “My table” to which He invites the birds and the beasts as His guests.
  2. The Burying of the Dead for 7 Months (Ezek. 39:11-12, 14-16): Clean-up squads will be assembled to go through the land. They will set up markers wherever they see a human bone. When the gravediggers come behind them they will see the markers and take the remains to the Valley of Gog’s Hordes for burial. The cleansing will be so extensive that a town will be established in the valley at the gravesites to aid those who are cleansing the land. The name of the town will be Hamonah (horde).
  3. The Burning of the Weapons for 7 Years (Ezek. 39:9-10)
  4. The Blessing of Salvation (39:22): In the midst of His wrath and fury, God will also pour out His grace and mercy. God will use the awesome display of His power against Russia and her allies to bring many to salvation of both Jews and Gentiles. Many of those who turn to the true God as a result of this demonstration of His power will undoubtedly be among the vast group of the redeemed in Rev 7:9-14.

The seven-year peace treaty mentioned by Daniel will most probably be signed shortly after the Gog and Magog invasion. It will provide a false guarantee of protection for the people of Israel. Something significant must happen to launch the Antichrist to world power. The decimation of the Gog coalition would leave a massive power vacuum and provide a plausible explanation for the Antichrist’s sudden rise, as he may attempt to take credit for the destruction of Gog’s army.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 5

BASIC PROPHECY

  1. THE BEMA SEAT JUDGEMENT & THE JUDGEMENTS TO FOLLOW

After the Rapture, the next major event for the church will be the Judgment Seat of Christ in heaven. All believers from the church age—the time between the Day of Pentecost and the Rapture—will appear individually before God to receive rewards or loss of reward, based on their life, service, and ministry for the Lord. The purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is not to determine whether people will enter heaven or hell or to punish sin. The issue at the Judgment Seat is not salvation but rewards. Salvation is based wholly on grace through Christ’s work for us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Rewards are based on our works for Christ after we received Him as our Saviour. It is the fruit we bear as a result of our salvation.

Corinthians 5:10 says every believer must face judgment “according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

The New Testament focuses on five specific rewards, sometimes called crowns, that the faithful will receive at the judgment seat. These crowns represent the kinds of conduct and service that the Lord will reward.

  1. THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN (1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27)

This is the reward for those who consistently practice self-discipline and self-control. It is the crown that will not fade away.

  1. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (2 TIMOTHY 4:8)

The crown of righteousness is the reward for those who eagerly look for the Lord’s coming and live a righteous life in view of this fact.

  1. THE CROWN OF LIFE (JAMES 1:12; REVELATION 2:10)

The sufferer’s crown is given to those who faithfully endure and persevere under the trials and tests of life.

  1. THE CROWN OF REJOICING (1 THESSALONIANS 2:19)

The soul winner’s crown is given to those who win people for Christ.

  1. THE CROWN OF GLORY (1 PETER 5:1-4)

The shepherd’s crown will be given to those pastors, elders, and church leaders who lovingly, graciously and faithfully shepherd and oversee God’s people.

The redeemed will fall down and worship the Lord, “and they [will] lay their crowns before the throne and say, ‘You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased’” (Revelation 4:10-11).

In addition to these crowns, there appear to be two other main rewards the faithful will receive. The first one is greater responsibility and authority in the coming Kingdom. Believers will occupy various positions of authority in God’s Kingdom based on how well we lived our lives here on earth (Luke 19:13-26). The second reward may be an increased capacity and ability to reflect the Lord’s glory. Daniel 12:3 says, “Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”

THERE WILL BE SEVEN JUDGEMENTS IN FUTURE:

  1. The Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Church-age believers will appear before the judgment Seat of Christ in heaven for reward. This will happen soon after the rapture of the church.

  1. Old Testament Believers (Daniel 12:1-3)

All Old Testament believers will be resurrected and rewarded after the Second Coming.

  1. Martyred Tribulation Saints (Revelation 20:4-6)

Those who trust Christ during the Tribulation and are martyred will be resurrected and rewarded at the end of the Tribulation.

  1. Jews Living at the Second Coming (Ezekiel 20:34-38)

All Jews who survive the Tribulation will be judged right after the Second Coming. The saved will enter the millennial kingdom, and the lost will be purged.

  1. Gentiles Living at the Second Coming (Matthew 25:31-46)

All Gentiles who survive the Tribulation will be judged immediately after the Second Coming when Christ sits on His glorious throne. This is often referred to as the judgment of the “sheep and the goats.” The righteous will enter the millennial kingdom, and the unrighteous will be cast into hell. This will however not be their final judgement.

  1. Satan and Fallen Angels (Revelation 20:10)

The final judgment of Satan and fallen angels (demons) will take place after the millennial kingdom (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

  1. The Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15)

The final judgment of all unrighteous people will occur at the end of the Millennium. They will be judged according to their works and cast into the lake of fire.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 3

BASIC PROPHECY

  1. SIGNS OF THE TIMES

We currently live in the church age, which began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and will end suddenly and dramatically with the Rapture. We live in a time where we are witnessing events foreshadowing the end and setting the stage for the tribulations and the things to follow. These developments are often referred to as “signs of the times.” A sign indicates what’s ahead.

In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” In Matthew 24:4-14 Jesus outlined several general and specific signs of the end of the age. He lists eight key signs that He likens to birth pains: false christs (v. 5); wars and rumours of wars (vv. 6-7); famines (v. 7); earthquakes (v. 7); persecution (vv. 9-10); false prophets (v. 11); lawlessness (v.12); and worldwide preaching of the gospel (v. 14). The comparison with birth pains indicates that as the time of Christ’s coming draws near, the judgments will increase immensely in frequency and intensity.

In Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:28-30, Jesus describes it as being like it was in the days of Noah and Lot. Their lives were all about self-pleasure, indulgence, etc. and there was little to no sacrifice and consecration to God. In today’s world, even the majority of Christians hardly even notice how this world is falling apart … or should we say, prophetically in place.  In Noah’s days – Genesis 6:5,11,12 …”And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in Days of Noah and Lotthe earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” In Lot’s days – Jude 1:7 …”Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” If we think about things such as the abortions, LGBT pride parades, ridiculous liberal demands, the tendency to socialism and the unbanning of Satanism it sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 also describes the generation we live in in today. “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”

In Matthew 24:32-35, Jesus encourages the disciples to look for the signs, like leaves on a fig tree, even though the day of His return is unknown. When spring comes and the trees put out new leaves, we know that summer is not far off. In the same way, we will know Christ’s return is near when we see the events, He mentions earlier in the chapter begin to occur.

The headlines in the news parallel the biblical end times template more and more every day. World events are unfolding exactly as the Bible predicted thousands of years ago. When considering signs of the times, we must make sure that we view current events in light of the Bible and not the other way around. We must also reject the reckless practice of date setting (see Matthew 24:33-34; Acts 1:7).

The other extreme we must avoid is scoffing at the signs of the times. Although scoffers have always been a part of this fallen world, Scripture indicates that, in the latter days, the scoffing will increase. Peter describes these scoffers as “following their own evil desires,” (2 Peter 3:3) questioning the second coming of the Lord Jesus (verse 4). Thousands of years have passed since Jesus ascended into heaven, promising to return for His faithful ones (John 14:1–4; Revelation 22:12). Scoffers point out the lapse of time and mock those who still wait and yearn for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).

Jude describes the scoffers of the last days as people who follow ungodly desires and create division in the church (Jude 1:18). They even present themselves as church leaders, but they “do not have the Spirit” (verse 19). Many amillennials and preterists have part in this mocking and scoffing.

The signs we are seeing in the world today anticipate events that will occur in full force after the Rapture, in anticipation of Jesus’ return.

The signs of the times are often been referred to as “stage setting.”

Four examples of significant signs of the times:

The Regathering of the Jewish People

The Bible predicts over and over again that the Jews must be back in their homeland for the events of the end times to unfold (Jeremiah 30:1-5; Ezekiel 34:11-24; Ezekiel 37; Zechariah 10:6-10). In Isaiah 66:7-8, the prophet foreshadowed the re-birth of Israel, and, just like the Bible says, this happened “in one day,” on May 14, 1948. With the raise in anti-Semitism, thousands of Jews are “making aliyah,” which is the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the Land of Israel.

Surging Apostasy

A second sign of the end times is surging apostasy, that is, a departure from the truth, both doctrinally and morally (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9, 13; Jude 1:1-16). This apostasy foreshadows the final falling away that will break out as the end times begin to unfold (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3).

2 Timothy 4:3-4 provides an accurate view of what we see happening in most churches today. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

Middle East “Peace” and the obsession with Jerusalem

The Middle East peace process is a key sign of the times. The event that signals the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation is the signing of a peace treaty between the leader of the Western Confederacy (the Antichrist) and the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:27; see also 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). The number of resolutions issued against Israel by the United Nations speak for itself. There is a stern warning to the nations in Zechariah 12:3 “Moreover, on that day I will make Jerusalem a massive stone for all the people.  All who try to lift it will be cut to pieces. Nevertheless, all the nations of the earth will be gathered together against her”.

Reuniting of the Roman Empire and Globalism

A coalition of nations, headed by ten leaders, will emerge to protect the interests of the West. This alliance will reconstitute the Roman Empire. This “Group of Ten” is first mentioned in Daniel 2:41-44, where it is symbolized as ten toes on a great statue. In Daniel 7:7 and 7:24 this same ruling oligarchy of ten leaders is symbolized by ten horns on a beast that represents the last world empire—the Roman Empire in its final form. Many interpreters of biblical prophecy believe that the European Union will fulfill this predicted alliance of nations.

Recently a coalition of ten European militaries has been mentioned in Paris, just days after Emmanuel Macron of France called for a “real European army.”

Ever since Genesis 10–11 and the tower of Babel, when Satan ruled the world through one man named Nimrod, Satan’s goal has been to get the world together again so he can rule it all. Access to the Internet now makes it possible. In terms of economics, the Bible predicts that the world ruler will have absolute control of the economy, and no one will buy or sell without his absolute control of the economy, and no one will buy or sell without his permission (Revelation 13:17). Both the need and the technology for world control exist today. Pope Francis stance on a borderless society is also no secret and “climate change” has become a handy tool in pulling all nations together.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 2

BASIC PROPHECY

  1. IMPORTANCE OF ISRAEL IN PROPHECY

COVENANTS

One of the critical building blocks in understanding end time prophecies, is an understanding of the four unconditional and eternal covenants God made with Abraham and his descendants. These covenants established a permanent relationship between God and His chosen people, Israel and will ultimately all be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. In that day, Israel will be in right relationship with God forever, just as these covenants promised.

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT (GENESIS 12:1-3; 15:18-21)

God’s promise to Abraham is first made in Genesis 12:1-3. The promise is formalized into a covenant in Genesis 15:1-21 and then amplified in Genesis 17:1-18.

God promised Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, NASB). Certainly, this prophecy has been partially fulfilled in the blessing that has come to the entire world through Abraham’s greatest descendant, Jesus Christ.

God also made two national promises to Abraham: (1) the promise of descendants who would become a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:7; 22:17-18) and (2) the promise of the land of Israel as an eternal inheritance (Genesis 12:1; 13:14-17; 15:18-21). The land God promised includes the modern-day nation of Israel and parts of modern-day Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq (Genesis 15:18-21).

The covenant should be understood as an unconditional covenant as the original promises were given to Abraham without any conditions whatsoever. Furthermore, when God reiterated the covenant to Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob, there were no human conditions (Genesis 26:2-4, 24; 28:13-15). The New Testament also expressly affirms the unchangeable nature of the covenant (Romans 11:1-2, 11, 28-29; Hebrews 6:13-18).

This unconditional promise of the land has never been completely fulfilled in history, but it will be fulfilled in the Millennium when Christ gives the Jewish people the land He promised (Isaiah 60:21; Ezekiel 34:11-16).

The three promises are descendants, land, and blessing:

THE LAND COVENANT (DEUTERONOMY 30:1-10)

There are seven main features in the program there unfolded:

(1) The nation will be plucked off the land for its unfaithfulness (Deuteronomy 28:63-68; 30:1-3);

(2) there will be a future repentance of Israel (Deuteronomy 28:63-68; 30:1-3);

(3) their Messiah will return (Deuteronomy 30:3-6);

(4) Israel will be restored to the land (Deuteronomy 30:5);

(5) Israel will be converted as a nation (Deuteronomy 30:4-8; cf. Rom. 11:26-27);

(6) Israel’s enemies will be judged (Deuteronomy 30:7);

(7) the nation will then receive her full blessing (Deuteronomy 30:9).

THE DAVIDIC COVENANT (2 SAMUEL 7:12-16)

This covenant, since it builds on the Abrahamic Covenant, is also unconditional and is specifically stated to be eternal (2 Samuel 7:13; Psalm 89:3-4, 28-29). In this covenant, God promised David that someone from his house or dynasty would sit on his throne and rule over his kingdom forever. All believers agree that Jesus fulfilled this promise, being David’s greater son (Luke 1:32-33).

The agreement was for David’s Son to sit on David’s earthly throne and rule over David’s kingdom on earth forever. This must be literally fulfilled for the covenant to be valid and for God to keep His solemn promise to David. This promise will be fulfilled only when Jesus Christ, from the line of David, sits on David’s throne in Jerusalem, ruling over Israel in the coming Millennium and on into eternity (Ezekiel 37:22-25; Amos 9:11-15; Zephaniah 3:14-17; Luke 1:30-33, 69).

THE NEW COVENANT (JEREMIAH 31:31-34)

The New Covenant is God’s promise to bring the Jewish people into the right relationship with Himself. This covenant is stated to be eternal (Isaiah 61:8-9; Ezekiel 16:62; 37:24-28). God’s promise to Israel in this covenant contains three central elements.

  1. The forgiveness of sins—God will forgive the people of Israel for their sins.
  2. The indwelling Spirit—God will place His Spirit in the hearts of the people to personally instruct them in His way (Ezekiel 36:24-26).
  3. A new heart—God will give His people a new, clean heart with His law inscribed upon it.

The specific promises in Jeremiah 31:31-34 are to the “house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jeremiah 31:31, NASB) and will find their ultimate fulfillment for Israel in the millennial kingdom when they are restored to the land with Christ as their king. (Notice the context of this covenant in Jeremiah 31:35-40 is the future Kingdom.) Even though the church participates in the blessing of the New Covenant, this does not set aside God’s clear promises to Israel.

As you can see, these covenants, in many ways, determine the course of future events. God’s promises to Israel are unconditional and eternal, yet they have not been completely fulfilled.

ISRAEL’S ROLE IN PROPHECY

Almost all the key events of the end times hinge on the existence of the nation of Israel. Israel is the battleground for all the great end times conflicts. The people of Israel must be preserved and regathered to their ancient homeland to set the stage for end times biblical prophecy to be fulfilled.

The end times Tribulation officially begins when the Antichrist makes a seven-year treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). Obviously, for this to happen Israel must exist. The Jews must be back in their land. Ezekiel 38 and Zechariah 12 describe armed invasions of the nation of Israel. In the famous “valley of dry bones” vision of Ezekiel 37:1-14, Ezekiel’s graveyard vision symbolizes the national return, restoration, and regeneration of “the whole house of Israel.” Of course, this spiritual regeneration won’t occur until the Messiah returns.

The United Nations approved a national homeland for the Jews, and British control of the land ended on May 14, 1948.

CHRIST IS COMING TO REGATHER AND RESTORE FAITHFUL ISRAEL

The most frequently mentioned promise in the Old Testament is God’s promise that He will one day regather and restore the nation of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 30:10; 33:6-9; Ezekiel 36:24-38; 37:1-28). The promise will be fulfilled in two distinct ways—a physical regathering and a spiritual regathering. The physical regathering of Israel began in 1948 when the modern state of Israel was born, and it continues today. This regathering will continue until the midpoint of the Tribulation. It is a physical regathering of the Jewish people to their land in unbelief in preparation for the Tribulation. Especially when the Great Tribulation (second half) begins, Israel will be persecuted like never before.

This will be their spiritual regathering to the Lord in belief in preparation for the Millennium. In Matthew 24:30-31, Jesus says, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (NASB). The believing Jewish remnant will be regathered, and the Lord will fulfill His covenant promises to them.

 

LET’S TALK PROPHECY

0 IMPORTANCE OF PROPHECY

ALL PROPHECIES ARE FROM GOD

“Search from the book of the Lord, and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them.” (ISAIAH 34:16)

Isaiah understood that his words were the words of the Lord and not his own. It also tells us that Isaiah meant that his prophecy should be understood literally. “After Edom has become a wasteland, men will take out the scroll and verify that Isaiah’s predictions came true.” (Wolf)

“Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?” (ISAIAH 40:13-14)

God needs no counsel, no instruction, no teacher, and no one to show Him the way of understanding. Our instruction from the Lord is not to seek for all kinds of mystical or hidden spiritual messages in the prophesies but to occupy until Jesus comes. When we read the prophesies and realize how quickly they are coming into fulfilment, there is not much time left to shine our lights in the darkness.

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them. Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (ISAIAH 43:6-8)

God is Master of both the past (the former things) and the future (new things). Being the Master of both the future and the past, God also has the present well in hand and therefore He can declare… “new things, even before they spring forth.”

“Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (ISAIAH 42:5-9)

Peter’s message in the New Testament is also very clear. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 PETER 1:19-21)

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, And drives diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, And makes their knowledge foolishness; Who confirms the word of His servant, And performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ To the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ And I will raise up her waste places; Who says to the deep, ‘Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers’; Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”’ (ISAIAH 44:24-28)

Here God proves that He is who He claims to be by announcing the name of a deliverer for Israel’s Babylonian exiles – and Isaiah wrote this more than 200 years before Cyrus fulfilled this prophecy. The prophet alluded to the king who would bring about Israel’s release from captivity in Isaiah 41:2, but in this passage, he mentions him by name! With such amazingly specific claims, God proves who He is through predicted and fulfilled prophecy. No other god, or any other religion can do this.

“Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’ (ISAIAH 46:8-10)

The essential point is that God’s people must remember that He knows the end from the beginning and is in control of all things. We can have tremendous courage in our God when we understand and remember who He is and what He does.

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (ISAIAH 55:8-9)

The rain and snow eventually do return to heaven, but not before accomplishing their purpose on earth. Even so, God’s Word, when He sends it down from heaven, does not return to Him void. Instead, it always fulfills His purpose on earth.

THE BIBLICAL HISTORY OF PROPHECY

God sent prophets throughout history to guide and warn His people. One of the first things Jesus did after the resurrection, was to rebuke some of his disciples for being “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25).

The prophets were most prominent after the tribes of Israel divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. All of the great prophets, lived during these few centuries, from roughly 800 B.C. – 450 B.C. Most of them prophesied before the Babylonian Exile, but there were also a few (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) thereafter. In the historical books in the Old Testament we also read of other prophets, such as Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Prophets arose when the priests failed to teach God’s law to the people, and kings and judges failed to govern the country justly. The prophets were thus sent to declare to the people where they stood and the prophecies contained words of rebuke, words of assurance, threats, and sometimes words of consolation. Often the prophets also had messages for the nations surrounding Israel as these nations were relevant to Israel’s own situation.

Israel as a nation had to die, but it will also be resurrected. God will bring judgment upon his people, but he promised to bring them back to their land and to restore a remnant of them spiritually.

“The surety of the judgments of the LORD. “Search from the book of the LORD, and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them. He has cast the lot for them, And His hand has divided it among them with a measuring line. They shall possess it FOREVER; From generation to generation they shall dwell in it.” (ISAIAH 34:16-17)

“DOUBLE FULFILMENT” (NEAR AND FAR VIEW, OR MULTIPLE FULFILLMENT)

Thomas Hartwell Horne explains “Double Fulfilment” in the interpretation of prophecy as follows: “The same prophecies frequently have a double meaning, and refer to different events, the one near, the other remote; the one temporal, the other spiritual or perhaps eternal. The prophets thus having several events in view, their expressions may be partly applicable to one and partly to another, and it is not always easy to make the transitions. What has not been fulfilled in the first, we must apply to the second; and what has already been fulfilled, may often be considered as typical of what remains to be accomplished.”

THE PRINCIPLE OF DOUBLE FULFILLMENT IN INTERPRETING PROPHECY – DAVID JEREMIAH

From the abovementioned definition, we make the following observations: 1. The first fulfillment of the prophecy is usually found in a person or an event close in time to the prophetic utterance. 2. The first fulfillment is usually only a partial fulfillment of the total prophetic message. 3. The ultimate fulfillment is usually found in the person of Christ or the affairs of His kingdom. 4. The first fulfillment is usually temporal, whereas, the ultimate fulfillment may be spiritual or eternal. 5. Part of the prophetic message may be fulfilled close at hand, and that fulfillment in turn becomes a second prophecy.

A double fulfillment prophecy loses none of its literalness when it is fulfilled the second or even the third time. This would violate our basic system of hermeneutics. “Double fulfillment is literal fulfillment and therefore consistent with basic rules of interpretation. By accepting the doctrine of double fulfilment, we avoid opening up the door to all kinds of unbiblical notions as we so often find with those who use allegorical interpretation.

It is important to note the unchronological character of the Old Testament Prophecy. Because two events are spoken of together or in close sequence, is no proof that these events will take place simultaneously or even in immediate succession, unless the Scripture specifically affirms so. Often two widely separated events were referred to in the same chapter or verse, as the Holy Spirit enabled the prophet to bring these events together.

The most important aspect of the prophecy to the prophet was the immediate not the future. He wanted the people to repent and return to the God. Nevertheless, according to Christ’s own words, the message of the Old Testament was the coming Messiah. Although the prophets looked first at their own situation, they ultimately prophesied about the first and the second coming Messiah.

One of the most powerful arguments for the literal fulfillment of prophecy relating to Christ’s second coming is the fact that prophecy was literally fulfilled at His first coming. Those who argue that prophecy will not be fulfilled literally in the future go against God’s past pattern and have no biblical basis for their claims.

“Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” (HABAKKUK 2:2-3)

A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (DANIEL 12:4)

The words had to be kept safely until the time of the end. Daniel’s prophecy certainly was of some value in his own day. But there would come a day, the time of the end, when his prophecy would be of even more importance. When John wrote the book of Revelation, God gave us a very good insight to the things awaiting both believers and unbelievers.

Daniel describes a characteristic of the time of the end. Many take this prediction as being fulfilled in the travel (run to and fro) and information explosions (knowledge shall increase) of our modern age. But this has more the idea of searching after knowledge rather than rapid forms of transportation. People would run around trying to find answers to important questions, especially in reference to future events taking place.

True Christians would seek answers in the Word of God and thus, ‘knowledge of the book itself shall be increased.’

The “Blue Letter Bible” website mentions that Daniel has revealed enough to us so that the book really can be sealed. From Daniel 11:36 to Daniel 12:3, we see:

  • A world ruler, utterly opposed to God.
  • A world religion, based on the abomination of desolation.
  • A world war, which defeats the ruler.
  • A time of great tribulation for Israel lasting three and one-half years.
  • Deliverance for the people of God after the tribulation.
  • Resurrection and judgment.
  • The reward of the righteous.

Sadly, very few churches preach on prophecy and it’s literal meaning.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (HOSEA 4:6)

“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.” (HOSEA 14:9)

A FEW IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER …

Time is running out and a return to the Lord is immenent if we had gone astray.

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it. In that day the fair virgins And strong young men Shall faint from thirst.” (Amos 8:11-13)

“Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger.” (ZEPHANIAH 2:3)

“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (ISAIAH 55:6-7)

What a glorious promise! When we turn to the LORD, He will have mercy on us and abundantly pardon!

Secondly, need to be aware that are living in an age where “the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” more than ever. (1 PETER 5:8) It is so easy to be drown into the wrong things this world has to offer. Continuously pray that God would “deliver us from the evil one.”

Also, do not allow tests, trials and tribulations to beat us down. During such times, we do not always understand why these things are allowed to happen to us or why prayers are not answered in the way we want them to be. But God is wiser than us and “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (ROMANS 8:28)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (ISAIAH 55:8-9)

As Christian watchmen (and women), all of the evil we see all around us sometimes makes us weary as we are in this world, but not of this world. I guess, if we’ll be honest, we can relate to Habakkuk in our weakest moments.

O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” (HABAKKUK 1:2-4)

Are You not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he? Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice to their net, And burn incense to their dragnet; Because by them their share is sumptuous And their food plentiful. Shall they therefore empty their net, And continue to slay nations without pity?” (HABAKKUK 1:12-17)

BUT GOD … knows the future and we are not without hope. The blessing of fellowship is enormous as we are able to encourage one another to endure until that glorious day.

“Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” (ISAIAH 35:3-4)

“Search from the book of the LORD, and read: not one of these shall fail.” This time of great tribulation is certainly coming upon the earth. This is beyond all doubt and our part isn’t to bring it or to prevent it, but simply to be ready, and to “pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPHECY AND ITS CORRECT INTERPRETATION

Hermeneutics

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPHECY

In the history of the church, the eschatological or prophetic portions of Scripture have suffered more from inadequate interpretation than any other major theological subject. The reason for this is that the church turned aside from a normal and grammatical literal interpretation of prophecy to one that is nonliteral and subject to the caprice of the interpreter. This false approach to interpreting prophecy is contradicted beyond question by the fact that so many hundreds of prophecies have already been literally fulfilled.

In the first two centuries of the Christian era the church was predominantly premillennial, interpreting Scripture to teach that Christ would fulfill the prophecy of His second coming to bring a thousand-year reign on earth before the eternal state will begin. This was considered normal in orthodox theology. The early interpretation of prophecy was not always cogent and sometimes fanciful, but for the most part, prophecy was treated the same way as other Scripture.

In the last ten years of the second century and in the third century, the heretical school of theology at Alexandria, Egypt, advanced the erroneous principle that the Bible should be interpreted in a nonliteral or allegorical sense. In applying this principle to the Scriptures, they subverted all the major doctrines of the faith, including prophecy. The early church rose up and emphatically denied the Alexandrian system and to a large extent restored the interpretation of Scripture to its literal, grammatical, historical sense. The problem was that in prophecy there were predictions that had not yet been fulfilled. This made it more difficult to prove that literal fulfillment was true of prophecy. The result was somewhat catastrophic for the idea of a literal interpretation of prophecy, and the church floundered in the area of interpretation of the future.

Augustine (AD 354–430) rescued the church from uncertainty as far as nonprophetic Scripture is concerned, but continued to treat prophecy in a nonliteral way with the purpose of eliminating a millennial kingdom on earth. Strangely, Augustine held to a literal second coming, a literal heaven and a literal hell, but not to a literal millennium. This arbitrary distinction has never been explained.

Because amillennialism, which denies a literal millennial kingdom on earth following the second coming, is essentially negative and hinders intelligent literal interpretation of prophecy, there was little progress in this area. The church continued to believe in heaven and hell and purgatory, but neglected or explained away long passages having to deal with Israel in prophecy and the kingdom on earth as frequently revealed in the Old Testament. Even in the Protestant Reformation, prophecy was not rescued from this hindrance in its interpretation.

Though remnants of the church still advanced the premillennial view, it was not until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that a movement to restore the literal truth of prophecy began to take hold. The twentieth century was especially significant in the progress of prophetic interpretation in that many details of prophecy were debated and clarified in a way that was not possible before. Though amillennialism continues to be the majority view of the church, among those who hold a high view of Scripture the premillennial interpretation has been given detailed exposition, serving to provide an intelligent view of the present and the future from the standpoint of biblical prophecy.

The importance of prophecy should be evident, even superficially, in examining the Christian faith, for about one-fourth of the Bible was written as prophecy. It is evident that God intended to draw aside the veil of the future and to give some indication of what His plans and purposes were for the human race and for the universe as a whole. The neglect and misinterpretation of Scriptures supporting the premillennial interpretation is now to some extent being corrected.

In the nature of Christian faith a solid hope for the future is essential. Christianity without a future would not be basic Christianity. In contrast to the eschatology of heathen religions, which often paint the future in a forbidding way, Christianity’s hope is bright and clear and offers a Christian the basic idea that the life to come is better than this present life. As Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” In the Christian faith the future is painted as one of bliss and happiness in the presence of the Lord without the ills that are common to this life.

The revelation of prophecy in Scripture serves as important evidence that the Scriptures are accurate in their interpretation of the future. Because approximately half of the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled in a literal way, it gives a proper intellectual basis for assuming that prophecy yet to be fulfilled will likewise have a literal fulfillment. At the same time it justifies the conclusion that the Bible is inspired of the Holy Spirit and that prophecy, which goes far beyond any scheme of man, is instead a revelation by God of that which is certain to come to pass. The fact that prophecy has been literally fulfilled serves as a guide to interpret the prophecies that are yet ahead.

Scriptural prophecy, properly interpreted, also provides a guideline for establishing the value of human conduct and the things that pertain to this life. For a Christian, the ultimate question is whether God considers what he is doing of value or not, in contrast to the world’s system of values, which is largely materialistic.

Prophecy is also a support for the scriptural revelation of the righteousness of God and a support for the assertion that the Christian faith has an integral relationship to morality. Obviously, the present life does not demonstrate fully the righteousness of God as many wicked situations are not actively judged. Scripture that is prophetic in dealing with this indicates that every act will be brought into divine judgment according to the infinite standard of the holy God, and accordingly, prophecy provides a basis for morality based on the character of God Himself.

Prophecy also provides a guide to the meaning of history. Though philosophers will continue to debate a philosophy of history, the Bible indicates that history is the unfolding of God’s plan and purpose for revealing Himself and manifesting His love and grace and righteousness in a way that would be impossible without human history. In the Christian faith, history reaches its climax in God’s plan for the future in which the earth in its present situation will be destroyed, and a new earth will be created. A proper interpretation of prophecy serves to support and enhance all others areas of theology, and without a proper interpretation of prophecy all other areas to some extent become incomplete revelation.

In attempting to communicate the meaning of Scripture relative to the prophetic past and future, prophecy serves to bring light and understanding to many aspects of our present life as well as our future hope. In an effort to understand and interpret prophecy correctly as a justifiable theological exercise, it is necessary to establish a proper base for interpretation.

GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY

The interpretation of prophecy has its own peculiar problems of interpretation when prophecy reveals some future event or is couched in figurative or apocalyptic form. In some instances it is difficult to determine the precise meaning of the text because there is no corroborative comparison with history. In general, however, prophecy is factual. Because so many prophecies have already been literally fulfilled, the nature of this fulfillment provides guidelines for the interpretation of prophecy which is yet unfulfilled. In addition to the general rules of interpreting the Bible, certain additional guidelines assist the interpretation of prophecy.

  1. As is true in the interpretation of all Scripture, it is most important to determine the meaning of significant words in the interpretation of prophecy. Often these words have a historical background that will help in understanding the reference.
  2. One of the important decisions necessary in the interpretation of prophecy is the determination of whether the prophecy concerns the present or the future, that is, whether it refers to a situation now past or present or is prophetic of future events. A biblical prophet, especially in the Old Testament, often delivered contemporary messages that dealt with current problems which were not necessarily futuristic in their revelation. This problem is compounded by the fact that many times prophecy was given in the past tense, where the writer of Scripture took a position of looking back on the prophecy as if it were already fulfilled. Normally, however, it is possible to determine quickly whether the prophecy deals with the past, present, or the future.
  3. Many prophecies of Scripture were fulfilled shortly after their revelation. At least half of the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled literally. Such fulfillment confirms the fact that unfulfilled prophecy will also be literally fulfilled. Fulfilled prophecy is an important guide in interpreting unfulfilled prophecy and generally confirms the concept of literal interpretation of a prophecy.
  4. Prophecies may be conditional or unconditional. This becomes an important aspect of the conclusion that may be reached from the revelation of the prophecy. If a prophecy is conditional, it is possible it will never be fulfilled. If it is unconditional, then it is certain to be fulfilled, regardless of human response. This is an area of confusion in the interpretation of prophecy, as some have assumed that prophecy is conditional when there is no supporting data that indicates this.
  5. Prophecies sometimes have more than one fulfillment. This is referred to as the law of double reference. It is not unusual in Scripture for a prophecy to be partially fulfilled early and then later have a complete fulfillment. Accordingly, what seems to be a partial fulfillment of a prophecy should not be assumed to be the final answer as the future may record a more complete fulfillment.
  6. One of the most important questions in the interpretation of prophecy is whether a prophecy is literal or figurative. As discussed earlier, early in the history of the church, especially in the third century, a school of prophetic interpretation arose in Alexandria that attempted to interpret all the Bible in an allegorical or a nonliteral sense. The influence of this school was one of the major reasons why premillennialism in the early church faded and a form of amillennialism became dominant.

Though the Alexandrian school of theology is labeled by all theologians as heretical, the effect of nonliteral interpretation on prophecy was rendered acceptable by the theological writings of Augustine who applied allegorical interpretation only to prophecy and not to other forms of Scripture revelation. This influence continued through the Protestant Reformation to the present day.

Among conservative interpreters of the Bible, the issue of literal versus figurative or allegorical interpretation is a major issue because on it hangs the question as to whether the Bible teaches a future millennial kingdom following the second advent, or whether it does not. Because the church is divided on this issue, full attention should be given to the interpretation of prophecy as this unfolds in the Bible to see what the Scriptures themselves indicate concerning literal versus nonliteral interpretation.

Confusion also reigns in terminology that sometimes contrasts the literal to the spiritual or the literal to the typical. The nonliteral interpretation of the Bible is not necessarily more spiritual than the literal. The consideration of types in this connection is another confusing aspect. Types, however, depend on the historical fact which is then used as an illustration of a later truth, but it is not prophetic in the ordinary sense. Though it may be demonstrated that most prophecy should be interpreted literally, this does not rule out figurative revelation, allegories, apocalyptic Scriptures, or other forms of nonliteral prophecy. Though it is difficult to deal with these things in the abstract, when studying a particular Scripture, it is not too difficult to determine to what extent it is literal.

  1. Apocalyptic literature is in a place all by itself because all agree that this is not, strictly speaking, literal in its revelation. Outstanding examples, of course, are the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. The fact that such revelation is not literal, however, does not deny it reveals specific facts. Here, skill in interpretation is most necessary, and careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture is essential in determining the actual meaning. This will be illustrated as prophecies of Scripture are interpreted.

As in reading all other types of literature, it may be presumed in studying prophecy that a statement predicting a future event is factual and literal unless there are good reasons for taking it in another sense. Here, the good judgment of the interpreter and avoidance of prejudice and preconceived concepts are most important to let the passage speak for itself.

(Source: John F. Walvoord – Every Prophecy of the Bible: Clear Explanations for Uncertain Times)