The prophets declare

Levels of fulfilment of prophecy

The scriptures in entirety are prophetic, in that they bear witness to God’s plans for the whole of history.  Many prophecies have more than one fulfilment, so while we may have seen a fulfilment on one level, there is a greater fulfilment to come.

End-Time prophecies

God has revealed to his prophets the content of his plans and purposes for the end of the age, the return of Jesus and his eternal reign.  More than 150 chapters of the Bible have the end-times as a central theme as does the entire book of Revelation.  Large parts of Daniel, 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5, 1 and 2 Peter and Jude also have a similar focus.  Jesus addressed the issue in Matthew 24 just prior to his crucifixion and resurrection.  As Christians we are therefore in a uniquely advantageous position knowing beforehand the major events yet to come in the history of the universe.  Non-believers, however, have no certain knowledge of the future.


Daniel foretold something of the nature of the end times when he said:

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.  There will be a time of distress such as not happened from the beginning of nations until then.  But at that time your people – everyone whose name is written in the book – will be delivered.  Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.  Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.  But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end (Daniel 12:1-4).

The Apostle Paul

Paul also spoke of the end-times, focussing in certain sections on the judgement of God and the need to be prepared. He said:

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5).

In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, 'Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?  Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'  But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men… But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare' (2 Peter 3:3-10).


Jesus told his disciples:

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).

A careful reading of the Bible will reveal a great wealth of revelation about God’s plans and purposes relating to the end-times.  Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) highlights the need to live in the light of what the Bible teaches about the future and to be prepared for Jesus’ coming again into human history.


God’s purposes for the Jews

We’ll now have a look at some of the prophecies specifically relating to the Jewish people.  We believe the events of the last few decades confirm that prophecies given thousands of years ago are being fulfilled in our day.  As we see the prophetic events unfolding we may be sure that Jesus’ return is imminent.

He promised the Jews (Abraham’s family) a land

I will establish my covenant between me and you (Abraham) and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.  Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God (Gen 17:7, 8).

Other references include Genesis 12:1-3; Jeremiah 31:35, 36; Isaiah 44:21.  God reiterated this promise to Isaac (Gen 26:3), to Jacob (Gen 48:3, 4) and to Moses (Deut 32:48, 49).  The Israelites took possession of the land of Canaan in the time of Joshua and the Judges, but lost it to their enemies centuries later.  In Jesus’ time it was a Roman province and after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 the Jews were scattered, with only a very small number remaining in Palestina (as it was then called).  It’s only in the last 65 years that part of the original land of Canaan has become Jewish land again.

He promised an eternal covenant with Israel

The Lord will establish you as a holy people to himself, as he swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways.  So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you (Deut 28:9, 10).

See also Isaiah 43:21; Genesis 12:3; Jeremiah 31:34-36; and Isaiah 44:21.

He promised to restore the nation

On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people . . . he will raise a signal for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:11, 12).

See also Isaiah 40:1, 2; Jeremiah 29:11; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Zephaniah 3:20.  The Aliyahs to Israel of Jews from around the world, spurred by pogroms and persecutions, and the Zionist movement, show us that this word has been in the process of fulfilment over the last 120+  years.

He spoke of the birth of the State of Israel

Who has heard such a thing?  Who has seen such things?  Can a land be born in one day?  Can a nation be brought forth all at once?  As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons (Isaiah 66:8).

This word was fulfilled in 1948 when the state of Israel came into being.

He foretold the establishment of Jerusalem

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent.  You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give him no rest until he establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:6, 7).

See also Psalm 122:6, 9; Luke 21:24.  Jerusalem was returned to Israel in 1967.  The final fulfilment of this prophetic word will be when the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God and Jesus rules from there as King over all the earth.

God promised to gather the Jews in their land

He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.  For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he (Jer 31:10-12 (part)).

See also Jeremiah 23:3 and Isaiah 49:12-16.

God told us that the Gentiles would help to bring the Jews to Israel

Foreigners will build up your walls, and their kings will minister to you; for in my wrath I struck you, and in my favour I have had compassion on you (Isaiah 60:10).

See also Isaiah 49:22, 23; Isaiah 14:1, 2; Isaiah 43:5-8; Ezekiel 37: 11-14.

God promised a bright future for the Jews

Thus says the Lord, restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded, declares the Lord, and they will return from the land of the enemy.  There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children will return to their own territory (Jer 31:16, 17).

No people or nation has been mal-treated and maligned as the Jews have been through the ages.  This promise of joy to come will be fully realised when the shalom of Jesus fills the earth and they gladly submit to his Lordship.

God saw Israel as a land of blessing

The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.  I will bring back the captives of my people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them (Amos 9:11-15 (part)).

See also Zephaniah 3:20; Ezekiel 36:8-10; Isaiah 35:1-4; Isaiah 41:18-20.  When the Jews first started returning to Israel at the end of the 19th century, it was largely wasteland.  They put their agricultural skills to work and turned the desolate desert into a thriving, productive land.  Remarkable as this is, it is only a foretaste of the glory of the land as it will be when Jesus sets things to rights.

God predicted the rebuilding of the ancient cities long since fallen into ruins

They will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations (Isaiah 61:1-4 (part)).

See also Ezekiel 36:33-35; Ezekiel 37:25.  In the same way that the Jews made their land productive, they have also rebuilt their cities. 

We may be sure Jesus’ return will be soon!

God has throughout history revealed to his prophets the content of his plans and purposes for the end of the age, the return of Jesus and his eternal reign.  More than 150 chapters of the Bible have the end-times as a central theme

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