A Short Course in Old Testament Prophecy…

2 May

“I’ve mentioned to you that God knows everything and that within His knowledge is the knowledge of all history past, present and future. And not only that, there is the purpose of God working it out in fact so that God is not a bystander observing it, but He is the one who is making it come to His own purposes. Now, when God began to reveal this, He began to reveal to the Old Testament prophets certain elements of the future. And, basically, there are four categories in which God revealed the future.

Number one, God gave the prophets prophecies concerning the spiritual destiny of Israel. If you study the Old Testament you will find the Old Testament is just loaded with the spiritual destiny of Israel. In other words, God is saying to them, you are going to come to judgment because of sin or you are going to have this certain nation come and take you into captivity because of sin or on the other hand, because you have been righteous, I will pour out My blessing. Some day in the future, I will gather you into the land and I will restore you, etc., etc. There is much about the spiritual destiny of Israel.

The second category of prophecy in the Old Testament is Messianic prophecy. There is much also about the coming Messiah. It details His first coming and His second coming. It talks about His death and resurrection as well as His coming to set up the kingdom.

The third category of Old Testament prophecy is what you’d call last day prophecy or God predicting events that are gonna happen at the end of man’s day. When the sum of all human wraps up, certain events are gonna take place and those are repeatedly spoken of in the Old Testament, frequently called the day of the Lord. So that you have then, first of all, prophecies about the spiritual destiny of Israel, secondly, about the Messiah and, thirdly, about the last days.

And then fourthly, you have many judgment prophecies…prophecies that are based upon what God is going to do to ungodly nations and individuals.

Now, I just gave you a short course in Old Testament prophecy because that’s about the sum of it, those four categories…prophecy related to the spiritual destiny of Israel, Messianic prophecy, last day prophecy and prophecy related to the judgment of the ungodly.

Now, I want to look at those prophecies from another perspective, still just introducing the thought to you. I want to look at those prophecies chronologically and so I’ll give you three categories.

Number one, in the Old Testament and New Testament we have prophecies already fulfilled. There are prophecies already fulfilled…You read Hosea, you read Amos, you read Micah, you read Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and you will find in all of those books prophecies already having come to pass. And, certainly, all of the prophecies relative to the birth and the life and the death and resurrection of Christ have come to pass.

Secondly, there are not only prophecies already fulfilled, but there are prophecies being fulfilled. Right now, there are some Biblical prophecies being fulfilled. One that I can think of is the statement of Jesus that when He went to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit would come and indwell His people and empower them for worldwide witness and that’s being fulfilled right now, isn’t it. Another one is that God would send a new covenant and that God would make a personal covenant with men, not like the old covenant, Jeremiah 31, and that’s being fulfilled right now as we are partakers in the new covenant. And so we find that there are some prophecies being fulfilled. God also predicted that He would gather Israel from around the world and it seems to me that that may be one of the prophecies right now being fulfilled as God has restored His people to the land.

But then, thirdly, the third category and an obvious one by now to you is prophecy not yet fulfilled. This is the prophecy that is still in the future. Now, stay with me. I’m gonna give you four categories of these.

Number one is the prophecies of the recovery of Palestine by Israel. Isaiah 27, Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel talks about this in 37 and so forth. But there is a prophecy area or category that says in the future, Israel will recover Palestine.

Secondly, there is also a set of Old Testament prophecy that says Israel in the future will be saved and so we call that the national salvation of Israel.

Thirdly, there is Old Testament prophecy and New Testament as well that says Israel’s enemies will be destroyed.

And fourthly, there is much Old Testament prophecy that says Messiah’s kingdom will be established. So of the prophecy yet unfulfilled, you have these four: Israel will gain her land, Israel will be redeemed, God will judge the enemies of Israel and Himself and establish the Messianic kingdom.”

John MacArthur

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