Understanding Bible Prophecy

"If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Numbers 12:6; 2 Peter 1:21.

By divine inspiration God revealed to the ancient prophets events which were to transpire down through the course of human history from their day until the full establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. These remarkable prophecies provided an outline of history in advance. As we trace these great prophetic outlines, the unerring record of their exact fulfillment in the past assures us that those aspects yet to be fulfilled will certainly take place in their order, just as the Bible predicted.

This view of prophecy, known as the Historicist approach, is the traditional Protestant method of applying the prophetic word. It was this view of prophecy which gave power to the 16th century Protestant Reformation.

In order to thwart the progress of the Reformation, two 16th century Jesuits proposed counterinterpretations of prophecy, neither of which are accepted by this commentary. Luis de Alcazar devised what came to be known as the Preterist (past) view, claiming that nearly all of the Bible's prophecies were fulfilled before the end of the Roman Empire. Francisco Ribera, on the other hand, introduced what is now known as the Futurist view, projecting the focus of prophecy into the future. The Futurist approach, which was quickly adopted as the standard Roman Catholic method of prophetic interpretation, eventually was accepted in protestant circles, and now dominates Evangelical eschatology.

It is not the purpose of this study to point out all the flaws of Futurism, but it is sufficient to say that no theories ever postulated by Futurism have ever proved true. On the other hand, the evidence of the last two and a half millennia has consistently confirmed the accuracy of the Historicist method. As you study the prophecies as outlined in this commentary, we think you'll agree.