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Bible prophecy or biblical prophecy comprises the passages of the Bible that reflect communications from God to humans through prophets. Jews and Christians usually consider the biblical prophets to have received revelations from God.
Prophetic passages appear widely distributed throughout Biblical narrative. Some prophecies in the Bible are conditional, with the conditions either implicitly assumed or explicitly stated. Some prophetic passages present themselves as direct statements from God, while other statements are expressed as the privileged perspective of the biblical author considered to be a prophet.
While Jewish tradition and prophecy differs deeply from Christian prophecy and theology, in general, believers in biblical prophecy engage in exegesis and hermeneutics of scriptures which they believe contain descriptions of global politics, natural disasters, the future of the nation of Israel, the coming of a Messiah and a Messianic Kingdom—as well as the ultimate destiny of humankind.
Prophets in the Hebrew Bible often warn the Israelites to repent of their sins and idolatries, with the threat of punishment or reward. Blessings and catastrophes are attributed to the deity. According to believers in Bible prophecy, many of these prophecies are viewed as having been fulfilled within later passages.
In Judaism and Christianity, a number of biblical passages have been taken as prophecies of a coming Messiah. Christians believe that these Messianic prophecies are fulfilled by Christ Jesus, while followers of Rabbinic Judaism still await the arrival of the Jewish Messiah and other signs of Jewish eschatology. Most Christians believe many messianic prophecies will be fulfilled with the Second Coming of Christ, though some Christians (Full Preterists) believe that all Messianic prophecies have already been fulfilled. Rabbinic Judaism does not separate the original coming of the Messiah and the advent of the Messianic Age. For details of the differences, see Christianity and Judaism.
Another much-discussed issue concerns the "end times", or "last days", particularly according to the Revelation of John.
The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.
Verses such as Acts 7:4–5 and Hebrews 11:13 indicate that this promise was not accomplished during Abraham's time. F. F. Bruce argues that the fulfilment of this prophecy occurred during David's reign. He writes:
David's sphere of influence now extended from the Egyptian frontier on the Wadi el-Arish (the "brook of Egypt") to the Euphrates; and these limits remained the ideal boundaries of Israel's dominion long after David's empire had disappeared.
Corporate personality is the important Semitic complex of thought in which there is a constant oscillation between the individual and the group – family, tribe, or nation – to which he belongs, so that the king or some other representative figure may be said to embody the group, or the group may be said to sum up the host of individuals.
God is represented as guaranteeing that the Israelites would drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites from their lands, which the Israelites wanted to appropriate (Exodus 34:10–11). The same applies to the Girgashites (Deuteronomy 7:1–2). In Exodus 34:10–27, this is referred to as a covenant, commandments being given. In Judges, the Israelites are described as disobeying the commandment to worship no other gods (Judges 3:6) and, as a result, not being able to drive out the Jebusites (Joshua 15:63). The Israelites did not drive all of the Canaanite tribes out in the lifetime of Joshua. The books of Joshua and Judges (Chapters 1) mention towns that could not be defeated. According to 2 Samuel, the Israelites occupied Canaan but the complete seizure took place only when David defeated the Jebusites in Jerusalem and made it the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. (2 Sam 5:6–7)
God states that the house, throne and kingdom of David and his offspring (called "the one who will build a house for my Name" in the verse) will last forever.(2 Samuel 7:12–16, 2 Chronicles 13:5, Psalm 89:20–37) 1 Kings 9:4–7 as well as 1 Chronicles 28:5 and 2 Chronicle 7:17 state that Solomon's establishment is conditional on Solomon obeying God's commandments.
Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 2:1; 6:7–10) and did not obey God's commandments (1 Kings 11:1–14).
Some scholars including Saul of Cyrene state that God has promised an eternal dynasty to David unconditionally.(1 Kings 11:36, 15:4, 2 Kings 8:19) They feel the conditional promise of 1 Kings 9:4–7 seems to undercut this unconditional covenant. Most interpreters have taken the expression "throne of Israel" as a reference to the throne of the United Monarchy. They see this as a conditionalization of the unconditional dynastic promise to David's house expressed in 1 Kings 11:36, 15:4 and 2 Kings 8:19. They argue the presence of both unconditional and conditional promises to the house of David would create intense theological dissonance in the Book of Kings.
I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon... You will not die by the sword; you will die peacefully. (Jeremiah 34:2–5)
The Books of Kings and Jeremiah relate that Zedekiah's eyes were put out after he was taken to the King of Babylon and that he remained a prisoner in Babylon until his death (2 Kings 25:6–7 and Jeremiah 52:10–11). There is no other historical record of what happened with Zedekiah in Babylon.
Josiah fought against the Egyptians although the pharaoh, Necho II, prophesied that God would destroy him if he did (2 Chronicles 35:21–22)—possibly Josiah was "opposing the faithful prophetic party". Josiah was killed in battle against the Egyptians (2 Kings 23:29–30). However, Judah was in a time of peace when Josiah died, thus fulfilling the prophecy.
It will not take place, it will not happen... Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. (Isaiah 7:1–9)
According to 2 Chronicles 28:5–6 "God delivered the King of the Jews, Ahaz, into the hands of the King of Syria, who carried away a great multitude of them captives to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the King of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter".
In Isaiah 7:9 the prophet says clearly that a prerequisite for the fulfillment of the prophecy is that Ahaz stands firm in his faith. This means that he should trust God and not seek military help in the Assyrians which Ahaz nevertheless did.
The Book of Isaiah also foretold;
Christian apologists state that the prophecy in Isaiah chapters 13 and 21 could possibly have been directed originally against Assyria whose capital Nineveh was defeated in 612 BC by a combined onslaught of the Medes and Babylonians. According to this explanation the prophecy was later updated and referred to Babylon not recognizing the rising power of Persia. On the other hand, it can be mentioned that the Persian King Cyrus after overthrowing Media in 550 BC did not treat the Medes as a subject nation.
Instead of treating the Medes as a beaten foe and a subject nation, he had himself installed as king of Media and governed Media and Persia as a dual monarchy, each part of which enjoyed equal rights.
The prophecy may date from 735 BC when Damascus and Israel were allied against Judah. Tiglath-Pileser took Damascus in 732, which some apologists point to as a fulfillment of this prophecy, but this campaign never reduced the city to rubble. The depiction of Damascus as a "heap of ruins" has been understood as figurative language to describe the despoiling of the city, the leading of its people as captives to Kir (an unidentified city), and the way that the city lost much of its wealth and political influence in the years following Tiglath-Pileser's attack. The prophecy is also believed by some to have a future fulfilment relating to end-time developments concerning Israel.
The passage is consistent with 2 Kings 16:9, which states that Assyria defeated the city and exiled the civilians to Kir.
Some theologians argue the statement that the "land of Judah" will terrify the Egyptians is not a reference to a large army from Judah attacking Egypt but a circumlocution for the place where God lives. They argue it is God and his plans that will cause Egypt to be terrified. They go on to argue the second "in that day" message from verse 18 announces the beginning of a deeper relationship between God and Egypt which leads to Egypt's conversion and worshiping God (verses 19–21). They say the last "in that day" prophecy (verses 23–25) speaks about Israel, Assyria and Egypt as God's special people, thus, describing eschatological events.
There are many scholars, however, who point out that the prophet himself spoke of Cyrus arguing that Deutero-Isaiah interpreted Cyrus' victorious entry into Babylon in 539 BC as evidence of divine commission to benefit Israel. The main argument against the idols in these chapters is that they cannot declare the future, whereas God does tell future events like the Cyrus predictions.
What verse in true gospel in our original history
Many remember Isaiah 11:6 Stating "The lion also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young wolf and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them"
Currently it is written Isaiah 11:6 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them"
Jeremiah prophesied that;
It lasted 68 years (605 BC–537 BC) from the capture of the land of Israel by Babylon and the exile of a small number of hostages including Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael (Daniel 1:1–4). It lasted 60 years (597–537 BC) from the deportation of the 10,000 elite (2 Kings 24:14) including Jehoiachin and Ezekiel though there is a discrepancy with Jeremiah's numbers of exiles (Jeremiah 52:28–30). It lasted 49 years (586–537 BC) from the exile of the majority of Judah (2 Kings 25:11) including Jeremiah who was taken to Egypt and leaving behind a poor remnant (2 Kings 25:12).
However, some Christian scholars try to explain the figure in a different way stating that Jeremiah gave a round number.
Christian commentaries have considered the conquering Persian force an alliance between the Persians and the Medes. One suggests the use of the term "Medes" is due to earlier recognition among the Jews and because the generals of Cyrus were apparently Medes.
The destruction of temple by the Romans in 70 brought an end to the Jewish sacrificial system.(33:18) (See Korban) Christians have stated this refers to the millennium in which Christ reigns for a thousand years, since Jeremiah 33:18 goes along with the eternal reign of the line of David in verses 21–22.
Tyre was an island fortress-city with mainland villages along the shore. These mainland settlements were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II, but after a 13-year siege from 585–573 BC, the King of Tyre made peace with Nebuchadnezzar, going into exile and leaving the island city itself intact. Alexander the Great used debris from the mainland to build a causeway to the island, entered the city, and plundered the city, sacking it without mercy. Most of the residents were either killed in the battle or sold into slavery. It was quickly repopulated by colonists and escaped citizens, and later regained its independence. Tyre did eventually enter a period of decline, being reduced to a small remnant. Echoing Ezekiel's words, historian Philip Myers writes in 1889:
The city never recovered from this blow. The site of the once brilliant maritime capital is now "bare as the top of a rock," a place where the few fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry.
Older sources often refer to the locations as a "fishing village". However, the nearby area grew rapidly in the 20th century. The ruins of a part of ancient Tyre (a protected site) can still be seen on the southern half of the island whereas modern Tyre occupies the northern half and also sprawls across Alexander's causeway and onto the mainland. It is now the fourth largest city in Lebanon with a population of 14,000 people
This includes the claim that God will make Egypt so weak that it will never again rule over other nations. Pharaoh Amasis II (who drove off Nebuchadnezzar) also conquered Cyprus, ruling it until 545 BC. Despite being a powerful nation in ancient times, Egypt has since been ruled by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine Empire, Ottomans, British and the French, and has also enjoyed periods of independence from external rule. During the Hellenistic period, the break-up of the empire of Alexander the Great left the Ptolemaic Dynasty (of Macedonian/Greek origin) as rulers of Egypt: the Ptolemies then conquered and ruled Cyrenaica (now northeastern Libya), Palestine, and Cyprus at various times. (see also History of Ptolemaic Egypt and Ptolemaic kingdom).
There is some uncertainty among modern scholars regarding when (and by whom) various portions of the Book of Ezekiel were written, making the timing of prophecies difficult to unravel (see Book of Ezekiel).
Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt around 568 BC. However, the armies of Pharaoh Amasis II defeated the Babylonians (though the author did not elaborate and there are no known detailed accounts of this invasion). Herodotus reports that this Pharaoh had a long and prosperous reign. The Egyptians were conquered by the Persians in 525 BC.
"When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." (Matthew 10:23)
The Christian response is varied:
Moffatt puts it "before the Son of man arrives" as if Jesus referred to this special tour of Galilee. Jesus could overtake them. Possibly so, but it is by no means clear. Some refer it to the Transfiguration, others to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, others to the Second Coming. Some hold that Matthew has put the saying in the wrong context. Others bluntly say that Jesus was mistaken, a very serious charge to make in his instructions to these preachers. The use of ἑως [heōs] with aorist subjunctive for a future event is a good Greek idiom.
Preterist scholars explain this verse as referring to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD with the phrase "before the Son of Man comes" meaning before judgment comes upon the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem for rejecting Jesus Christ as The Messiah. They reject to refer Matthew 10:23 to the second coming of Jesus because Jesus speaks to his disciples about the towns of Israel:
Such a view completely divorces the passage from its immediate and localized context, such as the fact that this was an admonition to the apostles – and not directed to a generation several millennia removed from the first century.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary disagrees with this view:
In the similar context of Mt 24:8–31 the great tribulation and the second advent are in view. Hence, the "coming of the Son of man" is probably eschatological here also. This would have been more readily understood by the disciples, who would hardly have thought to equate this "coming" with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
"as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (See also Matthew 16:21, 20:19, Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, Luke 11:29–30 and John 2:19) According to Mark 15:42–46, Jesus was buried in Friday night and according to Matthew 28:1–6 and John 20:1, Jesus' tomb was found empty on Sunday dawn.
It is customary for eastern nations to count part of a day as a whole 24-hour day.
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
Christian responses have been varied:
Some of them that stand here (τινες των ὁδε ἑστωτων [tines tōn hode hestōtōn]). A crux interpretum in reality. Does Jesus refer to the transfiguration, the resurrection of Jesus, the great day of Pentecost, the destruction of Jerusalem, the second coming and judgment? We do not know, only that Jesus was certain of his final victory which would be typified and symbolized in various ways.
Preterists respond that Jesus did not mean His second coming but a demonstration of His might when He says "coming in his kingdom". In this view, this was accomplished by the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD when some of the Apostles were still living and thus fulfilling the word of Jesus that only some will not have died. Others argue it refers to the Transfiguration. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary states:
This coming of the Son of Man in his kingdom is explained by some as the destruction of Jerusalem and by others as the beginning of the Church. But referring it to the Transfiguration meets the requirements of the context (all Synoptists follow this statement with the Transfiguration, Mk 9:1; Lk 9:27). Furthermore, Peter, who was one of those standing here, referred to the Transfiguration in the same words (II Pet 1:16–18). Chafer calls the Transfiguration a "preview of the coming kingdom on earth" (L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, V, 85).
Hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.
The word "you will see" is in Greek "ὄψεσθε" [opheste, from the infinitive optomai] which is plural. Jesus meant that the Jews, and not just the high priest, will see his coming.
Christians argue that the first cock-crow is simply missing from Matthew, Luke, and John. In Matthew (Matthew 26:34), Luke (Luke 22:34), and John (John 13:38), Jesus foretells three denials of Peter before cock-crow. Matthew 26:69–75, Luke 22:54–62, John 18:15–27 report the fulfillment of this prophecy. In Mark 14:30, Jesus speaks of two cock-crows, which is mentioned in Mark 14:66–72 as having taken place. Christians argue that Matthew, Luke, and John removed the first cock-crow and diminished (Luke even eliminated) the partial exit by Peter after the first denial (which Mark reports). If Mark was the "interpreter of Peter", he would have gotten his information directly and thus would be considered the more reliable source.
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
Preterists claim these verses are metaphorical. Others claim that the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 fulfilled this despite the existence of the wailing wall. The IVP Bible Background Commentary states:
Some stones were left on others (e.g., part of one wall still stands), but this fact does not weaken the force of the hyperbole: the temple was almost entirely demolished in A.D. 70.
The parts of the wall Jesus refers to in the verse may not have included the wailing wall. Recent archaeological evidence suggest that the wailing wall part of the temple complex was not completed until an uncertain date in or after 16 A.D.
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
The famines part of this verse has often been associated with the third seal of Revelation (Rev. 6:5–6), and the pestilences and earthquakes aspect has often been associated with the fourth seal of Revelation (Rev. 6:7–8). The presence of the term birthpains could be representative of better times ahead. Scholars point out that these events have always been on earth, so the verse must refer to a significant increase in the intensity of them.
There are also instances of erroneous, or untraceable, quotations from the prophets cited by the early Christians:
Christian writers have given several responses. First is that the use of Jeremiah is meant to refer to all the books of prophecy. Second is that although Jeremiah said this, any record has not survived. Third is this was the result of a scribal error because of the single letter difference in the abridged versions of the names.
Christians have given several responses. First is that this prophecy has not survived to the present day. Second is the Greek word nazaret does not mean Nazarene but is related to the Hebrew word netzer which can be translated as 'branch'. Third is that the verse is not a prophetic saying but simply reflects an Old Testament requirement for the Messiah to be held in contempt, (Psalm 22:6–8; 69:9–11, 19–21; Isaiah 53:2–4, 7–9) which they argue Nazarenes were (John 1:46; John 7:52).
Some scholars respond that this is because the Malachi reference was just an introduction, which made it significantly less important than Isaiah 40:3, leading to the whole being attributed to the prophet Isaiah. Other reasons given are Isaiah's authority was considered higher than Malachi and the Isaiah text was better known.
...we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17)
Christians argue that Paul speaks about his own presence at the last day only hypothetically. They point out Paul later states the Day of the Lord comes like a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:1–2) which is a word Jesus uses himself (Matthew 24:43–44) expressing the impossibility of predicting His second coming (Matthew 24:36).
There are different attempts to explain the term "to take his seat in the temple of God". Some understand it as a divine attribute which the man of lawlessness arrogates to himself and hence no conclusion can be drawn for time and place. Many in the early Church, such as Irenaeus, Hippolytus of Rome, Origen and Cyril of Jerusalem, believed a literal Temple would be rebuilt by the Antichrist before the Lord's Second Coming whereas Jerome and John Chrysostom referred the Temple to the Church. Also some today's scholars refer the phrase "God's temple" to the Church pointing out that Paul used this term five other times outside 2 Thessalonians and does not refer it to a literal temple.
The Church fathers such as John Chrysostom who lived at the time of Gnostics, the Marcionites, the Encratites, the Manicheans—who rejected Christian marriage and the eating of because they believed that all flesh was from an evil principle—asserted this text referred to such sects and that they were therefore "in the latter times". The Protestant theologian John Gill believed that this refers to the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, particularly priestly celibacy and Lent as promulgated by the medieval church. (see Great Apostasy)
Some Christian scholars believe the verses 11–14 refer to the era of salvation beginning with Christ's resurrection and its coming fulfillment on the last day. Thus, they think that the claim Paul makes here about salvation is a claim every Christian and not only Paul in his time can affirm. Some see this verse as indicating that there are no prophesied or salvation events before the Lord comes. Those holding the belief that Paul has a longer time span in view point to its context after Romans 11, which describes the repentance of all of Israel in future. They also point to Paul's plan to visit Rome and more western places in Romans 15 as indicating that he did not believe Christ's return would be soon enough to simply wait for it.
The word "soon" (other translations use "shortly" or "quickly") does not have to be understood in the sense of close future. The Norwegian scholar Thorleif Boman explained that the Israelites, unlike Europeans or people in the West, did not understand time as something measurable or calculable according to Hebrew thinking but as something qualitative:
We have examined the ideas underlying the expression of calculable time and more than once have found that the Israelites understood time as something qualitative, because for them time is determined by its content. 
...the Semitic concept of time is closely coincident with that of its content without which time would be quite impossible. The quantity of duration completely recedes behind the characteristic feature that enters with time or advances in it. Johannes Pedersen comes to the same conclusion when he distinguishes sharply between the Semitic understanding of time and ours. According to him, time is for us an abstraction since we distinguish time from the events that occur in time. The ancient Semites did not do this; for them time is determined by its content.
The following are the scriptural requirements in Judaism concerning the Messiah, his actions, and his reign. Jewish sources insist that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright. Some Christians maintain that some of these prophecies are associated with a putative second coming while Jewish scholars state there is no concept of a second coming in the Hebrew Bible.
While Christian biblical scholars have cited the following as prophecies referencing the life, status, and legacy of Jesus, Jewish scholars maintain that these passages are not messianic prophecies and are based on mistranslations/misunderstanding of the Hebrew texts.
|“||Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass||”|
. The Hebrew translation of the prophecy reads:
|“||Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!/Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem/See, your king comes to you/righteous and having salvation/gentle and riding on a donkey/on a colt, the foal of a donkey.||”|
The gospels of Mark, Luke, and John state Jesus sent his disciples after only one animal. (Mark 11:1–7, Luke 19:30–35, John 12: 14,15) Critics claim this is a contradiction with some mocking the idea of Jesus riding two animals at the same time. A response is that the text allows for Jesus to have ridden on a colt that was accompanied by a donkey, perhaps its mother.
These passages have been interpreted by some Muslim scholars as prophetic references to Muhammad. This claim has always been unacceptable to most Bible scholars. All the following are Muslim scholars' interpretations of various Biblical passages.
Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the return of Christ "in the glory of the Father" and that the passages below were fulfilled by the coming of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, the two most recent Manifestations of God, in 1844 AD and 1863 AD, respectively.
Biblical prophecy is believed to be literally true by a number of conservative Christians, such as Norman Geisler and Young Earth Creationists. Interpreters uphold this principle by providing details of prophecies that have been fulfilled. In this view it is usually maintained that no Bible prophecy has ever failed, or ever will. It is therefore up to the interpreter to find a meaning in the words that is true. They also dispute the legitimacy of non-biblical prophets and psychics. Professor Peter Stoner and Dr. Hawley O. Taylor, for example, believed the Bible prophecies were too remarkable and detailed to occur by chance. Arthur C. Custance maintained that the Ezekiel Tyre prophecy (Ezek. 26: 1–11; 29:17–20) was remarkable.
These interpretive issues are related to the more general idea of how passages should be read or interpreted—a concept known as Biblical hermeneutics. Bible prophecy is an area which is often discussed in regard to Christian apologetics. Traditional Jewish readings of the Bible do not generally reflect the same attention to the details of prophecies. Maimonides stated that Moses was the greatest of the prophets and only he experienced direct revelation. Concern with Moses' revelation involves law and ethical teaching more than predictive prophecy. According to Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed the prophets used metaphors and analogies and, except for Moses, their words are not to be taken literally.
According to the Talmud, prophecy ceased in Israel following the rebuilding of the second temple. Nonetheless Maimonides held that a prophet can be identified if his or her predictions come true. Some Orthodox Jews[which?] believe that a future prophet, perhaps a returned Elijah, will identify the future Messiah, the correct location of the Holy of Holies, and other matters essential for the restoration of Jewish worship.
Many scholarly and popular interpreters have argued that a prophecy may have a dual fulfillment; others have argued for the possibility of multiple fulfillments. In some senses this has been occasionally referred to as an apotelesmatic interpretation of specific prophecies.
In Christian eschatology, the idea of at least a dual fulfillment is usually applied to passages in the apocalyptic books of Daniel or Revelation, and to the apocalyptic discourse of Jesus in the synoptic gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), especially in interpretations that predict a future tribulation and a future Antichrist figure. Futurists and Historicists usually hold to variations of this view, while Preterists see the same passages as applying only to events and persecutions from the time of Daniel through the first century CE. Some who believe in multiple fulfillment tend to restrict the idea to a view of history where ancient events reflecting Israel and first-century Judaism and Christianity are predictors of larger future events to happen on a global scale at a point in time, while others tend to include symbolic applications of prophecies to multiple entities and events throughout history.
Henry Kett suggested multiple fulfillments in his 1799 book History the Interpreter of Prophecy, in which he outlined numerous fulfillments for Antichrist prophecies, with chapters on the "Papal power", "Mahometanism" and "Infidelity" as parts of a long series of fulfillments of the prophecies.
Moses Stuart (1780–1852) differentiated the idea that a prophetic passage has an inherent dual sense or double meaning from the idea of a later application of the prophecy in subsequent events, separate from the original prophecy: "In these principles there is no double sense; no ὑπόνοια [huponoia or "suspicion"], in the sense in which that word is usually employed and understood. But there may be an apotelesmatic view or sense of a passage in the ancient Scriptures; and this is the case whenever a proceeding or a principle is reillustrated or reconfirmed. This makes out no double sense, but a fuller and more complete exhibition of the one and simple meaning of the original. Well may it be named a πλήρωσις [plerosis or "fulfillment / fulfilling"]." Stuart noted prior usage of the term "apotelesmatic" by European interpreters.
Other interpreters have referred to an apotelesmatic meaning of prophecy as a collapsing of perspective of "near" and "far" or "inaugurated" and "consummated" fulfillments, where from the viewpoint of the ancient Israelite prophet local events affecting Israel are merged with end-time cosmic events relating to the kingdom of God.
C. F. Keil (1807–1888) suggested in an influential commentary "this uniting together of the two events is not to be explained only from the perspective and apotelesmatic character of the prophecy, but has its foundation in the very nature of the thing itself. The prophetic perspective, by virtue of which the inward eye of the seer beholds only the elevated summits of historical events as they unfold themselves, and not the valleys of the common incidents of history which lie between these heights, is indeed peculiar to prophecy in general, and accounts for the circumstance that the prophecies as a rule give no fixed dates, and apotelesmatically bind together the points of history which open the way to the end, with the end itself."
Seventh-day Adventist theologian Desmond Ford (Historicist) termed this belief the apotelesmatic principle and stated "The ultimate fulfillment is the most comprehensive in scope, though details of the original forecast may be limited to the first fulfillment."
On the other hand, Dispensational Futurist theologian Randall Price applies the term "apotelesmatic" primarily to the sense of "prophetic postponement" or "an interruption in fulfillment" that dispensationalists hold occurs between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24–27: "The technical expression for this delay in the fulfillment of the messianic program for Israel is derived from the Greek verb apotelo meaning, 'to bring to completion, finish.' The usual sense of telos as 'end' or 'goal' may here have the more technical idea of 'the consummation that comes to prophecies when they are fulfilled' (Luke 22:37). With the prefix apo, which basically has the connotation of 'separation from something,' the idea is of a delay or interruption in the completion of the prophetic program. Therefore, apotelesmatic interpretation recognizes that in Old Testament texts that present the messianic program as a single event, a near and far historical fulfillment is intended, separated by an indeterminate period of time. Dispensational writers have referred to this as an 'intercalation' or a 'gap.' However, prophetic postponement better expresses this concept."
Halley's Bible Handbook, the Scofield Reference Bible and many other Bible commentaries hold that the "little horn" of Daniel 8 is fulfilled both with Antiochus Epiphanes (reigned 175-164 BC) and with a future Antichrist. Henry Kett, taking the writings of Sir Isaac Newton, advanced to identifying three fulfillments: Antiochus Epiphanes, the Romans, and a future Antichrist. Several Historicist interpreters (Faber, Bickersteth, Keith, Elliott, etc.) proposed the same, but noted that the Roman Empire is classified in two forms, the Pagan and the Papal, and that the Roman Empire was also split (East and West), and that in the East Mohammed or his religion were also meant, and more particularly the Turks, and that the final form (particularly according to authors writing after the Crimean War of 1853-1856) was Russia.
Methodist theologian Adam Clarke (ca 1761-1832) concurred with Anglican bishop Thomas Newton (1704-1782) that the abomination of desolation as a proverbial phrase could include multiple events “substituted in the place of, or set up in opposition to, the ordinances of God, his worship, his truth, etc.” This allows for viewing some, or all of the following events as partial fulfillments of this prophecy simultaneously:
The British Israelist Howard Rand (1963) wrote, “because men have been able to see one—and only one—fulfillment, they have missed the greater scope of this prophecy and their understanding of the full message has been thwarted. ... Too, because of the double, triple and quadruple applications of this prophecy to world events, an enormous amount of history is involved in the cryptogrammic language of the vision.”
Among most Christian denominations, the prophecy that Jesus will return to Earth is a major doctrine, which can be seen by its inclusion in the Nicene Creed. Many specific timeframes for this prediction have been declared by individuals and groups, although many of these dates have expired without the occurrences predicted. An official statement of the Vatican, issued in 1993, asserted, "we are already in the last hour".
Biblical references claimed to prophesy the end times include:
Pharaoh Amasis II subjugated Cyprus and held it under Egyptian control until 545 B.C.
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