All prophecy in the Bible looked forward to “the day of the Lord,” the day when Israel’s Messiah would rule the nations in righteousness – the days of “the kingdom of God.” In the Old Testament these prophecies were understood to have a fulfillment far into the future. In the New Testament that time was deemed to have come, and therefore all the prophecies were said to be “at hand” for that generation. As that generation advanced, the time was said to be “nearer.” And finally, with the book of Revelation, the time was said to be “soon.” Given the diversity of the Bible’s authors and the consistency of their timetables, combined with the work of the Holy Spirit who inspired them all, it would be foolish to declare them wrong about the timing. All these prophecies centered on the person of Jesus Christ – the long-awaited Messiah. As He was faithful to fulfill all prophecies in the physical dimension where we could see Him (as Jesus of Nazareth), we can trust He was just as faithful to fulfill all prophecies applying to the spiritual dimension where we could not see Him (in heaven where He went after His resurrection). Therefore, we conclude that all these prophecies were fulfilled long ago, no later than the end of the 1st Century A.D.
If you read a more literal translation of the Bible, such as the New American Standard Bible (abbreviated NASB or NAS), you will often see New Testament quotations of the Old Testament marked in some noticeable way (in the NASB they are printed in all capital letters). The New Testament is constantly quoting the Old Testament, and by taking note of these many occasions you will see how the apostles who wrote the New Testament documents believed that they were seeing the fulfillment of all prophecy. Moreover, there are many occasions in the Old Testament where it is obvious to us that its prophecies were fulfilled in New Testament times even though the New Testament writers did not quote them. (For examples, see Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Apostolic Times.) The entire Old Testament pointed toward Christ, and thus all its prophecies are fulfilled in Him.
We are therefore living in the promised “day of the Lord” – the days of “the kingdom of God.” Consequently, you should not be led astray by anyone or any group who would tell you that any Bible prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. Most common are those groups who excitedly warn of the imminent physical return of Jesus. Even in the last hundred years there have been many cases of churches or cults using scraps of Scripture to build a following. Then when the predicted event does not occur when promised, they invent some new prophecy or explanation to hold on to the people and their wallets. By the false expectations these groups raise, they damage the faith of those who join them, and cause the name of the Lord to be blasphemed among those who do not.
None of this, however, diminishes the value of the Bible for helping us understand the ways of God and how His judgments are executed in the earth. On the contrary, because the Bible is a trustworthy record of how people were judged in the past, we can follow its patterns recurring in life today. As a result, we are better able to learn from it. The Bible’s subject matter is righteousness. It is filled with examples of right and wrong behavior. Its moral lessons help us know how to live. Nations still rise and fall today for the same reason they rose and fell in biblical times: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” The Bible is not less valuable because its prophecies have been fulfilled, it is more valuable for this very reason.
The purpose of the Bible is to testify to Jesus Christ. Its prophecies have been fulfilled in Him. Jesus Christ is the Lord in “the day of the Lord;” He is the King in “the kingdom of God.” Live for Him…whether anyone else does or not.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information about Jesus to those who want to hear about Him without having to join something.