Lessons: Introduction to Bible Prophecies

The Bible contains texts written over a period of more than 1,500 years.  Most of its contents can be grouped into four categories:
     * Historical records
     * Teachings / Laws
     * Wisdom sayings
     * Prophecies

The first three categories are not strange at all -- all religious books have similar contents like the Bible (with the notable exception of the detailed account of the "re-creation" of the present Earth).  The last category, however, is where the Bible stands out.  While other religious books may contain some self-proclaimed prophecies, the Bible is the only one that contains prophecies that have been fulfilled centuries after its writing.  Some of the prophecies in the Bible are so detailed that scholars could not believe that they were written before the events actually took place.  Their disbelief, however, were dissipated when scrolls dated before the actual events were found.  Studying the Bible prophecies and their fulfillments is one of the most exciting areas of Biblical study anyone can pursue.

Yet there are prophecies that are have not yet fulfilled.  For 1,900 years since the last book of the Bible (The Book of Revelation) was written, Christians waited for the fulfillment of these prophecies.  Since then, some of them have been fulfilled, and we have detailed historical records to compare with the Bible.  Some prophecies are being fulfilled today, and nothing is more frightening than seeing these gloomy prophecies fulfilling right before our eyes.

Here are the major groupings of Bible prophecies:
     * Prophecies related to individuals -- mostly in the Old Testament and fulfilled
     * The first coming of Jesus and events related to it -- fulfilled
     * Prophecies related to Israel -- some have been fulfilled, others in progress, and some yet to be fulfilled
     * The history of the Mediterranean -- most have been fulfilled,  some are emerging today
     * The second coming of Jesus -- yet to be fulfilled, but some signs are already here

The prophecies regarding the first coming of Jesus is simply too comprehensive for the Jews to have an excuse not to have recognized the Messiah when he first came.  Yet they crucified him (which is also crucified).

Discussion Questions:
     * What do the presence and fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible tell us about the real authorship of the Bible?
     * If past prophecies have been fulfilled, what can we guess about the unfulfilled prophecies?
     * What does the fulfillment of prophecies about the Mediterranean area tell us about God's plan?  Is God controlling our every move?  Is history already set and we are just actors in a drama?
     * Jews supposedly studied the Scripture diligently, but when Messiah came, they couldn't recognize him.  What does this tell us about prophecies?  About our study of the prophecies?
     * What should be our attitude towards prophecies about the future?

A quick preview of some prophecies in the Bible:

Old Testament
Isaiah 53: ministry and death of Jesus
Daniel 2: session of empires in the Mediterranean area
Daniel 4: the fall and rise of Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of Babylon
Daniel 7: the coming European empire
Daniel 8: the Persian, Grecian and the forthcoming European empire
Daniel 9: the timetable of God's plan for Israel (including the timing of Jesus' birth)
Daniel 11: the conflict between Syria (North) and Egypt (South)
Daniel 12: the coming tribulation

New Testament
1 Corinthians 15: the rapture of the Church
1 Thessalonians 4: the rapture of the Church
Revelation 2-3: the historical trend of Christianity
Revelation 6: the coming difficult times
Revelation 7: the coming Jewish missionaries
Revelation 8, 9: the Seven Trumpets: the coming disasters
Revelation 11: the two witnesses of God
Revelation 12: the persecution of Israel
Revelation 13: the coming "Beast," the world dictator, and the second "Beast," the false prophet
Revelation 14: the Battle of Armageddon
Revelation 15: the Seven Plagues -- more disasters
Revelation 16: the Seven Bowls of God's wrath -- more disasters
Revelation 17: the Woman on the Beast -- the coming universal religion
Revelation 18: the fall of Babylon -- the destruction of world economy
Revelation 19: the second coming of Christ
Revelation 20: the Millennium Reign of Christ
Revelation 21, 22: the New Jerusalem and the new world

This lesson was developed by George Huang.  Got a question or want to publish this lesson?  E-mail me.

Last updated: 2/10/2000