Understanding Prophecy – A Study Outline

1)First of all a ‘prophet’ is above all a preacher of the Word, 1 Cor. 14:3. He is one who is inspired by God. We receive upbuilding, encouragement and consolation from the Word.

-Go through the prophetical books of the Old Testament and see how they are above all a preaching of the Word from God. Secondly, a prophet may be able to foretell the future like Agabus in NT times. Acts 11:28, 21:10-11

-The first prophecy was that of the crushing of satan by the Messiah, the seed of woman. Gen. 3:15-16

-The last in the Old Testament are in Malachi for instance in 4:2 about the Sun of righteousness coming, our Messiah.


2)There can be an immediate fulfillment and an ultimate fulfillment in Old Testament prophecy.

-Ps. 72 speaks of the rule of Solomon in many verses. The ultimate King Jesus is referred to in verses like 17.

-Deut.18:15-18 refers immediately to Moses and then pictures him as a type of the ultimate Prophet, our Jesus.


3)There is what we call ‘prophetic perspective’ which is looking at events some of which happen earlier than others, but seeing them on a horizontal plane. In Mt. 24-25 with our Lord’s Mount of Olives address some of what He says applies to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem(70), while other statements refer to the last days.

-Mt. 24:15-19 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem.

-Mt. 24:29-31, 25:31-46, 24:22-28 refer to the time of Christ’s second coming.


4)Especially are we concerned about seeing the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament which speak of the person of the Messiah and of His work and kingdom.

-Look at these Zechariah references and see of what they prophecy: 2:9-11, 3:8-9, 6:11-13,15, 8:7-8,23, 9:10, 11:13, 12:10, 13:1,7-8, 14:9.

-See in John how OT prophecies are fulfilled: 19:1-3(Is. 53:5), 19:9 (Is. 53:7), 19:18 (Is. 53:12), 19:24 (Ps. 22:18), 19:28-30 (Ps. 69:21), 19:33-36 (Ps. 34:20), 19:37 (Zech. 12:10), 19:41 (Is. 53:9). During Holy Week God pointed at His Son as the Messiah very definitely. Earlier also in John: 12:15 (Zech. 9:9), 12:38 (Is. 53:1), 12:40 (Is. 6:9-10), 13:18 and 17:12 (Ps. 41:9) 15:25 (Ps. 35:19).


5)Prophecies or visions as in Revelation can overlap describing part of the same thing in each. There are expansions on what God reveals as He sees fit or it is given from different perspectives. Think of Revelation’s seven seals, trumpets, mysterious figures and bowls of wrath.


6)Individuals besides the Messiah are prophesied of: Cyrus – Is. 44:28, 45:1, John the baptizer – Mal. 3:1, Mary – Is. 7:14.


7)The prophecies are so specific at times that though hundreds and thousands of years are between prophecy and fulfillment there just is no question: thirty pieces of silver in betrayal – Zech. 11:12, dividing up His garments – Ps. 22:18.


8) The longest book of prophecy, Isaiah, is loaded with announcements of what He would do (ch. 53). Chapter 61 deals with the Messianic King while 60 deals with His Kingdom. Find more passages in the 66 chapters.