The aim of Biblical prophecy is not to arouse vain speculation about the future, but to authenticate the message of the prophets as the Word of God when what has been written comes to pass. It leads the serious student of prophecy to the pivotal point in history upon which everything depends - the crucifixion of Christ as an atonement for sin without which all mankind would end in the lake of fire. He died, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God. The final choice is with the individual - with you and me - as to whether we accept His sacrifice and become identified with Him in death and resurrection, or continue in our own way until it is too late to choose, and the only alternative is "the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death," (Rev. 21:8).
A.J.L. Haynes, Tomorrow: What do the Prophets Say?, 1977, p.53
Have we a hope thus full of glory, and does our hope draw nigh, yea very nigh? 'What manner of persons then ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness?' Ought we not to be persons filled with faith, even as the world is filled with scepticism? Ought we not to be moved with fear for the ungodly around us, and burning with earnest zeal for their salvation? If the day of Christ be so near, how should we be employing the brief remaining interval? Many a task which it might have been wise and well to undertake in the earlier days of the dispensation, would be sadly out of place now! This is no time for controversies about ecclesiastical organizations and abstruse questions of doctrine. To proclaim far and wide throughout the earth the everlasting Gospel before it is too late; to lay hold of men and women and pull them out of Sodom ere the fire from heaven fall; to cry aloud as regards Babylon, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues;" to spend and be spent in seeking to rescue the perishing, this is the work that becomes us. To warn the world that the sword of destruction is coming, to explain to men that the long-suffering of God is for salvation, and that it is nearly over, and to live as though we believed these things-- this is our plain duty.
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The method of interpreting
Bible prophecy that is called "historicism," has been almost
forgotten. Since about the middle of the 19th century an opposing method
called "futurism" has become the popular view.
On the next page we will look at these two views in the light of the Bible. Try to put aside your preconceptions and let the Word of God speak clearly. It has been said that prophecy is history pre-written. If that is true then surely we can discover fulfilled prophecy in the records of history.
First we will answer the questions,
"What is futurism?"
"What is historicism?"
"What does the Bible say?"
If you are new to the subject of Bible-prophecy you might find it helpful to read our Introduction to Prophecy page. If this isn't your first rodeo, you might get more out of a Historicist guide to the interpretation of Bible prophecy, written by Oral Collins, PhD.