Revelation 1:1 says that the Book is to be about “things which must shortly come to pass.” Did these things come to pass?
Jesus’ Own Claim to Fulfilling Scripture
Luke 24:27: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scripture the things concerning himself.”
Luke 24:44-45: “And he said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”
If we don’t see Jesus’ fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures, we are not reading them correctly.
Did Christ Fulfill Old Testament Prophecies? – Some Examples
Joel 2:28-32, Matthew 24:29-34; Revelation 1:7; 6:12 all deal with the subject of the blackening of the sun and the moon becoming blood. Have these been fulfilled?
Jesus Himself taught concerning the time of the destruction of Jerusalem: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, (30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:29-30.
And in the same discourse, Matthew 24:34: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” Jesus said these things would be fulfilled in that generation, that is, within the next 40 years or so.
Was The Sun Blackened and The Moon Blood?
Popular prophecy now teaches that these prophecies of the sun blackened and the moon becoming blood as well as Jesus’ coming in the clouds as also stated in Revelation 1:7 has never yet been fulfilled: “Behold he cometh with clouds and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Yet this passage has a referent in Joel 2:31: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.”
Revelation 6:12 makes a similar statement: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.” Modern popular prophecy teaches that this will happen at some future time of the “Great Tribulation,” (see below).
Joel 2:28-32 Fulfilled
The passages in Joel 2:28-32a, (which is to occur after the events of the preceding verses), are quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:16-21, as having been fulfilled. The blessings are to “the remnant whom the Lord shall call,” i.e., the Church. (Joel 2:32. See also Romans 10:13). Since Acts 2:16-21 quotes and interprets Joel 2:28-32 as having been fulfilled, there should be no further question. It was fulfilled.
Zechariah 12:10: “…And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” is also declared to have been fulfilled in the crucifixion of Christ, John 19:37.
The Great Tribulation
Dispensationalists and pre-millennialists say that Zephaniah 1:17- 18 also has never yet been fulfilled but speaks of a yet future time of great tribulation. Yet we find in the histories of Josephus that just such slaughter occurred during the destruction of Jerusalem, (Wars 4.3.6-11).
The immediate reference of Zephaniah 1:17-18 is to the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar which followed soon after the original prophecy was given in about 610 BC as described by the Book of Lamentations, also 2 Kings 25:8-21; and 2 Chronicles 36:14-21.
As a general reference, it can be applied to the later destruction under Titus, as described by Josephus in his Wars of the Jews. There were many similarities between the conditions during the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar and that of Titus.
As an eschatological reference, it can be applied to the end of any nation or people who have had the knowledge of God and have refused it, (Psalm 9:17: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God.”)
The Word of God is Eternally Relevant
The Great Tribulation for the unbelievers, the wicked, which came to pass in the destruction of the Jewish nation, circa 70 AD, was an example to the whole world. All of these things were written for our learning, (Romans 15:4). They are still extremely relevant.
Some Notes On Translation
In the process of translation, there is often more than one synonym for a word. For example, the Hebrew word eretz may be translated either “earth” or “land.” Since the word that is translated ‘earth’ may also be translated as ‘land,’ the prophecy can therefore be accurately applied to the destruction of “all the land,” as when the land of Israel was destroyed, or “all the earth,” as in the eschatological future. Likewise the term “all the inhabitants of the land” can equally be translated “all the inhabitants of the earth.”
The End of the Age/(World) Came
The Gospel was fully preached before 70 AD. Matthew 24:14: “And the Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” This was fulfilled as stated in Colossians 1:6, 23: “[The Gospel] which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:… “[the Gospel] which was preached to every creature which is under the heaven:…”
The Hebrew word goy is most often translated as “Gentiles/Gentile nations”; however, the twelve tribes are sometimes called “nations” as in Genesis 35:11; Exodus 19:6; Acts 2:5. The Roman Empire is called “all the world” in Luke 2:1.
Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled. The “End” of the Jewish age (world) came in 70 AD. Many other such examples might be cited.
For a full exposition of these Scriptures, see my book, Revelation In Context, pages 229-232.
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