Sunday, 29 December 2013

Fulfilled Prophecy

The promises in Zechariah 8 were fulfilled soon after they were spoken.

This is known for three reasons: the text itself, the rest of Scripture, and history.

Verses 9, 15, 23 mention "these days" and "those days". The promises were designed to encourage immediate action by an immediate audience for an almost immediate outcome.

Furthermore, the terminology includes things which were relevant only under the Old Covenant. Going to Jerusalem to worship is mentioned (verses 20-23). But Jesus said that would not be the manner nor the place of worship under the New Covenant (John 4:21). Therefore the promises must have been fulfilled during Old Covenant times.

History records that Jerusalem was indeed settled again, after the Babylonian captivity.

It would therefore be inadequate to explain current events or future events or current or future requirements of Christians or of Jews on the basis of this chapter - unless we accompany it with some disclaimer and further explanation.

All Scripture is written for our learning, upon whom the ends of the world are come. But even though the ethics of fulfilled prophecy may be applied more broadly, still the direct historical fulfilment and purpose of much of Old Testament prophecy has already been fulfilled. There's a difference between the direct historical fulfilment and the broader ethical application of Old Testament Scripture.

If we don't understand this difference, we'll come up with wrong predictions about the future, wrong explanations of the present, and wrong ideas about what Christians should now be doing or of what Israel should be doing in the future.

But if we navigate Bible prophecy properly, it will equip our faith with the greatest assurances that Christ is all in all.

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