Prophecy: Is any being fulfilled today?
What so many people fail to realize is that our time now in history is stated plainly in the Bible to have been a mystery, that is, a secret that was not made known until the time of the writings of the apostle Paul.
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery [MUSTERION = secret], which was kept secret since the world began, [Emphasis added]
Things about “the mystery” are an ongoing theme throughout Paul’s epistles.
25 Whereof I [Paul] am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God [to complete the Scriptures for our time];
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: [Emphasis added]
This period of time along with its many blessings was kept secret from all the prophets of old. Therefore, they wrote NOTHING, not even one word about our time. This then means all “prophecy,” that is, all those things written about Israel’s future [and a lot of their past] are discussed by all the writers of Scripture. But that can’t be said about this period of history we’re living in now that is often spoken of as the Dispensation of the Grace of God.
Prophecy is definitely not being fulfilled today in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God! There’s been prophecy fulfilled in the past and there will be more fulfilled in the coming period known as the Tribulation, and even more beyond that time. However, this period we are a part of today could not have been written about by them and it still been a secret. There are several reasons for this.
The Israel of God has been set aside in our time today. There is a nation of Israel today, but there is not an Israel of God today. By that term I’m saying Israel today is not a people of faith. With VERY few exceptions, they have rejected the Savior God sent for them and all mankind. Oh, these people talk about God, but they’ve rejected the means for them to have a blessed relationship with Him. That means is the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel today is almost entirely a nation of unbelievers. They, for a time, have been completely set aside by God. In no way are they fulfilling prophecy.
Even when a Jew becomes a believer in our time, they gain a new identity. From the moment of their entrance into salvation they have then become members of what is today known as the Body of Christ. Israel is currently “fallen,” cut off from God, “cast away,” “spiritually blinded,” and “enemies [of God].” Here’s the biblical documentation for all that.
11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall [be utterly cast down]? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness [speaking of their conversion (and restoration)]?
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world [2 Corinthians 5:19], what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness [conversion] of the Gentiles be come in.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes [believing Gentiles]: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. [Emphasis added]
This is telling us there’s a part of Israel that still has a glorious future. God is by no means finished with them. But for now [with very few exceptions] they are God’s enemies for our sake. In this timeframe in which they are set aside, God is bringing salvation to many Gentiles. That’s us! Today, God is forming a church [an assembly of believers] which is called the Body of Christ, being made up of believing Jews and believing Gentiles. Therefore, this time now is a period of “mystery,” not prophecy.
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God [our time today] which is given me [not the prophets of old] to you-ward [Paul is OUR apostle]:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel [speaking of Paul’s gospel of the Grace of God]:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable [ANEXZICHNIASTOS = untraceable (not found in the writings of the prophets)] riches of Christ;
Here he’s speaking of those truths revealed through Paul that are nowhere to be found in the writings of the Old Testament prophets [the prophets of Israel].
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold [POLUPOIKILOS = much varied] wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: [Emphasis added]
This Body of Christ is separate and distinct from God’s people of the nation Israel. In our time, salvation is now going through the Gentiles because of Israel’s spiritual decline. If the agency of Israel that was at the heart of what is often spoken of as the prophetic program does not exist today, the fulfillment of the various features of the prophetic program don’t exist today. Nothing about it exists today!
Prophecy is all about the process of God reclaiming Earth’s governments. As I write this, it is Satan who is running things. That’s why he’s spoken of as “the god of this world.” It is by his influence that so much goes on as it does.
II Corinthians 4:4
4 In whom the god of this world [speaking of Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [Emphasis added]
Because of Satan’s rule we live in an evil world.
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: [Emphasis added]
Rather than reclaiming real estate on Earth today, God is instead influencing the coming government of Heaven. The day will come when we as believers in this present timeframe will have positions of authority and rulership in Heaven. Our faithfulness to the Lord now is determining what positions we will hold and enjoy then.
II Timothy 2:12
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us [some position of rulership, not our salvation]: [Emphasis added]
There are many causes for suffering, but this is speaking of the various forms of suffering experienced by those who are faithful to our Lord and His Word for our time. We are being told here that there’s great reward for that. All because of your stand in relation to God’s Word, various forms of suffering will come your way. We need to always remember that our Lord will completely compensate us in Heaven for any suffering we experience in His behalf.
Meanwhile we’re to stand firm in His Word. But the day will come when He purges the government of Heaven and puts us in roles of rulership vacated there. Again, that’s what reigning with Him is about in II Timothy 2:12.
So much of prophecy involves God’s wrath being poured out on rebellious mankind [Matthew 3:7-12; Acts 2: 32-36; Acts 3:22-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 6:16-17]. These things are not occurring today. The Bible tells us God is not imputing the world’s trespasses unto the people of the world.
II Corinthians 5:19
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [Emphasis added]
We’re in a time when God is offering reconciliation and grace to the entire world of mankind. That’s a part of why this period of history is called the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Instead of bringing upon the world well-deserved judgment, He offers grace [Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:3; I Timothy 1:12-16 and many more]. By faith in the work Christ performed through His death, burial, and resurrection, He offers not only grace but eternal salvation [Ephesians 2:11-22].
Every generation faces confusion about God and what He’s doing. Our time is by no means an exception to that. The time of prophecy and this time of grace are mutually exclusive. It’s not to say God didn’t extend grace to people in other times, but our time today is especially noted for that. What needs to be understood is that these periods do not overlap in any way. That event known as the Rapture which is recorded in the Bible as a mystery truth [not a prophecy] formally terminates this present age of grace. When it does, the time of prophecy will resume. There’s seven years of it that’s spoken of as the Tribulation. Again, that period will begin immediately after the Rapture. It is then that more times of prophecy will resume. It is then that many things prophesied in previous dispensations will be fulfilled in that seven-year period and beyond.
Many people in Christendom speak of prophecy being fulfilled today. Commonly they speak of Israel’s founding as a country in 1948 as a fulfillment of prophecy. But something very important that they habitually overlook is the fact that Israel is made up almost exclusively of unbelievers, that is, people who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior. And even though many Jews have returned to Israel, millions remain scattered throughout the nations of the world. The Israel of today is man’s creation, not God’s, as it one day will be. When God brings the people of Israel back into the land, they will be a people of faith, believing Jesus is their Messiah.
It is common to hear people quote non-Pauline passages and claim that God is judging America today for its many sins. They’ll even state passages that supposedly present the solution. Here’s one common example.
II Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people [in the context, this is believing Israel], which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. [Emphasis added]
We are not Israel! We have no such promise given to us today as members of the Body of Christ. Many passages out of non-Pauline writings are taken out of context with the objective of trying to apply them to our time. There are many, but the common sources for this includes such passages as Matthew 24, Mark 13, and the whole book of Revelation. Wars, famines, pestilences, diseases, earthquakes, and more are said to be signs of Christ’s soon return. But all those passages are speaking of the coming time of Tribulation that occurs after we are all removed from the Earth by what is known as the Rapture. Those things occur in the following seven-year period of Tribulation that precedes Christ’s return to the Earth to set up His earthly Kingdom. The people who make these false claims about all this may mean well, but they have it wrong.
The means to correctly understanding these things is found in rightly dividing the Scriptures.
II Timothy 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]
When people fail to honor the truth of this passage, they become subject to many errors in their understanding of the Scriptures. But such has become the situation for most of Christianity today. The prophecy preachers and “scholars” overwhelmingly agree that prophecy is being fulfilled today. Teaching those things sells books and gets a viewing audience on television, but they are all wrong. Again, no prophecy is being fulfilled today because Scripture tells us our time was a mystery, a secret kept from the prophets. That situation will change immediately after the Rapture of the church which is the Body of Christ. Much is laid out in prophecy about the coming period of Tribulation, Second Coming of Christ, and His Millennial Kingdom that follows. But today all we have given are some general trends provided through the writings of the apostle Paul. What he does tell us is that things aren’t going to get better in this present age of grace. Here are two such passages.
I Timothy 4:1-3
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith [correct teaching], giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [Emphasis added]
II Timothy 3:1-7
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. [Emphasis added]
So, no, things aren’t going to get better. Man is by no means on his way to producing a utopian age. The things described have gone on for the last two thousand years and there’s no-good reason for us to think things are going to get better for mankind in the future. This isn’t a statement of pessimism, but one of reality. God knows man’s future as well as He knows his past. And here we have some clear statements about it.
Sometimes sincere well-meaning Christians will say that we know the Bible is true because we see prophecy being fulfilled all around us. If that were true, we’d now be in the period known at the Tribulation. Furthermore, we’d be amid the rise of a man called the anti-Christ and much more. But we are told that he will not be made known while the Body of Christ church is still on Earth. Let’s look at a passage that tells us this.
II Thessalonians 2:6-10
6 And now ye know what withholdeth [KATECHO = to hinders or restrains] that he [the anti-Christ] might be revealed in his time.
Here we’re told that the abyss is holding down the release of certain demonic forces which will be unleashed during the second half of the Tribulation Period.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, [KATECHO = hinders or restrains] until he be taken out of the way.
The word, “let” in the old English meant just the opposite of what it means in today’s English. This meaning of the term in the King James Version translation is rare in modern English, but it can still be found in certain contexts. For instance, the sometimes odd and archaic vocabulary of tennis uses the word “let” when the tennis ball hits the net during a serve. In this passage of Scripture, it means to hinder or to restrain. What’s being said here is that God the Holy Spirit is using our Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ to prevent the prophetic program [the Tribulation period in this case] from resuming as it someday will.
8 And then shall that Wicked [the antichrist and his false prophet] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit [breath] of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. [Emphasis added]
9 Even him [the antichrist], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [Emphasis added]
As we’ve seen, we are in a period of history that was a mystery, a secret time not known to the prophets of old. Therefore, they knew nothing and wrote nothing at all about our time. As I mentioned earlier, claiming prophecy is currently being fulfilled may sell books and get television time, but it all represents unsound, unbiblical teaching. People who do this know little or nothing at all about the right division of Scripture. Therefore, they are prone to make these mistakes and many others in their handling of the Scriptures. They end up making the Scriptures even more confusing to an already-confused public.
The apostle Paul discusses prophecy, as in Romans 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians 2, but he never tells us to look for the fulfillment of prophetic events. They are presented at least partially in Paul’s epistles to show that we have nothing to do with them. Prophecy is connected with Israel, not the Body of Christ people. Today, the prophetic program is on hold until the completion of the membership of the Body of Christ. When that last person is saved in this period, the Rapture will occur. And by the way, the Rapture is not classified as prophecy in Scripture. It is called a mystery.
I Corinthians 15:51-52
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [Emphasis added]
Therefore, we’re to be looking for and eagerly anticipating the Rapture, not signs, wonders and the antichrist, followed by the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of His earthly kingdom.
13 Looking for that blessed hope [the Rapture], and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [Emphasis added]