1st Coming - Understand Prophecy - Yamartino
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Chapter 1 of  60

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Commentary of the Second Coming of Christ is sometimes presented as if the details of this great happening have already been printed in yesterday's newspaper. People speak with such certainty about how He will make His entrance into the world, the great signs that will accompany His arrival, and the spectacular events - some bringing salvation to the Faithful, others damnation to the wicked - which the peoples of the earth will witness with awe. Such accounts include unmistakable conditions that the world will experience at that time, and unequivocal visible signs in the heavens and on earth, both joyous and catastrophic, which will compel the peoples of the earth (1:2)

Images of the Second Coming are based, of course, on the prophecies of the Bible, which are regarded by many as quite clearly spelling out future events. These prophecies are seen as assured promises whose meanings are obvious, and which only the blind could fail to see (1:3)

While all this certainty seems to be only a matter of reading what the future holds, for God has foretold the Second Coming in the Bible, what people are actually doing is trying to predict the future (1:4)

At first sight, of course, it seems rather natural that one would use prophecies to see into the future. Isn't that what prophecies are for? After all, the many prophecies of the Old Testament foretold with accuracy the First Coming of Christ centuries before it occurred. We now look forward to the Second Coming - and we have equally as many prophecies - and they seem, by the way, much clearer than the ones foretelling Christ's First Coming (1:5)

Certainly it would seem that predicting the future through prophecy is not only a reasonable thing to do, but even a duty of the faithful, so that they might prepare themselves for the coming of their Lord. And those whose vision of the Second Coming is based upon the words of the Bible should be assured that their vision is correct - except for one unavoidable fact: there is no evidence to support the commonly held assumption that the meaning of prophecies can be understood before they have been fulfilled. Quite the contrary, the evidence of the Bible overwhelmingly demonstrates that until they are fulfilled, prophecies are ignored, misunderstood, and, in many cases, present a barrier between the seeker and his goal (1:6)

Having no foreknowledge of the meaning of a prophecy, one cannot, therefore, use it to predict the future. It must first be fulfilled for its meaning to be revealed (1:7)

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