Four Keys to Sound Prophetic Interpretation

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Many reasons could be put forth to explain why our Christian counterparts of long ago were wrong about what they believed to be prophetic certainties. The signs seemed to fit the times. How can we avoid their mistakes? The following prophetic keys will help any interpreter unlock the door to the prophetic past and the prophetic future:

  1. The first prophetic key is to recognize that prophetic themes are most often set within established time frames. Failure to pay attention to a time frame can lead a person to assume that his generation is the generation experiencing the fulfillment when, in fact, the fulfillment is in the past.

  2. The second prophetic key is to recognize that as far as history records, little is unique about our era when it comes to calamities like plagues, earthquakes, and wars. This means that their contemporary manifestation does not necessarily carry any prophetic importance. In terms of a given time frame, the fulfillment of such prophecies is more than likely past.

  3. The third prophetic key is to determine historical context. Before an interpreter assumes a future fulfillment, if the time text is clear, he should search events within the given time frame for possible fulfillment.

  4. The fourth prophetic key is to distinguish fulfillment from application. There is much in Scripture that is fulfilled, but principles remain that can be applied to any era.

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