Has all prophecy in the Old Testament been fulfilled? How do we interpret prophecy?

Question:

I have a friend who claims that there are biblical prophecies within both the Old and New Testament that have not come to pass as of yet. Though I am aware that not all biblical prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled, what are the basic rules for interpreting it? Should we focus on how Jesus had, has, and will fulfill prophecy? Or is there prophecy available that has little or no involvement from Christ? It seems that if there is anything left in the Old Testament to fulfill, Jesus should have a part or likeness within it as he is a central element in Christianity.

Answer:

Any sort of answer is really academic without examples. If people are going to claim that there are unfilfilled prophecies, unless they give examples, it is a red herring claim. Please supply me with examples so that I can respond. My generic response is that I have studied messianic prophecies extensively and know of NO prophecies of the Messiah which, properly interpreted, were not fulfilled by Jesus. Jesus clearly claimed to have fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah (Luke 24:44). Given his spectacular fulfillments of many prophecies, the benefit of the doubt should, reasonably, be given to Jesus.
How do we interpret prophecies? 

The answer is that we should allow history to interpret prophecy. Fulfillment should fit the small picture (the details) and the big picture (the person or the event in its broader context.

By the way, there definitely are prophecies in the Bible which have not yet been fulfilled. For example, there is Revelation 20-22 which describes the final Judgement Day and our existence with God in heaven. There is also Daniel 12 which also describes the final resurrection and Judgement Day. Clearly these are prophecies of the end of time and clearly they have not yet been fulfilled.
So, the question is not whether there are any remaining unfulfilled prophecies, but the question is whether there are any prophecies of the Messiah which were not fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. Until I see an example, I will stick with great confidence to my claim that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah.

John Oakes

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