is a very big subject: some have the idea that prophecies are given to the
present generation for the present generation.
Others say: that future prophecies, by their very nature, are not for the then-current generation, but rather for future generations! 2 Peter 1:19, Ezekiel 12:27
1 Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
But many of the Messianic prophecies did have value for the then current generation in which these prophecies were given, even if the whole picture was not yet clear.
For example, there is this:
1 Cor 10.11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.
Here we have Israel going through the Wilderness as an example for us! But wasn’t it for the then current generation, as well?
It’s clear to me that what happened in the above passage was not just for us in the latter times, but also has application then and through the Church age.
And this is how I see much of OT Prophecy, as an actual historical application, as well as a future fulfillment. As such, there were Messianic Prophecies that had value in the time they were given, even if the details of Jesus’ birth, life, and death were not yet disclosed.
Sometimes, when you read prophecies in the OT Scriptures of Jesus’ Coming, it’s difficult to tell if it’s about the 1st Coming or the 2nd Coming? Sometimes they are mixed together. And that’s because these prophecies are often not an attempt to give the historical description itself, but only the spiritual lesson, with very few historical details.
There is this general principle in Biblical Prophecy in which future prophecy has to have a current relevance and a final fulfilment.
Much of what prophesy ‘experts’ do, is a kind of future speculation, without much of an emphasis on current spiritual values. The Scriptures did not do this when giving Prophecy. Instead, it provided current relevance, as well as future relevance. The current relevance largely consists of present spiritual applications.
We agree there will be a future Antichrist. But in talking about a future Antichrist the Apostle John said that this prophecy has current spiritual value because: there are already many antichrists already active in our world! In other words, prophecy of a future Antichrist is designed to help us now, with current antichrists.
When John spoke of a great persecution that comes at the hands of Antichrist he was aware that Christians were already suffering under imperial Rome. There was relevance to the current Church in the sense that they were being encouraged to endure, just as a future generation of Christians would have to endure the Antichrist. Ref: Randyk, Bible Forum.