Although all scripture can be called prophecy, it has come be known as a prediction of some future event, under divine guidance. Much of the prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled already, but there are prophetic events that have yet to be fulfilled, and God's track record tells us that these events will come to pass as well. If there is any doubt, see our section on Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. The Endtimes.org web page will examine some of these yet unfulfilled prophecies in a progressive way, trying to put together the pieces of the prophetic Endtimes puzzle.
The best way to use this information then is by starting at the top of the table of contents and work your way down the list. The subjects are dealt with progressively, so that you are learning the basics first, and then walking through the Old and New testament prophecies concerning the Endtimes, as well as issues that come up along the way.
As we will note in the section on interpreting scripture, since the early church, prophecy has unfortunately been mistreated and misunderstood by Bible scholars, due to the influence of Greek philosophy and gnosticism in the second and third centuries that insisted that there was a secret meaning to all scripture. (Not just prophecy) Instead of just reading the clear meanings of the words in scripture, they sought the secret meaning in every passage. Although this problem got straightened out around the time of Augustine in regards to interpreting non prophetic passages, they continued to interpret prophecy in this non literal way, which many believe led to an incorrect understanding of prophetic events. This continued all the way up to the Protestant Reformation, and continues today. This allegorical method of interpretation also leads church leaders to leave off preaching Endtimes themes, since using an allegorical approach to interpretation leads to so many different views of the text that the views of the preacher begin to lack any credibility. If there is any truth to the prophecies of the Bible, and there is, it makes sense that God wants people to understand them, thereby showing people that He is who He claims to be, since He can predict the future. If prophecies all have a secret meaning, and are so hard to interpret so as to lose all credibility to the reader, then they also lose all value for study. The problem with this is that God doesn't waste His time telling us things that He doesn't want us to understand. The God of the Bible was loving enough to send His son Jesus to die for us, and He therefore also wants us to understand His words to us. This goes to the core of the concept of revelation. It's not called the book of secrets. God's word therefore must be understood in the normal way anyone would understand a written letter. God's word uses the same types of grammatical tools that one would find in much literature. When the author wants you to know that he means something symbolically, he will make that clear in some way. (The next section will give some more in-depth information concerning the rules of interpretation.)
By using the Literal Grammatical-Historical method of interpreting prophecy, we believe that we can come to the understanding that the Holy Spirit meant by His words. Again, there is much symbolism in prophecy, but it will be clear in 99% of the cases whether or not it should be interpreted literally, or symbolically.
As a sidebar, in the debate over a book called 'The Bible Code', one would wonder how people think they are going to obtain secret knowledge by using highly subjective mathematical algorithms (sequences) of text in the Bible, when they won't believe what the plain words say. If we don't like the clear words, lets find some others, right? The Bible predicts the exact day the Messiah would be presented as the King and yet the Jews didn't expect him, and still don't see the power of this prophecy. Our God is a gracious God who wants us to know the future. However, first He wants us to admit that we are lost without Him, and accept the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah. No hocus-pocus, nor computer is needed to learn this.