THE PROPHETIC PERSPECTIVE
MULTIPLE FULFILLMENTS “False Summits”
Have you ever heard of a “false summit”? Serious hikers probably have! A false summit is an approaching peak that reaches into the sky and looks like it might be the pinnacle of the mountain. But as you draw closer to this summit, you recognize that this was not the ultimate peak after all! The summit you were seeking still lies well ahead. The false summit isn’t “false” in the sense that it doesn’t exist or that it isn’t real. It’s a real summit—but it is a secondary summit because the best summit is yet to come. The fulfillment of prophecy works that way too. It may appear at first that a prophecy referred to one single future event. Yet, as history unfolded, it became clear that the original prophecy referred to multiple events. These initial peaks of fulfillment were not counterfeits or false fulfillments! They were real fulfillments but they were secondary— because the best and fullest fulfillment was yet to come. An Example of a Secondary Summit
The prophet Joel predicted that God’s Spirit would cause God’s people to prophesy and that cosmic wonders would fill earth and heaven ( Joel 2:28–32). Centuries later, when Peter saw followers of Jesus speak God’s truth at Pentecost, he proclaimed to the people, “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:14–21). Yet, as far as we know from history, no cosmic phenomena flashed through the Jerusalem sky that day. Could Peter have been referring to recent signs that accompanied the death of Jesus? (Luke 23:44–45). © Lizard
Or was Peter predicting the heavenly signs that would be seen later, actual cosmic events when the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple in AD 70?66 Or could Peter have been referring to an ultimate fulfillment of these words that will occur nearer to the time of the second coming of Jesus? (Matthew 24:29–31; Revelation 6:12; 19:11–17). Regardless of how you understand Joel’s prophecy, one fact is clear: The fulfillment of this one prophecy unfolded in more than one episode. This is an example of “multiple fulfillment.” Also known as “progressive fulfillment,” “typological fulfillment,” or “analogous fulfillment,” this is the recognition that a single prophetic announcement can be fulfilled at one point in history and yet also be fulfilled later in a greater way.67
Published on Jul 20, 2011
Selected Sample Pages from the NEW Rose Guide to End Times Prophecy by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, Associate Professor, Southern Baptist Theolog...