Gospel of Matthew
The Book of MATTHEW
Herbert Henry Ehrenstein
Notes from Herb on John the Baptist and Prophecy
This brief document looks at the three possible time periods that a prophecy may view. It also is to be remembered that it was necessary for the revealer of any prophecy to have knowledge of any future event, meaning that while a prophet may be aware of local circumstances - and what God has revealed about them, he may not be aware of the cycles of prophecy that come to follow or even the importance to future generations who would live when these prophecies came to be witnessed in their own time. This document is not full text and explanation, only key elements and notes from which Dr. Ehrenstein taught.
Isaiah 7:14 - behold the virgin
Heb ALMA - young woman
Gk PARTHANOS - Virgin Matthew 1:23
Levels of prophetic fulfillment
1. Near View - Fulfilled in Prophet's time - usually physical fulfillment. The immediate future. Fulfillment in part.
2. Far View - Fulfilled later in time - usually spiritual fulfillment. The distant future. Fulfillment in part.
3. Very Far View - Fulfilled finally - usually final physical fulfillment. The Final future. Fulfillment complete.
An Example of a Two fold fulfillment
Virgin shall conceive - passage
Immanuel - God is with us.
Generally applied to the Birth of Jesus.
Matthew 1:23 - decidedly applied to Jesus birth of the virgin Mary.
But... Isaiah did not have any indication that the prophecy was that of the birth of the Messiah. He was encompassed by two mighty forces around the city. King Ahaz was the receiver of Isaiah's prophecy. Essentially a local prophecy and fulfillment. The arrival of a son to Isaiah's wife. Verses 15-16, before the child was older the threat would be gone.
However that same prophecy had a long range fulfillment - Jesus (Matthew) PARTHENOS as a substitute for ALMA. Virgin, not just a young woman, but BOTH.
An Example of Triple fulfillment
Comfort to the prisoners of Babylon. More than comfort ... he was guaranteeing the freedom of the prisoners at the end of the 70 years and allowed to go home. He said to them that when they were allowed to return to Jerusalem their joy would be so great that their travels over mountains and valleys would be as though the mountains were made level and the valleys filled in. A voice of one calling, in the dessert prepare a highway our God, make straight his paths.
This prediction was fulfilled when King Cyrus of Persia released the Jewish people and made them free.
This prophecy was again fulfilled in Jesus day. Luke 3, John the Baptist, the forerunner, in captivity to Rome. John was appointed to introduce Jesus. When John denied this they thought "then Jesus must be Elijah."
Still a third time - future even to us to day Malachi chapter 4.
But Elijah himself will come back before the Second coming of Jesus Christ. God promises to send the great prophet Elijah to earth again during the great tribulation. Once more a voice crying in the wilderness. The people knew that Elijah was going to return to introduce the Messiah and that's why they were asking John the Baptist if He was Elijah. (John 1:21)
He will point the people of Israel to their Messiah at that future time. The third fulfillment of "the voice of one crying in the desert ... prepare ye the way of the Lord."