What is Bible prophecy?

There are hundreds of prophecies within the Bible.

At least one scholar, J. Barton Payne, has proposed a specific number in the counting of Bible prophecies. In Payne's "Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy," he lists a total of 1,817 Biblical prophecies. That book also proposes that about one-fourth of the Bible's verses contain prophetic content.

Many of the prophecies in the Bible's Old Testament were about a Messiah, someone who would be born of a woman, in Bethlehem, who would die for the sins of others and yet be eternal. These prophecies found fulfillment in Jesus about 2000 years ago.

Other prophecies involved the fate of the people and land of ancient Israel. For example, some prophets warned the people of Israel that their land would be invaded by the Assyrians and, later, the Babylonians. They foretold details about the destruction of Jerusalem and the forced exile of Israelites. The prophets also spoke of how some Israelites would return to the land of Israel and restore Jerusalem. These prophecies found fulfillment more than 2000 years ago.

There also were many prophecies in the Old Testament about the fate of the nations that surrounded the land of Israel, including Assyria, Babylon, Edom, Egypt, Moab, Philistia and Tyre.

Of the 39 books within the Old Testament, 37 are commonly identified as containig some form of prophecy. The two books that typically are not said to contain prophecy are the Book of Ruth and the Song of Solomon.

Although the New Testament, which was compiled about 1900 years ago, largely serves to explain how Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, it also contains prophecy. Jesus gave a number of prophecies involving himself, his followers, and the people of the land of Israel. He prophesied his own death and resurrection, as well as his future return. He also prophesied that his message of salvation would spread throughout the world, that his followers would endure hardships, that Jerusalem would be completely destroyed, and that the Jews would be exiled and scattered throughout the world.

There are 87 prophets listed or mentioned in the Bible. There are 60 "primary" prophets mentioned throughout the Old Testament and New Testament parts of the Christian Bible. And there are another 27 "secondary" prophets in the Bible. A complete list is available at List of prophets in the Bible.

This Web site, at present, focuses on prophecies involving Jesus. Explanations of many other prophecies also can be found at aboutbibleprophecy.com