There are two overall keys for understanding Bible prophecy. Most who claim understanding of prophecy do not, because they do not understand (or they reject) the following two vital keys. Without them, you cannot know the timing of prophetic events and to whom these events will happen.

1. Prophecy is Dual.

Almost no student of Bible prophecy understands that virtually ALL Bible prophecy is dual. That is, there is a prior fulfillment to set the pattern (type), and a main final fulfillment (anti-type). Many of those who do not understand Bible prophecy correctly, think that the first fulfillment is the only one. Hence they do not understand that there is yet another fulfillment. Many of the prior fulfillment's that happened were to ancient Israel back in the Old Testament, yet some have a type (and antitype) entirely in the New Testament. It depend when the prophecy was given.

One example of duality in prophecy occurring entirely in the New Testament is when Jesus Christ warned the disciples: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her" (Luke 21:20-21 NKJV).

The disciples took this warning seriously and fled Jerusalem for Pella in 69 AD when Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem. The city was destroyed in 70 AD and the Jews were slaughtered. The Christians were saved.

Yet the context of this prophecy (and the parallel accounts in Math. 24 and Mark 13) is clearly for the end time -- the time just ahead of us today! What happened in 69-70 AD was a type of the destruction of Jerusalem to occur in the near future.

2. The Identity of Modern Israel.

Almost all Bible prophecy is directed towards the nation of Israel. Most people understand this. What most do not understand is who constitutes the remnant of Israel at the time of the end.

When prophecies are spoken concerning Israel, they are dual. There was a prior fulfillment during Old Testament times. There is also a main fulfillment during the latter days. Since most people do not understand who the descendants of modern Israel are, they cannot hope to fully understand Bible prophecy. Most self-styled authors of prophecy books think that end-time Jews and the modern middle-eastern nation of Israel constitute the Israel of Bible Prophecy. This is only part of the answer. The descendants of the ancient Israelites are much greater today than just the Jewish people.

Most students of the Bible realize that the descendants of Jacob (Israel) broken into two nations: Judah (along with Benjamin) and the northern ten tribes known as Israel. The Jews today are mostly of the tribe of Judah, while many Biblical scholars supposed that the northern kingdom was lost to history and blended into the nations where they were take into captivity. They refer to these tribes as the "lost 10 tribes of Israel."

They were were only "lost" in the pages of secular history books, and were being punished by God for over two and a half thousand years before receiving their national greatness. Today these tribes have grown into great nations in the world of today! As such, when Bible prophecy is directed towards "Israel" it is taking about them!

source: S. Porte