Is Bible prophecy literal or figurative?

What starting point enables us to put prophecy into perspective?

The prophets "searched diligently" to understand what "the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify" (1 Peter 1:11). We also need to search diligently to know who is speaking, what is spoken, to whom, and for what purpose. The time frame of the fulfillment is also vital. Prophecy has three themes: Christ, His suffering and glory; Israel's future and the nations' destiny.

The New Testament is an infallible guide in the way it interprets Old Testament prophecy. Two facts are plain: Christ is the Key to all prophecy (2 Corinthians 3:14), and interpretation is literal. A virgin did bear a Child in Bethlehem, who grew up in Galilee, was rejected, spit upon, His hands and feet pierced, His face and form marred. He died for sin, but His body could not see corruption and He rose from the dead. These are only ten of hundreds of literal fulfillments. We have no authority to allegorize prophecy; it is to be taken literally.

N. Crawford