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Interpetation of prophecy

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There are a number of hot topics on prophecy & the arguments & assertions go round & round.

How should we i
nt
erpret
OT
prophecy - should we be guided by the New Testame
nt
writers, or is
OT
prophecy independe
nt
of the
NT
?


Is the dispensational or covena
nt
hermeneutic correct, or are they compleme
nt
ary or in opposition?


Is prophecy deliberately
ob
scure, or is it possible to to assert the meaning with confidence?


Is a single literal i
nt
erpretation generally possible, or should we look for multiple i
nt
erpretations with spiritual significance?


I submit that there are many aspects of OT prophecy:

Prophecies of the Messiah & all his saving work, & his eternal kingdom, including the gathering of b
ot
h Jew & Ge
nt
ile as one covena
nt
people of God in Christ;


warnings of immediate rebuke & judgme
nt
of Israel, usually by
ot
her nations;


of restoration of Israel, usually after repe
nt
ance;


call to return to the LORD;


encourageme
nt
of the faithful even to death, with the promise of blessing & resurrection;


specific judgme
nt
of Ge
nt
ile nations;


final judgme
nt
& perfect eternal kingdom.


NT prophecy comprises:

commands to repe
nt
& believe in Christ;


warnings of final destruction to Israel with the lifetime of the generation that rejected its Messiah;


encourageme
nt
to believers to be faithful to death, knowing they will be with Christ;


Jesus will come again for resurrection, final judgme
nt
, & to bring about the NH&NE.



We need to distinguish between revelation & interpretation of revelation, between exegesis & eisegesis.

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We touched upon this subject in Sunday school yesterday as we are studying Ezekiel.

A retired pastor (in his 80s or 90s) has joined our church and now co-teaches our adult Sunday school class along with our pastor. When discussing the interpretation of prophecy they both agreed if the literal meaning makes sense then don't try to look beyond that. They also agreed that some prophecy is speaking to more than one thing. Such as with the Olivet Discourse which speaks to things that were soon (to those Jesus was speaking to) to happen as well as more distant things. Both also agreed that in the cases of more difficult passages we are best off not trying to come up with various theories with our limited understanding and then declaring one or more of these must be right and held to. God doesn't reveal His entire plan to us for His own reasons and He often doesn't give us all the details. There is nothing wrong with not being able to understand every detail of every prophecy.

Many of the older folks here will remember the book "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey which came out in the 1970s. The vast majority of what he put forth in that book as accurate, must be accepted, prophecy interpretation has turned out to be wrong.

Some pastors, ministries and lay Christians get to caught up in end-times prophecy. They try too hard to force fit an answer to every bit of prophecy and then sell it as the absolute truth. With over focus upon this, and the cotninual fight to defend their theories, most often the task of actually growing in Christ, spreading the Gospel and making disciples is left in the shadows.

I've found it very interesting just how many theories there are for end-times prophecy, and how many groupings these are put into, and how even within the groups that seem to share the same basic view there are yet many differences.

It's hard to have an objective study of this matter because so many have already made up their minds, most often based upon what they have read or heard from others rather than from their own personal Bible study, that they already reject what others may say before they even hear it.

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Consider for instance Isaiah 13, quoted by Eric to support his "permanent solar eclipse over Israel" teaching.

1
The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.


On the principle "if the literal meaning makes sense then don't try to look beyond that" Isaiah is prophesying the doom of Babylon.

Then 6Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Are we now in yet future "end times" ? Or is the prophecy a specific day of the LORD when God destroyed Babylon - a matter of Biblical history?

Consider: 9Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

10For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. Is this day the beginning of the 1,000 year eclipse taught by Eric?

No, because the actual event is specifically stated: 17Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

Daniel records the fulfillment of that prophecy: 30In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.


But what of the extravagant imagery in the passage in Isaiah? Daniel's prophecy, & history, record that Babylon's power was utterly broken, & in 2,600 years has never been a power. Saddam Hussein's attempts to restore Babylon were the latest failed attempt to defy the LORD.

Ezekiel prophesies the overthrow of Egypt in similar terms in 32:2Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt,...
...
6I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of thee.
7And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.
8All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.
...
11For thus saith the Lord GOD; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.

Jer. 43:10And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them.
11And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.

Jesus prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem in similar terms: 29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Verse 34 is an extraordinary prophecy if we try to be literal in our understanding of the preceding verses, but his hearers were familiar with OT prophecy, often given in very dramatic terms. Most commentators take the Olivet prophecy as dual - the destruction & the second coming.

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The old testament and the new testament have the same author. They agree with each other.

Of course. What do we make of Ezekiel's temple & sacrifices? Ez. 40-48

Jesus & Paul & Peter teach a spiritual temple for the worship of God. e.g. John 4 & Eph. 2. They have no place for a future man-made temple. Neither has Stephen, who quotes Isaiah.

Does prophecy require the temple of God to be rebuilt so it can be destroyed again, & then rebuilt for resumed Jewish worship in a future millennium, & then be non-existent in the NH&NE?

When Paul writes of the temple of God in 2 Thes. 2, the temple was standing, doomed according to the Lord's Olivet prophecy. John measures it in Rev. 11, prior to destruction. The claimed late dating for Rev. according to Irenaeus is dubious. Internal evidence is compatible with it being written before the destruction.

I hope we all agree that there can be no true temple of God, & if the Jews were to build a temple, it would be built in unbelief & go against the unique once-for-all sacrifice of Christ, & the universality of worship in Spirit & in truth.

While Ezekiel's temple is described in detail, it is either describing the post-exilic temple or the Spirit-built new covenant temple built with believers.

There is NO NT prophecy of a future man-made temple. Edited by Covenanter

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Within Daniel we can all agree that there are prophecies of beasts that are symbolic of something else, namely nations and kingdoms. That being said, God did not go eight chapters on a single beast and tell the people how to feed it, comb its hair, clean up after it, make sure they didn't get eaten by it, and eventually kill it and cook it up for a good ol' fashioned American Saturday afternoon BBQ.

The point is this: why would God have Ezekiel write eight chapters of painstaking detail, including exact measurements, if it was all to be fulfilled spiritually in the body of Christ? Why were they told to "measure the pattern" and "keep the whole form thereof" if they weren't actually going to build anything? Why all the explanation of what a cubit is? Why the exact measurement of the wall, sanctuary, and court if in the end it doesn't make any difference because no one is going to actually build anything?

As far as it being any historical temple: it's not. This temple has the glory of God, no temple since Solomon has had that. It also has a river flowing under it, or through it somehow; that's a first. From what I've read the dimensions don't match any other temple either.

Also, there is no proof that Revelation was written prior to 70 A.D. (no matter how many times one might insist it was) and to say that the temple of Revelation 11 has already been built and destroyed is about as silly as saying the other things in Revelation 11 have happened as well. Such as two fire-breathing street preachers (as in real fire coming out of their mouths) have shown up, roasted a few bad guys, been beheaded, and then were raptured. Oh, and in the same hour 7,000 people died in an earthquake in the city that they were raptured out of.

Edited by Rick Schworer

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Revelation 11:1-2 tells us that the court yard of the temple belongs to the Gentiles so yes the temple will be rebuilt to be taken by the antichrist.

The Olivet prophecy of destruction of the temple was fulfilled in 70AD.

Edited by Eric Stahl

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Rick, I agree with you.
The problem with the position of Covenanter is that sooner or later, those who hold this position are FORCED to deny a literal interpretation of Scripture, and end up with Origen's corrupt "Allegorization" methods.
For instance, the example Covenanter gave of Isaiah 13 exposes this tendency. Notice:

10For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. Is this day the beginning of the 1,000 year eclipse taught by Eric?

No, because the actual event is specifically stated: 17Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

Daniel records the fulfillment of that prophecy: 30In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.


Daniel does not record the fulfillment of this prophecy. There is no record of the constellations not shining, nor of the moon witholding its light in the Daniel passage.
However, there is a matching reference to the Isaiah prophecy in Revelation and Matthew.
Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Revelation 8:12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

There are several other verses in the OT prophets that support the view of this being yet future.
Certainly there was an immediate prophecy toward Babylon in view, but remember, during Isaiah's lifetime, the principle antagonist of Israel was ASSYRIA, not Babylon. Babylon had not yet risen to power. Therefore, any impending prophecies of Babylon's destruction were meaningless to the common man in Israel. It only makes sense that this has a distant reference to the corrupt mystery Babylon mentioned in Revelation 17-18.

Furthermore, once we take the allegorical method, and detach the OT prophecies from anything of a futuristic or spiritual element, then we have a mess in Isaiah 14.
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Should we now change this verse to get rid of the reference to Lucifer, or recognize that there are many places in Scripture where the Lord mentions Babylon (Isaiah 13), but is CLEARLY pointing to something/somebody else!

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Revelation 11:1-2 tells us that the court yard of the temple belongs to the Gentiles so yes the temple will be rebuilt to be taken by the antichrist.

The Olivet prophecy of destruction was fulfilled in 70AD.

I agree that the Olivet prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD to some degree, but not the entire chapter of Matthew 24. And I will also submit that a prophecy in Scripture is not limited to having only ONE fulfillment!

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I agree that the Olivet prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD to some degree, but not the entire chapter of Matthew 24. And I will also submit that a prophecy in Scripture is not limited to having only ONE fulfillment!

Just curious....to "which degree" do you believe the Olivet prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD?

The nation Israel is back in the land in preparation for the fulfillment of all the prophecies regarding Israel and Palestine. Earthquakes, wars, famine, and false teachings are increasing just as Jesus said they would. I believe the first 3 verses have been fulfilled (the destruction of the temple in 70 AD) and the next 3 (apostasy and deception are getting worse and worse) are being fulfilled now.

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Just curious....to "which degree" do you believe the Olivet prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD?

The nation Israel is back in the land in preparation for the fulfillment of all the prophecies regarding Israel and Palestine. Earthquakes, wars, famine, and false teachings are increasing just as Jesus said they would. I believe the first 3 verses have been fulfilled (the destruction of the temple in 70 AD) and the next 3 (apostasy and deception are getting worse and worse) are being fulfilled now.


All before this:

Matt 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

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All before this:

Matt 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.


I agree.

The question at that point is who exactly is Jesus referring to when He said "this generation"?

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There were earthquakes, famines (Including one in Jerusalem) and wars before the destruction of Jerusalem The Germans and others as well as the jews had fought aginst Rome, so nuch so that the Emperor, Nero, had contemplated suicide.

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I agree.

The question at that point is who exactly is Jesus referring to when He said "this generation"?


The genertion that Jesus was speaking to as in Matt 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. That is the generation who filled up the measure of their fathers, by putting their Messiah to death,this "generation of vipers" v. 23

These days, the days of the Roman war, were the "days of vengence." Luke 21:22. Isaiah 61:2. Edited by Invicta

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The genertion that Jesus was speaking to as in Matt 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. That is the generation who filled up the measure of thedir fathers by putting their Messiah to death,this "generation of vipers" v. 23


Wrong chapter, brother.

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Luke 21:25-28, "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26) Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

Where was the redemption and deliverance in 70 A.D.?

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I agree with you Rick.
"This generation" obviously cannot refer to the generation alive at that time because of the context of Matthew 24. It is a reference to the "this generation" that is alive when those prophecies begin to come to pass.
Thus, when the "Abomination of desolation" takes place as Jesus prophesied (Mt. 24:15), the generation that sees THAT will see ALL of the prophecies mentioned in the chapter.
Since the generation that saw Jesus Christ at His first coming did NOT see Him coming in "power and great glory," the application must then be pushed forward in time to a future fulfillment.

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"This generation"—there are, of course, only two options in understanding this text: a false one (of which there could be many) and the true one.

(A) False Option: The Preterist view has been shown, and will further be shown, to represent a false option, which entails an eisegetical interpretation in isolation from all other scripture revelation on the subject (including the Olivet Discourse itself), and particularly as to the nature of the kingdom (i.e., each and every single OT covenant, prophecy, promise to His earthly people Israel concerning a literal earthly kingdom is mysticalized or alchemized into a mere “spiritual” kingdom). The Preterist view, therefore, in no way follows a genuinely literal interpretation. It is an eisegetical, isolated, and thus a gravely erroneous and pseudo-literal interpretation.

( B)The True Option: "Generation" is used quite a number of times in scripture for a class marked by a given moral character; a continuing moral class of persons. And in Matt. 24:34 it indeed literally refers to an ongoing wicked class of persons; i.e., the Christ-rejecting, unbelieving, stubborn, rebellious wicked class in Israel, which would continue on, not pass away, till all is fulfilled in the future Tribulation Period/70th week of Daniel—whereupon that wicked “generation” of Jews will be displaced in judgment by another kind of “generation” of Jews, the “generation to come” spoken of in the Psalms, a new moral class of all-believing, all-righteous, all-saved Jews, the godly Jewish remnant that will be brought under their New Covenant and compose the nation of Israel, the new and true spiritual Israel with the law written in their hearts, in the Millennial Kingdom. (See, e.g., Isa. 60:21; 66:8-9; Jer. 31:31-40; Rom. 11:26-27.) This is in perfect accord with all other scripture revelation on the subject, including the nature of the kingdom. It is in perfect harmony with all other scripture (2 Pet. 1:20), including the immediate context, and thus the correct and genuine literal interpretation. [Take note: this understanding of Matt. 24:34 also implicitly conveys the truth of that which another literal meaning and (mistaken) interpretation of “this generation” seeks, namely, that the Jewish race as such would be preserved unto the Second Coming of Christ.]

Matthew 24:34: This Generation

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I agree with you Rick.
"This generation" obviously cannot refer to the generation alive at that time because of the context of Matthew 24. It is a reference to the "this generation" that is alive when those prophecies begin to come to pass.
Thus, when the "Abomination of desolation" takes place as Jesus prophesied (Mt. 24:15), the generation that sees THAT will see ALL of the prophecies mentioned in the chapter.
Since the generation that saw Jesus Christ at His first coming did NOT see Him coming in "power and great glory," the application must then be pushed forward in time to a future fulfillment.



Any other way means standing the entire Bible on its head for the sake of a quirky interpretation, not Scripture.

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"This generation" cannot possibly mean any other geneartion athn the one that Christ was addressing.

Try to work out how it happened rather than to say that according to tour interperetation, that it did not happen.

The saints will be raised on the "Last Day"

I have just been reading John's gospel again and have noticed the following, that believers would be raised on The Last Day
John 6:39 And this is the Father�s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

I also read that the last day would be the day of judgment.

John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

No room for any tribulation after the saints are raised and the day of judgment.

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Many of the saints arose bodily at Christ's resurrection, and yet many of them are still in ground.

This reminds me of what the great historian and theologian, Inigo Montoya, was quoted as often saying, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Perhaps when Jesus said last day He didn't mean what you think He meant.

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