Keith Hunt - Making sense of Scripture - Part eight - Page Eight   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

Making sense of Scripture - Part eight

Understanding Prophecy continued



6. SYMBOLIC VERSES LITERAL

     Learn to recognize symbolic language in the Bible and
interpret it as such. We have a unique ability for confusing the
symbolic with the literal and vice versa. For example, many
students of the Bible are waiting for great cosmic signs to
appear in the heavens. They take Matthew 24:29 to be literal:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be
darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will
fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
     But haw can we distinguish if this is a literal passage or
symbolic one? Always try to find parallels for symbols within
the Bible itself. Isaiah 13:1,10,17-19 and Ezekiel 32:2,7,11
employ the same symbolism to describe the downfalls of the
Babylonian and Egyptian empires over 2,500 years ago. Clearly in
those cases the sun, moon, and stars are poetic figures for the
life and splendor of a nation. What compelling reason would
disallow us from applying this biblically sanctioned imagery to
Matthew 24:29?..... 

(From the context of everything else in Matthew 24 being literal,
we must then take the "heavenly signs" to be literal. Is it so
difficult to imagine that God is quite able to "shake the
heavens" and have many things not hold true to their stationary
appearance. When we understand Matthew 24 in its proper end-time
revelation, together with all that must take place in the book of
Revelation, then we can see very clearly the "heavenly signs" are
indeed to be taken literally - Keith Hunt).


     It is interesting to note that Jesus' response to the
disciples' first question regarding the temple's destruction
extends from verses 4 through 35. It is not until verse 36 that
Jesus actually begins to answer their second question regarding
the sign of His coming and the end of the age. His response
continues to the end of the next chapter.

(Jesus is giving in Matthew 24 the events of the last 42 months
of this age, from the time Jerusalem will be compassed about
with armies and destroyed (Luke 21), to the "no stone upon
another" of the Temple (the Wailing Wall has yet to be smashed
and toppled with not one stone upon another to fulfil Jesus'
prophecy), the Jewish people of Judea being destroyed and killed,
and many having to flee to the hills. All this STARTS the GREAT
Tribulation and much destruction upon the peoples of the House of
Israel and the House of Judah, together with a last killing
persecution of saints - Christians. Then after 42 months, 1260
days, a time and times, and half a time (of Revelation), a period
of three and one half years, Jesus will return. This is what
Christ covers in Matthew 24 - not some event of 70 A.D. - Keith
Hunt).

     An additional word of caution: When you can't find a
symbol's meaning within Scripture, don't create one simply to
accommodate your own preconceived idea. It is better to remain
silent than to over-speculate.

7. AVOID "TYPOMANIA"

     Typology is an interesting field of study but should also be
approached with caution. Some have a way of seeing Christ as
prefigured in almost every name, place, and event in the Hebrew
Scriptures. I have seen some studies that made every piece of the
tabernacle a type of Christ - even down to the tent pegs! A wise
principle would be to restrict our concepts of what is a
legitimate type of Christ to the inspired New Testament
interpretations available to us.

8. DOUBLE APPLICATION OF SCRIPTURE

     Scripture often cites an Old Testament passage as finding
fulfillment in a New Testament event, even though it is obvious
that the passage found direct fulfillment during Old Testament
times. For example, Isaiah 7:14 is cited by Matthew as a
prediction of Jesus' virgin birth. But the "virgin" described in
Isaiah is better translated as a "maiden" who had not yet bore
children, which, in fact, also came to pass in Isaiah's day
(compare 7:16 with 8:1-4).
     When such a passage confronts us, there are two things we
must remember. First, there exists in some texts a deeper, fuller
meaning that even the original author may not have recognized.
     Second, under the intimate tutorship of our Lord and later
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the New Testament
authors enjoyed a privileged position. They alone have the
authority and insight to reveal to us the fuller meaning or
"double application" of an Old Testament passage.

(This should not mean we of NT times cannot understand the
"double application." Jeremiah was to WRITE DOWN what was given
him BECAUSE God said the days would come again when Israel and
Judah would go into captivity and be saved from out of it
(Jer.30:1-3). God is referring to the end times in the yet again
fulfilment, for in verse 9 David is to be resurrected and rule
over Israel; this will be at the beginning of the Kingdom of God
age on earth - the return of Jesus - Keith Hunt).

9. PROPHECY YET TO BE FULFILLED

     One of the most difficult tasks is to understand correctly
prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled. Prophets describe
revelations from God in language compatible with their cultural
and linguistic frame of reference. Terms or expressions
originating in the ancient Semitic world can easily be
misunderstood by modern western readers. Therefore, don't expect
all details of a passage to be fulfilled in a literal sense. Let
us examine Zechariah 14:16,21:

     And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all
     nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year
     to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep
     the Feast of Tabernacles.... Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and
     Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts. Everyone who
     sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them.

     A literal reading of this passage suggests that, after the
return of Christ, all the surviving nations will observe the
Feast of Tabernacles, complete with animal sacrifices. In light
of the supreme sacrifice of our Savior, and the teachings of the
New Testament, this interpretation doesn't make sense. But it
does if we employ equivalents. In Understanding Scripture,
Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen observe that, "The details of
worship of God's people at an earlier period will be replaced by
appropriate modes of worship during the period of
fulfillment."

(This is all man made thinking, because people do not want to
think the world will observe the Feast of Tabernacles (certainly
the Church of God, Seventh Day, Denver, does not observe God's
Festivals of Leviticus 23; they do not observe them today, nor do
they want to believe they will be observed in the future). The
same principle applies to animal sacrifices. Of course they
cannot be observed today because there is no Temple in Jerusalem
and no Levitical Priesthood. Yet, that does not mean animal
sacrifices will not be again observed during the Kingdom age. It
is also a wrong idea of men that because of Jesus' death it would
be wrong to observe animal sacrifices. We just need to read the
entire book of Acts with an alert mind to find that some of God's
people STILL observed Temple rituals AFTER Jesus had died and was
resurrected. The Feast of Tabernacles and Temple rituals will be
both observed in after Jesus has returned to earth to establish
the Kingdom of God for one thousand years - Keith Hunt).

10. DON'T OVERLOOK BASIC ERRORS

     Finally, don't overlook flaws in the basic foundation of any
system of prophetic interpretation. Ask yourself: Are the
interpreter's conclusions on erroneous assumptions? Is the
interpreter speculating on insufficient or faulty historical or
literary evidence?
     We often hear of an impending one-world government ruled by
the Antichrist during a great tribulation period lasting seven
years. This seven year period is equated with the seventieth week
described in Daniel 9, but with a twist. The first sixty-nine
weeks are thought to have been fulfilled by the time of Christ,
but the final "week" or seven years must await fulfillment at
some ill-defined time in the future.
     The next worldwide government, however, will not be ruled by
some antichrist but by Christ himself. A proper understanding of
the great image of Daniel 2, as well as the testimony of history,
clearly demonstrates that we are now living at the time of the
"feet of iron and clay" - that final group of incoherent nations
immediately preceding the return of Christ.

(For an IN-DEPTH expounding of this Daniel 9 and 7 year
Tribulation/Anti-chirst idea of fundamental Protestantism, see
the studies under "Prophecy" on this Website - Keith Hunt).

     The Bible reveals God's dealings with mankind in history.
Since God's claims of sovereignty over men's lives are
substantiated by what He has already accomplished, it naturally
follows that history will provide us with an established base
from which to understand prophecy. Any system that claims to be
"biblical" will not reject the historical for the speculative.
     Not satisfied with the unadorned truth and ignoring sound
guidelines for interpretation, there are those who want to mold
Daniel's "great image" into an exact fulfillment, detail for
detail (Daniel 2:37-40), with these four kingdoms ruling as one
(a future "Roman Empire") over the entire planet. However, as we
have already pointed out, prophecy is of a general character and
employs literary style to enhance its message. The fact remains
that Daniel's "great image" has found its fulfillment in history,
with the exception of the final consummation.

(That exception as the writer calls it, is the ten toes of the
feet of the image, which a "stone" without hands - supernatural -
will crush and destroy. There are to be ten kings at the time of
the end who will give their mind over to a "beast" and they will
fight Christ on His return. That "beast power" will rule a PART
of the world - the "western" world. It will be the 7th
resurrected Holy Roman Empire, the last and final one. It will be
a WOMAN WHORE (a great "Babylon Mystery Religion" church - the
greatest so-called "Christian" church to come on this earth
during the last 2,000 years). She will sit upon and guide and
rule, a mighty secular physically powerful from the nations of
the old original Roman Empire of Europe. This woman church whore
with ten kings uniting together will fight Jesus upon His return,
they will be thoroughly destroyed as foretold in Zechariah 14 and
the chapters 17 to 19 in the book of Revelation. All this is
fully expounded upon, together with MUCH more in studies under
the "Prophecy" section on this Website - Keith Hunt)


CONCLUSION

     While much of Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled, the
glorious return of our Lord and the splendor of His kingdom still
await us. Yet in dealing with those final events that lay just
over the horizon, serious care must be exercised not to
compromise the integrity of the context of any prophetic
passage....
     
Scripture quotations were taken from the New King James Version.
 
                              ...............

Much of Bible prophecy may in its first fulfilment, have taken
place, but that should not be taken as if there is not MUCH yet
to take place. For indeed I will tell you that MOST of Bible
prophecy is for the last THREE AND ONE HALF YEARS of this age.

There are others keys points to correctly understanding of Bible
Prophecy; those points can all be found on this Website.

Two things God has absolutely promised:

He will do nothing unless He first reveals it to His servants the
prophets (Amos 3:7)

"And he said, 'Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up
and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and
made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none
of the wicked shall understand; but the WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND'"
(Daniel 12:9,10).

Keith Hunt


  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help