Keith Hunt - POINTS ON PROPHECY Restitution of All Things


                      POINTS ON PROPHECY

     
A large portion of the Bible is prophetic, maybe as much as one
third is devoted to the words of the prophets of God. Most are
familiar with the so called major and minor prophetic books -
ISAIAH to MALACHI.

To understand the prophetic books there are some basic keys we
need to keep in mind.
I will list and explain those keys.

1. TO WHOM ARE THE PROPHETS TALKING?

It is really not very hard to figure out the answer to this
question. The prophets themselves usually tell you, either right
up front or as they go along. Isaiah starts out speaking to Judah
and Jerusalem, in chapter 13 he talks to Babylon, chapter 15 to
Moab, chapter 18, 19, 20, Ethiopia and Egypt, and so on. This is
the way with most of the major and minor prophets. As you look
over those books, please note that some come back again to talk
more to nations they addressed earlier in their writing. Isaiah
comes back to giving more predictions against Babylon in chapter
47. The prophetic utterances against a people are not all found
in one place, it is here and there in some books. Therefore
needing to be searched out and brought together to form a
complete picture.

A  LARGE mistake by many, and I mean L A R G E, is to believe the
prophets are talking to different people than to whom they say
they are talking to. You may say: How could a person ever make
such an error when the prophets plainly tell you to whom they are
speaking?  But as simple as it should be, people do come up with
all kinds of ideas as to whom the prophet is speaking to, other
than to whom the prophet tells you he is speaking to.
Especially is this true with the word "Israel."  Many scholars of
the Bible will have no trouble knowing it was the physical nation
of Israel that the prophet originally spoke to, but when it comes
down to relating that same message for today, they will often
tell you it is now directed towards the "church."  They will not
do that with prophetic utterances towards Egypt, or Babylon, or
Moab, but when it comes to "Israel" that's a whole new ball
game to them, it would seem. Ignore them, for it just is not so.
If the prophecy was directed towards Egypt originally, it is
still directed towards them today. If it was directed towards
Judah originally, then it is for them today, not some other
nation. If it was directed towards Israel originally, so it
still is today. Certainly some things said to a nation of people
can have spiritual lessons
for us in the church, but that fact does not abrogate the truth
that God is still speaking to that specific nation through the
prophets words.


2. WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE TODAY?

All nations come from somewhere, they have a history. Some
nations basically stayed put, did not move around very far, while
other nations were always moving, settling here for a while and
then moving on to a different land. Dozens upon dozens of books
(large and small) have been written over the centuries, about
where the nations of the world today came from. This is not the
time or the place to enter that subject. But a key to
understanding Bible prophecy is to know the modern identity of
the nations mentioned in the prophetic books. Craig White in
Australia is doing a fine job to serve us with that knowledge.

3. ONE TIME PROPHECIES

Some prophetic utterances only have ONE literal fulfilment. An
example would be Micah 5:2. The Messiah was born in Bethlehem.
Such an event will never happen again. It was a prophecy meant
for only one time, and that time has come and gone. Another
example is Zechariah 14:1-4. The Lord coming when all nations are
to gather around Jerusalem, and to stand on the mount of Olives
with all the saints, is only going to happen ONE TIME, and that
event is YET to take place. So the prophecy as in Zech.14:1-15 is
a one time prophecy, period!

4. TWO TIMES IN FULFILMENT

There are many prophecies that will be REPEATED!  They had a
first fulfilment, literal, and they will have a second literal
fulfilment. Israel and Judah went into captivity in the
time frame when the prophets sent to them lived. Then at the time
of the near return of captivity. Notice it, Jeremiah the 30th
chapter.
"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, thus
speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying, WRITE YOU ALL THESE WORDS
that I have spoken unto you in a book. For, lo, the DAYS COME,
saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my
people Israel and Judah......Alas! for that day (of trembling,
verses 5,6) is great, so that none is like it: it is even the
time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.....I
will break his yoke from off your neck.....they shall serve the
Lord their God, and  David their king, whom I will raise up unto
them" (Jer.30:1-9).

Many prophecies, especially those towards Israel and Judah are
DUAL, a first fulfilment
and a second, latter, near the end of the age fulfilment.

5. TWO BLENDING INTO ONE

You need to be careful with prophecy because it is possible the
prophet wrote about two events, possibly separated by thousands
of years, and wrote them as one sentence or paragraph. Did not
give you even a hint that he was combining the two prophecies to
look like only one.
The example: Read Luke 4:18, go back to verse 16.  Jesus reads
from Isaiah, closes the book and tells them that very prophecy
was being fulfilled before their eyes(verses 17-20).
Now you will find these words Jesus read in Isaiah 61. Christ
read from verse one to the middle of verse two(there were no
verses of punctuation in the original). To us today Jesus stopped
in the middle of a verse. Why?  Because the rest of the chapter
is to do with the Messiah coming in power and glory to establish
the Kingdom age on earth. Only the first section of this chapter
61 concerned the Messiah's first coming.

6. BIBLE SYMBOLS INTERPRETED BY THE BIBLE

The Bible must be used to interpret its own symbols, or otherwise
everyone can come up with their own ideas and fancies.
Example: Daniel chapter 7. Verse seven tells us about a fourth
beast, dreadful and terrible. Daniel wanted to know the truth
about this fourth beast, the answer is given in verse 23. As
history now tells us, this beast was the Roman Empire.

7. FLASH BACK SCENES

This is much like movies that are made where the scene is at the
present, something takes place, and the story moves back in time
to bring you up to date on the present reality. Some have
referred to it as "dream like quality."  The book of Revelation
uses this characteristic of prophecy. Chapter 11 is a flash
back/events of the past bring you to the present, between the 6th
trumpet of chapter 9 and the 7th trumpet of chapter 11:15.

8. MORE IMPORTANT FULFILMENT/DEEPER MEANING

In some prophecies that are of dual nature(two fulfilments), the
first or last fulfilment could be the most important. 
Example: Isaiah 7. Note verses 10-17.  There was to be a child
born that was to be a sign for Ahaz. Before the child was old
enough to know and choose between good and evil, the King of
Assyria was to invade. Yet this prophecy had a greater meaning.
As the NT brings out. It was a prophecy about the birth of the
Messiah to a virgin woman(we now know as Mary). 

9. LARGE CONTEXT FUTURE PROPHECIES WHICH HAVE WITHIN THEM SOME
FULFILLED SPECIFICS

We must be on the watch for these already done/not to be repeated
prophecies, that spring up inside an overall future prophecy.
Example: Hosea chapter 2. Verse 16 starts to tell us about the
restoration of the house of Israel at the end of this age, when
there will be no more war and they will lie down in safety, when
the names of Baalim(false practices and worship) are gone. the
prophecy continues into chapter 3. Israel will return to God, and
David will again be their king(resurrected as Jer.30:9 with
Ezek.34:23,24 tells us) in the latter days!  Hosea has already
fulfilled chapter 3:1-3. this will not happen again.  

10. GET THE MAIN OVERVIEW

Sometimes it will be very important to see the forest and not the
individual trees. Get the general feel for the context of the
prophecy. See the high spots, get a view of the whole forest, and
do not focus on the trees that would distract from the big
picture.
Example: Jeremiah chapters 30 to 33. This is an end time, end of
this age prophecy. This is clear from 30;1-9 and 24. Also the end
of the prophecy shows it - 33:14-16, when the Messiah shall come
and blindness from Judah shall be taken away and they shall be
saved.
I have the following verses colored yellow in my Bible, giving me
the basic overview of the prophecy: 30:1-10, 16-19, 22-24;  31:1,
4-13, 27-34; 32:7-15, 30-44; 33:7-16.
Notice one historical section(32:7-15) fulfilled. Notice also a
going back and forth in time/scene, from captivity to restoration
a few times. Looking at the forest as a whole, it is clearly an
end time prophecy that zeros in on some end time specifics that
still lie ahead of us, yet to come to pass.


There are probably other points about understanding prophecy
which I have not covered. The above 10 points are I believe very
fundamental to know and remember and utilize as you study the
great prophetic writings of the word of God.


Keith Hunt(Nov.1996) 
  

 
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