Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Growing in GOD'S WORD (Part 5)

Simple Rules For Interpreting Prophecy 
Because the Bible is the Word of the all-knowing God, it describes future as well as past and present events. Its purpose is to make plain the ways of God to man. As we learn how God acts, we develop trust in Him. He does not hide from His friends what He will do (Gen 18:17). The fulfillment of prophecy proves the faithfulness of the One who has declared the end from the beginning. The outstanding example of biblical prophecy concerns our Lord Jesus Christ. Over 300 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in His birth, life, death and resurrection. 

Simple rules for interpreting prophecy are: 

✦ Seek first to appreciate each prophecy in its original setting and application. 

✦ Realize the progressive nature of God’s revelation. Although He is always the same, He doesn’t always seem to act the same. He acts in accordance with the purposes He is carrying out at a given time. For example, in the Old Testament, He instructed the nation of Israel to war against enemy nations because He was using Israel as His instrument of judgment against their abominations; but in the New Testament, He instructs Christians of this present dispensation of grace to love their enemies because they are His instruments of love to reach the lost. 

✦ Recognize the figurative use of names such as Sodom (fettered), Gomorrah (bondage), Babylon (confusion), Philadelphia (brotherly love) and Demas (popular), and see how they support the text in which they appear. 

✦ Don’t study prophecy just to satisfy curiosity. 

✦ Recognize the possibility of varying and mistaken interpretations. For example, when Christ came into the world, there were varying interpretations of the Messianic Scriptures, and many of them were wrong. The complete truth became known as He fulfilled all of the Scriptures. Don’t claim to be infallible in your understanding. 

✦ Recognize that the primary purposes of prophecy are to reveal Christ and to change the lives of those who read it.

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