Sunday, 19 June 2016

About Old Testament Prophecy

Many Old Testament prophecies popularly assumed to be about the future, included distinctly Old Covenant themes (Levitical themes).

That seems to me to date the fulfilment of the prophecies (or those parts of it, at least) in the past - to a time when the Old Covenant still stood - possibly at the return from Babylonian captivity and soon afterwards - because God isn't into returning to the shadow.

It's important to understand those details as past, not future - because if it's still future, it implies a return to Judaism in future - and that's not Gospel!

Some of the same prophecies also included predictions about Messiah's first coming, according to the New Testament.

That's another reason why the fulfilment of the prophecies can't be entirely relegated to the future - because the Apostles explained those parts of the prophecies at least as having been already fulfilled.

So if it's instead all still future, then Jesus was too early to be Messiah! and our faith would be in vain.

If however it's correct that the fulfilment is largely now in the past, then some of the dramatic imagery included in the prophecies could be explained as symbolism - 'prophetic licence' - apocalyptic genre - not as straight prose - not as details which are still to literally come to pass in future. Maybe. 

However, the fact that the prophets included details about Messiah's first coming in the same passages with the theme of the return from Babylon, I'm wondering whether the prophets could also have been seeing even further ahead too - to the ultimate coming of the Lord, and the final judgment - and included that theme in the same prophecies too - all the way through to the final consummation? I'm considering that. 

If that's the case, then there might be still to come the fulfilment of some of the dramatic imagery in the prophecies. Maybe. 

But in any case, I'm adamant that any details about Israel carrying-out Levitical Law, must be in the past - because God isn't into returning to the shadow.

I'm adamant that the Apostles were correct in saying there'd already come the fulfilment of Israel's promised salvation and Kingdom; that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah - even though we still await the consummation phase of some of those things.

Whatever future meaning we give to Old Testament Bible-Prophecies, I think it's valid to insist that we treat fulfilled details as fulfilled and not to relegate such details to the future.

Getting the timing right:
  • Gives us an objective historical case for Jesus as Messiah
  • Reassures us that we are not obligated to observe the deeds of the Law in order to be saved

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