Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Helpful keys when reading Old Testament Prophecy

1. Prophecies which said 'Israel' meant Israel first of all - because when Prophecies meant Gentiles, they said 'Gentiles'.

2. Any Prophecy which was about Levitical-style worship being carried out, must have been fulfilled at a time in history when the Old Covenant still stood - because God isn't into returning to the shadow.

3. Take note of the way the inspired New Testament writers quoted, interpreted and applied Old Testament prophetic verses. Particularly notice whether they said a prophecy was already fulfilled.

Then see whether that can inform our application of the wider source-passage in the Old Testament.

Apply Old Testament Bible-Prophecies the same way the Apostles applied them - and in the same time-frame.

According to the Apostles, God had broken into history already, in the person of His Son, faithfully fulfilling promise, shadow, type and Prophecies regarding Israel's promised Messiah and Kingdom-salvation, precisely as prophesied. The Apostles were eye-witnesses.

4. After Israelis had already begun experiencing the fulfilment of the promised Kingdom-salvation, Gentiles also soon afterwards heard the same Good News of this Kingdom-salvation (heard it through Israeli believers) and began experiencing the same blessing. They were told the same Gospel: the Gospel of the Kingdom - the Gospel of grace - the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other Gospel, Paul said. Gentiles became partakers of the very same Kingdom-salvation plan which Israeli believers were now experiencing. Unbelievers were missing out.

5. Together all believers formed one new man - which is Christ's body, the Church. All the promises of God came to be experienced by all believers in Christ, without the deeds of the Law, and without ethnic distinction. (Even though historically Jews had been the first to experience the fulfilment of the Promise).

The Promise spoken to Abraham, that "...in thy seed [not seeds plural, but seed singular - which was Christ] all families [all nations] of the earth will be blessed [saved]..." was for all nations without distinction. That Promise predated both Israel and the Law - and its fulfilment presupposes the removal of the Law (which had been added later) seeing the Law placed a partition, so all nations could experience it, not only the Jews - even though historically Jews were the first to experience it.
6. The fulfilment of this Kingdom-salvation has already been inaugurated through the cross and resurrection of Jesus - we only await the consummation of our Kingdom-salvation experience, at Christ's Second Coming and Kingdom. It shall be forever. This is our blessed hope.

But only the born-again shall see the Kingdom, said Jesus.

It's an exciting exercise to re-read Old Testament Prophecy in light of those New Testament truths.

You'll find it reinforces our faith in Jesus as Lord and Messiah; it makes Him the focus of history both now, and future - and forever.

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