Tuesday, 20 December 2016


Despite being with Jesus for three years, and despite being well-versed in Old Testament Prophecy since childhood, the disciples didn't understand that Messiah had to die - until after His resurrection: then they understood it.
Point: Old Testament Prophecy can't really be correctly interpreted, understood and applied, except within the framework of New Testament theology and history.
Not even the most significant event of all was understood - let alone less consequential events and their details and sequences.
So unless we're smarter than the disciples were, we probably wouldn't be able to assert very much at all about the future, based on a logical and grammatical approach to the Old Testament Prophetic Scriptures alone.
We have to rely on what the New Testament says about it!
Especially the Epistles, and Acts. The Apostles explained Scripture and history. That's the only authoritative source we have of a correct understanding - not only of the Old Testament Prophets, but also of the synoptic Gospels.
When I first got saved, I was advised to read John's Gospel. After that, I decided to continue reading from Acts to Revelation first; then after that I think I went back and read Matthew, Mark and Luke next; then started at Genesis and read all the way through. The Epistles were written plainly and directly for us as believers - whereas applying the rest of the Bible requires explanation. I instinctively knew that, when I was only 12 years old.
So base your understanding of Bible-Prophecy on the Epistles! And on the sermons in Acts. In Acts, the Apostles apply the history contained in the Gospels, to explain the meaning of the Old Testament, and assert their Gospel. Then they explain their method and apply it in detail, in the Epistles.
So spend your time in the parts of the Bible that were originally written for you! Without neglecting to read the other parts. Base your view of Prophecy on the theology and applied history of the Apostles.
After all, they got their understanding of the Scriptures from Jesus, after His resurrection!
Take what you know from the New Testament, and make Old Testament Prophecy fit in that framework.
Two sample New Testament truths:
1. Jesus is Messiah. He already procured and offered Israel's salvation; many believed and received - then Gentiles also believed, as prophesied.
Widespread unbelief in Israel didn't mean however that God had closed the door to a Jew - because many Jews were getting saved. Any Jew could still be saved, by turning from unbelief - for as long as Gentiles were still getting saved. Paul's own conversion was an example of this happening.
This scenario was the manner in which Prophecies about Israel's Promised Messianic salvation were seeing their fulfilment and will continue to see it - and then the end will come. God hadn't shut the door on a Jew.
That's the first New Testament assertion.
2. Levitical priests, altar, Temple, sacrifices, circumcision, pilgrimages to Jerusalem and feasts are no longer possible, nor relevant this side of the cross.
Those two truths alone go a long way toward unravelling - rightly dividing, navigating - many Old Testament Prophecies today.
Interpretive key: any Prophecy which meant Levitical worship would be carried out, must have been fulfilled while the Old Covenant still stood - because God isn't into returning to the shadow.
That's an example of using New Testament truth to rightly apply Old Testament Prophecy.
It might eliminate some distracting ideas about the future, and help put our focus back on Jesus - the Gospel - the Apostles' doctrine - which is for all people without distinction, and without the deeds of the Law.

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