How to Understand the End-time Prophecies of the Bible
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As a man of science, he found it difficult to just accept Christianity by faith when approached by his Christian friends to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. As such, he spent his university days to find out more about God - adopting an objective approach, studying the major world religions, looking at the arguments supporting evolution and creationism as well as archaeological evidences.
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A literal view does not deny the existence of figures of speech: similes, metaphors, analogies, and so on. More than different rhetorical devices used in the Scriptures have been catalogued. The role of rhetorical devices is highly relevant to our understanding the Biblical text.
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For most of us, prophecy appears as a prediction and its subsequent fulfillment. This is actually a Greek model of thinking that appeals to the Western mind.
However, to the Hebrew mind, prophecy often is pattern. Some of these patterns appear to be a deliberate anticipation of subsequent events. Known as the Akedah, this pivotal event was, in many ways, the archetype of them all. Abraham is in the role of the father; Isaac, his son. In fact, it was his confidence that Isaac would be resurrected that is noted in the New Testament Heb.
What Abraham may not have realized is that 2, years later, another Father would offer His Son as an offering for sin on that very spot! Another example occurred when Moses was instructed to put a brass serpent on a pole on a hill as a remedy for an incursion of venomous snakes Num. The symbolism of this strange episode remains obscure until, in the New Testament, Jesus explains it to Nicodemus:. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John — In fact, this even gave rise to the most well-known verse in the entire Bible, John There are many fruitful studies of symbols in the Bible—entire libraries are devoted to them.
Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb is another illustrative example. It is astonishing to discover how many Passover specifications foreshadowed the Crucifixion and related events.
When dealing with allegories, it is easy to misapply them. This is one of the reasons that eschatology is, in effect, a test of our understanding of the composite whole of Scripture, and not simply a pursuit of certain proof texts to support a specific thesis.
The ultimate context requires a perspective of the whole counsel of God, which makes eschatology such a challenge for the serious student. Another example might include the removal of Enoch before the Flood Gen. There were three groups of people facing the Flood of Noah: those who perished in the Flood, those who were preserved through the Flood, and those who were removed prior to the Flood. The more you study both books, the more the similarities are striking and illuminating.
Understanding End Times Prophecy | Resourcing The Church
Confirming validations in the field of Biblical studies is often elusive, particularly in the field of eschatology. However, as history continues to unfold, it appears that literal interpretations gain many surprising validations. The reemergence of the state of Israel is a prime example. The occurrence of certain litmus tests may allow us to confirm our perspectives.
Chuck Missler. Reprinted by permission.
Understanding End Times Prophecy
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