Interpretation of God's Writings

God has revealed Himself through events and teaching that has been written into forms of literature that are common to the cultures of the ages. As we have different kinds of literature in our modern world, so also the Bible reflects God's teaching through different kinds of literature from the days of its writing. Our task in understanding that literature involves the process of, not only translating the literature from its original language, but also interpreting the meaning and style of the literature from past cultures.

The prophet and his message

  • A prophet is one who is standing in another's place and makes known another's message.
  • In the New Testament (Covenant), a prophet is similar to a preacher (a foreteller or a forthteller).
  • Prophecy is historical.

    The major principle of prophecy is that it should be very fruitful. Prophets were often social and political reformers. Since God is the supreme authority of the nation of Israel, prophets would announce the will of God to the people and call for complete obedience.

    Prophecy is predictive.

    Often there is a double fulfillment.

  • First: a partial fulfillment
  • Second: a complete fulfillment
  • See Joel 2:28-32 (partial) and Acts 2:14-21 (complete)
  • 2 Samuel 7:12-16: (Solomon and Christ)
  • Hebrews 1:5
  • Imagery and symbols are often used.

  • Take the literal meaning if the situation allows.
  • Symbols come from Israel's history: Zechariah 14:16; 1 Kings 4:25; Isaiah 25:10; 63:1 (enemies of Isaiah)
  • Zechariah 14:1-21 (4-8): second coming to the Mount of Olives.
  • Peculiarities of prophetic language.

  • Speaking of thing which belong to the future as though they were at the present: Isaiah 9:6
  • Speaking of things future as though they were in the past: Isaiah 53
  • The exact time of incidents are not revealed; the prophets described them as continuous.
  • Isaiah 61:1-2; Zechariah 9:9-10; 1 Peter 1:10-12; Daniel 2:36-45; 7:1-14

    Great principle.

    No prophecy is to be interpreted without the restricting and guiding of other scriptures: 2 Peter 1:20-21