c) 2012' name='copyright'/>Michael DeShane Hinton: The Pattern of Biblical Prophecy Requires a Spiritual Perspective

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Pattern of Biblical Prophecy Requires a Spiritual Perspective

The pattern of Biblical prophecy is this: 

1.        All prophecy concerning Israel was fulfilled in Christ and the remnant of Jews that believed in him at the time of his appearing (Romans 9-11).  Because the Jewish nation did not receive him the covenant with physical Israel ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AD.  The Jews are now just another nation (kind of people) called to repent and believe in Jesus like everyone else (Acts 4:23-31). 

2.       Meanwhile, Christian believers are now the true circumcision (Romans 2:29 and Philippians 3:3) and Israel of God (Galatians 6:10), who inherit the promises given to Abraham (Galatians 3:15-29).  Christians are the spiritual temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) and the elect by faith in Christ (Romans 8:33, 2 Timothy 2:10, and Titus 1:1).  The transition from physical Israel to spiritual Christianity was extremely difficult for the early Church (Acts 15) and many today still do not understand it.  The confusing thing is that the New Testament uses Old Testament language to describe new things in Christ.  The use of Old Testament language tempts many to believe in a false continuity when in fact Christianity represents a radial break with Judaism.  That is why Paul says that we are justified by the Faith “apart from” works of the Law.  Accepting the end of the old covenant and the inauguration of the new one in Jesus’ blood is essential to understanding the Biblical world-view.  The rise and spread of Christianity, to the point, was predicted in Old Testament prophecy: 

“I saw in the night visions,
                and behold, with the clouds of heaven
                                there came one like a son of man,
                and he came to the Ancient of Days
                                and was presented before him.
                And to him was given dominion
                                and glory and a kingdom,
                that all peoples, nations, and languages
                                should serve him;
                his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
                                which shall not pass away,
                and his kingdom one
                                that shall not be destroyed.  (Daniel 7:13-14 ESV) 

3.       A distinctly Christian prophetic tradition now applies, which in the words of Jesus is quite simple, “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  (Matthew 24:14 ESV)  Note that Jesus said “this” Gospel of the kingdom.  He means the spiritual kingdom that he taught and proclaimed, not the Old Testament one that was lost when the Hebrews rejected Jesus (Matthew 21:33-44).  “Kingdom” is one of those old words that takes on a new meaning consistent with the paradigm shift occurring in Christ’s new revelation.  His kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36).  Flesh and blood cannot inherit it (1 Corinthians 15:50).  It is “not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). 

4.       In speaking of the end of the world we find an interesting parallel to the end of physical Israel.  Just as the ancient Jews were destroyed (except for the remnant named above) because they rejected Jesus so the world will be destroyed for the refusal of mankind to repent of both personal and systemic evil (except for a “remnant of mankind” (Acts 15:17) that are “called out” of the world to be saved, who flee the wrath to come): 

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.  (Revelation 9:20-21 ESV) 

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
                The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:8-11 ESV) 

According to Scripture, this world is the kingdom and abode of Satan, who is the god of this world (Luke 4:5, 1 John 5:19, and 2 Corinthians 4:4); this world will be utterly destroyed (2 Peter 3:1-13) but we are not destined for wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10) and so we are strangers and exiles here (Hebrews 11:13-16and 1 Peter 2:11).  We are not to have any affection for the world (James 4:4-5 and 1 John 2:15-17) and should be detached in our dealings with it (1 Corinthians 7:29-31), though we may serve as good citizens of the society in which we live (Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17).  Christians are in danger of falling away because of worldly distractions (Matthew 13:22/Mark 4:19 and Mark 8:36/Luke 9:25) and if we are faithful to God we can expect trouble and persecution in this world (John 16:33 and 2 Timothy 3:12). 

5.       But this world of sin and evil will be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13, and Revelation 21:1), inhabited by those that have purified themselves by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and because they loved not their own lives unto death (Matthew 16:24/Luke 9:23,  Romans 8:17, Philippians 3:10-11, and Revelation 12:11).  Those that die in faith, that is, faithful and enduring to the end, will be raised by the Lord to inherit eternal life when he returns (John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 15).  Therefore, Jesus commands us: 

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Come, Lord Jesus.