Rule #5, The 5 Major Rules of Bible Interpretation
“Watch for near/far prophetic applications in Scripture.”
We have been warning readers about popular Christian teachers who are attacking Jesus’ prophecy. From both extremes of the “how to interpret Matthew 24″ issue, we have anxious Christians. Individuals on both sides are deeply concerned about America’s political drift from a long-held tradition of economic liberty toward socialism. They say, “Where has socialism ever worked? Show us when a government takeover of commerce has ever benefited the people it promised to help?” Their argument is called “an appeal to history.” God also says, “Look at history!” Rule #5 is an example.
Where is His-story largely told but in the Old Testament. Rule #5 encourages believers to look for “near/far prophetic applications” in the account of God’s people. The “near” is a past model for what is promised in the future. The “far” shows that if He can do it once, God will do it again–but next time for the world to see.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises. (Psalm 145:13b NIV)
God’s angel spoke to Daniel while in Babylon. The prophet described the “near” and “far” warning signal for Israel.
“The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood… He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Daniel 9:26b, 27).
As our savior, the Lord recorded the “why” “what,” “when” and “where” in Scripture. The “why” is “destruction will be poured out” on Jerusalem. The “what” was “the abomination that causes desolation,” the “when” was “near” while the “far” was halfway into the last seven years. The “where” was inside the temple’s courts.
Centuries after Daniel’s prophecy, Antiochus Epiphanes appeared, ruler of the Greek-Syrian Empire. After sacrificing a pig on the sacred altar, this antichrist-figure proclaimed himself to be God, placing his image inside the temple (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Those privileged to have the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek version of Daniel’s prophecy, but ignored it, paid with their lives. (See The Apocrypha’s 1st and 2nd Maccabees). Eighty thousand died, forty thousand violently, while another forty thousand were taken into slavery.
Two hundred years later, Jesus said that Daniel 9:26-27 was a sign of His coming and of the end of the age. Those throughout the world choosing to reject it, will do so at their own peril.
Jesus said, “Let the reader understand:” Readers of the Scriptures, The Book of the Law and the Prophets and The Old Testament. Many others have Matthew, Mark and Luke. Failure to take the Lord seriously will result in a mass execution of Jew and Gentile.
Those like Judas Maccabeus who in 168 B.C. fled to the mountains, lived to tell what happened. He read and understood. Naysayers who discouraged taking Daniel’s prophecy to heart, tragically, were unprepared. They stood around like frozen statues waiting to die. It will be just like that again, only the massacre and ensuing time of great distress will be global. Take heed.
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