Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:54 am Post subject: Introduction to Biblical Prophecy
Introduction to Biblical Prophecy
The Bible is a collection of books which, when taken as a whole, presents a living testimony of a Supreme Being who reigns over the universe which He created. In the beginning, God established a master plan for this universe and throughout the ages, He has slowly and progressively revealed this plan to mankind.
Traditional efforts to comprehend the nature of God and His plan for man usually focus upon a study of doctrine and the personal application of moral principles. There is an old adage, which says, "You can't see the forest for the trees." This means that we can become so involved with the details that we do not see the whole picture. Perhaps we have spent so much time examining the trees that we have not seen the forest of Scripture.
As a result, the average lay person tends to remain unaware of the existence of a master plan that runs like a continuous golden thread throughout scripture. People in study groups who systematically search for this common thread have repeatedly experienced a great magnification of their perception of the nature of God and His sovereign reign.
The study of Biblical prophecy foretells events that have unfolded and will continue to unfold across the pages of history. It has been said that the Old Testament is the New Testament hidden and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. There is as much design in God's word as there is in His creation. We can follow the golden thread of prophecy from Genesis to Revelation.
The book of Revelation is the terminal, like trunk lines running unto a grand central station, where the highways of Biblical prophecy come to an end. To understand end time events and the book of Revelation, we need to trace the major trunk lines into Revelation. Most people who study Revelation begin with the book it's self. They do not have the background for interpretation and therefore we have many interpretations.
Not only do we have the prophetic written word, but God uses types, shadows/patterns, numbers, covenants, and Jewish feasts to weave His prophetic word together. We should be aware that all of these point to the work completed by Jesus upon the cross. According to the book of Hebrews, the entire Mosaic Law was a shadow of the work completed upon the cross. Before the cross, individuals were saved by faith as they obeyed the commandments of God which were satisfied on the cross. They were saved on credit as their sins were later paid for by Jesus.
Today, both Jews and Gentiles are saved as they received Jesus as Lord and Savior and become members of the universal Church. During and after the tribulation many will be saved by placing their faith in Jesus. We are told that when God restores Israel, that the Jews will grieve as they receive their Messiah. "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son" (Zech 12:10, NKJV).
We need to be aware that only the Bible uses prophecy to tell the people about God's will and plans. No other religion has it. Only God, the creator, is able to see the future. Peter gives us these words in his second letter: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God[ spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:20-21, NKJV).
Many don't believe in the prophetic word because to them it is supernatural. However, Luke tells us in the book of Acts that: "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18). If God knows the future then He has no problem with prophecy.
Many have claimed that God's word is not literal, therefore, they have taken many words of prophecy and have spiritualized them with other applications. This is especially true with prophecy relating to the future of Israel. Many churches teach that God has done away with Israel because they have rejected their Messiah and therefore misinterpret much of Old Testament Scripture as they apply it to the Church. Paul said we should: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15). The word of God speaks to three groups: the Jews, the Church and the Gentiles. We need to apply it carefully to each group.
However, Paul tells us that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16), NKJV). We should read all Scripture for correction and instruction but we should read it in the literal sense and understand to whom God is speaking at the time it was written. If God prophesies a future event, then we should believe it.
A study of Biblical prophecy enlightens and enhances our knowledge of the absolute sovereignty of God the Creator. Remember, prophecy is unique to the Bible, none of the world religions have it. The key message of prophecy is God's plan for redemption though His Son, Jesus. It should be noted that the entire Bible starting with Genesis chapter three through Revelation chapter twenty is the story of redemption. It has been said the that the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two chapters of Revelation serve as book ends for God's plan for redemption of mankind.
We should also, be aware that one-fourth of the books of the Bible is avowedly prophetic, and, in the actual text of all the Scriptures, at least one-fifth was prediction at the time that it was written. (Ref Systematic Theology, Eschatology, page 256).
The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus. Can we expect God to fulfill the references to the second coming of Jesus? (Ref. Evidence that demands a verdict, Josh McDowell pp 150).
We are told we will be blessed with the study of prophecy. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Rev 1:3). We read over and over in Scripture how we will be blessed. Why do we not study it?
Gary Frazier says: “I believe these prophetic truths are the single greatest motivational truths contained in the Holy Scriptures. Prophecy motivates us to be holy, to pray, to witness, to give, to serve and to strive to be all Christ want us to be.” (Gary Frazier, "Signs of the second coming of Christ", page 214).
What do you think heaven will be like? Will it be the same forever? What about the New Heaven and New Earth? Why a New Earth? Don't you think we should strive to know all we can about these things?
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There are two schools of Biblical interpretation as it relates to Biblical Prophecy. The first of these is known as "Covenant Theology" and for the most part, takes the view that God has repealed the promises to the Nation Israel and has turned the Church. They also, teach that the Church has existed in some form since the fall of Adam. The second school of interpretation, known as "Dispensationalism", teaches that God has not done away with the promises to Israel and that Israel still has a place in God’s future plans for the ages. It also teaches that the Church is a "mystery" that was hidden in the Old Testament and that God has temporarily set Israel aside until He has completed His work with the Church. Then the Church will be raptured and God will return to His program with Israel, which begins with a great period of tribulation. Depending upon which school of interpretation we chose, determines how we interpret end time prophecies.
Is a school of Biblical interpretation that provides one alternative to Dispensationalism and is a form of Supersessionism. Though different schools of Covenant Theology exist, they generally share the idea that throughout Biblical history, God's various covenants were either one and the same (covenant of grace), or subsets of each other.
Depending on denomination, theologians will either refer to one all-encompassing covenant (with no clear break between the Israelite nation and the Christian Church), or two or more covenants wrapped in a container covenant (with a definite break between Israel and the church).
It is interesting to note that widespread adoption of Dispensationalist in theological history is a relatively recent event, in contrast to Covenant Theology, which has roots to various authors immediately following the founding of the Christian church, such as Augustine.
However, early church fathers believed much of what is modern Dispensationalism.
Covenant Theology teaches that there are two major covenants, law before the fall and grace after the fall, thus believing that the church in a sense has existed since the fall in the garden.
They believe God's glory is clearly the driving force behind all things and that there is one people group of God, rooted in the Abrahamic Covenant, united in Christ, and consisting of both Jews and Gentiles alike. There has been little distinction between Israel and the Church in the historical teaching of Covenant Theology.
Because of this view, a literal interpretation cannot be made of most prophecy relating to the nation of Israel. This has great implications on interpreting end times events such as the rapture of the church, the millennium kingdom and the second coming of Jesus.
Dispensationalism is a system of biblical interpretation formalized in the nineteenth century by John Nelson Darby, D.L. Moody, and later popularized by the publishing of the study Bible of C. I. Scofield and the establishment of Dallas Theological Seminary by Lewis Sperry Chafer.
It is the foundation of what is known in eschatological studies as "pre-tribulational premillenialism" and involves the division of history into (usually) seven distinct periods of time known as "dispensations".
Twentieth century writers such as John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, and Charles Ryrie brought the doctrines of Dispensationalism into mainstream scholarship.
There are three primary tenets of the system.
• A clear distinction between Israel and the Church.
• A literal interpretation of Scripture.
• The glory of God as the primary goal of history.
It should be noted that when Israel became a nation in 1948, many changed their view of Biblical interpertation.
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Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:02 am Post subject: The Biblical Dispensations
The Biblical Dispensations
Note: You may click on most of the Biblical references and access the Bible verse listed.
“A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God” (New Scofield Reference Bible p. 3). Many times the word “age” is used interchangeable with the word “dispensation”. They are not quite the same. This word, translated “world” which appears thirty-one times in many translations of the Bible means a block or period of time. The word “dispensation” comes from a word meaning stewardship. “A dispensation is a specific, divine economy, a commitment from God to man of a responsibility to discharge that which God has appointed him” (Chafer’s Systematic Theology).
“The dispensations are a progressive and connected revelation of God’s dealings with man, given sometimes to the whole race and at other times to a particular people, Israel. These different dispensations are not separate ways of salvation. During each of them man is reconciled to God in only one way, i.e. by God’s grace through the work of Christ that was accomplished on the cross and vindicated in His resurrection. Before the cross, man was saved in prospect of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, through believing the revelation thus far given him. Since the cross man has been saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ in whom revelation and redemption are consummated” (New Scofield Reference Bible p. 3).
It has been said that the dispensations shed more light on God’s whole message of divine revelation than any other aspect of Biblical study. They begin with a new fresh start of promise and end in man’s failings.
It is generally recognized that there are seven dispensations given in the Bible. However, there appears to be eight ages with the last one taking us into eternity.
Scofield and Chafer both list the dispensations as Innocence (Gen 1:28); Conscience or Moral Responsibility (Gen 3:7); Human Government (Gen 8:15-17); Promise (Gen 12:1); Law (Ex. 19:1-8); Grace (Acts 2:1-4)); Kingdom (Rev 20:4-6).
1. Innocence: Age of Liberty – Begins with the creation of man (Gen 1:26-27) and ends at (Genesis 3:6). Adam and Eve were given the responsibility of being fruitful, having dominion over the creation and living off the fruits and vegetables of the land. It ends in disobedience with man and woman eating the forbidden fruit.
2. Conscience: Age of Human Determination – Begin with Adam’s and Eve’s eyes being opened and they knew they were naked (Gen 3:7) and continues until (Gen 8:14). During this period, sin becomes so bad that God’s destroys Man with the flood. Man needs more that a conscience.
3. Human Government: Covenant with Noah – This dispensation covers the period from (Genesis 8:15-17) to (Genesis 11:9). During this period God entered into a new covenant with Noah, established human government, and permitted the people to eat meat. It ends with rebellion and God’s scattering the people over the earth with different languages to walk according the ways of Satan.
4. Promise: Covenant with Abraham – This dispensation begins in (Genesis 11:10) and extends through (Exodus 19:2). The following quote is a good summary of the dispensation. “The dispensation of promise established clearly the principle of divine sovereignty, provided a channel of special divine revelation to the nation of Israel, continued provision of divine redemption and blessing, revealed the grace of God, and promised a witness to the world. Like the other dispensations, however, it ended in failure as far as bringing conformity to the will of God, and it laid the ground work for bringing in the law as a schoolmaster to bring believers to Christ (Gal 3:24)” (Chafer/Walvood Major Bible Themes p. 132).
5. Law: The Mosaic Covenant – The dispensation of law begins in (Exodus 19:3) and extends to the Cross. However, some believe that the next dispensation did not begin until the day of Pentecost. The Mosaic Covenant was a highly structured and detail social and religious order given by God for the theocratic reign of God. The commandments, judgments and ordinances governed the daily life of the God’s chosen people. Under the law the people were to be a light unto the gentiles and through them to reveal the God of Creation to the world. The law also served as a schoolmaster to reveal sin and to bring believers to Christ. They were saved based on a promise and their response to God’s provision for the forgiveness of sin. The Covenant was also a system of shadows and types which looked forward to Christ and the work He did on the cross (See the book of Hebrews). This period ends with a blind Israel rejecting their Messiah.
6. Grace: Age of the Church – The dispensation of grace begins with the day of Pentecost and continues until the rapture of the Church (Rev 4:1). This dispensation was hidden from the Old Testament writers and the Apostle Paul called it a mystery (Eph 3:1-13). During this age God is calling out a special people of both Jew and Gentile to be the bride of Christ. Salvation is by faith in the shed blood of Jesus. Each believer enters into the New Covenant relationship and is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Members of the church as the bride of Christ are joint heirs with Christ in His kingdom. They will have a special and unique role in eternity. However, this period will end with rebellion against God and with apostasy in the organized church.
7. Kingdom: The Theocratic Reign of The Messiah – This is the last of the ordered dispensations and begins with Christ return to earth to establish His kingdom as King of kings and Lord of lords. This time period is also referred as the millennial period or thousand-year reign of Christ. Scofield says that: “The millennium is that period of time during which Christ will reign upon the earth, a time of universal peace, prosperity, long life and prevailing righteousness”. During this period divine grace is revealed in fulfillment of the New Covenant relationship with God. Satan and demons will be inactive during most of the time and justice will be swift for any rebellion against the King. The bible says the Christ will rule with an iron rod with justice and righteousness. The kingdom will also be a period of failure (Isa. 65:20-22), (Zech. 14:16-19) and there will be rebellion at its close (Rev 20:7-9).
This is the final dispensation of testing. At the conclusion there will be a final judgement where evil is destroyed. However, this is not the end of the ages. There is one more age where we go into eternity with Christ on the throne reigning over a new heaven and a new earth.
Note: References for materials used above are from the Scofield Reference Bible, Chafer’s Systematic Theology and Chafer/Walvood Major Bible Themes.
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Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:05 am Post subject: The Biblical Covenants
The Biblical Covenants
Note: It is recommended that you look up the Scriptures on as many of the following Biblical references as you can. This study would be greatly rewarding. The Biblical Covenants are the foundation of all Biblical prophecy. In the classroom, we spend six hours studing these covenants.
Note: You may click on the Biblical references with blue shading and access the Bible verse listed.
"The covenants contained in the Scriptures are of primary importance to the interpreter of the Word and to the student of Eschatology. God's eschatological program is determined and prescribed by these covenants and one's eschatological system is determined and limited by the interpretation of them. These covenants must be studied diligently as the basis of Biblical Eschatology."
"It must be observed at the very outset of this study that the Biblical covenants are quite different from the theological covenants posited by the Covenant theologian. He sees the ages of history as the development of a covenant made between God and sinners, by which God would save, through the value of the death of Christ, all who come to Him by faith". 'While there is much in the position of the Covenant theologian that is in agreement with Scripture, Covenant theology is woefully inadequate to explain the Scriptures eschatologically, for it ignores the great field of the Biblical covenants which determine the whole eschatological program' ("THINGS TO COME" by Dwight D. Pentecost).
The major Biblical theocratic covenants of the Bible are mostly between God and Israel. This study, then, is not focused on the covenants contained in Reformed theology, but rather with the Biblical covenants set forth in the Scriptures.
The covenants of God contained in Scripture fall into two classes, those that are conditional and those that are unconditional. A conditional covenant guarantees that God will do His part with absolute certainty when the human requirements are met, but if man fails, God is not obligated to fulfill the covenant.
An unconditional covenant is based upon God’s sovereignty and His promises and is executed with or without mans intervention.
There are eight biblical covenants given in the Bible. They are: Edenic (Gen 2:16); Adamic (Gen 3:15; Noahic (Gen 9:16); Abrahamic (Gen 12:2); Mosaic (Ex 19:5); Palestinian (Dt 30:3); Davidic (2 Sam 7:16); and New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34). Six are unconditional and two are conditional. In our study we will determine which are conditional and which are unconditional.
I. The Edenic covenant, a test of obedience, was the first covenant that God made with man. It is the first of the general or universal covenants – Gen 1:26-312:16-17.
II. The Adamic covenant was made with man after the fall – Gen 3:14-19.
This is the covenant in which God declares to man what his lot in life will be because of his sin. There is no appeal allowed and no any human responsibility involved.
D. Man will henceforth earn his bread by the sweat of his brow – Compare Gen 2:15, 3:17-19.
E. Man’s life will be one of sorrow and ultimate death – Gen 3:19; Eph 2:5.
III. The Noahic covenant was made with Noah and his sons – Gen 8:21 – 9:18. This covenant, while repeating some of the features of the Adamic covenant, introduced a new principle of human government as a means to curb sin. It revealed God’s purposes for the race subsequent to Noah.
A. The promise of a great nation: (1) Everlasting possession of the land is promised to Israel – Gen 12:2, 17:8; (2) Everlasting covenant given – Gen 17:7; (3) “I will be their God” – Gen 17:8; (4) Abraham was also promised that he would father other nations – Gen 17:6,20.
C. Promises to the Gentiles: (1) “I will bless them that bless thee” – Gen 12:3.
D. NOTE: The other four covenants; Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenant are additional promises of God in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. They are all theocratic covenants.
V. The Mosaic covenant was given through Moses for the children of Israel. It was a conditional covenant and embodied the principle that if Israel was obedient, God would bless them, but if Israel was disobedient, God would curse and discipline them. The Mosaic covenant was also temporary and would terminate at the cross of Christ. It is the second theocratic covenant.
A. The promises (marriage vows) – Ex 19:5-8 – (Israel enters a husband/wife relationship with God) – Hos 2:14-23).
B. The commandments - containing the express will of God as to their moral life– Ex 20:1-6.
C. The judgments - relating to the social and civic life of Israel – Ex 21:1 – 24:11.
D. The ordinances - governing the religious life of Israel – Ex 24:12 – 31:18.
E. Israel’s apostasy - God’s forgiveness – Ex 32:1-13.
F. Conditions of blessings, warnings of chastisement, and God’s promise that the Abrahamic covenant will remain forever – Lev 26:1-46, (emphases Lev 26:40-46).
VI. The Palestinian covenant was both a conditional and an unconditional covenant regarding Israel’s final possession of the land. The conditional aspect of the covenant deals with the possession of the land. Israel was allowed to possess it as long as they were obedient to God’s commandments. The unconditional aspect of the covenant concerns the complete ownership and the eventual possession of the land which has not yet been completely fulfilled. It is the third theocratic covenant. – Dt 29:10-15, 30:11-20).
VII. The Davidic covenant was an unconditional covenant in which God promised David an unending royal lineage and an everlasting throne and Kingdom. It is the fourth theocratic covenant. 2 Sam 7:12-16, I Chr 17:1-15.
The book of Revelation is the terminal, like trunk lines running unto a grand central station, where the highways of Biblical prophecy come to an end.
These major lines of prophecy are:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ (Gen 3:15).
2. Satan and Evil ((Isa. 14:12-17), (Ezekiel 28;11-18).
3. Israel’s Covenants.
4. The Beginning, Duration, and End of the “Times of the Gentiles” (Daniel 2:37).
5. The Church ((Matthew 16:18).
6. The Duration and End of Apostate Church.
7. The Resurrection and Translation of the Saints.
8. The Great Tribulation.
9. The Second Coming of Christ as the Jewish Messiah.
10. The Millennium Kingdom.
11. A New Heaven and a New Earth.
Source: “Reveling through Revelations” by J. Vernon McGee
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• Jewish Dispersion and Persecution
• A Desolate Holy Land
• The National Spiritual Blindness of Israel
• Israel as a Resurrected Nation – Dry Bones of Ezekiel
• David Given an Everlasting Throne – Jesus as Lord of lords and King of kings
• A New Covenant for Israel
• A Suffering Messiah
• The Eventual National Salvation of Israel
• The Judgment and Future Role of the Gentile Nations
• God’s Time Line with the Future of Israel - 70 Weeks of Daniel Chapter 9
• Last Days Prophecy – Tribulation, The Millennium Kingdom and A New Heaven and New earth
New Testament Themes
• The Rapture of the Church
• The Great Tribulation
• Israel’s National Salvation – Romans Chapter 11
• The Millennium Kingdom
Key Books of the Bible
• Genesis – The foundation chapter – Beginning of God’s plan for the ages.
• Matthew – Written to the Jews. Shows Christ fulfillment of the Old Testament Prophecy.
• Revelation – The conclusion of God’s programs for the ages.
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“A type is a divinely purposed illustration of some truth. It may be: (1) a person; (2) an event; (3) a thing; (4) an institution; or (5) a ceremony. Types occur most frequently in the Pentateuch , but are found, more sparingly, elsewhere. The antitype, or fulfillment of the type, is found generally in the New Testament” (Scofield New Reference Bible, p 6).
God uses types like numbers, patterns and shadows as standard symbols to foretell Biblical truth. They are as much a part of the general scope of prophecy as the written prophecies are themselves. Along with the written prophecies, number systems and the continuity of truth, they bind the Old Testament to the New Testament and help define the golden thread of scripture.
We must be careful to recognize what makes something is a true type. They are usually found in the Old Testaments and find their fulfillment in the New Testament – in the person of Jesus Christ. If we are careful in our study, scripture will affirm types for us. Many are given as examples, patterns or other forms of divine messages that God wants to communicate to us. They are inspired in the same way as any other scripture and are intended by God for either admonition or instruction. Types are predictions which foreshadow what was future at the time of the Old Testament.
Some examples of different forms of types are:
1. A person as Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and David – “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Rom 5:14 NKJ)
2. An Event such as the preservation of Noah, redemption from Egypt, lifting up the brazen serpent, or the sacrifices blessed which were of God – “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11 NKJ).
3. A Thing is an item such as the tabernacle, the laver, the lamb of sacrifice, Jordan, a city like Babylon – “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb 10:19-20 NKJ).
4. An Institution such as the Sabbath, animal sacrifice, Melchizedek’s priesthood, David’s kingdom – “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb 9:11-12 NKJ).
5. A ceremony such as appointments for the service of God – “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor 5:7 NKJ). The leaven is a symbol for sin.
Note: References for materials used above are from the Scofield Reference Bible and Chafer’s Systematic Theology.
"In the letter to the Colossians Paul noted that many of the institutions and commands revealed under the Law of Moses were, “things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:17). The same thrust is found in Hebrews 10:1 “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things”. In reference to the tabernacle in the Old Testament, the Hebrew writer notes that the Levitical priests served, “a copy and shadow of the heavenly things'” (Hebrews 8:5).
"The term 'shadow' means, 'A reflection, a phantom, a silhouette” (Barclay p. 88). 'A glimpse and shadow' (Rhm); 'A mere outline and shadow' (Mof); 'Only a pattern or reproduction' (Phi). The words rendered 'copy' and 'shadow' are nearly synonymous and are like our English words 'likeness, copy, and imitation'. “It may be fairly well detailed, but it is not the original” (Reese p. 127). 'Many of the Old Testament institutions were ‘types' or ‘previews of coming attractions’” (p. 127).
The universal language of God’s physical creation is in a numerical language format. The creation is defined and understood in terms of a mathematical system of numbers. However, few people realize that there is a system of numbers used throughout the word of God. These numbers are used on a consistent basis and when studied, they are absolutely amazing.
Several authors have written on the subject. The Christian Jew Foundation published a booklet entitled “Significance of Bible Numbers”. It is a good summary source of information for understanding the Biblical numbers. The following includes excerpts from this booklet.
1. One – The number “one” means unity and oneness: one God, one church, and one faith. The number is not divisible my any other whole number, therefore, it implies that these things should not be divided. ”One” is God’s Number. See (John 17:21, Acts 4:32, and (Ephesians 4:1-6.
2. Two – The number “two” represents competent testimony in the Bible. We have seen it used to verify that a testimony is true. See (Matt 18:16 and Deuteronomy 17:6). Jesus used the number “two” in relationship to prayer (Matt 18:19-20). During the tribulation period God will sent two witnesses (Rev 11:3-12). The number “two” in scripture is also used for division.
3. Three – The number “three” represents the trinity. There are three persons in the Godhead; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are three persons in the trinity of evil; the devil, the antichrist and the false prophet. Man is also a trinity consisting of the body, soul and spirit. Three chief virtues embrace all others; faith, hope, and love. Jesus chose three of his Apostles as His inter circle; Peter, James and John. Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights.
4. Four – The number “four” always refers to the earthly creation. There are four regions of the earth – north, south, east, and west. There are four seasons. There were four horns on the altar of sacrifice pointing to all points of the compass. We have all heard the phase “The four corners of the earth”.
5. Five – The number “five” represents God’s grace as applied to needy man. Benjamin received five times as many food servings as his brethren(Gen 43:34) and also five changes of raiment (Gen 45:22). Five loaves were used to feed the multitude (Matthew 14:17), and five thousand were fed. We could find many more. Five is also associated with death.
6. Six – The number “six” represents man. Man was created on the sixth day. God told the Israelites to work six days and to rest on the seventh. Israel was given six days to sow and to gather. There were six cities of refuge in Israel. The number “666” is given as the number of the beast (Rev 13:18), and in the original Greek it says that this is the number of mankind.
7. Seven – The number “seven” represents perfection or completion. It is found more times in the Bible than any other number. We see this number used over and over in the Jewish sacrificial system.
8. Eight – The number “eight” represents the resurrection or new beginnings. Eight souls survived the flood and entered into a new or regenerated earth. Circumcision was performed on the eighth day, foreshadowing the true circumcision of the heart (Col 2:11). The eighth dispensation, eternity, will be a perfect age - a New Heaven, a New Earth, and a New Jerusalem.
9. Nine – The number “nine” represents finality or strength. It is also the number for the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is three times three, the product of divine completeness. Note: on the cross the work of redemption was completed at the ninth hour.
10. Ten – The number “ten” represents testing. The Ten Commandments were the special test that God gave to Israel. The parable of the ten pounds illustrates how the Lord will test our service when He returns.
11. Eleven – The number “eleven” represents judgment. During the days of Moses and Aaron, there were eleven judgments upon the Egyptians. Dinah, whose name means judgement, was the Jacob’s eleventh child. John saw eleven events in connection with the judgment of the great white throne.
12. Twelve – The number “12” represents Israel. There were twelve tribes of the Children of Israel. Jesus chose twelve apostles out of Israel. The 144,000 witnesses mentioned in Revelation chapter 7 are from the twelve tribes of Israel.
13. Thirteen – The number “13” is associated with sin, depravity, and rebellion. Christ mentioned thirteen evil attributes that come from the sinful heart of man. He also spoke about hell (Gehenna) thirteen times.
14. Other numbers – Many other numbers have major meaning. An example: the number “40” refer to probation and divine testing. Israel was tested forty years before they were allowed to go into the Promised Land. Ever wonder why Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days?
15. The next number of major significant is the number “50” – the number connected with the Holy Spirit. The number fifty is also connected with Israel’s Jubilee.
16. Many of the large numbers used in scripture are combinations of the above and have major significance in their use. As example, the number “666” is three sixes. This represents man (number 6) trying to be God (number 3).
Note: There are several good books on this subject. You may want to read some of them for more details. Two web sites are listed for your study of more information on this subject. Just click on: "Symbols in the Bible" or "Numbers by Rev. Ed Vallowe".
Last edited by wayne on Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:55 am; edited 10 times in total
Leviticus chapter twenty-three covers the seven feasts that Israel was to keep. The first four came in the spring and the last three were in the fall. We can now see that the first four were types or shadows to be completely fulfilled in the New Testament.
1. The Passover Feast (Exod. 12:14-18) celebrated the passover of the death angel when the Hebrews were in Egypt. We recall that Jesus was attending the Passover feast when He was arrested.
Paul tells us in first Corinthians that Christ was our Passover. “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” 1 Cor 5:7 NKJ).
2. The feast of Unleavened Bread (Exod. 12:15-18) was also celebrated as part of the Passover period. Leaven was considered a symbol for sin. Jesus was celebrating the feast of Unleavened Bread when He took the cup and bread and said “Eat” and “Drink” in remembrance of Me.
The feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled in the Lord’s Supper. “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:8 NKJ).
3. The feast of Firstfruits (Exod. 23:19) was celebrated on the first Sunday after Passover. This feast was fulfilled with the resurrection of Jesus. He became the firstfruits of the resurrection. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20 NKJ).
4. The feast of Pentecost (Lev 23:15-21) was celebrated fifty days later and required the offering of two loaves.
Jesus told the deciples to wait until Pentecost had come. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1 NKJ). In the upper room God’s poured out His Holy Spirit on those who were present. This was the beginning of the Church (Bride of Christ). The two loaves symbolize the two groups (Jew and Gentile) making up the Church. Therefore, the Church fulfils the feast of Pentecost (Acts 1:5. 2:4).
1. The feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25) was the first feast celebrated in the fall. It was the beginning of the new year. “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Lev 23:23-24 NKJ). Today it is celebrated as Rosh Hashanah.
"Rosh Hashanah is a time of new beginnings. Jewish tradition holds that the creation was completed on Rosh Hashanah, and, therefore, Adam was born on that day as well. If so, then the counting of time actually began then, the first day of the first month of the first year. The first Rosh Hashanah". Some students of prophecy believe the Jesus was born on Rosh Hashanah.
Many Bible teachers believe that this feast will be fulfilled with the second coming of Christ and the regathering of Israel (Matt 24:31). Others believe that the fulfillment with be with the Rapture of the Church. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor 15:52 NKJ). If so, then this feast symbols the end of the Church age as Pentecost symbolized the beginning.
2. The feast of Atonement occurred shortly after the feast of Trumpets (Lev 16:29-30, Lev 23:26-29). "For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD”.
Many believe that this feast will be fulfilled when Christ returns as King of Kings to judge and cleanse the nation Israel (Rom. 11:26, Ez. 20:34-38, Zech 12:1-9). “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” Heb 9:28 NKJ).
3. The last feast of the fall was the feast of Tabernacles (Exod. 23:16, Lev 26:23, 41-42). This feast was also called the feast of booths. They were required to live in booths in remembrance of the days after they had left Egypt.
Many see this feast fulfilled in the Millennium when the Kingdom will be restored. The Messiah will lead His people out of the bondage of the Gentile Nations. (Zech 14:16-21)
The following is a good web site for the study of the Biblical Holidays. Click on "Biblical Holidays"
Last edited by wayne on Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:56 am; edited 7 times in total
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