How to read the prophetic signs and interpret them.

  It’s one thing to read the prophecies in the Bible, but it’s quite another thing
to understand some of them and to interpret them correctly.

 

 Old Testament prophecies are usually fulfilled in three stages.

·         Literal

·         Spiritual

·         Final

 

 Example:  the Promise to Abraham

 Abraham was promised that he would have countless descendants, at a time when he was childless and his wife was beyond the age of childbearing. “The word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision:….’Look up at the heavens and count the stars…if indeed you can count them.’ Then the Lord said to Abraham ‘So shall your offspring be’” (Gen. 15:1,5)  After Abraham showed that he was prepared to sacrifice his only son Issac, the Lord said: “I will surely bless you and make your descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky and in the sand on the seashore” (Gen.22:17)

 

Stage 1:  Literal 

The promise to Abraham was fulfilled in the birth of Issac.  The Israelites(the Jews of the New Testament) are descended from Abraham, and Issac.  “people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore.” (I Kings 4:20)

 Stage 2:  Spiritual 

The promise is fulfilled today in a spiritual way. Jesus once explained that to be “Abraham’s children” people needed to behave as Abraham did.  (John8:39-41)  Christians today are Abraham’s spiritual heirs. “Those who believe are children of Abraham.” (Gal. 3:7)

Stage 3:  Final 

The original promise made to Abraham will only be fully and finally completed in heaven.  Abraham’s countless ‘children’ are described in the book of Revelation: “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the lamb” (Rev. 7:9)

 

Example:  the Rebuilding of the Temple

Stage 1:  Literal  

The Old Testament prophets predicted that the broken-down Temple would be rebuilt.  This happened literally after the Israelites’ return from exile. (Ezra 3)

Stage 2:  Spiritual 

Today this prophecy is fulfilled in a spiritual way, since God’s Spirit lives in Christians.  Paul reminds the Christians who lived in Corinth,  “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (I Cor. 6:19)

Stage 3:  Final 

In the Heavenly Jerusalem, this prophecy about the rebuilding of the Temple is completely fulfilled.  There will not even be a temple there. “I did not see a Temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple. (Rev. 21:22)