Saturday, April 18, 2009


The first order of business in this Bible study blog is to establish how the Scriptures will be interpreted. In 2 Peter 1:20 it says "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation." The first rule of interpretation, is - there is no personal interpretation. What does this mean? Simply this, nobody can put their own spin on it. How do you avoid this? There is only one way. You have to take the words literally. There is no other way to understand the Scriptures except to take them at face value. Spiritualizing the meaning makes the passage useless and meaningless, as anybody can then make it mean anything at all. Since God's objective is to have us understand, and all of us understand the same thing from what He has written, there is no choice but to simply accept what is said, as what is meant. "How can I do that," you may ask, given that obviously some things cannot be taken literally. You use common sense. Obviously there are parts of grammar called metaphor, simile, etc. And there are the obvious visions and parables. In the case of the first, we should have enough grasp of our own language to know whether something is a part of grammar or not. For the second, it has been my experience in studying the Bible, that God usually explains the vision he has given in the passages of Scriptures that follow the visions. Christ usually explains the parables. Where there is no explanation, we have to go back through Scripture and see if the particular imagery has been used before and if the explanation lies there. Often this is the case. One difficulty that does arise is the fact that historical context and traditions of the day are incorporated into the writings, as these people wrote from the perspective of their own time and customs. Therefore, sometimes we may not fully understand something until we find out the historical context or the tradition or custom of the time to which the writer is referring. This is where input from anyone reading this, who may have some knowledge that is pertinent that I have lacked may help to bring understanding, or a different meaning to a passage. For this reason, one has to maintain a fluidity of keeping an open mind and re-evaluating the understanding of things.

That there are deeper spiritual meanings behind some of the Scriptures I will not deny, but one has to be very careful in extrapolating what that might be. Those meanings come much later, after the Scripture has been understood at the literal level, and after the person has matured in understanding of God's Word so that God can reveal a deeper level. That doesn't mean that only seminary graduates or scholars will be able to reach that level; often they are the ones who don't, as they are so immersed in their theological commentaries rather than the Scriptures, that they do not even understand the simple things that Scripture teaches, much less the deeper things. Also, those meanings will never contradict the literal interpretation, and when Scripture is compared with Scripture, one will find that the deeper meanings are found to repeat themselves throughout all of Scripture. That is how one knows that it is a deeper truth and not just a personal interpretation.

Another component for understanding the interpreting of prophecy is that most have what is called a near and far fulfillment. In other words, they have more than one fulfillment. God uses the same prophecies for different times. The first fulfillment was usually for the immediate future of those who wrote it (thus is history from our point of view) and was a lesser fulfillment, as it were, in that it usually only involved Israel and some other nation. The second fulfillment is usually associated with the end times before Christ's return and is fulfilled in a much larger sense, in that it is much broader in scope as far as destruction is concerned, and encompasses the entire world.

One last point that must be made is that most people are unaware that to understand the prophecies of Revelation and the end times takes a working knowledge of the entire body of Scriptures. You have to understand everything from Genesis to Revelation to get a good understanding of what is going to be coming. It is not just a matter of one or two books. The entire body of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is about the First and Second Coming of Christ. It is one huge jigsaw puzzle where pieces are pulled from every corner to make an entire picture. In fact, without understanding, and by that I mean truly understanding Genesis, one cannot understand the whole concept of what is about to happen when Christ returns. For that very reason, this end times study is going to start at a most unusual place, Genesis 1:1.

In the process of presenting information, where there is scientific data being related, I will try to be observant about giving credit as to where I received this information. If I fail, please bring it to my notice and ask. Also, there may be occasions where I present speculation of theory simply for consideration. In these cases I will also try to be diligent about specifying that it is speculation, and not Scriptural.

In the course of going through this study, there may be times when it appears that I am anti some denomination or religion. It is true that I believe Christianity is the only way, but when it comes to denominations, I feel the same about all of them. They have all strayed from God's Word. If you feel I am attacking your denomination, understand it is the theology, practices, or traditions that I am showing are unscriptural. There are people of true faith in Christ in all denominations, and there are phonies who claim to be Christians but are far from God, in all denominations. God has showed us (in Hebrews chapter 11) that our righteousness is not a matter of what church we attend, but of our faith in Christ. If you doubt that, read Hebrews 11.

Above all, I exhort you to be Bereans. Do not take my word (or anybody's) for anything without going to the Scriptures yourselves and searching these things out. This is the only way to avoid being deceived. If you want to challenge something I present, get your Scriptures together and present your challenge. My only concern is to find and present truth. If I am in error, I want to know it and correct it. However, please do not disagree and argue simply for the sake of disagreeing and arguing. I don't have time for that. If you have nothing to back up your challenge, keep it to yourself. As rude as this may sound, and I apologize if it does, I am not interested in people's opinions. I am interested in what God's truth has to say. People's opinions won't help me or anybody else in the end. God's Word will.