Before we dig into the nuts and bolts of individual Biblical prophecies and their fulfillment, we wanted to introduce a concept that has been really eye opening to me and has expanded my way of thinking regarding Bible Prophecy. The Old Testament was written in primarily ancient Hebrew and Aramaic and the New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek mindset is completely different than the ancient Hebrew mindset.
Greek is a “thinking mindset” full of abstract, or non-tangible things. Examples of this are the words “love and faith”. Both of these are abstract Greek words. Greek thinkers experience the world through the mind.
Hebrew is a “doing” language. Hebrew words are concrete, and are designed to form mental pictures. Hebrew thinkers experience the world through the senses. The Hebrew begins with the concrete and then uses that to explain the abstract.
For instance, in Numbers 6 Aaron, the High Priest, is blessing the people of Israel. The first statement “May the Lord bless you and keep you”, what does that mean?
The Hebrew word for bless is barak, which literally means to kneel, or to bend the knee. A barakah is a blessing, but it is more literally a gift brought to another on a bended knee. To bless God or others is to submit, or subject unto, the other. Blessing is when we bend the knee, an expression of humble service, in order to bestow a gift.
Another example is the word Faith. In the Greek, this is an abstract concept that we, in our Western thinking, define as believing in what cannot be seen based on the evidence that we can see. In Hebrew, the root word for faith, aman, means firm, something that is supported or secure. This word is used in Isaiah 22:23 for a nail that is fastened to a “secure” place. In Hebrew, Faith in Messiah means pitching a tent with Messiah Jesus.
Greek is not only a thinking language, it is a linear language, or a linear way of thinking. In our Greek-influenced Western thought, all historical events are seen as unfolding on a time line. Every time you see that FICTIONAL assent of man poster, it shows a monkey on the far left. Its evolution progresses to the right, and it ends with a man in a suit carrying a briefcase, a computer, or a cell phone! In the Greek way of thinking, once a Prophecy is fulfilled, it’s done forever, that’s it, it’s over.
Hebrew thinking is cyclical (cycles), and it’s what ACTUALLY occurs in nature. Life occurs in cycles. We see it in the sun, the moon and solar system, the seasons, a woman’s cycle, even HIS STORY itself. Have you ever heard the term “History repeats itself”? It does. God teaches us His Truths using cycles, patterns and shadows. He’s written His Plan of Salvation (Saving mankind) into the yearly Harvest Festivals, into the Jubilee Cycles, even into the Stars, the Mazzaroth. God wants to make sure that we don’t MISS IT!!! 🙂
Ecclesiastes 3:15 That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.
Job 38: 31: Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loosen the belt of Orion?
Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
Lastly, we want to discuss the many ways to interpret Scripture. Biblical prophecy can be confusing because a lot of very descriptive and “apocalyptic” language is used. In the Greek, the word “apocalyptic” means revelation, or unfolding of things not previously known. This is another abstract Greek word that is basically describing the prophet’s use of pretty fantastic symbols and metaphors to describe what he is being shown by God. Don’t let the fancy language throw you off! Scripture does a pretty good job of interpreting itself, especially with the Holy Spirit as our guide!!!
In Hebrew, there are 4 ways, or levels, of interpreting or understanding Scripture.
These are the four levels of understanding the scriptures. Each layer is deeper and more intense than the last, like the layers of an onion.
The Pashat is the plain, simple meaning of the text; understanding scripture in its natural, normal sense using the customary meanings of the words being used.
The next level of understanding is called in Hebrew Remez (hint). This is the implied meaning of the text. Peculiarities in the text are regarded as hinting at a deeper truth than that conveyed by its Pashat.
The next level is the “drash” “search”, this is the allegorical, typological or homiletical application of the text. An example of “Typology” is that Joseph, in the Old Testament, was a “type” or foreshadow of Jesus the Messiah.
The final level of understanding the Scriptures is called in Hebrew “Sod” meaning “hidden”. This understanding is the hidden, secret or mystic meaning of a text. This process often involves returning the letters of a word to their prime-material state and giving them new form in order to reveal a hidden meaning (interpreting them through the numbers of the letters for example). An example may be found in Rev. 13:18 where the identity of the Beast is expressed by its numeric value 666.
Understanding some of these concepts is important because it helps alleviate confusion. For instance, people will often argue or debate who has the better interpretation, when it is very possible that all of the interpretations are correct. I’ve seen this with the interpretation of the 7 Churches in the book of Revelation.
- Yes, there were 7 actual churches during the time that John wrote the Revelation (PSHAT/obvious meaning).
- Yes, there have been 7 Church Ages (Remez).
- And, yes, there are 7 types of Churches in these last days (Drash) or
- yes, there are even 7 types of individuals (Sod) during these last days.
- All of the interpretations are correct, so there’s no need to “argue”.
Understanding CYCLICAL Hebrew thinking is also important because the vast majority of the Bible was written in the Hebrew or the Aramaic language. Certainly the Old Testament prophets wrote in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic. When we look at Scripture, especially at Biblical prophecy, we will often hear people claim “That has already been fulfilled”. This is a very common statement regarding Biblical prophecy, particularly in the area of Eschatology, which is End-Time Biblical prophecy.
For instance, People who would call themselves “Preterists” do not believe that there will be a literal 1000 year reign of Christ, even though the book of Revelation clearly states that there will be. This is because they view the book of Revelation as “poetry”, or the book of Daniel as events that happened in the 7th Century BC, and are “over and done with“. This is GREEK thinking (linear) and is NOT the view of this author, my husband or I. God works in shadows, types, patterns and cycles, as evidenced in the original language in which the Bible was written. God has declared what will occur at the end of days from the beginning. Some prophecies have a single fulfillment (like the birth of the Messiah), others have a dual fulfillment, and still others can have multiple fulfillments. We have to pray for wisdom, seek truth, and have a discerning eye. Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth!
With all of this said, we pray for the Lord Jesus Christ to open our minds and our hearts as we step into an exciting part of this blog, Biblical Prophecy.