The Context Of Prophecy

Biblical prophecy is recurrent. That is, prophecy has more than one occurrence in kind. It has a cyclical pattern in which layered allegory and symbolism fill out our understanding of events in the Biblical record. Old Testament prophetic metaphor is a master key that unlocks our full understanding of the New Testament and events unfolding around us today. Having cast aside our Old Testament roots, however, we’ve redefined and misinterpreted the gospel and New Testament doctrine. The most notable cyclical prophetic context from Old to New is found within the holy days. Yet modern day Christian exegesis ignores them.

In the Book of Moses, the holy days were given to Israel as a commemoration, having their basis in actual events. The Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread commemorated the time when God led Israel out of captivity in Egypt. [Read 1 Cor. 10:1-4]. While each of the seven commemorated annual holy days in the Old Testament looked to our past, simultaneously each pointed, and most still point prophetically into our Christian future.

Initiating the age of Christianity, Christ became the sacrificial Passover Lamb removing us from under the penalty of sin. As Paul wrote in his letters, allegorically, sin is leavening. [1 Cor. 5:6, 7]. Unleavened bread is a metaphor for life without sin. While Israel celebrated the ordinances of Passover and Days of Unleavened bread commemorating the past, they were a prophecy for Israel fulfilled by our Savior, Christ in the first century. [See Mat. 15:24].

As we read in the Book of Leviticus, ''And the remainder of it [meat offering] Aaron [the high priest of Israel] and his sons shall eat; with unleavened bread it shall be eaten in a holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of meeting they shall eat it. 'It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the trespass offering.’” [Lev 6:16, 17].

Christ as our high priest [Heb. 9:11] became our sin offering for our trespasses. Christ was, in effect, our unleavened bread, without sin, most holy who was the sacrificial Lamb [meat offering] for the sins of Israel. “… Jesus [as our high priest] took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to the disciples [kings to sit on the 12 thrones of Israel, Luke 22:30] and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body.’” [Mat. 26:26]. The errant literal Christian practice of communion completely misses the metaphorical connection with our theological roots. [See the Feature article, Guess Who's Coming To Supper?].

In the holy days, we have Israel’s actual experience, followed by the annual commemoration. And then in kind, it’s completion by Christ who came to fulfill the Law and The Prophets. It’s the same prophetic cycle for all seven holy days in God’s plan for us. [See the Feature article, Three Temple Ages Make a Plan]. The next holy day to be fulfilled by Christ is the Day of Trumpets. Lacking understanding of Old Testament prophetic metaphor, we remain clueless. See The Hijacked Elephant for a detailed discussion of the prophetic cycle for all the holy days as well as the Covenant Flow Chart in the Feature article, The Tale Of Two Covenants.

Let’s consider another of these layered prophetic events. “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; The LORD is His name. Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; it consumed them like stubble.’” [Exd. 15:1-7].

“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!” [Rev. 15:2, 3].

Even with a cursory reading, you should be able to see some prophetic parallels. Singing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb are only mentioned twice in the Biblical record, at the two great times of deliverance for Israel. [See Isa. 11:11]. Once when God delivers Israel out of Egypt and the other when the 144,000 remnant of Israel are delivered out of the time of Jacob's trouble. In both cases, Israel returns to the land promised them by God.

We also see layered prophetic metaphor with the literal sea of water and the prophetic sea of glass mingled with fire. In Exodus, “The LORD is a man of war … overthrown those who rose against You.” In Revelation, Christ has victory over the beast who made war on the saints, overthrowing those who rose up against him.

We just read in Exodus, “You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble.” Then, in Revelation, the sea of glass is mingled with fire. When the sixth head of the beast Edom, or Esau as he was known, has been made desolate in Revelation, we read in the parallel prophecy of Obadiah concerning him, “The House of Jacob [in this instance, House of Judah] shall be a fire and the House of Joseph [House of Israel] a flame [who together are the ten horns of Israel, see Rev. 17:16], and the House of Esau [Babylon the Great] for stubble.” [Obd. 1:18; Rev. 18:9, 10; see the Feature articles, Revelation 17: Big Brother and Obadiah And The Prophetic Parable Of The Tares].

And as it was with the Pharaoh’s army being consumed by the sea, so too is Esau/Edom, the sixth beast consumed in this sea of fire, so that none remain. “… and there shall not be any remaining of the House of Esau, for the LORD has spoken it.” [Obd. 1:18].

In Psalm 137:7, 8 we read, “Remember O LORD the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem, who said, ‘Raze, raze it to the foundation thereof.’ O daughter of Babylon, who is to be destroyed ….”

Edom, the sixth head of the beast, Babylon the Great, is to be destroyed as we just read. Babylon was the original head, hence Edom is the daughter of Babylon. When the children of Israel in Jerusalem were taken captive by Babylon, Edom wanted Jerusalem razed to the ground. However, it wasn’t until centuries later, when Edom ruled over Jerusalem, in the family of Herod, who also built the second temple there, that Jerusalem was razed to the ground, not one stone left upon another, including Herod’s temple as Christ prophetically said in Mat. 24:1, 2.  

In these cases, Edom ruling over Jerusalem in the first century, and then again as the sixth head of the beast ruling over Jerusalem in Revelation 17, both times Jerusalem is razed, and taken away from Edom. The prophecy in Psalm 137 concerning Edom occurs twice, once just after Christ’s first coming and then again just before his second coming. 

The Biblical record is replete with these kinds of examples. But, until we return to our first century theological roots, the fullness of the gospel will remain beyond our grasp. For it was through the prism of the Old Testament and Israel that Christ spoke and the apostles wrote the original inspired New Testament. Just as we've seen with the few examples cited here, Christ said, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses [Exodus and Leviticus], and the Prophets [Obadiah and Revelation] and the Psalms [137] concerning Me.” [Luke 24:44].

Italics and [ ] are the author’s.

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