Interpretation Rules for Understanding Prophecy and Scripture
- The Golden Rule of Interpretation
When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.
- The Law of Double Reference
The Law of Double Reference is the principle of associating similar or related ideas, which are usually separated from one another by a long period of time, and which are blended into a single picture like the blending of pictures by a stereopticon. A clear cut example of this law may be found in Isaiah 11:1-5. Verses 1 and 2 refer to the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and verses 3 to 5 tell of the second time He comes to earth.
- The Law of Recurrence
The Law of Recurrence involves the recording of an event and the repetition of the account which gives added details. This principle may be illustrated by the artist who “blocks out the portrait” of a person at the first sitting and adds details at subsequent sittings.
Example: Ezekiel 38:1-39:16
Chapter 38 gives a complete account of the coming invasion of Israel by Russia and the subsequent destruction of the Russian army in Israel. Chapter 39 then repeats the account from the beginning giving additional details.
- The Law of the Context
A Text apart from its Context is a Pretext. A verse can only mean what it means in its context and must not be taken out of its context.
Example: Zechariah 13:6
This verse is often used to prophecy of the Messiah. Pulled out of its context, it does indeed sound like it refers to Jesus. But the context of vs2-6 is speaking of false prophets. Verse 6 cannot refer to Jesus unless Jesus is a false prophet. This is the danger of studying a verse by itself rather than in context. The common saying, “You can prove anything by the Bible,” is only true when this law is violated. (These four rules were formulated by Dr David L Cooper, the late founder and director of the Biblical Research Society.)
John’s Seven’s and the Three Messianic Miracles
- Changes water into wine
- Healing the nobleman’s son
- Healing the paralytic
- Feeding of the 5,000
- Calming the storm
- Healing of the man born blind
- Resurrection of Lazarus
- The New Birth
- The Works of God
- The Bread of Life
- The Water of Life
- The Light of the World
- The Good Shepherd
- The Upper Room Discourse
Seven I am’s
- The Bread of Life
- The Light of the World
- The Door of the Sheep
- The Good Shepherd
- The Resurrection and the Life
- The Way, The Truth and the Life
- The True Vine
Three Messianic Miracles
- The healing of the Jewish leper
- Casting out the dumb demon
- The healing of someone born blind
Old Testament Prophesies about the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
Excerpt from MBS066 – “The Ministries of the Holy Spirit.”
A second major future work of the Holy Spirit will be Israel’s national regeneration. The national regeneration of Israel is consistently connected with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is seen in a number of passages in the Old Testament.
- Isaiah 32:9-20.
The first passage can be divided into three segments. First, verses 9-14 describe the period of the Great Tribulation. The second segment, in verse 15, describes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest. In this verse, Isaiah speaks of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Israel following the Great Tribulation (vv. 9-14). In the third segment (vv. 16-20), he describes the Messianic Kingdom, which follows the national regeneration of Israel.
- Isaiah 44:1-5.
In the second passage, verses 1-2 emphasize that Israel is the chosen people of God. In verses 3-5, he describes the outpouring of the Spirit upon the whole nation of Israel: For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring: and they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. One shall say, I am Jehovah’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto Jehovah, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
- Ezekiel 39:25-29.
In the third passage, verses 25-28 describe a world-wide regathering of the Jewish people for the Messianic Kingdom. The basis for Israel’s world-wide regathering is given in verse 29: neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord Jehovah. This verse speaks of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the whole nation of Israel. This outpouring will result in Israel’s regeneration, which, in turn, will be the basis for Israel’s final restoration and regathering.
- Joel 2:28-29.
In the fourth passage, Joel is speaking about the last days of the Great Tribulation, when the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon the whole nation of Israel. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.
Peter quoted this passage in Acts 2:16-21 only as an application to their experience, for there was a pouring out of the Spirit in a limited way, but only upon the Twelve Apostles or on the one hundred twenty at the most, not on the whole nation of Israel. The fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29 did not occur in Acts 2 nor is it occurring at the present time. It will occur only when the whole nation of Israel will be saved.
- Zechariah 4:1-14.
The fifth passage also pictures Israel as a saved nation. The universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be on the nation of Israel only, and it is connected with the Holy Spirit in verse 6: Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, “This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, 6. Zechariah 12:10, 13:1. The sixth passage is Zechariah 12:10, 13:1. Verse 10 reads: And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. In this passage, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit results in Israel’s national regeneration, which, in turn, leads to the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah. In this second major work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the future, the Holy Spirit will work in such a way that the whole nation of Israel will be saved by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. This will, in turn, bring about the Second Coming of the Messiah.
The Place of the Dead
From MBS107, “The Place of the Dead”, we learn that there are 13 terms used to describe the unseen world.
- Sheol – 64 times in the Old Testament. Psalm 86:13, Deuteronomy 32:22.
- Hades – 10 times in the New Testament. Matthew 11:23, Revelation 1:18.
- Abbadon – 6 times in the Old Testament, 1 time in the New. Prov. 15:11, Revelation 9:11.
- The Pit – 23 times in the Old Testament. Job 33:18, Psalm 30:3.
- The Abyss – 9 times in the New Testament. Luke 8:31, Revelation 20:3.
- Tartarus – 1 time in the New Testament. 2 Peter 2:4.
- Hell – the English translation of the Hebrew and Greek for the bad side of Sheol. The concept of Hell in common English usage is different in some ways from the biblical picture.
- Gehenna – 12 times in the New Testament. Matthew 5:22, Luke 12:5.
- Lake of Fire – 4 times in the New Testament. Revelation 20:10, 21:8.
- Abraham’s Bosom – 1 time in the New Testament. Luke 16:22-23.
- Paradise – 3 times in the New Testament. Luke 23:43, Revelation 2:7.
- Heaven – 39 times in both the Old and New Testaments. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, Philippians 3:20. There are three aspects of heaven, two are temporal (atmosphere & outer space), and the third is where God is.
- New Jerusalem – 3 times in the New Testament. Galatians 4:26, Hebrews 12:22-24.
Map – Messiah’s Last Week – A.D. 30
22 Laws of the Sanhedrin Regarding Trials
- There was to be no arrest by religious authorities that was eﬀected by a bribe, Exodus 23:8.
- There were to be no steps of criminal proceedings after sunset.
- Judges or Sanhedrin members were not allowed to participate in the arrest.
- There were to be no trials before the morning sacriﬁce.
- There were to be no secret trials, only public.
- Sanhedrin trials could only be conducted in the Hall of Judgment of the Temple Compound.
- The procedure was to be ﬁrst the defense and then the accusation.
- All may argue in favor of acquittal, but all may not argue in favor of conviction.
- There were to be two or three witnesses and their testimony had to agree in every detail, Deuteronomy 19:15.
- There was to be no allowance for the accused to testify against himself.
- The High Priest was forbidden to tear his garments, Leviticus 21:10.
- Charges could not originate with the judges; they could only investigate charges brought to them.
- The accusation of blasphemy was only valid if the name of God itself was pronounced.
- A person could not be condemned on the basis of his own words alone.
- The verdict could not be announced at night, only in the daytime.
- In cases of capital punishment, the trial and guilty verdict could not occur at the same time but must be separated by at least 24 hours.
- Voting for the death penalty had to be done by individual count beginning with the youngest so the young would not be inﬂuenced by the elders.
- A unanimous decision for guilt shows innocence since it is impossible for 23-71 men to agree without plotting.
- The sentence could only be pronounced three days after the guilty verdict.
- Judges were to be humane and kind.
- A person condemned to death was not to be scourged or beaten beforehand.
- No trials are allowed on the eve of the Sabbath or on a feast day.