Kingdom and covenant are two sides of the same coin. In order to get understanding of the purposes of God, we need understanding of both. It is vital that our prophetic understanding comes in the context of God’s Kingdom and of covenant. Right from the very beginning it was God’s purpose to have a people who would demonstrate His Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven’, and covenants were the agreements He initiated with men to enable that to take place.
Last year was year 11 (2011), and quite a bit was said and written about that. In particular, some people felt God was highlighting Deuteronomy 1:11 which says, “May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand-fold more than you are and bless you, just as He has promised you”. Some began to see ‘111’ everywhere as they began to focus on what God might be saying. They got hold of that scripture and were encouraging us that we could believe God not for a hundredfold increase, but actually for a thousandfold.
Firstly, of course, it is possible for the Holy Spirit to take that scripture and speak it to us personally and say ‘This is for you’. But if we don’t hear it that way, how do we approach the questions which will come up: ‘Is that right? Does it say that? And if it does, is it intended for us?’
Well, it talks about ‘the God of your fathers’. That is covenant language. ‘The God of your fathers’ refers back to Abraham, and how God made a covenant with Abraham through which all families on the earth were to be blessed. Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us that it is to confirm that covenant that God gives us the power to make wealth. In light of that, I would say that yes, we can claim Deuteronomy 1:11 as a promise that God will increase us a thousandfold.
But is that exactly 1000, or does it just mean ‘a lot’? Let’s consider the scripture which says that God ‘owns the cattle on a thousand hills’ (Psalm 50:10). Does He not own the cattle on the 1001st? I think we know the answer to that. So a thousand is not necessarily exact, it is a large number – and in this case it really stands for ‘everything’.
My point is that if we are going to understand prophecy correctly, we cannot simply take everything literally and so limit God. People raised the objection that when Deuteronomy 1:11 was written, there weren’t actually any chapter or verse numbers: they were added later. That doesn’t stop God using them as a means to illustrate something to us.
This is part of approaching scripture and prophecy with a Hebrew (eastern) rather than a Greek (western) mindset. Literal, deeper, personal, and hidden meanings – all can be true, and all found within the understanding of one verse of scripture.