with Jeremy Westcott –
Interpreting the times
Maybe you are old enough to remember all those books about the supposed significance of the Common Market being 12 countries, or about Communism and the USSR? Well, we can see now that none of it was true. Today those books are just gathering dust on people’s bookshelves, and if they were to read them now they would laugh. Dates, times, everything seemed so very plausible. But it didn’t happen.
That came about because the authors of those books just looked at the world around them, and tried to fit their own understanding of scripture with those events. We need instead to get a proper understanding of what scripture is really saying. As I mentioned before, that involves seeing things from a Hebrew rather than a Western viewpoint.
Take Biblical symbolism and covenant language. The whole Bible is written in terms of covenant. We even speak about the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. If you have never considered covenants then I do not have space to go into the whole subject here, perhaps the best advice I can give is to get hold of some of Ian Clayton’s teaching on covenants.
In short, covenants are binding agreements, and they are something that God has always used in interacting with people. God initiates covenants, and He makes them in blood. He always upholds His part of the deal. The sad fact is that the human race never upheld their part: at least, not until Jesus came and made a new covenant of blood with God. That covenant is unchallengeable because Jesus cannot fail: His blood is eternal. So we now receive all the benefits, all the promises, because of what Jesus has done.
The Old Covenant was all about what we had to do to be acceptable to God. That is no longer the case. But covenant is still the basis on which God works, and to understand the Bible we need to understand covenant language and how that covenant language is used.
Again, because Jesus is the Living Word, He can give you a personal revelation of any word, any passage, any part of Scripture that He chooses. It may be completely out of the context it was originally written for, but He can still speak it to your heart and speak to you in it. That may be for you and you alone, in your situation and circumstance, and it may apply to nobody else. But it is vital that you have a proper overall understanding of the purposes of God. That will safeguard you from error so that whilst God can give you things like that, you won’t completely go off at some tangent because of some fanciful thing that you have made up.
For example, if you get what you think is a revelation that tells you to go off and rob the person down the road, you will know it is not God. You need to have understanding of the nature and the character of God, of how God works, so that you don’t go off the rails completely. You have to realise that not every voice you hear is God. Sometimes our soul can speak to us, particularly if we have a deep desire, and it can convince us that it is God telling us to do something, or that what we want to do is all right, when in fact it isn’t. Jesus can take His Word and apply it to us as He sees fit – we just need to be careful that it really is Him.
My point here is that we need to understand the context of the eternal purposes of God. He hasn’t changed His plan. He has no Plan B, C or D.
Now, there is a teaching which says He has. You have heard it, maybe been influenced by it. You may not have thought of it in quite that way though. It is the teaching that prevailed in the town I grew up in, as I have written about previously. It divides up scripture into blocks and periods in which God works differently. It says ‘that is not for now’, and it denies the continuity of God’s purposes from Genesis to Revelation. If you read those two books, so much of the symbolism is the same. What it is in the beginning, it is in the end, and that is why it is so important to get understanding of it.
1 + 1 = ?
Our Western mindset is based on Greek, linear logic. For example: ‘1 + 1 = 2’. That makes sense to us. How could it equal anything but 2? Hebrew logic doesn’t see things the same way. In Hebrew logic (also called ‘open block logic’) there are multiple understandings which can all be true even if they seem contradictory to the western mind. And that is how God works. So in Hebrew logic, 1+1 can equal 11. It is the same proposition, but a different way of looking at the answer. And in Hebrew context, 11 is actually a much more likely answer than 2.
If that makes no sense to you, look at it this way. There can be layered truth. There is the obvious thing that is on the surface, but there can be layers of truth underneath, which may not be so obvious. The first layer of truth may be literal: Joseph was given a word that God’s people would be 430 years in Egypt and then they would be set free, and history tells us that was how it was. That is very straightforward for us to understand. But that word may also have further meanings, and they can be equally true, and equally valid.
There may be different fulfilments of prophetic words in scripture. Often there is an immediate or initial fulfilment that we can see, for example in the life of Jesus, and there is also a progressive fulfilment that goes on happening. Now this is not true of every single prophecy, but it is true of some. Therefore you cannot just read something, see how it was worked out once, and think that because of that is it over and done with. It may happen again, in a different way.
So which meaning is correct? What did God intend us to get from a particular scripture? The fact is, you do not always have to choose just one answer.
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- Declarations For Transformation
- Pray Without Ceasing
- Consider It All Joy
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