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Thread: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

  1. #16
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    The text doesn't say the 'them' are meaning the disciples. You are adding to the text something not remotely in the text. The 'them' are meaning the living waters, apparently. The living waters were the last thing mentioned prior to the 'them'. That should mean the 'them' are meaning the living waters. Waters as in plural, apparently.


    Zechariah 14:7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
    8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.


    Here's what the text seems to be saying.


    And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of the living waters toward the former sea, and half of the living waters toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

    If living waters is being understood as the Holy Spirit, the following is what the text would be saying.


    And it shall be in that day, that the Holy Spirits(as in more than one) shall go out from Jerusalem; half of the Holy Spirits toward the former sea, and half of the Holy Spirits toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

    As can be seen, it renders the text nonsensical. The way you try and get around that, you claim the 'them' are meaning the disciples. Yet no disciples seen anywhere in this context.

    And what about verse 7? Does not the text say...but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light? And in verse 8...And it shall be in that day...isn't that referring to the same day meant in verse 7? Of course though, day in this context is meaning an era of time and not a 24 hour day. So how do you fit verse 7 with your interpretation of verse 8? What does the Holy Spirit have to do with... that at evening time it shall be light? Why can't that literally mean what is says...that at evening time it shall be light? If it does literally mean that, one thing is for certain, the time period meant here is not meaning in our present age. How could there possibly come a time in this present age, meaning before the 2nd coming, where that at evening time it shall be light?
    Some versions say them and some say it. My point is that the disciples went out to the whole world with the Holy Spirit in them just as Jesus commanded them to do after the Holy Spirit would enter them and they did do it.

    Acts 1:8
    8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    History proves the point I can't understand how Christians can't see this and Jesus did stand on the mount of Olives when He commanded them

    Here is a question what scripture do you think Jesus was referring to in the verse below?

    John 7:38
    38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

    No other verse in the bible describes it like Zechariah 14:8

    A day doesn't have to be a single day in the bible its symbolic language of judgement

  2. #17
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    So having had many discussions on end-times prophecies here, I realize that many Christians read many end-times prophecies, especially OT prophecies, as being fulfilled "spiritually" rather than literally. My question is, how does one know? How does one make the determination as to which will actually happen, and which either already happened or will happen, but in the spiritual realm?

    Please illuminate.
    Christians have believed from the beginning that Israel would be restored as a nation, both physically and spiritually. Everything in God's Kingdom must be spiritual, since God Himself is spiritual, and all obedience to Him must likewise be spiritual.

    When it looked as if Israel had passed from the scene, after the 1st couple of centuries AD, Christians began to adopt "spiritual interpretations" of Israel's promises. It was thought that physical Israel had passed, and that Israel can only be fulfilled in a brand new spiritual entity, the international Church.

    I reject this kind of interpretation, but many Christians adhere to it. And it shows you how Christians can adopt these "spiritual interpretations." Sometimes prophecies may be depicted in symbolic terms, and these symbols may be difficult to interpret.

    But I think that what can be understood literally should be interpreted literally, and what is intended to be taken symbolically must be interpreted symbolically. Furthermore context matters. Context has to do with interpretation, as well.

  3. #18
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Old man View Post
    I agree.

    Itís like asking a bunch of rednecks whatís the best beer or whatís the best use for duck tape (yes I know how itís spelled).
    How is it spelled then? Otherwise, good point!

  4. #19
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    How is it spelled then? Otherwise, good point!
    It's actually "duct tape"
    "He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion."
    C.S. Lewis, "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."

    "Oh, but sometimes the sun stays hidden for years"
    "Sometimes the sky rains night after night, When will it clear?"

    "But our Hope endures the worst of conditions"
    "It's more than our optimism, Let the earth quake"
    "Our Hope is unchanged"
    "Our Hope Endures" Natalie Grant

  5. #20
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Old man View Post
    It's actually "duct tape"
    It may be for ducts, but it's also called "duck tape." It's terrible with ducts. Don't use it, unless it's for temporary use. I've used plenty of duck/duct tape for a variety of uses, and often the glue dries up and the tape fails.

  6. #21
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Zechariah 14:8
    8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.

    That is obviously to be interpreted spiritually, not literally.

    It serves no purpose to interpret it literally. The blessing of God will flow continually to all nations from the cross of Christ. The blessing will start "on that day".

    You have amillenial and premillenial interpretation. I am amillenialist and though the linked article below was written by a premillenialist, and though it is only a part of the complete article, and though it proposes problems with an amillenialist view, it gives a good start to get the idea:-

    https://bible.org/seriespage/millennial-series-part-5-amillennialism-method-interpretation

    The idea that Christ will reign for a thousand years seems completely preposterous to me. Will he rule despite the continuance of sin? Will he rule by force? Will he rule and there be no sin? Will sinners be completely sanctified? That can only be in heaven.
    Why will he reign only a thousand years and not for ever? Is he not reigning right now? (Matthew 28:18)

    It seems contradicted by Acts 2:17 - the whole of the Gospel era is "the last days" starting at Pentecost, 1 Corinthians 11:26 - the commemoration feast will continue till the second coming of Christ, Matthew 24:44 - the next thing to happen will be the judgement, and Revelation 20:2 - the Devil will not literally be put in a chain for a thousand years.

    Premill focuses on prophecy too much, and gets bogged down in details because it is looking for a literal interpretation. Literal interpretations are so often quite meaningless such as the one for Zechariah 14:8.

    The amillenialist gets up in the morning and reads his Bible. The premillenialist gets up in the morning and puts the radio and TV on to find out if two streams have started flowing down from Jerusalem, one to the East the other to the West, and other fulfilments. He is impoverished by spending too much time looking for literal fulfilments in the Middle East.

  7. #22

    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    So having had many discussions on end-times prophecies here, I realize that many Christians read many end-times prophecies, especially OT prophecies, as being fulfilled "spiritually" rather than literally. My question is, how does one know? How does one make the determination as to which will actually happen, and which either already happened or will happen, but in the spiritual realm?

    Please illuminate.
    I don't buy into the idea that prophecy will be fulfilled "spiritually" rather than literally. The truth underlying scripture is literal. Symbolic language, types of something future, a change of noun or name, metaphors, allegory, hyperbole, similes, etc. are used for emphasis and to shed light.

    Scripture is spiritually discerned. Understanding is given by revelation from the Spirit of God. The "natural" man cannot understand.

    When figurative language is used, we are not left in the dark as to the meaning. Comparing scripture with scripture, noting the context, studying what has gone before and what follows, and searching other verses will clarify it.

    An obvious example is Rev 11:8..."the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."
    "Sodom" and Egypt" are names that describe the character and condition of the city. We know full well what this means by descriptions in the OT.
    Sodom- Gen 18:20 and Jer 23:14. We know from these that the city is AS Sodom and LIKE UNTO Egypt.
    Egypt- Exodus 1-15.

    We are not left in doubt as to what city this is. The city is obviously Jerusalem because in this same verse we are told that it is where our Lord was crucified.

  8. #23

    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Zec 14:7* But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.*
    Zec 14:8* And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.*
    Zec 14:9* And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.*

    The "living waters" here are the literal waters described in detail in Ezek 47:1-9. It involves the restoration of the land and waters.

    Eze 47:1* Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.*
    Eze 47:2* Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.*
    Eze 47:3* And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.*
    Eze 47:4* Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.*
    Eze 47:5* Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.*
    Eze 47:6* And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.*
    Eze 47:7* Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.*
    Eze 47:8* Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.*
    Eze 47:9* And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.*

    "Living waters" also describes the LORD so there is a dual meaning.

    Jer_17:13* O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.

  9. #24

    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by marty fox View Post
    John also really tried to confuse us by calling her a he in the verse below too LOL

    Revelation 17:11
    11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
    Well yes, of course, that was either to throw us off the scent or point out that it might be Barack Obama instead. Or he knew that Hillary is really a reptilian thingumybob and they are all male even if they take on a female form when in human shape.

    How many conspiracy theories can we fit into a single thread about prophecy?

  10. #25

    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    So having had many discussions on end-times prophecies here, I realize that many Christians read many end-times prophecies, especially OT prophecies, as being fulfilled "spiritually" rather than literally. My question is, how does one know? How does one make the determination as to which will actually happen, and which either already happened or will happen, but in the spiritual realm?

    Please illuminate.
    Being more serious this time around.

    I think one way to figure whether an interpretation is sound or not is to look at whether things are interpreted consistently and whether everything makes sense when interpreted consistently. If verses have to be taken out of context to work, or if something inconvenient to an interpretation is fudged to force it to fit, it probably means the interpretation is either faulty or incomplete.

    Take the example of the mark of the beast, the one people will need (or did need, depending on your interpretation) to buy or sell. It might be a literal mark on the head or the hand and it might be a metaphorical mark in that the head and the hand represent our thoughts and our actions. A literal mark is a problem because it is required of everyone in the world that means that remote tribes need to be hunted down and marked. A metaphorical mark is a problem because there's no way anyone wanting to buy from us can know whether we have it or not. There is a view that is something along the lines of the mark being historic and people couldn't buy or sell without it because the Roman Emperor had had them executed and dead people can't trade, but that seems like really forcing a scenario to fit into Scripture.

    If you can figure out whether a particular interpretation is mostly consistent with a few wrinkles or riddled with problems you can probably get an idea of whether it's essentially sound but needing a bit of polishing or strung together by forcing Scripture to fit the idea.

  11. #26
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Verity says: "We are not left in doubt as to what city this is. The city is obviously Jerusalem because in this same verse we are told that it is where our Lord was crucified."

    Not so fast. Our Lord was crucified in this world, crucified by people who represented false religion. Revelation 11:8 may be talking about this world and its false religions or maybe a future one world false religion. It might be nothing to do with a literal Jerusalem.

  12. #27
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Shanks View Post
    Zechariah 14:8
    8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.

    [COLOR=#3e3e3e]That is obviously to be interpreted spiritually, not literally.

    It serves no purpose to interpret it literally. The blessing of God will flow continually to all nations from the cross of Christ. The blessing will start "on that day".
    You mean you see no purpose.
    However I always consider the reality of lives and then see what God does.
    You are a new creation (if in Christ), yet you need His water in you to change you.
    What this means is that the symbolic has a literal meaning.

    There is a purpose to the Water of Life, whether we say it is physical or spiritual.
    The question therefore is not about literalness but about purpose.
    In your view the world is miraculously made New with no process to it (you stated you are Amil).
    Yet when God made the world He took 6 days.
    When God remade the world through the flood, it took a lot longer.
    In Revelation John gives clear references to scripture from the OT, and in Ezekiel 47 this is clearly a physical water which flows. We are given interaction with a physical body, physical locations and physical changes. So the purpose is about transforming a broken, damaged world, even as we are broken and damaged people.
    So the fulfillment is a physical one, but we can see a method which is true of many levels.

  13. #28
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForHisglory View Post
    You mean you see no purpose.
    However I always consider the reality of lives and then see what God does.
    You are a new creation (if in Christ), yet you need His water in you to change you.
    What this means is that the symbolic has a literal meaning.

    There is a purpose to the Water of Life, whether we say it is physical or spiritual.
    The question therefore is not about literalness but about purpose.
    In your view the world is miraculously made New with no process to it (you stated you are Amil).
    Yet when God made the world He took 6 days.
    When God remade the world through the flood, it took a lot longer.
    In Revelation John gives clear references to scripture from the OT, and in Ezekiel 47 this is clearly a physical water which flows. We are given interaction with a physical body, physical locations and physical changes. So the purpose is about transforming a broken, damaged world, even as we are broken and damaged people.
    So the fulfillment is a physical one, but we can see a method which is true of many levels.
    This is why I can relate to you a lot of the time. You basically make good sense a lot of the time.

  14. #29
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    This is why I can relate to you a lot of the time. You basically make good sense a lot of the time.
    I hope, when I don't you tell me why not - we presently don't see eye to eye on somethings, such as Dan 7 and 8, and that I have Luke 21:20 -24 being 70 AD and Matt 24:15 - 24 being future. What I don't know is why I am not making sense on those occasions
    I do believe though that scripture is meant to make sense - if it is not then we are probably reading it wrong.

  15. #30
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    Re: How can you tell if an end-times prophecy is literal or spiritual?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForHisglory View Post
    ... I do believe though that scripture is meant to make sense - if it is not then we are probably reading it wrong.
    What makes sense only makes sense in the eye of the beholder.
    "He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion."
    C.S. Lewis, "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."

    "Oh, but sometimes the sun stays hidden for years"
    "Sometimes the sky rains night after night, When will it clear?"

    "But our Hope endures the worst of conditions"
    "It's more than our optimism, Let the earth quake"
    "Our Hope is unchanged"
    "Our Hope Endures" Natalie Grant

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