BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


What the Bible says about Duality of Prophecy
(From Forerunner Commentary)

The principle of duality is an element of prophecy we have to be very careful about when attempting to interpret. Prophetic statements sometimes apply to more than one fulfillment; dual applications do exist. But at the same time, it can be a lure, trapping us into a wrong interpretation because God never intended every prophecy to have dual applications.

A prime example of duality is Christ's first coming to atone for our sins and His second coming to rule as King of Kings. Another clear dual application is Jesus' Olivet prophecy given in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Many of the conditions He predicts to befall Judea shortly after His ascension into heaven are also forming for a repeat performance in our day. Often, we will read of "the day of the Lord" and perceive that it was fulfilled anciently. Then a few verses later, the "day of the Lord" will appear in a setting that could not possibly exist anciently but does now.

Hosea 11:1-12 is a prophecy made against ancient Israel, which was headed by the tribe of Ephraim. It too has modern relevance to Israel, but its application is complex, requiring that we believe that biblical Israel—the ten northern tribes—still exists as modern nations. How far can we take its ancient application into our day or to a time yet future? Verse 1 appears in Matthew 2:15, applied to Christ, because Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod's persecution against them. When that was safely over, God brought them back to Palestine. This prophecy was fulfilled twice before the first century AD began! Is there yet another?

Hosea wrote this prophecy about forty years before Israel went into captivity to Assyria. Since part of it has already been used in reference to Jesus, how much of it applies to modern Israel? All, just another verse or two, or most that remains? Is Assyria truly modern Germany, as some believe? Will it fulfill exactly the same role a second time? The research of some within the church of God leads them to believe Germany is actually a part of the ten lost tribes of Israel! We can see how risky it is to make assumptions and leap to conclusions. One must be careful when using duality as a base.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy and the Sixth-Century Axial Period

Genesis 3:14-15

Some aspects of this prophecy began to be fulfilled almost immediately, but a huge time gap is built right into it. Its main feature, the revelation of the coming Messiah and His work of dealing the deathblow to Satan's efforts, did not come to pass until four thousand years later. Thus, the prophecy had dual application: One part for the serpent and Adam and Eve happened almost immediately, and its exceedingly more important part was fulfilled later.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Ten): Babylon the Great Is a Nation

Deuteronomy 18:18

God repeats some of what He had said in verse 15, but the difference is instructive! Verse 15 says, ". . . a Prophet like me," while verse 18 says, ". . . a Prophet like you"! In verse 15, God says the Prophet will be like Himself, but in verse 18, He says He will be like "you."

To whom does the pronoun "you" refer: to the Israelites generally, or to Moses specifically? Is this prophet to be merely human, like the Israelites, or would he be human with special attributes, more like Moses? This prophet, though human, will be somewhat like God, who promises to put His words in this Prophet's mind and mouth. The prophet will then repeat every word God commands to his brethren.

Can this scripture apply to Moses himself? Yes, but it applies to Moses only insofar as any human being—even one filled with and guided by God's Holy Spirit—can be like God. (In this way this could also apply to others like Samuel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, and the apostle Paul.) A primary function of this Prophet is to act as a mediator between God and His people. Comparing these verses to Deuteronomy 5:5, we can see that Moses was the first human mediator between God and His people and thus fulfilled this prophecy, at least in type: "I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD."

Can this prophecy refer to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through prophetic duality? Yes, it most definitely can! In fact, some Bible scholars maintain that Jesus, during His human sojourn, is the primary fulfillment of these verses. On the first day of the New Testament church of God, Peter quotes part of Deuteronomy 18, and applies it to Jesus (Acts 3:19-20, 22-23).

Just weeks before, on the last night of His human life, Jesus had told His disciples that He is the Mediator, the One to whom the Father gave a message to pass on to those who would listen and obey (John 14:10, 24).

Staff
The Prophet

Jeremiah 25:15-30

This is a tremendously broad commission to lay on one man's shoulders! His ministry embraced the totality of the biblical world, and some verses can be understood to encompass the entire world. Many of these nations had existed from the time God scattered the people by confusing the languages at Babel (Genesis 11). Did Jeremiah actually, in person, deliver this warning to these nations? We do not know because records are so rare. Jeremiah's writings include specific prophecies against Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Elam, Kedar, Hazor, and Babylon. Did he deliver these prophecies in person, or does the duality principle apply so that the literal fulfillment will occur in a time like ours, when rapid transportation and communication systems exist?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy and the Sixth-Century Axial Period

Romans 2:28-29

Most commentaries will interpret these verses correctly, as it is so obvious what Paul means. Much of the Bible is written in what can be styled as "different levels." In terms of ceremonies, there is a physical and a spiritual level. The ceremonies have not been done away, but they have been raised—elevated—from their physical application to a spiritual application.

Many names and words carry a literal meaning as well as a symbolic meaning, implying that God intends a spiritual application too. Jesus used many parables in this dual way quite effectively. In addition, many prophecies have both a literal, former fulfillment and a final, latter fulfillment. It is easy to see that there is a physical level and a spiritual level to this subject of "the Israel of God" (see Galatians 6:16).

God's promises to Abraham have both a "race" (national) and a "grace" (spiritual) aspect to their fulfillments. Thus, Abraham's physical descendants—Israel—are greatly blessed with material wealth, but all of mankind is spiritually blessed through Abraham's one great Descendant, Jesus Christ, and so the grace aspect is gradually being fulfilled as each judgment unfolds.

Here in Romans 2:28-29, Paul is using "Jew" in its spiritual sense. In this sense, "Jew" includes any converted person—even a Gentile. It indicates the church as the body of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18), when we recognize what is written in Hebrews 7:14: "It is evident that our Lord was of the tribe of Judah." He—Jesus Christ—was a Jew by birth. Therefore, since He was a Jew, and we are part of "the body of Christ" in the Bible's imagery—therefore we are spiritual Jews. And because we are spiritual Jews, we are spiritual Israelites.

It does not matter what race or ethicity we are. If we are converted, we are a Jew in the eyes of God because we are part of Christ's body. That is the spiritual application. If we are a Jew, we are an Israelite too, and because the promises were given to Israel, the descendants of Abraham, the promises then apply to us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sabbathkeeping (Part 3)


 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   
Leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2020 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.
Share this on FacebookEmailPrinter version
Close
E-mail This Page