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Friday, September 13, 2013

Principles Determining Interpretation

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

A Latent Stumbling Block – Part VII

The goal of the following expositional study is to stimulate the reader to find approval from God in examining the Scripture concerning when God created the earth and universe. Be a Berean disciple: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

The first principle to apply to biblical interpretation is that it must be consistent with the attributes and character of God.

1. He is perfect and complete in His being; He is God Almighty (Jeremiah 32:27).

2. He cannot be contrary to what He is (2 Tim. 2:13). Therefore he cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and he cannot change (Mal. 3:6). Seeming contradictions are a challenge to understand more completely (James 1:5–8).

3. He is sovereign, in the things He does and in His choices (Luke 22:42).

4. He is not confined to time and/or space; He dwells in eternity (Is, 57:15). Time and space are His creation and only exist according to His will and plan (Rev. 1:5). Therefore, He is not in a hurry in what He does (Gal 4:4). There is no need to have a quick creation of 6/24 hour days."He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." (Eccl.3:11; 2 Peter 3:9).

The second principle that should be applied to biblical interpretation is the evidences of how God uses terms of time in the Bible as a whole:

1. God waited 4000+ years to fulfill His promise of Christ coming as the seed of the woman to crush Satan‘s head.

2. God waited 25+ years to fulfill His promise of giving Isaac to Abraham.

3. God waited 430 years to fulfill His promise to give the Holy Land to Israel

4. God waited 70 years to refine Judah from idolatry and return a remnant to reestablish Judah as a nation.

5. God waited 400+ years to fulfill His promise of John the Baptist’s ministry.

6. The Father waited 30 years from His conception to establish Jesus’ ministry of redemption.

7. After 2000 years, we are still waiting for Christ’s promised return.

8. The Holy Spirit inspired both Moses and the Apostle Peter to say: “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Ps. 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

The third principle of biblical interpretation is to honestly ask, “What exactly does the Scripture say?” Throughout Scripture, both the wording and context must be discerned to know if a unit of time is according the word’s literal meaning, or simply a period of time. God does use time terms as symbols. The biblical student must ask questions such as these:

1. In Daniel 9:24-27, are “weeks” literally a period of 7/24 hour days?

2. In Deuteronomy 28:32, “the day” is not a 24 hour period of time in which Israel will be taken captive as a part of Israel’s worldwide dispersion (v 64). 
3. Is “the day of evil” spoken of in Jeremiah 17:17, 18, just a 24 hour day?

And the many other “days of judgment” are periods of time, but longer than 24 hours as in the phrase “the day of the LORD” (Matt.10:15; 11:22; Rom. 2:16, Zeph. 1:14-18).

4. In 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8, is Paul speaking of a 24 hour period or spiritual character? 

5. Is the word “hour” used about Christ’s time ordained in His life just 60 minutes (Mark 14:41-15:38)?

Are you, the reader, willing to obey the admonition of the Scripture? “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).Will you use God’s spiritual weapons? “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4, 5). “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” (Titus 1:14).The spiritual assault, from the Garden of Eden to the creation of the new universe, has always been humans substituting their thoughts at the expense of God’s Word.

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