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The New Testament interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the kingdom and work of the Messiah is that they apply individually as well as collectively to the church. It is important that the individual application of prophecy be considered. All Bible prophecies center in Jesus, and they, when rightly understood, will have a bearing upon individuals. God deals with individuals: "whosoever" (John 3:16; Rev. 22:17). The Ten Commandments are written in the singular number. The promises are "to him that overcometh" (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). Jesus says: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matt. 11:15). Eight times in the Revelation Jesus also appeals to the individual: "He that hath an ear, let him hear" (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9). The acceptance of Christ is a personal matter. The writing of the Law of God in the heart is an individual work. (2 Cor. 3:3; Ps. 40:8; Ezek. 11:19,20; 36:26; Heb. 8:8-13.)

The deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage not only typifies the deliverance of the church, but of the individual from the bondage of sin. The safe passage of the nation of Israel through the waters of the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:1, 2, 11); the Israelites partaking of the manna and drinking the water from the rock (1 Cor. 10:3, 4, 11); the march of national Israel across the wilderness to the promised land (1 Pet. 2:11); the sanctuary in the midst of the camp of Israel (John 1:14, R.V.) ; the daily services of the sanctuary (Heb. 13:10-15; Rom. 12:1, etc.) ; the cleansing of the sanctuary (1 John 1:9, etc.) ; the writing of the Law of God upon two tables of stone (1 Cor. 3:3); the temple (John 2:21; 1 Cor. 3:19); the kings and the priests of Israel (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6), etc., are, in the New Testament, applied in connection with the individual believer, as well as to the church as a whole. In this way the Lord has shown us that our interpretation of the contents of Scripture, whether of the history of past events in the experiences of God's people, or concerning prophecies of the future, should have a present message for the individual. In this way the Book is vibrant with a living message of power and authority; in this way we also learn to test interpretations of prophecy.

Blessings which are stated in the Word of God to be the future inheritance of the saints are applicable to the believer to-day. Thus Paul quotes from Isa. 64:4, and applies the promises of future things as belonging to the present: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. BUT GOD HATH REVEALED THEM UNTO US BY HIS SPIRIT." (1 Cor. 2:9, 10.) "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5) is God's promise concerning the eternal kingdom. "Behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17), declared Paul of those "in Christ." Elsewhere, the writer has shown by a number of examples that future blessings are applied as present spiritual realities to those who are "in Christ." As the past events of Israel are applied in the New Testament in relation to present experiences of individuals and of the church (1 Cor. 10:6, 11 margins), and that which is future is also thus applied, the Bible is therefore a book alive with messages for the present. The past and the future become present realities. To-day's experiences will harmonize with the experiences recorded in the history of God's ancient people and also harmonize with what is revealed regarding the future kingdom of glory. The present life of the Christian is not something entirely different from the experiences of Israel; it is not something entirely foreign to future experiences and events in God's kingdom of glory.

With these guiding principles before us in our study of the Bible it becomes a living book which is vibrant with meaning concerning Christ and each individual believer. In the inspired record of creation we may see also the work of the Holy Spirit upon our unshaped characters; calling order out of chaos; light instead of darkness, etc. In the record of the flood we may also see our rescue by the means of the ark God has provided. The deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt foreshadows our deliverance from sin. Pharaoh's endeavor to keep God's people in bondage illustrates how Satan endeavors to hold us in his grasp. As we seek to serve God, Satan seeks to make the way harder, just as Pharaoh made the lot of Israel more difficult. When we flee from Egypt, Satan pursues us to slay us or to again take us captive. Our faith is tested at the Red Sea. God opens up a way of escape for us from our foes. We come to the bitter waters which are made sweet only by the Branch (Christ) (Zech. 6:12, etc.). We, too, are fed by the heavenly manna, which must be eaten each day; drink of the water of life gushing from the Smitten Rock (1 Cor. 10:14); bitten by serpents but cured by looking to Christ (John 3:14, etc.) ; attacked by enemies as we journey to the promised land; overcome our foes as our great Leader pleads for us on high; have a foretaste of the fruits of coming inheritance; cross over Jordan's cold billows and enter in triumph into Canaan.

In the sanctuary and its services we see clear and definite illustrations of the various features connected with the plan of redemption. An innocent, unblemished lamb slain because of an individual's sin presents an impressive picture of Christ's substitutionary death. The word picture of the Israelites sheltering behind the blood-sprinkled door lintels while the death angel passes by, graphically portrays the effectiveness of the blood of Jesus to save us from God's wrath against sin. By the pictures presented in the sacred narratives of the physical exploits of Samson, we see clearly illustrations of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, overcoming the difficulties and dangers from our spiritual foes. (See Dan. 11:32; Ephes. 6:10.) David's victorious conflict with Goliath provides us with a clear picture of what it means to live the victorious life in the power of Christ. Satan, our Goliath, is far too strong for us to slay, but with Paul we can say: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). We obtain "the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57).

The historical incidents recorded in the Old Testament provide us with word pictures by which God teaches us spiritual truths. In them we are to see things world-wide in scope: corresponding likenesses in the spiritual realm, which are "spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14).

The New Testament reveals the principle of "spiritually" discerning "spiritual things" in the historical narratives of the Old Testament. In this way "God hath revealed them unto us" -the things which He "hath prepared for them that love Him." The natural eye does not discern these "spiritual things," and often interprets literally that which should be "spiritually discerned." (See 1 Cor. 2:6-16.) A well-known author says:-

"Undoubtedly our natural bias is in favour of the so-called 'literal' interpretation of the prophecies in question; for to the natural man the things that are seen are the real things and to that view we are disposed to cling tenaciously, notwithstanding the plain teaching of the New Testament, that the seen things are fleeting shadows of things unseen, the latter being the spiritual and eternal realities with which the promises of future blessing have mainly to do. . . . Evidently, then, our difficulty in understanding prophecies of the class referred to above is due to our lack of faith and our spiritual dullness." ("The Hope of Israel," pp.15, 17, by P. Mauro.)

The Jews, still clinging tenaciously to the belief that the prophecies concerning Israel must be literally fulfilled through the Jewish nation, were so blinded that they did not recognize the fulfillment of those prophecies in the experiences of the Messiah and spiritual Israel. They failed to remember that those prophecies were for those who experienced in their lives the things portrayed in the prophetic word. Similarly, today, modern theologians are so blinded by the belief of a literal Palestinian fulfillment of the ancient prophecies given to Israel, that they do not recognize the spiritual fulfillment now taking place.

The river of living spiritual water is now emerging from this church and individual temple to bless a needy world. (Ezek. 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:8; John 7:37-39; 4:10,14; Rev. 22:17.) The spiritual latter rain is now falling and is experienced by thousands of Christians in all parts of the world. Their experience harmonizes with the interpretation. (Joel 2:23-29; Zech. 10:1.) The spiritual gathering of God's people is now taking place. (Rev. 18:4; Isa. 11:11, 12.) From the confusion of Babylon they come to Jerusalem, "the foundations of peace." The walls of spiritual Jerusalem are now being built. (Isa. 60:1-11.) Each believer is conscious of the protecting Presence of God. (Zech. 2:5.) In the Person of His Holy Spirit, Jesus is now reigning in spiritual Jerusalem. (Micah 4:7; Joel 3:17, 21; Isa. 24:23; Ezek. 48:35, etc.) 46 47

Those "in Christ" know this by joyful experience. Satan is now endeavoring to assemble his hosts against spiritual Israel. (Ezek. 38, 39; Joel 3; Zech. 14.) The sincere believer knows from his daily experience that he fights the good fight of faith against wicked spirits in high places. He fights best who, morning by morning, visualizes the battlefield and nerves himself for conflict with the combined forces under Gog's-Satan's - banner, and who marches into the field of battle "with the cross of Jesus going on before." The utter defeat of the enemies of Gods people, so graphically depicted in Ezek. 38, 39, is the blessed assurance to His people that they are the recipients of His care and protection, and that they will triumph over their enemies.

"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ" (2 Cor. 2:14). Israel's victory depicted in Ezek. 38, 39; Joel 3; Zech. 14, has a daily significance to the Christian when (as it should be) it is applied in harmony with his experience; but these prophecies, when applied literally in relation to nations yet to war in Palestine can have no significance to the Christian's present experiences. When these prophecies are applied to the future of the nations of the world it may please the mind, but it can have no message to the heart of the Christian; it cannot be of spiritual help to the Christian in his fight against the forces of evil arrayed against him. But it should be remembered that God did not inspire men to write prophecies - especially long prophecies such as Ezek. 38, 39 - merely to pass on matters of purely mental interest; He caused to be written that which would help Christians in their conflict with the forces of evil. Since the rejection of the Jewish nation as God's chosen nation, the prophecies concerning Israel meet their fulfillment in relation to the church of God-the spiritual Israel. (Gal. 6:16, etc.) Prophecies depicting a gathering of evil forces against "Israel" now describe the spiritual warfare. "They shall surely gather together, but not by Me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. . . . No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper." (Isa. 54:15, 17.) In his daily experience the earnest Christian says: "Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear." (Ps. 27:3.)

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