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Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

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Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Sonshine on Thu May 28, 2009 10:45 pm

Methodology of Biblical Interpretation
To start with, we must understand the proper way to interpret the scriptures. Misinterpretation can be very dangerous. I believe that the way God has intended us to interpret the Bible is using the literal interpretation method. Very simply put, the Bible is to be taken literal when the text makes sense literally. Lemme give you a catchy phrase to remember: when the plain sense makes sense, you have the right sense. God did not give us his word to be confused. We are the ones who make it that way. Let me give you 3 ways that we interpret scripture:

The Meaning of the Original Language Sometimes this is critical. The New Testament was written in Greek, and therefore to understand a passage, we must understand what the original intent was. But I will let you know right now, I am not going to twist the Greek to my advantage. There are only a few instances where we will need to go to the original language for fuller meaning.

Context of the Passage We dare not take a scripture out of context to use it to our advantage. You will see that in several cases, that's exactly what Pre-tribbers do.

Comparison with other Passages in the Bible Sometimes the original language and the context of the passage are not enough. We must go to other passages in the Bible that speak on the same subject, and then interpret them in the light of the whole Bible.
These are very simple rules of interpretation that, if applied correctly, will prevent us from teaching something that the Bible does not say. There are things in the Bible which should not be taken literally (EX: Beast with 10 heads), and with those instances we should use other methods of interpretation. But in the passages we are going to look at, I believe these passages require the literal, common sense method of interpretation. REMEMBER: When the plain sense makes sense, you have the right sense.




B. Dispensationalism
This term is not found in the Bible. Nevertheless, it describes a systematic theology that is biblically sound. I am a dispensationalist and so are pre-tribbers. But one of the reasons pre-tribulation rapturism is strongly supported today by men such as Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, John MacAuthur, C.I. Scofield, and Dwight Pentecost is because of their strong belief in dispensationalism.
Dispensationalism is simply this: God has a distinct program for both the Church and Israel. God turned his attention away from the Jews after the death of Christ, and turned his attention to the Church. At some specific point in the future, God will again turn to Israel and fulfill all the promises he made to her.

Now, I whole-heartedly agree with this. I believe that God literally made promises to Israel that he will literally fulfill. We read over and over in the Old Testament hundreds of promises God made to Abraham, David, and all the prophets regarding the Kingdom.

The opposite view of dispensationalism is called dominion or covenant theology. This view basically states that since Israel rejected her messiah, all the promises that were intended for Israel are now fulfilled in the Church. The Church is now spiritual Israel.

Now, my purpose is not to defend dispensationalism (although that would be quite easy to do). But understanding it will help us to understand why the pre-trib rapture is so adamantly held on to--despite no concrete biblical evidence.

For example, one of the defenses for pre-trib rapturism goes something like this:

"The Church did not exist in the Old Testament because God was dealing with Israel. So since the church was not around in the O.T., the church cannot be in the tribulation period (which is called the time of Jacob's trouble) because it is the time when God will turn his attention back to the nation of Israel."
This is a belief without any biblical support. It sounds good from a common sense standpoint, but again there are absolutely no scriptures that say that. It is a perfect example of basing a belief on what I will call inference (Websters defines inference as guessing).
For now, that's all we will say about dispensationalism. We will discuss it later in our study.




C. Daniel's 70th week
This is an area that is critical to everything else in relation to end-time events. It is what I will call the backbone of prophecy. This scripture is important in many ways not only because it tells us what's going to happen in the future, but it re-enforces the importance of the literal method of interpretation. Let me show you how.

Daniel 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."
Who are thy people? Israel
What is the Holy City? Jerusalem
So as we read this, there are six things in view:

Finish the transgression
Make an end for sins
Make reconciliation for iniquity
Bring in everlasting righteousness
Seal up the vision and prophecy
And to anoint the most Holy

In Judaism, seven is a very important number. And in this instance, the 70 weeks referred to is 70 weeks of years. Now if you use the multiple of 7, how many years do you have? (490) So what God is saying here is that there are 490 years of history for God to accomplish 6 things for Israel.

So when does this 70 week period begin? Let's read verse 25.


Daniel 9:25: "Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
7 weeks = 49 years
3 score & 2 weeks = 62 weeks
So how many weeks is that? 69 weeks!
Now when does it begin? It begins from the going forth of the commandment to rebuild the temple (Nehemiah 2:5-Cool. We know from history that that was in 445 B.C. From that point, you would count 69 weeks or 483 years. By the way, Sir Robert Anderson took the date, March 14, 445 B.C., took into account the Jewish calender, and added the exact amount of days in the prophecy, and came to the date April 6, 32 AD. And according to Sir Robert Anderson, who has done most of the historical work on this, that is the very day Jesus rode in Jerusalem and announced himself as King. So what's the significance of this?


Well, number one, God is right on the dime. The Bible accurately predicted when the messiah would come, to the very day.
And number two, this verse proves the literal method of interpretation. Some have tried to spiritualize this passage, but I believe it is meant to be taken very literally.
So, we still have one week left, don't we? Let's read verse 26-27:


Daniel 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Now, when did the people of the prince destroy the city and the temple (verse 26)? (70 AD)
Now, when was messiah cut off? (32 AD, approx.)
OK, now if the 69th week ended approx. 32 AD, when should the 70th week have occurred (if it was sequential without any gap)? (37 AD)
Now, again, when was the temple destroyed?

According to this text in Daniel, the destruction of the city and the temple must occur before the 70th week. So, what does that mean? It means that the 70th week cannot be sequential but separate from the 1st 69 weeks.

So, the 70th week is a period of 7 years sometime in the future when God will deal with the nation of Israel and accomplish those six things mentioned in verse 24. Most conservative, pre-millennial believers agree.

And thus we have what the Bible calls Daniel's 70th week. It is also what Bible scholars have called the tribulation period. We have not yet entered this period. It is still future.

I am in complete agreement with pre-tribbers on certain aspects of this 7 year period. As I said earlier, I agree that it is a literal 7 year period based on Daniel 9. I also believe it is still future.

But there is one small disagreement that I have with the Pre-Tribbers on this 7 year period. They often refer to this period as the Tribulation period. The Bible never calls it that. (Scofield Bible, page 1359) Whenever the Bible uses the term in a clear prophetic way, tribulation always refers to the middle of the 7 year period, called the Great Tribulation (we'll look closer at this in a bit).

So you may ask what's the difference if you call it the 70th week of Daniel or the Tribulation? Isn't this just semantics?

If this period of time is inappropriately given the title the Tribulation Period, then it is just one step away from calling the entire period the wrath of God, which is exactly what pre-tribbers have done. And the next progression is to say, well, because the church is not destined for wrath, then the rapture must occur before the 7 year period. Let's be very careful not to use terms that are unbiblical. The Bible calls it the 70th week of Daniel, and that's how I will use it. We will discuss more of this later.

Now, let's discuss what will occur in this last 7 year period according to the book of Daniel.

Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
A couple of very important things are said to occur according to this verse.

Who is the pronoun he referring to? (anti-christ--scholars universally agree). OK, so what will the anti-christ do? (confirm a covenant for one week--some sort of 7 year treaty)
What will he do in the middle of the week? (cause the sacrifice to cease)
Apparently, the anti-christ will confirm some sort of pact with Israel and allow them to perform sacrifices in the temple. But in the middle of that pact, he will cause the sacrifice to cease, and commit blasphemy by demanding worship. This is what Jesus calls the abomination of desolation (Matt 24:15). And this event, without a doubt occurs in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.

We'll talk alot more about Daniel's 70th week event throughout our study.


D. Matthew 24:3: Sign, Coming, End of Age
Matthew 24:3 "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
I want to highlight 4 words here in this verse: Sign, Coming, End, Age.

In my opinion, Matt 24 is the single most important passage concerning end-time events. It is called the Olivet discourse. Anyone know why it's called that? (Mount of Olives--lots of Olive trees)

The disciples are asking Jesus two questions: 1) When shall these things be, and 2) What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?

Tomorrow we'll look at the first word, sign.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Marie on Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:40 pm

I am going to try and spend some time on this, Sonshine.. I hope I don't forget. Have to leave now though....
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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Sonshine on Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:28 pm

I'm going to hold off on posting more to let folks get caught up with where we are. Smile I have a tendency to go too fast on some things.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by 7dawn on Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:48 am

Yeah, what is up with the fast thing???? It will take me two days to actually read that long post!!!! Slowwww for us peeps that aren't the brightest bulbs in the bunch. Reading long posts on the internet takes me 3 or 4 passes over the post to get it all.....Slooowwww....Think like a turtle or sloth. Razz

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by squeezinby on Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:59 am

I'm not trying to cause any trouble or anything,but I don't see where in the bible it talks about converting weeks into years. And if we are taking this passage as literal,then wouldn't 70 weeks mean 70 weeks? Please help me understand.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:35 am

The following are some examples of a day representing a year:

1) "A day for each year" in the account of the ten spies coming back with a bad report to Moses about the promised land after spying it out for 40 days:

"And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years..." (Numbers 14:33,34a)

2) Ezekiel is told to lie on his side 390 plus 40 days --- "a day for each year:"

"Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year" (Ezekiel 4:4-6).

3) The Law of Moses commands that the 7th day be a day of rest, and that likewise the 7th year be a year of rest, (Ex. 20:8-11; 23:10-11). This lays a pattern for the very important prophecy of Daniel's seventy weeks.

4) Daniel's vision of the seventy weeks:

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city ... from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks ... And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease..." (Daniel 9:24-27)

The "week" referred to here represents (primarily) a symbolic seven-year period. Thus once again, one day is made to signify one year. Here is why Daniel's "week" denotes seven years:

a) This vision (of ch. 9) came to Daniel upon his understanding that the 70 years of Israelite exile (as prophesied by Jeremiah) had just elapsed:

"In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem" (Dan. 9:2).

It is reasonable to deduce that since the occasion for Daniel's vision was his understanding of the 70 years of Jeremiah, and that since the vision to Daniel concerned a like number of 70 weeks, therefore 70 weeks can equal 70 (x 7) years. Nevertheless, Daniel's "week" as a literal 7-day-period is also a valid interpretation. Both days and years weave together.

b) Seventy literal weeks would not be enough time to accomplish all the things mentioned as having to transpire within the scope of Daniel's "seventy-weeks" vision. For this reason, most scholars I have read view the seventy weeks of Daniel as symbolic years.

c) The Hebrew term for "weeks" is actually the plural of the word for "seven," without specifying whether it is days, months, or years; (see Walvoord "Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation", p. 219).

d) Daniel's "seven-weeks" (49 days) can be understood symbolically as 49 years because of it's similarity with the seven weeks (49 days) till Pentecost; and the seven weeks of Pentecost follows the patters of the seven-times-seven years (49 years) of the Jubilee, (Deut. 16:9, Lev. 25:Cool.

e) The "dividing" of the last "week" of the 70 "weeks" is further explained in Daniel 12:9, where the 1,290 days is mentioned. One-half ("dividing") of "one week" (i.e., of 7 years) amounts to this 1,290 days; (i.e., 3.5 x 360 = 1260, + leap month = 1,290 days). Hence, one "week" must symbolize years in order for half-a-week to total 1,290 days (instead of a literal 3½ days).

A fuller treatment of the 1,290 shall be explained elsewhere, but for now please note the following:

i) The 390 + 40 = 430 days/years of Ezekiel (mentioned earlier) are exactly one-third of 1,290, (cf., Ezk. 4:4-8, 5:2. I.e., 430 d/y x 3 = 1,290 d/y).

ii) The time from when Ezekiel was told to lay on his side 430 d/y's symbolizing the siege of Jerusalem (593 BC), until the end of the literal siege of Jerusalem (586 BC), are 7 full years, or 3½ + 3½ years.

iii) The total siege-length of Ezekiel's symbolic siege of 390 (+ 40) days, plus the 945 days of the literal siege, amounts to 1335 days---the same figure found coupled with the 1,290 days in Dan. 12:9.

iv) The fact that there are 1,290 years from the entry into Egypt (1876 BC, which lasted 430 years until the exodus, 1446 BC), until the exile back again into Egypt (and Babylon) at the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC), is proof positive that 1,290 days are intended to be years as well.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by squeezinby on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:02 am

[quote="Sonshine"]Methodology of Biblical Interpretation
To start with, we must understand the proper way to interpret the scriptures. Misinterpretation can be very dangerous. I believe that the way God has intended us to interpret the Bible is using the literal interpretation method. Very simply put, the Bible is to be taken literal when the text makes sense literally. Lemme give you a catchy phrase to remember: when the plain sense makes sense, you have the right sense. God did not give us his word to be confused. We are the ones who make it that way. Let me give you 3 ways that we interpret scripture:

The Meaning of the Original Language Sometimes this is critical. The New Testament was written in Greek, and therefore to understand a passage, we must understand what the original intent was. But I will let you know right now, I am not going to twist the Greek to my advantage. There are only a few instances where we will need to go to the original language for fuller meaning.

Context of the Passage We dare not take a scripture out of context to use it to our advantage. You will see that in several cases, that's exactly what Pre-tribbers do.

Comparison with other Passages in the Bible Sometimes the original language and the context of the passage are not enough. We must go to other passages in the Bible that speak on the same subject, and then interpret them in the light of the whole Bible.
These are very simple rules of interpretation that, if applied correctly, will prevent us from teaching something that the Bible does not say. There are things in the Bible which should not be taken literally (EX: Beast with 10 heads), and with those instances we should use other methods of interpretation. But in the passages we are going to look at, I believe these passages require the literal, common sense method of REMEMBER: When the plain sense makes sense, you have the right sense.



Dispensationalism is simply this: God has a distinct program for both the Church and Israel. God turned his attention away from the Jews after the death of Christ, and turned his attention to the Church. At some specific point in the future, God will again turn to Israel and fulfill all the promises he made to her.


Well, number one, God is right on the dime. The Bible accurately predicted when the messiah would come, to the very day.

Please help me understand, In the other scriptures you used as examples it says right in the scripture to exchange the years and the days,but I don't see that being said in Daniel, it seems to be assumed by everyone but me. I have never dug this deap into the math in Daniel. I have just read it as it is writen and understud most of it as prophacy of the things to come and have not dwelled on the exact dates of the math. I really don't see where knowing the exact date something will happen my any differance to someone who is already saved and doing what God has asked them to do. Jesus told his disciples that know one will know the exact date and time. Please understand that I'm not trying to be mean or hurt you by saying,or asking these things. I just want to understand where you are coming from and where you may be leading me. Thanks very much for this discussion and Hope it will comtinue.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Sonshine on Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:05 am

It's true that no one will know the day or the hour that Jesus will be returning, but Jesus did tell us that signs would be given that he would be returning soon. I'm not trying to pinpoint the exact time, just trying to show it's coming soon by the signs we are seeing today. I have not done any studies on Daniel that disagree with the representation of the 70 weeks. The literal interpretation would not fit with this.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by squeezinby on Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:39 am

Ok,now I understand a little better. So what you are saying is, that this is an exception to the rule of literal interpretation. Are there any other scriptures in the bible that fall under the exception to the rule of liter interpretions?
I agree with everything else that you are saying"it's coming soon by the signs we are seeing today." The unforutate thing is that not everyone is paying enough attention to the signs and getting themselves and their households ready for what is to come. They are still allowing themselves to be caught up in the everyday aquatition of worldly stuff and what other people are doing or not doing and not worrying enough about their own house. Ie..Getting their hearts in line with God and listening to what he REALLY wants from us. Getting cought up in petty squables about things God says don't matter to him. Thanks for sharing with me.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Sonshine on Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:20 am

Well, it's not really an exception to the rule. I believe that the way God has intended us to interpret the Bible is using the literal interpretation method. Very simply put, the Bible is to be taken literal when the text makes sense literally.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by squeezinby on Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:23 am

So, in this case you can't use literal interpretation?

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Sonshine on Sat Jun 06, 2009 4:20 am

Not really. Take this verse for example:
Daniel 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."

Now we know that in 70 weeks they couldn't make an end of sins, only Jesus could do that and he had not been born yet.

Throughout this prophecy, if you were to take it as a literal 70 weeks then everything would have been over and we would never have been born.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by squeezinby on Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:30 am

OK, then,you are infering. I'm not saying that is wrong or anything,but if God wanted us to spend so much time on calculating the time that would pass befor all these things come to pass,then wouldn't he have saidso. Like in the other scriptures you quoted.
You are write about,if the scripture taken literally there would n't be enough time for Jesus to come on the scene and die for our sins and we would have not been born.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by Sonshine on Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:14 am

I'm not really trying to calculate the time, but am trying to make a point about Jesus telling us there are signs we should be watching for.

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Re: Methodology of Biblical Interpretation

Post by squeezinby on Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:27 pm

Ok, I already get that. I have always known that. I thought that you we'r going for something more than that. Thanks, I will move on to the next study.

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