Hermeneutics - Lesson 18

Importance of Prophecy

Dr. Todd Miles highlights the multifaceted nature of biblical prophecy, with an emphasis on its role in calling people back to God, rather than simply predicting future events. He stresses the importance of understanding the covenants and God's promises in interpreting prophetic messages.

Todd Miles
Lesson 18
Watching Now
Importance of Prophecy

I. Aspects of the future

II. Nature of the prophetic role

III. Nature of the prophetic message

  • This lesson explores John the Baptist's role as the Messiah's forerunner, his imprisonment for condemning Herod's affair, and Jesus' response in Matthew 11, rooted in Old Testament prophecies. Jesus' omission of judgment references confuses John about the Messiah's timing. Believers in the New Covenant, with deeper insight into Jesus, are seen as greater. The lesson promotes patience during suffering and the duty to identify Jesus as the Messiah.
  • This lesson on hermeneutics teaches you to approach the Bible with humility, seek divine guidance, analyze context, consider character roles, examine structure, use cross-references, apply sanctified imagination, and emphasize Jesus in interpretation, all while relying on the Holy Spirit.
  • This lesson introduces general and special revelation, emphasizing their roles in inviting people to know God and providing specific truths for salvation. It explores the process of inspiration, defining it as a concurrent work of a holy God and a human author, ensuring every word of Scripture is both human and divine, crucial for biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson reveals the Bible's divine authority, unity, and human relevance, stressing accurate interpretation for life transformation.
  • Learn about hermeneutics, understanding author intent, and different views on interpretation. Dr. Todd Miles discusses realism vs. non-realism, authorial authority, and introduces speech act theory to show how the Bible engages with readers, transforming beliefs and behavior.
  • This lesson delves into theological text interpretation, emphasizing that meaning is human-made, not inherent. Authors, not readers, shape text meaning. Accurate Bible interpretation hinges on understanding God's authorship, emphasizing His lordship, knowledge, and obedience. Presuppositions about God and human nature are vital for accurate Bible interpretation.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insights into the challenges of translating the Bible, understanding the continuum of translation philosophies, and the importance of selecting a translation that balances accuracy and readability in contemporary language. Dr. Todd Miles underscores the significance of using the best available manuscripts, avoiding theological bias, and staying updated with the latest knowledge of language and culture to ensure a quality translation.
  • From this lesson, you will gain valuable knowledge and insight into hermeneutics and biblical interpretation. You will understand that hermeneutics is not about uncovering hidden secrets but about utilizing your natural ability to interpret communication. Reading and becoming familiar with the Bible is crucial for effective interpretation, and it is essential to address biblical illiteracy.
  • Learn the significance of interpreting Bible passages in the context of redemptive history. Discover the Bible's continuous narrative, emphasizing revelation's progression and God's plan through the David and Goliath story. See how context ensures accurate interpretation, connecting the Bible's parts into a cohesive story of God's redemption.
  • Understanding the Bible through biblical theology is crucial, as it reveals the overarching narrative of God's redemptive plan, centered on His glory and the role of Jesus Christ, enabling a more profound comprehension of individual Bible passages and their relevance to our lives.
  • Dr. Todd Miles underscores the vital role of historical and cultural context in interpreting the Bible. Understanding the era when a passage was penned is crucial for grasping its genuine significance. Using examples like the virgins' parable and Revelation 3:14-22, it demonstrates how historical context aids in discerning interpretations and adds depth to the message. The text emphasizes that, while the Bible offers some historical context, external sources can also enhance comprehension. In conclusion, historical and cultural context is essential for accurate biblical interpretation.
  • In this lesson on Hermeneutics by Dr. Todd Miles, the focus is on understanding the cultural context when interpreting biblical texts. Dr. Miles emphasizes that culture plays a significant role in both the biblical author's writing and the reader's interpretation. He discusses the concept of cultural conditioning, highlighting that everyone, including the biblical authors, the original audience, and modern readers, is influenced by their respective cultures.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles highlights the significance of studying words in their original language and using etymology to decipher their original meanings.
  • Learn how recognizing and applying literary genres in the Bible is crucial for accurate interpretation, avoiding misinterpretations, and approaching Scripture with a nuanced understanding.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of interpreting biblical narratives. It begins by discussing the distinction between historical narratives and parables, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the markers of historical narrative.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles review biblical narrative interpretation. He emphasizes the importance of context, adding that each narrative should be examined within the broader biblical and book context. He illustrates this with Mark Chapter 5, where Jesus interacts with demons, breaking from the norm to underscore his authority.
  • From this lesson on Hermeneutics and Law, you will gain insight into the intricate relationship between the Old Testament law and New Covenant believers. Dr. Todd Miles emphasizes the challenge of applying ancient laws to contemporary life and introduces the key factors for understanding them: comprehending the nature of covenants and situating oneself in the timeline of redemptive history. This process is likened to using a mall map to find a destination.
  • Dr. Todd Miles discusses prophecy's significance beyond predicting the future. It validates God's deity, reveals future realities, and guides our present actions. Most prophecy is about forth-telling and emphasizes covenant understanding.
  • In this Hermeneutics lesson, you'll gain insights into the challenges of interpreting prophecy, including wrong expectations, historical context, conditional fulfillment, and various forms of prophetic proclamations, while also being reminded not to let contemporary agendas override the biblical text.
  • In taking this lesson, you gain insight into the concept of typology in biblical interpretation. Typology involves finding resemblances between Old Testament figures, events, and institutions and their fulfillment in the New Testament, particularly in relation to Jesus Christ.
  • Learn about poetry in the Bible by exploring Hebrew poetic parallelism and its emotional power in Psalms. Discover how poetry enhances biblical narratives and offers unique insights.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses various types of psalms found in the Psalter and delves into their unique characteristics and theological significance. He begins by providing a list of different kinds of psalms, emphasizing that this list is not exhaustive but illustrative, highlighting the diversity of poetry within the Psalms.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insight into essential figures of speech in the Bible and learn to interpret them effectively, enhancing your hermeneutical skills and deepening your understanding of the Scriptures.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses the interpretation of parables. Parables are a specific literary genre with their own rules of interpretation. Parables are designed to teach a single point, although there might be exceptions. Historical context remains essential in understanding parables, as they are shaped by the situations of the day. 
  • This lesson explores Proverbs and wisdom literature, focusing on its distinct genre, interpretation rules. Dr. Miles highlights its purpose, living wisely with God. It emphasizes the fear of the Lord, touches Ecclesiastes' question of meaning, and Job's theodicy.
  • In this lesson on interpreting epistles, Dr. Todd Miles underscores the importance of understanding their structure, argumentative methods, and central theological focus on Jesus Christ and the gospel, even when addressing practical issues within the early Christian communities.
  • Dr. Todd Miles delves into apocalyptic literature, emphasizing its distinct features like revelatory communication and angelic guidance. It unveils profound truths through visions, promoting understanding and righteous conduct.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles explores the concept of perspicuity, which refers to the clarity of the Bible. He begins by explaining that perspicuity is a theological term used to describe how clear the Bible's teachings are. It means that the Bible is written in a way that its teachings can be understood by anyone who reads it, seeks God's help, and is willing to follow it.
  • This lesson provides practical guidelines for applying biblical principles. Dr. Miles emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit, examining the original context, and identifying parallel situations in the present. He encourages applications to be personal, specific, measurable, and time-bound, ensuring they lead to tangible actions in your life.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the Holy Spirit's vital role in biblical interpretation, going beyond changing hearts to enabling comprehension and acceptance of the text. Dr. Todd Miles stresses the Spirit's role in illuminating the Bible, making it relevant to believers, challenging the idea that unbelievers interpret it as effectively, and emphasizing the importance of understanding the text's intent. The ultimate aim is not mastery but being mastered by the text, with the Holy Spirit as a key player.
Hermeneutics is the science and art of the interpretation of the Bible. It's a science because it is an orderly process based on rules you can apply. It is an art because of the nuances in communication and translation.



Dr. Todd Miles


Importance of Prophecy

Lesson Transcript


Well, the next biblical literary genre that I want to look at is prophecy. So far we have looked at narrative and we have looked at the law, and it was important to look at the law                before we look at prophecy. And I hope to make that clear in terms of why that is the case. About one fifth of the Bible is prophetic material. Of course, you might be thinking, isn't all the Bible prophetic? Yes, it is. All the Bible is prophetic in one sense. But but one fifth of it is is the literary genre of prophecy. And when I'm so when I'm talking about prophecy here, I'm really thinking about the major prophets of the Old Testament and the minor prophets of the Old Testament. We often think prophecy is prediction of the future. And and I want to disabuse you of that notion. It is not only prediction of the future. Prophecy is not mostly prediction of the future. Prophecy is almost never prediction of the future. But there are some places where prophecy is prediction of the future. And so keeping that in mind that most of prophecy is not prediction of the future. I want to give you three reasons why prediction of the future might be important. The first reason is this God tells us the future to vindicate his exclusive claims to deity. When God tells us what is going to happen, then that proves that he is God. And we know that's the case because he says so and he would at times challenge the idols of the Old Testament through his prophets to do likewise. So, for example, in Isaiah chapter 41 versus 21 through 23, we read set forth your case, says the Lord, Bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them in. Tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter that we may know that you are gods, do good or do harm, that we may be dismayed or terrified. But when I look, there is no one among these. There is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer. Behold, they are all a delusion. Their works are nothing. Their mental images are empty, wind. So in this passage, God through the Prophet, is chiding the idols, the false gods. And what's the basis of his argument? Only God can tell the future. If you were truly a God, you would be able to predict the future. But you can't. So you are not. So that's that's number one. Number two, to show us a future reality that has already invaded the present. If if you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are a new creature. According to Second Corinthians 5:17, and you have received the power of the age to come. We are, as it were, as as New Covenant followers of Jesus. We are we are situated with our feet in two worlds simultaneously. On the one hand, we live in this present evil age, but on the other hand we are dwellers of the kingdom that is to come. And so in that very difficult warning passage of Hebrews chapter six verses four and five, we do read this it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come. How do we know what this age to come will be like? There is prediction of it in prophecy. We have received of the Holy Spirit who is the promise of future power that was prophesied in his sequel, Chapter 36, verse 26, when he said, I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. God has performed a work now in you that will be consummated in the future. And prediction of the future tells us what that will be like. And then third prediction The future is important in biblical prophecy to show us a future reality that will shape and direct our present course of life. And knowing the future, if we know the future, we can adjust the values and shape of our lives now as we move toward the future. That is, after all, our destiny. One of the habits of highly successful people is to start with the end in mind. And the point there is Where do I want to be? I should move in that direction now. Well, from a Christian perspective, we would say not just where do I want to be, but where am I most certainly going to be? Why would I go in a different direction now? Just move into your destiny. Rise and fulfill your destiny. That's what Zeus told Perseus in Clash of the Titans, that wonderfully theological movie. And so second, Peter, Chapter three, reads this way. Verse 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people are you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn. But according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Your destiny is to dwell not on this old creation, but in the new creation, the new heavens and the new earth. So some move in that direction now live in a manner that enables you to dwell well where you will always be. If basically if this is what life will be like, then our life now should be moving in that direction. Okay. That's why prediction of the future is important to. Let me reiterate that prediction of the future is not what the majority of biblical prophecy is. Maybe you came from a tradition where you went to church and there would be prophecy conferences and the prophecy conference would be all about the end times. Well, I guess that's true to some degree, but when we're thinking about biblical literary genre, that's more eschatology. Not prophecy, not prophecy. And when I'm thinking about prophecy again, I'm thinking about the major prophets and the minor prophets of the Old Testament, from Isaiah to Malachi. Axiom 17. Prophecy is direct discourse from God to man mediated through the Prophet. That's my definition of what prophecy is. And I think that works well in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. So what prophecies are in the Old Testament? It's what they are in the New Testament. By wording it that way. I'm what I'm suggesting is that we don't change the definition of prophecy when we go from Old Testament to New Testament. So what did the Prophet do? The Prophet spoke to the people the Word of God. It was direct discourse to disobey or disbelieve. The Prophet was the same as disobeying or disbelieving God because the prophet was literally speaking the word of God. Yet it is mediated through the prophet that is. Isaiah sounded like Isaiah and Jeremiah sounded like Jeremiah. And this sounds like inspiration. It should, because all of the biblical authors as inspired authors are prophets. The Prophet was one in the Old Testament, especially someone who was called by God. And the major stress then is on the involvement of God and the revelatory nature of the Prophet's message. It's God who is speaking to the people. These are not wise men necessarily. These are not people with cool religious insight. These are people who are speaking like the mouthpiece of God. Yet just like inspiration, it's mediated through their personalities and through their thought process. Axiom 18. This is hugely important if you want to understand the major profits and the minor prophets. The prophet was more of a forth teller than a foreteller. The prophet was more of a forth teller than a foreteller. A foretelling would be someone who predicted the future. That happens occasionally, but again, not very often. More often than not. The prophet is a forth teller, someone who is revealing things of God, but not necessarily things of the future. Whenever a prophet foretold the future, that was usually to strengthen and assist his fourth telling. The prophet's major role as a forth teller was that of a messenger sent from God to call the people back to the Covenant. They had a ministry that was more rebuking than it was encouragement. That's what I mean by forth telling. The prophet received and communicated revelation from God. And they were not social revolutionaries, they were not progressives. They decried societal sins. But it was always as a means to an end to get people back to the covenant, calling them back to the day when they ratified the Covenant, when they wanted to be the people of God, when they wanted to obey him. They're more conservative than they are progressive. They were more for reformation than for innovation. They wanted to preserve the tradition that was manifest in the covenants. And so as such, the Torah and the covenants are central to the Prophet. It's almost as if and this is not the case, but it's almost as if the prophet didn't need to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. It's almost as if the prophet could have had the Torah, the Mosaic covenant open in front of them and seen this is what we're supposed to do, and then open up a newspaper of the day and see, Oh, this is what we're actually doing, and then go back to the Torah and say, Oh, this is what God said would happen if we didn't keep the covenant and then turn around to the people and say, You are not obeying the covenant and this is what is going to happen. Now the prophet was inspired by God, but that's basically the message. This is what we said we would do. This is what we're doing. This is what God said he would do to us if we don't obey. We've got to obey or this is going to happen. That's the basic prophet's message. And therefore the Torah and the covenants are central. Deuteronomy 28, as I mentioned earlier, a hugely important chapter in the Bible because it tells us what God will do to bless the people of Israel for their obedience and what God will do to curse the people for their disobedience. And so listen to the words of Amos Chapter four and compare that to Deuteronomy 28. Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, bring that we may drink. The Lord God has sworn by His Holiness that behold the days are coming upon you when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks, and you shall go out through the breach as each one straight ahead, and you shall be cast into Harman, declares the Lord. That's almost verbatim from Deuteronomy 28. The curses that were come upon Israel for their disobedience. How inspired did Amos have to be to come up with that? Now, again, full disclosure, he was totally inspired. That was the Holy Spirit speaking through him. But I'm just trying to impress upon you how the prophets acted more like prosecuting attorneys than as progressives who are trying to build a better place. Fee and  Stewart, who have written some really good books on how to interpret the Bible, they say there's six general categories of blessings that we find in the Old Testament life health, prosperity, agricultural abundance, respect and safety. Then there are ten types of punishment that we find in the Old Testament, and they're all in Deuteronomy 28. And these are great because they illiterate. Death, disease, drought, dearth, danger, destruction, defeat, deportation, destitution and disgrace. They go on to say that these are the categories in which the prophets worked. It's the grist of the prophetic mill. What's the nature of the prophetic message? Well, I've been telling you the basic misunderstanding of the major prophets and minor prophets is that we usually think that it's all about prediction of the future. But most of the major and minor prophets. It's not prediction of the future. Less than 2% of the major prophets and minor prophets is messianic. Less than 5% relates to the New Covenant age. And if you're looking to the major prophets and minor prophets to find prediction of something that is future still for us, good luck. Because less than 1% of it concerns events that are still future to us. And maybe that's why so many people are confused about the major and minor prophets. They open it up expecting to find prediction of the future, whereas most of it is not. Most of the future prophecies that we find in the prophets are related to the immediate future concerning Israel. Even these prophecies were part of the larger message of the prophets and their major prophecies always to call the nation of Israel back to God. And they use prediction of the future as a threat and a warning. This is what's going to happen. So axiom number 19 the key to understanding the prophetic genre, the major prophets and minor prophets, is understanding the covenants, particularly the Abrahamic, the Mosaic and the new covenants. And then Deuteronomy 28, which are the promises of blessing for obedience, cursing for disobedience. Deuteronomy Chapter 30, where there is written into the old covenant provision for God to do something new. He says in Deuteronomy 30 that when all of these curses have come upon you, not when, not if, but when. When all these curses come upon you and you find yourself with the mother of all curses listed in Deuteronomy 28, which is exile. This is what you do. You repent and turn to the Lord. And when you do that, God will gather you back. He will restore you. He will bring an end to exile. And then a couple verses later, he says, And then one day, God will circumcise your hearts. Unfortunately for Israel at that point, they haven't even gone into the promised land yet. They haven't experienced any of the blessing. They haven't experienced any of the cursing. They haven't gone into exile. They haven't come back yet. And so this promise of a circumcision of the heart is way off in the future for them. But I would argue that they're codified into the old covenant is provision for a newer and better covenant. Because the problem with the old covenant was never the law of God. The problem with the old covenant, was the party that God made that covenant with. And so God, in order to make a covenant that his people can keep. He has to change his people. And that's the promise of Deuteronomy 30. And then another key biblical text for understanding the prophets is Jeremiah 18. But we'll talk about that in a moment.