Prophecy Games: Part 1

Exodus 15:13-18 The Red Sea

Exodus 15:13-18 NLTse “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. (14) The peoples hear and tremble; anguish grips those who live in Philistia. (15) The leaders of Edom are terrified; the nobles of Moab tremble. All who live in Canaan melt away; (16) terror and dread fall upon them. The power of your arm makes them lifeless as stone until your people pass by, O LORD, until the people you purchased pass by. (17) You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain– the place, O LORD, reserved for your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established. (18) The LORD will reign forever and ever!”

It would be difficult to write a short story showing all the parallels between the physical journey to the promised land and the spiritual journey to Heaven. Exodus 15:13-18 is a prophecy, or acted parable about that spiritual journey.

As a new believer I cannot help but notice how the prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament are arranged. Each teaches a fundamental rule of Bible study. Each entails a different method of study. It is as if God has placed these studies in a particular order so there could be not doubt, God is the author of His Book. Each study takes on more than its own form. It takes on its own life as God’s Word and the Spirit take over the chore of teaching lessons. This study is one of the easiest forms to learn and use. The lesson almost writes itself. As you will see, context itself establishes the direction and lesson.

Prophecy Games: Part 1
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In this particular case we begin, like all studies, by looking at the context. What is the scene, who is speaking, who are they speaking to, and what is the main theme?

Exodus 15:19 NLTse When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, the LORD brought the water crashing down on them. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground!

We find this particular text centers on crossing the Red Sea. Chapter 14 describes Israel crossing the Red Sea on dry ground while the Egyptian army was drowned in its water. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul explains the significance.

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 NLTse (1) I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. (2) In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. (3) All of them ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

The first lesson established in this study shows the importance of locating and READING associated texts. In this case we are comparing Old Testament texts to New Testament texts. Notice the details Paul adds to the subject. This opens up the mind, heart and soul to the SPIRIT’s guidance. It also establishes a direct Biblical connection between Israel’s travels across the wilderness and Jesus’ ministry.


 

The subject text is clearly associated with the beginning of Israel’s journey into the promised land. Once that is established, there are a few details requiring closer observation. Notice how a series of similar and related words are repeated? Hear and tremble, terrified, melt away, terror and dread fall upon them, makes them lifeless as stone, are arranged to draw attention to the particular point God is making. The Israelites just left Egypt. They have no idea where they are going, but God has already assured them, He has prepared a path for them. He wants them to know He will not only be with them, but prepare the way before them. God will clear out the threats and trials before Israel appears on the scene!

God knows they needed this assurance because of doubts they expressed when it appeared their backs were against the wall so to speak. Has God blessed you with miracles in your life? Do you remember past blessings when trials come up? Do you have enough faith to rely on God, that He has seen your trials long before they occur? Do you believe He would part a sea for you to get you to the other side?

God also makes specific promises on a spiritual note. He leads people He purchased. This seems like a strange statement considering the circumstances. On the surface, getting His people out of Egypt did not include any physical payment. When we search the word, “purchase,” we find texts which explain details of that purchase.

Ephesians 1:5-9 NLTse God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (6) So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. (7) He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. (8) He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (9) God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.

Not only do we find God was clearing the way to the physical promised land for Israel well in advance, we see God already had a plan for salvation and was clearing a path for our way into the spiritual promised land way before He parted the Red Sea. God also makes a series of other spiritual promises. God will plant them on His Holy Mountain, where He dwells. God is not only promising, but inviting us to live with Him. It is described as a Sanctuary established with God’s own hands. In this case we find related texts by looking up a related word, “temple.”

1 Peter 2:4-5 NLTse You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. (5) And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

We can easily see how detailed information is added by comparing one text containing a prophecy with other texts explaining how it is fulfilled. In this particular case Paul used the journey to the promised land to illustrate a lesson he was teaching the new, growing church in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 10:5-10 NLTse (5) Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. (6) These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, (7) or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” (8) And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. (9) Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. (10) And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

1 Corinthians 10:11-13 NLTse (11) These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. (12) If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. (13) The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Paul confirms the importance of faith, believing God sees our trials long before they occur, and will always show us a way out, just as He did for Israel when He made a path through the Red Sea. God always has a plan. He gave us His promise to take us through this spiritual wilderness into the promised land He formed with His own hands. God even provided a description of the land He promised us. He wants us to have the assurance we need to build total trust and faith in Him.

Revelation 21:21-27 NLTse (21) The twelve gates were made of pearls–each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. (22) I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (23) And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. (24) The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. (25) Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. (26) And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. (27) Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty–but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Psalms 89:24-29 Unfailing Love Will Be With Him

Psalms 89:24-29 NLTse My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him, and by my authority he will grow in power. (25) I will extend his rule over the sea, his dominion over the rivers. (26) And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ (27) I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth. (28) I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end. (29) I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.

We must had passed the exam on the last lesson. This prophecy is much easier to locate and explain. After I gathered the texts, the lesson on the surface is obvious. It shows Jesus’ role as king and priest. I must have listened to more than thirty sermons saying Jesus is king and priest, but can’t remember anyone providing texts to prove it. I was on the phone with a pastor friend and asked him if he ever ran across scripture showing Jesus is king and priest. His answer was, “no.” This is the first time I’ve run across it and I was surprised how easily it is explained. Once again we’ve shown another study method, an illustration how God linked His Word together using different authors over generations of time. There are actually two part to this prophecy. The first part we’ll concentrate on for this study. The second part of the prophecy adds back ground details and most likely is related to another parallel chapter adding more details for what must be another related lesson.

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Psalms 89:36-46 NLTse His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun. (37) It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!” (38) But now you have rejected him and cast him off. You are angry with your anointed king. (39) You have renounced your covenant with him; you have thrown his crown in the dust. (40) You have broken down the walls protecting him and ruined every fort defending him. (41) Everyone who comes along has robbed him, and he has become a joke to his neighbors. (42) You have strengthened his enemies and made them all rejoice. (43) You have made his sword useless and refused to help him in battle. (44) You have ended his splendor and overturned his throne. (45) You have made him old before his time and publicly disgraced him. (46) O LORD, how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire?

The second part of the prophecy clearly identifies Jesus as the King mentioned in the first section. Only Jesus fits the description. “His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun. It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!” Psalm 89 goes on with a vivid description of how Jesus will be rejected, cast off, renounced, thrown down, broken on a physical level and ruined, robbed, ended, and overturned in a spiritual manner. This of course refers to Jesus’ rejection by the religious leaders. When we look back on the story of Jesus’ trial we see the religious leaders wanted nothing to do with justice because they couldn’t see Jesus as king, much less priest. To be king Jesus had to be from the family line of Judah. To be priest, people had to come from the line of Levi. Did those priests see the Messiah would be both King and High Priest?

For us this is an easy study based on the fact one verse is quoted in the New Testament. “You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth.” You can search key words in the texts or find the connecting verse the easy way, look in the chain reference in a study Bible, or if your using E-Sword like I am, look in the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge in the commentaries which will lead to Hebrews chapter 1.

Hebrews 1:4-8 NLTse This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. (5) For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” (6) And when he brought his firstborn Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.” (7) Regarding the angels, he says, “He sends his angels like the winds, his servants like flames of fire.” (8) But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.

 

This is typically as far as most people go when comparing scripture, find the connecting verse and make an assumption from that point. Since we’ve learned how God uses parallel chapters, we know we need to compare introductions and summations which will show us context and as we’ve seen, reveal a much deeper spiritual meaning. I’m sure after going through this study, you’ll never take a short cut on Bible study again.

Psalms 89:1-7 NLTse I will sing of the LORD’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. (2) Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. (3) The LORD said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant. I have sworn this oath to him: (4) ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.'” (5) All heaven will praise your great wonders, LORD; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness. (6) For who in all of heaven can compare with the LORD? What mightiest angel is anything like the LORD? (7) The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.

Hebrews 1:1-3 NLTse Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. (2) And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. (3) The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

The first detail you should notice is how the word angel is repeated in Hebrews 1:4-8 and in the introduction to Psalm 89. It’s God’s way of letting us know we’re on the right course. It’s also God’s way of making sure these texts cannot be misinterpreted. There is always the chance someone will claim David is the one angels will praise. The texts clearly spells out, “I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.” Once again, a closer translation will clear up questions. “Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.” (Psalms 89:4 KJV). Scripture indicates one of David’s descendants will occupy the throne for all eternity. Hebrews clears up any question. “This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.” This is one detail showing how important it is to compare parallel chapters instead of merely pulling out one or two proof texts to prove a point. Without respect for proper context, who knows how people may try stretching these texts.

At first there doesn’t seem to be a very close relationship between the introduction in Psalm 89 and Hebrews 1 until we look at verse 3, “he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” This is the link to the theme in Psalm 89, Jesus as King. There is another spiritual connection. David repeated the phrase, unfailing love which directly relates to God speaking through His Son who said: “To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.” (Matthew 13:12-13 NLTse).

We all want to understand more of God’s Word. Seeing, feeling and understanding His unfailing love is the first step. Once we reach that step, we can see how Jesus’ Words are as important as water and nourishing as food, spiritual food from Heaven. Going from one text to the next is dining on a feast set by a King. The important part of this lesson shows how God’s Word and Spirit lead us from one text to the next in a particular order, making understanding easy.

Psalms 89:47-52 NLTse Remember how short my life is, how empty and futile this human existence! (48) No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave. (49) Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge. (50) Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced! I carry in my heart the insults of so many people. (51) Your enemies have mocked me, O LORD; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes. (52) Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen!

Hebrews 1:9-14 NLTse You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” (10) He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. (11) They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. (12) You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” (13) And God never said to any of the angels, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (14) Therefore, angels are only servantsspirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.

The first thing we see in Psalm 89’s summation is the related words empty and futile which also relate to die and grave. This is a continuation of the prophecy about Jesus, who also had to die. His status as Son of God did not exempt Him from the grave.

Just before Jesus was condemned to the cross by Pilate, the priests accused Jesus of claiming He was King. They didn’t argue this point by accident. The priests knew the Messiah was going to take David’s throne. They knew part of the prophecy, but didn’t see all the details. This shows how important it is to understand all the details before making any assumption. Basing an interpretation on a portion of facts will always result in a misguided understanding. How many prophecies are interpreted on a small part of what the Bible has on a subject? Look at the facts in this prophecy. If the priests would have looked at Psalm 89, they may have seen how the descendant of David to take the throne forever will be rejected. If they would have looked at these texts with an open heart, they would have been filled with the greatest horror ever experienced in this world if they realized they had treated God’s Son the way they did. How much did this oversight cost them? The lesson is repeated in the summation of Psalm 78.

Hebrews was written after Jesus’ disciples finally understood the reason for Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s plan of salvation. We have the advantage of seeing all of these details after Jesus fulfilled all of those prophecies and explained them. When we look at recorded details like we should, we have more to be responsible for than the leading priests in Jesus’ time. We have a whole New Testament explaining details they missed. We have no reason to fall back on human understanding like the priests and Pharisees did. One of the reasons the priests didn’t understand the prophecies about Jesus is because they didn’t take time to look back at scripture Jesus sent them to. They not only shut out Jesus, but the Holy Spirit. “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Luke 12:8-10 NLTse).

We don’t want to make the same mistake the priests and Pharisee made. We want to be open and prepared to listen to everything God’s Spirit has for us. Going trough this series of books, we’ve seen how patiently God teaches, going over previous details while adding new. One of the ways God leads us to more information is quoting Old Testament texts. Ignoring those texts is denying God’s Spirit. To follow God’s rules of Bible Study, we have no choice but to look at the original texts, ““Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet,” is found in.

Psalms 110:1-4 NLTse The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (2) The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies. (3) When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. (4) The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

God laid out His Word like a road map of time and prophecy. If we stray off His path, we’re lost. Psalm 110 not only ties in Jesus as King, “ The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom,” but ties Jesus’ Kingdom with His role as High Priest by providing another text quoted in the New Testament. ““You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Once again this is an easy text to locate in the New Testament. The ease with which this information is found between Old and New Testament scripture indicates how important this message is. Not only does this show how important the information in this study is, the time in which this information is revealed shows us we are living in a special time in prophetic history. I doubt if this is the first time the link between Jesus’ roles of King and Priest was discovered. Most likely someone put this information together, wrote and taught on the subject and it was widely accepted. A number of pastors and teachers shared this information, but few if any are able to explain it. This study emphasizes the need to get back into God’s Word and Spirit like never before. When we uncover information so many people agree with but few are able to explain with God’s simple Word, it shows us something is wrong in this world. It shows how people take God’s Word and Spirit for granted and for lack of a better description, have been ignoring both.

We’re not the first people to see and understand this connection. Most of us have heard or read about Jesus’ role as King and High Priest. What’s been lost is the ability to let scripture explain itself. This also shows how the world has separated itself from God. The world is becoming more like the Pharisees everyday. God’s Spirit is being replaced by pride and self reliance. The only way to get back in tune with God and His prophetic time line is to dedicate time to read scripture, follow the patterns God placed in His Word, pray and most importantly, LISTEN.

Following God’s plan of Bible Study led us back to Hebrews. Following is one of the texts Melchizedek is mentioned in. Melchizedek is mentioned sixteen times in Hebrews which shows it is an important lesson. We have to look back in history to understand how important this message is. The Jews only looked for a Messiah as King. The priests and Pharisees expected to keep the priesthood to themselves. God’s plan was to return the priesthood to everyone like He offered it to the head of the household before they left Egypt and then everyone early in their journey in the wilderness.

Hebrews 7:16-22 NLTse Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. (17) And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” (18) Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. (19) For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (20) This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, (21) but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.'” (22) Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.

Not only is Melchizedek a symbol pointing to Christ, Jesus is a sign pointing to the restoration of the priesthood, restoring that position to all of us. This has special meaning because there can only be one King of kings. Jesus as King is the only one with the power to appoint priests. Kings and governments have tried appointing priests, and they will again. They’ve all fallen and will in the future. Jesus’ Kingdom is the only one that will last forever. David pointed out this fact. We share in Jesus’ Kingdom by becoming His priests, with Christ as High Priest.

The most important lesson we’ve learned in this study is how Jesus leads us as High Priest, through His written Word, which directs us to related scripture written in the Old Testament and quoted in the New Testament. We’ve also seen how important it is to follow God’s simple sequence of Bible Study.

  1. Highlight key words that are repeated. They will be the same, similar, or related words.
  2. Pray before looking for a parallel chapter which shows the fulfillment of the prophecy.
  3. Parallel chapters can be located by using key words to search for the fulfillment.
  4. Parallel chapters can also be found by searching for Old Testament texts quoted in New Testament scripture.
  5. The fulfillment is always greater than the symbol.
  6. Compare introductions and summations which establish context.
  7. Pray and listen to God’s Spirit to see the relationship between the prophecy and parallel chapter explaining the fulfillment.
  8. When Old Testament scripture is quoted in the New Testament always look at the original texts.
  9. Keep praying on the subject and listing. Pray about the main connecting texts, comparisons in the introductions and summations. Take your time and pray about each one day at a time.

I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. (1 Corinthians 9:23-27, Galatians 5:7-8 NLTse)