In Israel our son-in-law Michael Nissim loaned us a book which I (Pat) found very helpful. It is 'Help for Understanding Bible Prophecy' by William J Randolph, D.D., Shiloh Publications, Dresher, PA.
Dr Randolph relates his frustrating experience as a young Christian trying to make sense of Bible prophecy, and his book shines a brilliant light which will help many to decipher the wonderful prophecies in the Bible.
He sets out five basic principles to follow.
1. The principle of approach. This means that the prophet was primarily a preacher of righteousness, not just a foreteller of the future. His primary task was to urge people to live holy lives and warn them of the consequences of sinning. The predictions of the future were often based on the consequences of their actions.
2. The principle of overlay. This points to the accumulation of information as one studies each biblical prophet in turn. Each adds something and a picture emerges of future trends and events. Different prophets speak of different events or add additional information.
3. The principle of caricature. Dr Randolph says this is ‘an exaggerated or grotesque description of something that has characteristics similar to that being illustrated.’ He gives the example of a political cartoons depicting Churchill as a British bulldog. The caricatures in the Bible include the metal man statue in the book of Daniel and the various beasts of the book of Revelation .
4. The Principle of Context. Dr Randolph says we should always keep in mind three questions when considering any scripture: who is speaking; to whom is he speaking; what is he speaking about.
5. The Principle of Recurrence. This is to do with repetition, usually to give added detail to a truth already presented. One example is the four beasts of Daniel = the lion ,the bear, the leopard and the ten-horned beast. This is seen again in a composite in Revelation
Then Dr Randolph has a seminal chapter on the Court of the Kinsman Redeemer, tying together Lev 25, Numbers 35 and Revelation 5,6 and 19. Levitcus 25 deals with the law of the kinsman redeemer as to encumbered property, possessions and persons. The property in this case is the earth, which belongs to the Lord, who gave Adam dominion over it. But Adam handed it into the power of Satan when he chose to rebel against God’s clear command. Jesus Christ is the Kinsman Redeemer who will take possession of it in the court of heaven when he takes the scroll from the hand of the Father in Revelation chapter 5. The scroll is the title deed to the earth. Jesus alone fulfils all the requirements of the Kinsman Redeemer and Numbers 35 tells that He is also the avenger. Vengance will come in the Great Tribulation and the White Throne judgement of the damned.
Dr Randolph also deals with the Two Babylons – apostate religion and related commercialization. There is much more useful information and helpful illustrations in the book – well worth buying if you can find a copy!
Our friend Dr Dave Reagan once said he was glad that God did not just put a 'laundry list' of prophecies in the Bible. They are like gold - you have to look for them! I often think they are like salt and pepper sprinkled throughout the Bible. I am still coming across new ones and thinking - wow, that must be propetic!