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Insight #101 —  Old Prophetic Mysteries Revealed

December 20, 2002.

Most believers realize we are under the New Testament, not the Old. But prophecy teachers often ignore implications of this truth. They adopt “literal” interpretations of Old Testament prophecies, even when the New Testament gives spiritual interpretations.

To Jews expecting a material Jewish kingdom, Jesus explained the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11). The kingdom would be very different from what they imagined. Surely, Jesus’ explanations supersede Jewish beliefs gained from their superficial reading of certain Old Testament prophecies.

Paul told of “the mystery… in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body [with the Jews]… by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:4-6). The idea is in the Old Testament prophecies of a gospel with salvation from sin involving Jew and Gentile, but it is not so clear that a patriotic Jewish mind would catch it. The Old prophecies were often mysteries awaiting further revelation.

Peter spoke of “which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently… what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify… unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things” (1 Peter 1:10-12). God did not answer many questions the prophets of old had. Rather, it was left for Jesus, His apostles and the New Testament prophets to reveal what it was all about.

We dare not build prophetic doctrine on the Old Testament text without taking into account the New Testament interpretation. We dare not build our faith on a “literal” interpretation of mysteries when the Holy Spirit has now made those mysteries known.