Understanding Bible Prophecy: “Straightforward” Interpretation

___The best approach to reading Biblical scripture, especially prophecy, is to understand that it had to be expressed in the language of the prophet and the prophet’s era, incorporating figures of speech into its application to the real world.

This applies especially to those visions of future technologies that they had to express in their own language.

Nahum 2:3-4 is an example of this, unmistakable a description of a modern interstate or autobahn (at night) in the prophet’s vocabulary. Nobody in his right mind can “spiritualize” it to anytime before the 20th century at all, because chariot travel did not change until the internal combustion engine got manufactured en masse. It had to be a view of a modern interstate or autobahn, at night no less:

Nahum 2:3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken.
4 The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.

That said, it is still important to understand that sometimes prophets did NOT understand some of their own prophecies. Also, it depends on “how much” understanding is meant when you say “understanding”.

Daniel 12:8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

Daniel no doubt understood that after Greece (which he named) conquered the Medo-Persian Empire, there would be another great empire that would take over, but did not have a name for it. Zechariah described the effect of a nuclear explosion on a person at a certain distance from the center, but did he “understand” it? Daniel said (in chapter 12) that “knowledge shall be increased” but could he have any idea about the knowledge that is getting multiplied every year after the advent of cheap information storage and literally lightning-fast communications?



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