The Duality Of Biblical Prophecy

The Duality Of Biblical Prophecy April 20, 2018

The Bible has former and latter’s, and an Old Testament and New Testament, but there are more dualities in the Bible than you may realize.

The Captivity of Sin

After King Solomon’s reign, the nation of Israel split into two different nations. One was known as the Northern Kingdom and was referred to as Israel, so when Israel is mentioned in Bible prophecy, it refers to the Northern Kingdom, which consisted of ten of the tribes of Israel. The Southern Kingdom became known as Judah (or the Jews) and was comprised of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. The Northern Kingdom, or the ten of the tribes of Israel, dwelt in Samaria, while the Southern Kingdom remained in control of Jerusalem and the southern half of Israel, so ten of the tribes of Israel were in the Northern Kingdom, while Judah, Benjamin, and Levi remained in Judah, so some Old Testament prophecies refer to Israel, and some to Israel’s sister, Judah (Jer 3:6-10). The striking thing is the prophecies are very similar concerning their coming judgments. Some of the prophets wrote about the coming judgment of Israel, while others wrote specifically to Judah, but in both cases, the nations were judged and sent into captivity for idolatry. Even though the nations were taken captive at different times, the reasons for God’s judgment were the same, and so was the judgment (captivity). The point is, if God judged His own people for their sins, then why would He not do the same to others? That’s why I believe that many of the Old Testament prophecies are applicable to the nations today. They may not be falling in front of a stone image to worship it, but whatever is above God is an idol nonetheless, so unless they repent and trust in Christ, their judgments will be similar. It may not be a physical captivity, but as Jesus said, “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34), so they really are captives…captive to sin. The Apostle Paul asked, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Rom 6:16)?

Now and Then

Today, there is no shortage of people who are self-proclaimed prophets of God, and it is just as it was in Jeremiah’s day where many of these claim to speak for God, but in biblical times, if you spoke for God, it was considered Scripture, so just as in Jeremiah’s day, we would do well to “not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jer 23:16). God tauntingly says to these false prophets, “who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened” (Jer 23:18), saying, “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied” (Jer 23:21), so “who among them has stood in the council of God?” I believe that number is zero! Even in the New Testament, Paul prophesied that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4). All we can do is stick “To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Isaiah 8:20), or light from God.

Former and Latter

When Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives and prophesied what was to come, much of it was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman Army, under Titus, destroyed Jerusalem, killing over a million Jews. You can also find similar prophecies in the Old Testament that have direct application to our day. Jesus said that before the temple is destroyed, and of course that would naturally mean Jerusalem, He warned that “many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt 24:5-8). Today, we see nations rising up against other nations, sometimes meeting in the middle (i.e. Syria), and we are seeing an increase in famine and earthquakes (in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas) in places where they used to be rare. And just as Jesus said it would be leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction, “lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:12).

Dualities

When the Roman Empire fell, some historians noted that it fell for the same reasons many other nations fell, including Sodom and Gomorrah, and even Israel and Judah. When Ezekiel was prophesying to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, he noted similarities between Judah and Sodom and Gomorrah, writing, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it” (Ezk 16:49-50). Today, the disparity between the rich and the poor is widening. There is no indication that famines will decrease, the poor will get richer, or the hungry will be fed better. God will judge any nation what Sodom and Gomorrah did, including His own chosen one. The Apostle Peter wrote, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Pet 4:17). Obviously, the outcome will be horrendous.

Conclusion

There is a duality in the Bible too. There is the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, there is the Old Testament and the New Testament, and there is a day of salvation (today), and a day when God will judge the world (Dan 12:2-3; Matt 25:31-36; Acts 17:31; 1 Cor 6:2; Rev 20:12-15). For some, that judgment will come after death (Heb 9:27), so it’s exceedingly better to trust in Christ today. If you haven’t already done so, come to Him. If you do, He’s your Savior, but if you reject Him, He will be your Judge tomorrow. Grace and mercy are still available to all who come to Him…but if you delay, then you may have to pay for your own sins. It is infinitely better to have Christ pay for your sins than to pay for them yourself. With one way (John 14:6), your saved by grace (John 19:30; Eph 2:8-9), but without “the way,” you’ll pay forever.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    The prophets do refer to the Northern Kingdom as “Israel”, and to the Southern Kingdom as “Judah”, but they also refer to the Southern Kingdom as Israel. In Jeremiah, we see both uses of the name “Israel”. There are instances in which the prophet refers to Israel and Judah, and it is clear that he distinguishes between the two, as in Jeremiah 3. In Jeremiah 10:1 and 18:6, “Israel” refers to the people to whom Jeremiah prophesied, which was Judah. As you know, their punishments differ, in that while both were sent into exile, the people of the Northern Kingdom
    were scattered and did not return to the Promised Land, while the people of the Southern Kingdom remained together, and some of them did return.

    It is my understanding that although the Kingdom of Judah was mostly composed of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, it also contained Simeon, and small numbers of people of other tribes. II Chronicles 15:9 says the following about Asa, king of Judah: “And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him” (ESV). Notice that Anna, who recognizes the infant Jesus to be the Messiah, was of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36).

    One reason why we see many minor earthquakes occur now “in places where they used to be rare” in the United States is the use of fracking to obtain natural gas. They are literally induced by us.

    Regarding “There is no indication that famines will decrease, the poor will get richer, or the hungry will be fed better”: From a global perspective, this is not all so. Hunger and starvation are still problems, but not as great as they used to be. Famines still occur, but not as widely as they used to. When was the last time you heard of any country in Europe, North America, or South America suffering from a famine? As the governments of China and India have allowed capitalism to flourish in these countries, literally hundreds of millions of people have risen from poverty into the middle class. None of which is to say that we should not be concerned about famine, hunger, and poverty, nor that these things cannot get worse.

    • Maltnothops

      “One reason why we see many minor earthquakes occur now “in places where they used to be rare” in the United States is the use of fracking to obtain natural gas. They are literally induced by us.”

      True, but who is to say that Jesus didn’t prophesy fracking.

      • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

        He could have–but I think that he was speaking of much larger earthquakes than those which have occurred recently in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas.

        • Maltnothops

          Interesting. My interpretation is that Jesus was speaking of the relative frequency of earthquakes and not the magnitude of them.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            I think that he was speaking of their frequency, too, but not of ones which are so small that they aren’t even reported in the news when they occur.

            Most Americans are unaware of the earthquakes caused by fracking, because they are so small and do no damage. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned about them, because over time the cumulative effect could trigger a larger earthquake.

            The Lord said:

            “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
            All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
            –Matthew 24:7-8 (ESV)

            This gives us an idea of how serious the earthquakes will be–serious enough to be mentioned with famines, and called “birth pains”.

          • Maltnothops

            I have my doubts that Jesus considered what would be newsworthy two millennia on –although it is certainly possible. And it goes without saying that he probably wasn’t referencing any earthquake too minor to be felt. But your argument seems tenuous. Even a below average earthquake would seem remarkable to people unaccustomed to any earthquake. I’ve been experienced two myself. Neither was especially strong but both made the news because of their rarity and I found both disturbing.

          • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

            I have experienced an earthquake, too: the one that struck the East Coast in 2011. It made news: in part because it was rare, in part because it was felt by many people on the East Coast, including people in Washington, D.C., and in part because it was so strong that it did cause damage, including damage to the National Cathedral.

            Such an earthquake is not comparable to the ones mentioned in the article. If the earthquakes in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas were so strong that they were damaging buildings and infrastructure, they would be newsworthy.

            The Lord has mentioned earthquakes as a sign. Therefore I believe that the earthquakes of which He spoke are significant enough for many people to notice them with concern–as they could be concerned about a war or a famine.

            Earthquakes are common on our planet. We don’t know about most of them because they are too small and in areas that are too remote–e.g. at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean–to have an effect on anyone.