Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 at 9:09 AM

Interpreting prophecy

Something I'm sure everyone else noticed long ago, but I just did when I was reading the introduction to Isaiah.

I realized that the books of prophecy (or at least most of them) weren't really letters to the general church, dealing with one specific time and problem, but actually a recording of various occurrences and visions that happened during someone's ministry.

Looking back at this, it makes a lot of sense. Like the book of Daniel isn't like the book of Galatians. It's a recording of history. We follow Daniel and his 3 friends as they are captured, proven faithful, proven faithful again, and then we see Daniel receive very specific prophecies at various times. In Galatians we hear Paul writing one letter to deal with a very specific problem, and even though there is history, it's history meant to establish a point in Paul's epistle.

Similarly, Isaiah is composed of many different segments, each one dealing with a different situation at a different time. And that's really cool. But it's also really annoying, because it's incredibly hard to figure out what really prompted each segment, and how the segments should be divided. *cracks open a commentary*

Oh, and how did the introduction to Isaiah tip me off?
1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
I was reading this and I noticed that Isaiah states that it's the vision he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. But it also states that it was in the dates of all these kings of Judah. For some reason I had always just assumed that these were simultaneous kings. (which could plausibly be true, given that there was two nations at the same time and sometimes fighting within the kingdom) But when I realized that these were all kings of Judah, the light bulb clicked and I understood.

Hooray for the Holy Spirit, which opens eyes and gives light!

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