Each category of the Old Testament has its own literary rules and characteristics. The prophetic books often carry messages that have dual meanings, one for the present and one for the future. One message was meant for the people in their time and place, while another message had a “not yet” aspect. Some of these messages were fulfilled in the person of Christ, whereas others are still yet to come. In addition, the prophetic books use imagery, symbolism, and metaphors that uniquely characterize this section of the Old Testament. It is important that we know how to properly interpret Bible prophecy so that we can accurately determine the intended meaning of the author’s writing. As we become familiar with the passages that are referred to as prophecy, we notice recurring symbols, numbers, and imagery that provide a blueprint for understanding God’s Word revealed through his prophets. We can then turn to Bible study aids as secondary sources that will help us interpret and apply Scripture to our lives.
What Do You Observe?
And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
studying the books of prophecy
putting it into practice: isaiah 25:7–8
Before we turn our attention to our practice verse for today, read the preceding chapter, Isaiah 24, to provide context for chapter 25. Also read the first verses of chapter 25 to gain context of what is happening within the chapter. Now, let’s make some observations about our verses:
Verse 7 begins with the conjunction “And”, which connects it to the content in verse 6. Someone, referred to as “he,” will swallow up two things on this mountain—the covering that is cast over all peoples and the veil that is spread over all nations.
Let’s highlight some keywords: swallow, covering, and veil.
We can also add some questions to our observations. Who is “he” referring to? What does “this mountain” refer to? Remember, we are still observing. We don’t want to interpret anything yet.
Once we have finished our observations in both verses, we can move on to interpretation and begin to answer some of the questions that we raised.
Let’s look at our question regarding “this mountain” in verse 7. The demonstrative adjective (“this”) implies that the mountain was previously mentioned. Looking through our prior contextual reading for clues, we identify the mountain as Mount Zion, named in Isaiah 24:23. Additionally, to whom does the pronoun “he” refer? From the context of verse 6, we understand that it is the Lord who will perform the actions of verses 7 and 8.
Watch Week Four
Old Testament: Major and Minor Prophets
What else do we observe and interpret in these verses?
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