• Christian Living,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    What does the Bible Say about Dreams?

    What does the Bible say about dreams? Although at one point I was surprised whenever someone would ask this question, this has long since ceased. Christians regularly want to know what the Bible says about dreams. One of the reasons for this is because human beings are naturally curious about dreams. Dreams intrigue us. This is evidenced in part by the fact professional dream interpreters have their own business. Additionally, almost everyone has read of Sigmund Freud and his propensity for analyzing dreams and what they signified about an individual. For Christians, not only do dreams interest us, but the Bible also interests us. Hence, when we read about God speaking to people through dreams, it is a natural question which comes up—should we expect to hear from God in dreams? Dreams in the Old Testament The first mention of dreaming in the Old Testament comes in Genesis 20:3, where…

  • Hermeneutics,  Old Testament,  Scripture

    Did the Prophets Understand Their Prophecies?

    Sometimes it is claimed that prophets in the Old Testament did not fully understand their own prophecies. This is often an argument for sensus plenior, which is the idea of finding a “fuller meaning” behind the text—a meaning which the original author may not have known. One of the key texts which is used to support the idea that prophets did not fully understand their prophecies is 1 Peter 1:10–12. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent…

  • Old Testament,  Scripture

    Did Old Testament Saints Know Scripture was Authoritative?

    From our perspective we sometimes take for granted that we have an authoritative canon—a collection of inspired Scripture from God. But it is worth thinking through how the Old Testament saints viewed the collection of authoritative writings. Did Old Testament believers recognize a specialized, authoritative collection of writings? Looking at the Old Testament evidence, it seems that the Jewish people recognized certain writings as authoritative from God, while at the same time acknowledging a different quality of other writings. We see early evidence of Scripture being regarded as authoritative in the book of Deuteronomy. For example, Moses instructed all the people to gather every seven years to hear “this law” (Deut 31:9-11). Further, Moses instructed the Levites to store the book of the law along with the ark of the covenant (Deut 31:24-26). Additionally, Israel was instructed that nothing could be added or deleted from these words (Deut 4:2; 12:32).…

  • Church,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Prophets and Prophetic Revelation

    Since the beginning of time, God has communicated with His people through prophets. We can deduce from Genesis 3:8 that God likely communed with Adam and Eve at regular intervals. We are also told in Luke 11:51 that Abel was among the prophets, and thus received revelation from God. Prophets spoke for God. Perhaps better stated, prophets were God’s mouthpiece. Jeremiah 1:4-10 is quite instructive for the prophetic role. In v. 9, God specifically tells Jeremiah, “I have put my words in your mouth.” That is the role of the prophet—he speaks God’s words. As a nation, Israel was given special instruction for prophets. Deuteronomy 13:1–5 lays down the important principle that prophets cannot contradict previous revelation. If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if…

  • Old Testament

    God’s Prophetic Plan of the Future

    We love to know about the future! There is nothing wrong with that–especially when God tells us what the future is going to be like in order to prove His sovereign control over world events. God relates future events through prophecies in His Word. One of the most important prophecies in Scripture is Daniel 9:24-27. This prophecy provides an essential framework for understanding God’s future program in dealing with Israel and the nations. During Daniel’s time, Israel was in exile for sinning in not keeping the Sabbath. In 2 Chron 36:20-22 God promised Israel would be in exile until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. Because Israel was in trouble, Daniel prays. Daniel 9:24-27 comes as an answer to Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:4-19. Daniel asks God to forgive the people of Israel and return them to their land. Daniel is prompted to pray for this having read and meditated…