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Understanding prophecy.
Intro:
Bible Prophecy!
People fascinated by it.
Even some who do not believe wonder what the Bible says will happen.
It is not uncommon to read news articles that refer to things, and call them “apocalyptic,” a term from the bible.
People are curious.
They want to know.
Why should we study prophecy?
As we shared the first week, one reason to study prophecy is to see just how true and trustworthy the Word of God really is!
It is unique!
It is the only religious book that has foretold things hundreds of years in advance, which have happened just as described in the Bible.
We need to know this, and share it with others who want to know why we believe.
One reason is because God has proven that what He says in the Bible is true through prophecy.
We also study prophecy to find encouragement and hope.
That is something that I hope you will find today as we continue our study.
We began our series on Understanding Prophecy by laying some foundations.
Foundations:
What is prophecy
How to interpret prophecy
Covenants
Prophecy is God revealing things to us.
Sometimes He revealed things from the past to help people understand and worship.
Sometimes He revealed things in the present.
And, sometimes, about 28% of the Bible when it was recorded, was God revealing what would happen in the future.
Most often, that is what people are talking about when they talk about Bible Prophecy.
Last week, we took time to look at how to interpret prophecy.
How do we understand what God was getting at when He revealed things to come in the future.
We looked at examples of God revealing what would happen in the future that have been fulfilled, and saw that every time God said something would happen in the future, it was fulfilled literally like He said.
Some would say that those thing in the past are one matter, but apocalyptic literature like Revelation and Daniel need to be interpreted differently.
Interestingly enough, a lot of what God revealed about the future to Daniel has already been fulfilled, and all that has been fulfilled has been fulfilled literally as God said.
So, why would we read those parts of Daniel that have not yet been fulfilled a different way?
Why would we expect God to fulfill the other things He revealed any way other than literally like He has done so far?
We also saw that the word for apocalypse simply means “revealed”, and in Revelation where it is used, it is called revelation, and it is called prophecy.
Why, because prophecy is what God reveals!
We don’t have to read certain books or passages in a different way.
We can and should interpret them in a normal way, like we do the rest of scripture.
Today, we want to talk about Covenants.
Covenants are actually a huge topic.
Today, I hope to simply summarize some of the important issues around biblical covenants which will help us understand prophecy.
And, believe it or not, this does relate to mother’s day.
How?
Let me tell you… when we get there.
Puzzle illustration.
I read this from someone else, and thought this is a good illustration.
Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle?
Where do you start?
What do you put together first?
Many people, myself included, put together the outside of the puzzle.
It helps to establish the framework for the whole puzzle.
Everything has to fit within the frame.
Covenants are much like the outside of the puzzle.
God used covenants to help us see what He is doing, and where we are going.
Everything that is going to happen, fits within the framework of the Covenants.
What is a covenant?
Covenants were agreements between two parties that bound them together.
Covenants were serious business, unlike how contracts are treated today.
If someone were to not fulfill their part of a covenant, their reputation, even their life was on the line.
Nations would enter into covenants.
Individuals would enter into covenants.
God would enter into covenants with men.
In some covenants, one party was swearing to do certain things.
In other covenants, both parties had to meet certain obligations.
In most covenants, there were blessings for following through, or curses for not following through.
What were the Biblical Covenants?
In the Bible, we find many different covenants.
For example there was a covenant between Abraham and Abimelech.
David an Jonathan made a covenant.
However, when speaking of biblical covenants, typically people are focusing on covenants between God and people.
What were those covenants?
Edenic Covenant
This is found in Genesis 1:28-30, 2:15-17.
This was when God blessed Adam and Eve, and gave them their responsibilities.
They were to multiply and fill the earth.
They were to rule over the earth.
They were to rule over the animals.
They were to eat freely, but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
When they ate of it, they would surely die.
Adamic Covenant
This is found in Genesis 3:16-21, but finds grace in Genesis 3:15 with the promise of the one born of a woman who would destroy the power of, and damage done by, the serpent.
Noahic Covenant
Genesis 9:1-17.
God blesses Noah and tells his family to multiply and fill the earth.
He gave them a new diet, and He gave them corporal punishment.
He then promised to never again destroy the whole world with a flood, and gave the sign of the rainbow.
Abrahamic Covenant
which we will spend our time on today.
Mosaic Covenant
The covenant given to Israel at Mount Sinai, and reiterated in Deuteronomy.
Palestinian/Land Covenant
which we will explain on another occasion
Davidic Covenant
We will also talk about on another day.
New Covenant
Which we will also talk about on another occasion.
Today, our focus is the Abrahamic Covenant, because this one has a lot of significance for things yet to come.
Abrahamic Covenant
This was a covenant between God and Abraham.
God revealed Himself to Abram when he was in Ur, and again later in Haran.
Let’s look at what God told Abram.
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