Types and Shadows
"For they that dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him" (Acts 13:27).
How is it that they studied the prophets' writings about the Messiah and quoted them but they did not know the prophets' voices or know Jesus? They obviously expected the Messiah to set up a physical kingdom to rule over their physical enemies (Jn 6:14,15 / Acts 1:6) but Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" (Jn 18:36). How could they see physical in prophecies where spiritual was meant? The key is in Jesus' statement "seeing (physical) they see not (spiritual) and hearing (physical) they hear not (spiritual), neither do they understand" (Mt 13:13,14).
While God's people were looking for a Messiah that did not exist, the one prophesied stood in their midst. Could God's people today make the same kind of mistake when they read in Revelation about the Beast, the Harlot, the false Prophet, the manchild, the woman, the mark and Image of the Beast, etc? "That which hath been done is that which shall be done" (Ecl 1:9). They will not recognize these entities when they are standing in their midst because of physical interpretations of a spiritual word. Let me give you another example. Jesus said "Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life on yourselves" (Jn 6:53). Jesus spoke of his word and his life but they had only fleshly eyes to see. Many disciples said "this is a hard saying, who can hear it (verse 60) and they left him (66). Jesus' explanation was "It is the spirit (the unseen) that giveth life, the flesh (the seen) profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life (verse 63).
As the flesh is only a vehicle for the unseen spirit, so Jesus' words carried an unseen spiritual meaning for those who had spiritual eyes to see. Paul taught us that the letter (flesh) of the old covenant, which brought death had to be translated into the spirit of the new covenant which brought life (2 Cor 3:6,7). Living under the letter in any form kills but the spirit gives life and freedom. Some examples of this are proven by Jesus and the Apostles teachings about the ceremonial law (not the moral law). For example, animal sacrifice is fulfilled by the sacrifice of Christ. Circumcision is fulfilled by baptism, the cutting off of all flesh (Col 2:11,12). The Sabbath is fulfilled by a life-style of ceasing from our works, and entering into God's by faith in his promises (Heb 4:1-3, 9-11). The 10 percent stewardship of the tithe is fulfilled by the 100 percent stewardship of renouncing all ownership (Lk 14:33). Now you may disagree with one or more of my examples but we still have to stay in the "unity of the spirit" (Eph 4:3) "till we all attain unto the unity of the faith" (verse 13). The point is letter must be interpreted to spirit as is the example given us in the New Testament.
God spoke in parables and symbols in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, when indicated, in order to hide the truth from the merely religious, so he could reveal it only to disciples (learners and followers) (Mk 4:11,12,33,34). God hides the truth so that only the righteous can seek it out (Pr 25:2). This way the proud religious fakes can be "ever learning (the letter) and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:7). "I thank thee, oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding (scribes, Pharisees, religious leaders and prophecy preachers of our day and those who trust them), and didst reveal them unto babes...(Lk 10:21). 1 Cor 10:11 says "Now these things happened unto them (Jews) by way of example (Greek: Figure or Type) and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages are come. Revelation (Greek: uncover, unveil) and Daniel are obviously example of God hiding the truth from "the many" (2 Cor 2:17). Revelation was a sign that Jesus gave to John (Rev 1:1). The Spirit of Revelation is "hidden manna' that only overcomers can partake of (Rev 2:17). John called this Revelation the "testimony of Jesus" (1:2,9 / 22:20).
In Rev 19:10 he said "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". The letter of Revelation, which is seen of the natural, carnal man has hidden within its body the spirit of prophecy, which is the true revelation of the end time. Those who "hold the testimony of Jesus" overcome the Devil and "keep the commandments of God" (Rev 12:17,11). Jesus and his disciples held the spirit of prophecy (testimony of Jesus) and they were killed by those who held the letter. The letter kills but the spirit gives life! Nothing has changed. In the tribulation sincerely religious people, who hold the letter, will put to death those who hold the spirit (the testimony of Jesus - Rev 20:4). Those who hold the spirit of prophecy will not worship the beast or his image or take his mark because they recognize these. Those who see only the letter will fall away and take the mark because they do not see in the spirit. In Daniel's time all Israel but the three Hebrews bowed to the Image of the beast (Dan 3:7-12). In Elijah's time ten of the twelve tribes bowed to the Image of the beast (the golden calf). These are types of the end time falling away (1 Cor 10:11). The falling away in 2 Thes 2:3 just before the coming of the Lord (verse 1) will be because "God sendeth" those who don't love truth, "a working of error, that they should believe a lie" (verses 10,11). What could be more "God sent" than the word and what could be more "a working of error" than the letter that kills (2 Cor 3:6).
Because they accept man's interpretation (letter) they will not overcome and will be spewed out of the body of Christ and blotted out of the book of life (Rev 3:16,5). It is urgent brethren that we seek the truth now! History is my witness, the overwhelming majority of God's people have been wrong on any given matter. What has been popular has never been the truth. In most cases this is because of respect for men and because the letter can be made less threatening to the flesh, and costs nothing to obtain. What religion were you before you became what you are now? Did you think you were right then, before you discovered you were wrong? Could you be wrong now? Then you must "seek out your own salvation with fear and trembling". "Cursed is the man that trusts in man" (Jer 17:5). Don't trust in yourself, or your religious leaders, or me. Trust in your Savior and the Word of God. Since "the sum of thy words is truth", do you know enough of the word to make up your mind? If you haven't diligently studied the word and you have made up your mind then you trust in man and you will be cursed. I offer you in the chapters ahead understanding that I received from God, but then everyone says that. You won't know if this is true unless you pray and study the word. Before long you will have to come to an opinion on these things and I pray for you to have eyes to see.
Pray for me for this also.