Rules

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The prophets of old packed away the mystery [1]. Modern prophets unpack it by the Spirit to solve riddles [2]. They validate what the Spirit tells them by these rules.

Divine meaning

Since God’s word is established forever [3], a metaphor/shadow means the same thing everywhere is it used. If a donkey is a metaphor of a prophet, everywhere there is a donkey, it is a metaphor of a prophet. This rule alone makes the metaphors humanly impossible to fabricate as it requires the interlocking of a double entendre found in all the scriptures. (This keeps us in awe)

Free-for-all allegory has been properly criticized because allegorical or metaphoric meanings produced in this manner have no way to be verified. We are persuaded by the loudest proponent of a meaning. This rule of "Divine meaning" dis-allows free-for-all allegory by setting an impossible standard for the use of allegory. Every donkey is a prophet, every garment is a work, etc. such that every scripture participates in a hidden picture of Christ. Such a phenomenon is impossible for men to produce and therefore when we observe it occurring, we can have confidence that it is God’s intended meaning.

Consequence of lack of Divine meaning The resulting interpretation is likely to be free-for-all allegory and eisegesis.

Christocentric

The riddle of Samson [4] tells us Christ is the answer to all the prophetic riddles. If the shadow (prophetic riddle) doesn’t look like Christ, it isn’t a good shadow. (This keeps us focused)

Jesus told the disciples on the road to Emmaus that all the scriptures spoke of him [5], and chastised the scribes and Pharisees for searching the scriptures to seek life, but rejecting him, since they spoke of him. [6] If we don’t see Christ in the scriptures, we have missed the primary purpose of the scriptures. [7] And if Christ is not central to a proposed interpretation, it is to be rejected. This rule alone separates SP from Gnosticism, Kabbalah and Midrash.

Consequence of lack of Christocentric meaning: You miss the point of the scriptures in revealing God through Christ.

Self-contained

And since we are to let everyman be a liar and God be true [8], outside references are not required to solve the riddles and see the shadows. (This keeps us devoted)

Not only are we not going to bring in extra-biblical books to determine the meaning of scripture, but we will not make apostles out of historians by elevating their writings concerning the meaning of scripture. We will not make apostles out of document critics. Errors to documents spoil the hidden narrative and once the hidden narrative is known, the proper document can be discerned. Nor will we accept what God has shown you personally, unless He has shown it to you through the scriptures.

Consequence of using outside resources: You make the historian, or the document specialist into an apostle, giving him power over the interpretation of scripture.

Self examination

Jer 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Our assumptions about scripture and the rules we use to guide our interpretation effect the ultimate meaning that we get from scripture. It is important to evaluate those assumptions and rules to ensure that they permit the scriptures to speak for themselves rather than permitting us to impose our own meaning upon them.

My assumptions and convictions are these:

1. The Bible is the word of God which has been protected for us in such a manner that it is considered infallible in every jot and tittle. By using the proper methods of interpretation, as taught by the apostles, errant manuscripts may be discerned.
2. The meaning of the Bible is contained in multiple layers as described by the church from the earliest days, as a literal and a spiritual layer. These layers are in complete agreement with each other in every way.
3.The hidden spiritual layer is discerned using methods taught by the apostles in the New Testament. It is called the meat of the gospel, whereas the literal meaning is called the milk of the gospel. The milk is sufficient for salvation. The meat provides the spiritual nourishment to enable a mature faith and walk.

The rules are discerned using the same methods as discerning SP, so it should be expected that those practicing literal methods may disagree with how the rules are determined. That doesn't matter. SP needs to be evaluated to see if it is self-consistent as well as if it produces verifiable. meaningful and orthodox results.

Consequence of not doing self-examination: The measure of truth becomes the individual and the standard changes to meet your own goals.

Humility

Since God has said that not a jot or tittle will pass away [9], until one knows why each jot and tittle is there, a complete understanding has not been derived. (This keeps us humble)

Such humility is exemplified by one who listens to others’ opinions and based on scripture, tests all things to hold fast to those things which are good [10]. Such humility is missing in one who insists that only his opinion is correct, and uses phrases like “The Bible says so” while pulling passages out of context and displaying an attitude of unwillingness to discuss the meaning or context of those passages.

Consequence of lack of humility The scriptures are wrested or twisted to mean what you want them to mean.

2Pe 3:16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Complete

Since man shall live “by every word” [11] [12], a doctrine is not sound until it sums up and includes all that God has said about it. (This keeps us searching)

This attitude of searching recognizes that the Bible is full of meaning, and that perhaps one person in his own studies has not yet identified or considered all the applicable passages. This attitude is missing when a few verses are used as a shotgun to force a discussion to a preconceived conclusion.

Consequence of lack of completeness Conclusions may be premature.

Pr 18:13 ¶ He that answereth a matter before he heareth [it], it [is] folly and shame unto him.

Rigorous

Since every word concerning life and death must be established by two or three witnesses [13], every shadow must have at least two supporting scripture witnesses. This means we cannot define a shadow with a single verse. The shadows speak of Christ and the cross. There is no other topic which addresses life and death for all men. (This keeps us rigorous in methodology)

A shadow is a hidden meaning which is not contained in the literal meaning [14]. Shadows are not the product of a wild imagination and are therefore verifiable by the scriptures. When a shadow has two or three witnesses, it should be regarded as a tentative meaning. This rule specifically forbids a single verse from becoming definitive.

Consequence of lack of rigor: Conclusions may be premature and/or wrong.

If one skims through the rules without comprehending them, or like Naaman hears the instruction but is insulted at their apparent simplicity [15], the results of exegesis will look like nothing but the free-for-all allegory of others. It should not be expected that using the 'Syrian waters' of free-for-all allegory should produce a result any different than before; free-for-all allegory with none of the verifiability of the Hebrew hermeneutic.

References

  1. Pr 25:2 ¶ [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.
  2. 2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
  3. 2Sa 7:25 And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish [it] for ever, and do as thou hast said.
  4. Jud 14:18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What [is] sweeter than honey? and what [is] stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.
  5. Jud 14:18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What [is] sweeter than honey? and what [is] stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.
  6. Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
  7. Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
  8. Ro 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
  9. Mt 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
  10. 1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
  11. Mt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
  12. Lu 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
  13. De 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; [but] at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
  14. Heb 10:1 ¶ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
  15. 2Ki 5:11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.