Much of the OT prophetic truth is misinterpreted by the NT church.
One of my favorite authors on the subject of Biblical Prophecy, B.W. Newton, has suggested that as much as two-thirds of our Bible is misinterpreted and misunderstood because the reader sees “poetic language” instead of an accurate depiction of a future, Last Days event!
It may, I believe, be safely said that the thoughts that have prevailed respecting the “poetry” of Scripture, have nullified the practical use, or rather I might say, falsified the testimony, of two thirds of the word of God. (B.W. Newton, Aids To Prophetic Enquiry)
Moreover, he argues that there is “no poetic exaggeration in the language of Scripture” but that those texts are depicting a yet future display of Almighty God’s sovereign power and judgment during the Second Coming events and the establishment of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on this earth!
The consequences of believing that the exaggerations of Poetry are to be found in Scripture, have been most disastrous. Indeed, it is difficult to see how the great truth of verbal inspiration can consistently be maintained in connection with such a notion: for it seems like mockery to say that each word is carefully inspired by the Holy Ghost in order that the meaning may be conveyed with rigorous precision, and at the same time to speak of poetic embellishment or exaggeration.
And the error is the worse, because it necessarily affects those parts of Scripture most, which we ought chiefly to receive with reverent caution and exactness — I mean those parts which speak of the yet future periods of Divine interference in the Earth.” (B.W. Newton, Aids To Prophetic Enquiry)
I have to agree with him as I see how often the End Times drama and subsequent Millennial Reign of Christ is passed over in the reading of OT scriptures. One readily apparent example are the multiple depictions of the Millennium in Isaiah which are regularly disregarded (Isa. 2,4,11,18,24,35,60-62,65-66). Our 21st Century minds and eyes are locked in with a past fulfillment or a First Coming fulfillment. The fact is, there are more prophecies regarding the Millennium in Isaiah than in any other Old Testament book. “Can you find them?”
To “Beat our swords into plowshares” or “Not to beat…”
A few years ago I heard a much respected Bible teacher in the body of Christ make jokes about the apparent contradictions in the Old Testament: where we are told to both “Beat our swords into plowshares”(Isa 2:4) and “Beat your plowshares into swords” (Joel 3:10).
Well, if you rightly divide up the Scriptures, you will see that Isaiah is writing about the Millennium and that Joel is writing to the gathered Gentile nations at the battle of Armageddon! The truth of the matter is that when the Final Battle is over we will enter into the time when swords will be used for farming.
Psalm 68 – an example of a End Times Psalm
Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered,
And let those who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish before God.
But let the righteous be glad; let them exult before God;
Yes, let them rejoice with gladness.
Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts,
Whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him.
As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish before God.
This scene is also portrayed in Zechariah 14:12 where we are told that “their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth”. This is a description of the Final Battle at Jerusalem, the Lord of Hosts and His armies battling with the combined forces of the Antichrist! This is not “poetic exaggeration”. It will actually happen as the Lord has described it.
For further examples of Prophetic Psalms that are NOT “poetic exaggeration” please read: Ps. 2, 18, 47, 50, 68, 83, 97, 110.
Psalm 18:7-9 All Future!
Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.