Interpretation rules for understanding the Bible prophecy

 In Frequently Asked Questions, Scripture

Interpretation rules for understanding the Bible prophecy

Today we asked Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum

How should we interpret Bible prophecy?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:11

Today we investigate Prophecy and Scripture by Dr David L Cooper, the late founder and director of the Biblical Research Society.



 When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicates clearly otherwise.


The Law of Double Reference is the principle of associating similar or related ideas, which are usually separated from one another by a long period of time, and which are blended into a single picture like the blending of pictures by a stereopticon.

 A clear cut example of this law may be found in Isaiah 11:1-5.  Verses 1 and 2 refer to the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and verses 3 to 5 tell of the second time He comes to earth.


 The Law of Recurrence involves the recording of an event and the repetition of the account which gives added details.  This principle may be illustrated by the artist who “blocks out the portrait” of a person at the first sitting and adds details at subsequent sittings.

 Example:  Ezekiel 38:1-39:16

Chapter 38 gives a complete account of the coming invasion of Israel by Russia and the subsequent destruction of the Russian army in Israel.  Chapter 39 then repeats the account from the beginning giving additional details.


A Text apart from its Context is a Pretext.  A verse can only mean what it means in      its context and must not be taken out of its context.

 Example: Zechariah 13:6

This verse is often used to prophecy of the Messiah.  Pulled out of its context, it does indeed sound like it refers to Jesus.  But the context in vs2-6 is speaking of ‘false prophets’.  Verse 6 cannot refer to Jesus unless Jesus is a false prophet.  This is the danger of studying a verse by itself rather than in context.  The common saying, “You can prove anything by the Bible,” is only true when this law is violated.

(These 4 rules were formulated by Dr David L Cooper, the late founder and director of the Biblical Research Society.)

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Of interest, we need to mention Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s Book Footsteps of the Messiah.

Using the Book of Revelation as an end time road map, Dr. Fruchtenbaum weaves the prophetic writings of the Hebrew Scriptures and Messiah s teachings to reveal God s plan for the future of Israel and the world. Dr. Fruchtenbaum gathers the many pieces of the prophetic puzzle and places them in sequential order with the result summed up by Dr. Charles Ryrie in his foreword: Those who read this book cannot help but be instructed and stimulated by his work. Footsteps is detailed, thorough and scholarly, yet written in a style that the average reader can easily understand. With a wealth of wisdom drawn from his Jewish background and extensive research, the author even tackles the problem passages to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire range of prophetic truth.

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