We are going to begin with “where to start” studying with someone new, or if you want to get yourself started. Why should we study these things? It is because the Bible always comes from the context that you are thoroughly familiar with these concepts. It assumes you already know it. Because people don’t, they have redefined these concepts to fit into their own misconceptions. So, the first area that a person needs to understand is God’s time.
Time in the Bible is cyclical, not linear. Everything will “come around” again. We are moving forward to the past. Everything will be restored like the Garden of Eden. Eschatology is understood as pertaining to the Redemption and the Messiah. It is seen from six reference points: the historical; Messiah’s 1st coming; Messiah’s 2nd coming; the Birth-pains; the Messianic Kingdom and the World to c
Come. It is studied in the context of the festivals, the Temple and its services, and a realization that all of the Tanak teaches the coming of Messiah.
So, these areas need to be understood if you are going to understand prophecy. If you draw a circle, at the top you would put the L’Olam Va’ed, which means eternity before Genesis. Then you have the Creation and Gan Eden, or the Garden of Eden. This begins the time period of 2000 years called Tohu, meaning “destruction.” It was during this time period that man fell, the first murder, the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel.
The next 2000 years, starting with Abraham, you have the period of Torah, or “instruction.” It was during this period that we have the Torah given, the Kingdom of Israel, David and the Tanak being written. The next 2000 years is called the “Yom’ot Mashiach” which means “the days of the Messiah.”
The Jewish people expected the Messiah during this time period, and he indeed did come. At the end of this 2000 year period, we enter into a 1000 year period called the “Atid Lavo” or the “coming age” also called the Day of the Lord, the Lord’s Day, and the Messianic Kingdom. When this period ends, everything will be restored and we enter back into the time period called the L’Olam Va’ed again, or eternity future, at the top of our circle.
There are certain concepts to understand eschatologically if you are going to understand prophecy. You need to realize that history is unfulfilled prophecy, and prophecy is unfulfilled history (Ecc 1.9, 3.15; Rom 15.4). Another concept is called “here now, but not yet” as seen in Num 24.17. Also, prophecy is not limited in time. They can have numerous fulfillments. Lastly, you cannot look at eschatology on one level. There are four levels to look at it from (Peshat, Remez, Drash and Sowd).
When there seems to be a contradiction, look at the levels in relation to biblical time. Many times, these “contradictions” are not seen as such because there are different levels. There are many examples of this, so keep this in mind.
There are many concepts to study when you get started. You need to know the festivals, the two theaters, the Day of the Lord, the dual concept of the Messiah, the Two Calendars in use in the Bible, the Seven Thousand Year Plan of God, the Temple and its services, Hebrew idioms, phrases and basic history.
Another area that needs to be studied is the geography of the land. Believers need to know where the Shephelah Valley is, the Valleys of Sukkot, Hinnom, Tyropean and Kidron. You need to know where Judea and Samaria are, where the Tophet is. The rivers, lakes and brooks are essential to knowing the geography of the land. You need to know where the Jordanian wilderness is, Edom, Moab and Petra and Pella. The different mountains have meaning, so geography is essential.
Another area to study is the Temple and its services. At least 80% of the Bible relates to the Temple. Study the floor-plans, the gates and courts. These have meaning and are mentioned in the Scriptures. You need to know where the Holy Place is, and the Holy of Holies (this will help you know where the Abomination of Desolation will be set up). Where did the Sanhedrin meet? Where is the Altar and the Menorah? Where were the Bazaars of Annas, where Yeshua overturned the money-changer tables? What court was he standing in when he stood and said John 7.37-38? Study the Korbanot (offerings) and the prayers used in the Temple. Where were the animals slain? What gate did they bring them in? They are very eschatological. What gate did the priests leave and enter for the Beit Ha Shoevah ceremony at Sukkot? Where are the Azazel and the Parah Adumah bridges located?
The Priesthood and the Levites are important characters to know. When did the 24 courses serve in the Temple? When was each course relieved by the incoming course? Another area to study is the basic history of the Jewish people because God structured Israel’s history to teach about the Messiah and the coming of the Kingdom.
Another key is to read the Scriptures as if you were Jewish and replace the English words with their Hebrew equivalent and you will be surprised. The same for places. This will help you see the Scriptures in their Jewish context, and the Hebrew names mean something.
An important area that is largely neglected is to study the Hebrew language. Obtain a working knowledge of Hebrew. Yeshua said every letter and stroke teaches about him. Midrashic Name Derivations and Chaistic structures are used everywhere. Know what the numerical value of letters are and what Hebrew parallelisms are. Hebrew poetry is used in the Psalms and Proverbs, as well as other books.
A very important area to know is the study of Hebrew idioms, phrases and concepts. The Book of Revelation is almost entirely written in idioms and phrases and called “apocalyptic” writing. This was a very popular way to convey spiritual concepts from just before and after Yeshua. The last area to start with would be to study the culture.
Know the ceremonies outside of Scripture, like the naming of a baby, the coronation of kings, wedding and burial customs. The culture can be studied in three main areas, like halachah, customs of the people and the Temple culture.
Now, all these things don’t need to be memorized. Write notes in your Bible, cut out maps, the Temple floor-plans, eschatological timelines and put them in your Bible. Write down the months of the calendars used and know the difference between the two. Anything you might use to understand the Scriptures better, put it in your Bible and use them.
These are the areas that you need to get started with someone new, or yourself. It will not be mastered overnight, but they are things that you need to have a grasp of if you want to understand the Scriptures.
One of the most important things to do is this, find yourself a teacher who knows what they are doing. Find one that you can learn from while you are growing in these areas. We would also encourage you to ask the Lord for discernment because there a many teachers out there that sound like they know what they are doing, and use Hebrew terms and dress themselves on talits (prayer shawls) and kippot, but they are leading many astray, so be careful. Discernment is a gift from God and very important in these last days, so ask him for it. The important things is to get started, be humble enough to change what you believe if the Lord shows you different. If you do, he will show you more and more.
Answers to the test in “How well do you know the Scriptures- Part 1:
1) The “old testament”
2) Torah (five books of Moses); the Nevi’im (the Prophets) and the Ketuvim (the writings)=TNK is an acronym= “Tanak”
3) branch, banner, arm of the Lord, Son of Man, bridegroom, sun of righteousness, lion of Judah, lamb, Shepherd, king, prince to name a few
4) Tishri 1
5) two: religious and civil
6) L’Olam Va’ed
7) Sheol, Hebron, Abraham’s Bosom, Paradise
8) Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome
9) Tohu (destruction), Torah (instruction), Yom’ot Mashiach (days of the Messiah) and Atid lavo (coming or future age)
10) Yom Kippur
11) Shavuot (Pentecost)
12) Hashem, Adonai, Ha Makom (the place), Shamayim (heaven), Shalom (peace)
13) Elul 1, the beginning of a season called “teshuvah” or repentance
15) Chesvan 17
16) peshat (literal), remez (hint), drash (parabolic) and sowd (mystical, hidden, secret)
17) Rosh Ha Shannah
18) Yom Kippur
20) south central Judean foothills
21) olah (burnt), minchah (bread), shelem (peace), chata’at (sin) and asham (guilt)
22) compare your drawing with one you can find. Cut one out and put it in your Bible for future reference
23) in the Faiyum, middle Egypt
24) Tishri, Chesvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar, Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul (used before Exo 12)
25) Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul, Tishri, Chesvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar (used after Exo 12)
26) Tishri 1
27) Unleavened Bread
28) Rosh Ha Shannah
30) house of bread
31) check your spelling
32) approximately three o’clock in the afternoon
33) see question 9
34) Rosh Ha Shannah (Tishri 1)
36) Pesach (Passover), Hag Ha Matzot (Unleavened Bread), Bikkurim (First Fruits), Shavuot (Pentecost), Rosh Ha Shannah (head of the year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Tabernacles)
37) Light to heavy, equivalent expressions, a principle derived from one verse, a principle derived from two or more verses, a general statement to a particular one, reference from a similar passage, reference from the entire context
38) Law (Torah, instruction), Commandments (mitzvoth, good works), Statutes (chukim, hard to explain the meanings), Judgments (mishpatim, decrees and ordinances), Testimonies (edut, prophecies)
39) resurrection, judgment, coronation and wedding
40) redemption, Messiah
41) the golden age of Israel, David’s throne is restored, Messiah has come, man and nature restored, the resurrection has taken place, righteousness in the earth, the Day of the Lord has come, the Torah is taught everywhere, idolatry is gone, the exiles have returned to the land, true worship is restored
42) agent, redeem, creation, redemption, faith
43) love (ahav(, knowledge (da’at) and commandments (mitzvoth, good works)
44) educational and judicial
46) historical, Messiah’s 1st coming, Messiah’s 2nd coming, the Birth-pains, Messianic Kingdom and the World to Come
47) that there would two messiah’s, the Messiah Ben Joseph and the Messiah Ben David
48) where the Hinnom Valley and the Kidron Valley connect, south of Jerusalem
49) Pharaoh, Haman, Absalom, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, Manasseh, Amon, Jehoahaz, Jehoichim, Jehoichin, Zedekiah
50) Halachic and Aggadic, Aggadic
51) that Gentiles did not need to be ritually circumcised to be saved
53) appointment, rehearsal
56) Sadducees, Pharisees, Boethucians, Sicari, Zealots, Essenes, Theraputae, Am Ha Eretz, Chasdim, Nazarenes, Asia Minor, Babylonian and Alexandrian Jews
57) that Gentiles can enter the Kingdom of God without becoming Jews through ritual circumcision
58) The Temple Crier, called the “Ha Gever”
59) Hinnom, Tyropean and Kidron
60) the Jordanian Wilderness, on the east side of the Jordan River, from Pella in the north to Petra in the south