Derek Prince - Should We Interpret Prophecy Literal Or Allegorical
This excerpt is from: How to Approach Biblical Prophecy
Number five is in a different category. You find the principle in Revelation 19:10. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. We’re not talking about just the words of prophecy we’re talking about the spirit of prophecy. And all biblical prophecy focuses in the Lord Jesus He’s the central theme of all biblical prophecy from Genesis to Revelation.
Jesus said in John John 16 : 8 "When He the Spirit of truth has come He will guide you into all truth. He will glorify me for He shall not speak from Himself." That’s one acid test of any manifestation whether it’s of the Holy Spirit or not. If it’s of the Holy Spirit it will glorify Jesus. It will focus our attention on Jesus. It will show us it something new we didn’t see about Jesus. Prophecies that glorify men are not from the Holy Spirit. In fact, when the Holy Spirit begins to move if human personalities are allowed to move into His place and take the center of the stage the Holy Spirit politely withdraws. He’s done that frequently in this century. There have been many moves of the Holy Spirit that were quenched because men put themselves in the center of the stage and wanted the focus on themselves. But any true prophetic revelation will always glorify Jesus.
Principle number six, give words their plain meaning; don’t be too spiritual. If you examine the many prophecies given about the first coming of Jesus and there must be at least twenty every one of them was fulfilled literally. He was born of a literal virgin not a metaphorical virgin. He was literally born in Bethlehem. He literally was called out of Egypt. He literally healed the sick. He was literally crucified very, very literally nothing spiritual or metaphorical about that. He was literally buried and, thank God He literally rose again from the dead. He literally ascended into heaven. You cannot find one example of prophecies concerning the first appearance of Jesus that were not fulfilled literally. There is no precedent there for making prophecy allegorical or spiritualizing it or interpreting it in some way other than the plain natural meaning of the words.
Now, some prophecies are allegorical and then it’s legitimate to interpret them allegorically. For instance, nobody supposes that the king of Greece is a goat or that the king of Persia was a ram. We know those are allegorical. But where the scripture does not warrant an allegorical interpretation it is a mistake to make it allegorical. I believe myself as we face the tremendous pressures and dangers of this latter time that the prophecies concerning this latter time are going to be fulfilled with frightening literalness. Things are really going to move out of their place. Things are going to fall from heaven. There are going to be real literal earthquakes more and more. It’s a mistake to make what is simple and plain spiritual and allegorical. And another thing I would like to say just in passing is Israel is Israel. That’s very simple but it’s very basic. Israel is not the church and the church is not Israel.
If you want a little study on that subject I have a book somewhere out there I think which is called Prophetic Destinies Who is Israel Who is the Church? The English version was called The Destiny of Israel and the Church. I give there, I think, 79 scriptures applying to Israel in the New Testament none of which applies to the church. So, please don’t be too spiritual. And that goes for a lot of other things. We won’t go into that but super-spirituality is a disease. Finally, bear in mind God’s total sovereignty and supremacy and His total justice. He is always righteous He never makes a mistake He’s never said anything that isn’t true. And brothers and sisters He’s never made a mistake in your life. You may think He has but He hasn’t. One of the things to benefit from the dealing of God is to acknowledge His absolute righteousness.