True story from the Jacksonville
A man goes to a party and has much too much
to drink. His friends plead with him to let them take him home.
He says no -- he only lives a mile away.
About five blocks from the party, the police
pull the man over for weaving and ask him to get out of the car
and walk the line.
Just as he starts, the police radio blares
out a notice of a robbery taking place in a house just a block
away. The police tell the man to stay put, saying that they will
be right back. They hop a fence and run down the street to the
The guy waits and waits, and in his condition
probably around 5 minutes later he thinks he's waited long enough.
He gets into the car and drives home.
When he gets home, he tells his wife he is
going to bed, and to tell anyone who might come looking for him
that he has the flu and has been in bed all day.
Two hours later the police knock on the door.
The man's wife answers the door. The police ask if her husband
is there. His wife says yes, but that he has the flu and has been
in bed all day.
The police produce his driver's license.
Then they ask to see his car. She wants to
They insist, so she takes them to the garage.
She opens the door.
There, sitting in the garage, is their police
car, still running, with all the lights still flashing.
... A true story, told by the driver at his
first AA meeting.
What does this story have to do with tonight's
I just thought it was funny and wanted to get
If you have your Bibles, turn to the last chapter
of the Gospel of John, Chapter 21. I will read verses 15-25 from
the English Standard Version:
15 When they had finished breakfast,
Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me
more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I
love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
16 He said to him a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord;
you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
17 He said to him the third time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because
he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to
him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus
said to him, "Feed my sheep.
18 Truly, truly, I say to you,
when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever
you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands,
and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want
19 (This he said to show by what
kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he
said to him, "Follow me."
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple
whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining
at table close to him and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going
to betray you?"
21 When Peter saw him, he said
to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?"
22 Jesus said to him, "If it is
my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You
23 So the saying spread abroad
among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus
did not say to him that he was not to die, but, "If it is my will
that he remain until I come, what is that to you?"
24 This is the disciple who is
bearing witness about these things, and who has written these
things, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 Now there are also many other
things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I
suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that
would be written.
I want to call your attention to the phrase,
"If it is my will that he remain until I come, what
is that to you?" I think that this passage provides
a basic tenet to understand how to interpret scripture.
To look at in context, in verse 19, John tells
us that Yeshua had just informed Peter as to how he would die.
In verse 21, Peter, in turn, seeing John, and asks Yeshua about
21 When Peter saw him, he said
to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If
it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?
You follow me!"
Apparently, due to Yeshua's answer, many people
misinterpreted Yeshua's statement concerning the death of John.
If those that were with Him personally had such trouble, who are
we to think that we are better able to discern the truth?
The intent of this message is just to provide
a preliminary understanding about hermeneutics, particularly as
it relates to eschatology. Hermeneutics
is, simply, the science of interpreting the Bible. I will
speak about eschatology in a little while.
No doubt, most everyone believes they interpret
Scripture correctly. Have you ever wondered why two people can
read the same passage of scripture and come up with two totally
different interpretations? It is most likely because their paradigms,
or models of interpretation, are different. Biblical hermeneutics
sets out to help us all to know what is true. To properly understand
and interpret scripture, we must agree to accept some important
basic things as true. More often than not, it means we must surrender
our cherished "paradigms", our previously held beliefs, to a correct
interpretation of scripture. Essentially, Scripture must be our
standard for truth and we must learn to interpret with honesty
Who can tell me what is the most
important tenet (belief) in studying scripture? [Wait-eth for
The first major tenet of hermeneutics
is to accept that the Bible is the word of God. If
you don't believe the Bible is the word of God, there is no sense
in ever trying to either teach or learn anything from it, as everything
is then subject to one's own paradigm of life and experience,
without just regard for any standard to rest upon.
Who can tell me another tenet of
Subsequent to believing the Bible is God's
word, one of the basic tenets of hermeneutics is that scripture
What does it mean for Scripture to interpret
Another is that scripture never disagrees with
Still another tenet is that of audience relevance.
What is audience relevance?
Are you familiar with the word paradigm? The
word paradigm simply means a model or a map. We look at life through
our paradigms; Inside each of us is a map or model of what life
ought to be like. Our paradigms are representations of life and
the way we think.
We all interpret life through our paradigms.
We look at life and compare it to our model to decide if life
is good, bad, right or wrong. Most people don't question
the models they have developed, and assume that they have the
correct models already.
We all have paradigms about eschatology.
Eschatology is a word that simply means the
doctrine of last things, but most people think that it means the
destruction of the physical world and the end of everything as
we know it. Rather, eschatology is actually about the
last things of God's plan of redemption, not the
last things on planet earth!
At one point in time, most everyone thought
that the earth was flat. A paradigm shift occurred when men discovered
that the earth was sort of round!
If you think about the Apostle Paul (Saul of
Tarsus), he had a major paradigm shift on the road to Damascus!
He changed from be a persecutor of the faithful to being faithful
Now, everyone who has ever believed that Yeshua
of Nazareth is the true Anointed of God (the Messiah) has had
a major paradigm shift. Mine came about in January 1980, and life
has not been the same since!
Apocalyptic Language - Another
key in understanding Scripture!
Understanding about apocalyptic language will
undoubtedly help us to understand scriptures pertaining to the
end times. Oddly, a lot of modern bible interpreters, including
the popular ones on tv and radio, will acknowledge that there
is apocalyptic language in the Tanach, but when those passages
are quoted in the Gospels or the book of Revelation, they want
to interpret literally. Essentially, they throw out the basic
tenets of hermeneutics, especially that of audience relevance,
and much of the Christian world considers their words as true,
over and above Scripture!
In the book of Isaiah, there are a couple of
passages that give us clues to interpreting Scripture. They concern
the destruction of Babylon and Egypt respectfully. Similar language
is used in the New Testament, so it is important to see the similarities.
Isaiah 13 - Babylon1
The oracle concerning Babylon which
Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.
3 I myself have commanded my consecrated
ones, and I have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my
proudly exulting ones.
6 Wail, for the day of the LORD
is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!
7 Therefore all hands will be feeble,
and every human heart will melt.
9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes,
cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation
and to destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of the heavens
and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will
be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.
11 I will punish the world for
its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end
to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of
Isaiah 19 - Egypt
1 An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold,
the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the
idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of
the Egyptians will melt within them.
The End of the Age
There is an interesting insight regarding the
end times given to us in Paul's writings to the Thessalonians.
In his first letter and the first chapter of his 2nd, using apocalyptic
language, he provides a picture of what to expect when the Lord
1 Th 1:10 ... and to wait for
his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who
delivers us from the wrath to come
.1 Th 3:11-13 Now may our God and
Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and
may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another
and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts
blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming
of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
1 th 4:13-18 But we do not want
you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that
you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since
we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus,
God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this
we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive,
who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those
who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from
heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel,
and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ
will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will
be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord
in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore
encourage one another with these words.
1 Th 5:1- Now concerning the times
and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written
to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the
Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying,
"There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come
upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they
will not escape.
2 Th 1:7-10 ...and to grant relief
to you who are afflicted as well as us, when the Lord Jesus is
revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire,
inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those
wh0o do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer
the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence
of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes
on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled
at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was
In the second letter to the Thessalonians,
he has to assure them that it has not come yet!
Obviously, if they were looking for a cataclysmic melting of the
earth and destruction of the known universe as their paradigm
for the end times, they would clearly have known the end had not
However, to the Thessalonians, the coming of
the Lord could not have been a cataclysmic event that they were
looking for, since, A) the earth was not destroyed in a fiery
apocalypse and B) they were upset because they were being taught
that the Lord had already come! Paul obviously had to correct
First, the correction:
2 Th 2:1-3 Now concerning the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him,
we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed,
either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be
from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let
no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless
the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed,
the son of destruction, ...
Followed by the words of comfort:
2 Th 2:15-17 So then, brothers,
stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by
us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. 16 Now may our
Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and
gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort
your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
So, what does this have to do with
[Mention educational study. 5% think,
15% think they think, 80% would rather die than think.]
There is not enough time to really delve into
this subject any more tonight. Without coming to any real conclusions,
what I hope is that I have whetted your appetite for understanding
how to interpret scripture with a proper hermeneutic.
Incidentally, Yeshua rebuked his disciples
more than once for their lack of understanding. Remember, those
that walked with him had the benefit of his interpretation. What
you should know is that one of the things that Yeshua promised
to all believers for all time, was that He would send the Ruach
Ha Kodesh to them. God, the Holy Spirit, helps us today. Just
as Yeshua, in the flesh, helped those that walked with him 2,000
5 When the disciples reached the
other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread.
6 Jesus said to them, "Watch and
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
7 And they began discussing it
among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."
8 But Jesus, aware of this, said,
"O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves
the fact that you have no bread?
9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you
not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many
baskets you gathered?
10 Or the seven loaves for the
four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?
11 How is it that you fail to understand
that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees and Sadducees."
12 Then they understood that he
did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the
teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:5-12)