Prophecy, History, and Anointed Scholarship – Nathan Shaw
Recently I woke up with the following phrase in my mind, “If you don’t follow the traces, you won’t discover history.” God highlighted two things to me:
- Firstly, the importance of understanding history. Those who understand history have a much greater prophetic authority than those who don’t. History is not a mystery to God. With His help we can correctly discern the past, the present, and the future.
- Secondly, God is raising up voices from among those who are diligent students of biblical and secular history. They will speak with a prophetic authority that will bring clarity to areas of confusion and misunderstanding.
Most Christians do not dispute that knowing and understanding the Bible is foundational to living a successful Christian life. Fewer stop to consider that much of the Bible is history. By acknowledging the importance of understanding God’s Word we also acknowledge the importance of understanding history. History is prophetic. It speaks to future generations. That is why Paul said that Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was written for our instruction (1 Corinthians 10:1-11 NASB). To make his point especially clear Paul warned those who failed to appreciate the prophetic nature of Israel’s journey: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 NASB).
People, generations and nations leave behind traces of their existence as they journey through this world. Like a detective, a good historian can recreate events from the traces that are left. Traces are clues. Following the clues leads to discovering the bigger picture. A good historian won’t assume what a clue means. They will “follow” the clue. In other words they will keep digging and exploring and examining the historic world until they make discoveries that are not obvious at first sight. King Solomon wisely said, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2).
Those who ask for God’s help as they “search out a matter” make discoveries that others miss. In fact the attitude of pursuit and discovery is at the heart of true discipleship. Jesus’ foundational teaching on discipleship is found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Disciples ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-11). They are learners who go on journeys of discovery. As they do this their lives become prophetic. Even angels long to “read” our lives because of the profound prophetic lessons they convey. Being prophetic doesn’t just mean knowing the future. It means that as we journey through this life our lives become prophetic messages.
The past can be very important. It is even important to understand the personal history of our own lives. The past holds keys that unlock the future. That’s why it is important not to ignore it. The Bible makes it clear that the past and the future are to inform the present. God is multidimensional. He is not limited to time and place. Because we are seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) we can come to see and understand things from God’s multidimensional perspective. When we look through God’s eyes, history comes alive.
The Old and New Testaments represent worlds that are vastly different from the modern world. Understanding Ancient Near Eastern culture causes the Old Testament to come alive. Without this understanding the modern reader is left totally bamboozled. “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19). Huh?! What is that suppose to mean?!
Likewise, understanding Second Temple Jewish mindset (the mindset of people living during the time of Jesus and the early church) brings greater understanding of the New Testament. The book of Enoch is a good example of Second Temple Jewish literature. The book of Enoch is not part of the Bible but because it was written during the Second Temple period it gives valuable insight into that world view. Jude verses 14 and 15 are a direct quote from the book of Enoch.(1)
For modern readers the Bible can be hard to understand. God is raising up scholars who will bring understanding. Their scholarship will be anointed, honest, and presented with humility. In many instances the conclusions will be indisputable. But it is important to understand that not all research is supposed to lead to indisputable conclusions. Some begin a journey of discovery only for others to come along and take it further. Even research that is later disproved can be a valuable part of the process of discovery.
History is a vast source of treasure. Many of the greatest treasures are still unmined. Here is what we can expect:
- There will be significant new discoveries of artifacts and writings from the ancient world.
- There will be insightful new scholarship based on existing discoveries.
- Apostles and prophets will be raised up with powerful anointings to remove the historical and theological veils that blind many in the body of Christ. These apostles and prophets will not be arrogant—they will speak with authority, humility and love.
- God will release an increased anointing to make the ancient world come alive.
- There will be a fresh appreciation of the prophetic authority of history. This will cause the prophetic authority of the body of Christ to increase dramatically.
Be prepared to have your understanding of the past, the present, and the future, expanded, and even revolutionized. Limited mindsets deny many the fullness that God has for them. In the days to come, anointed bible and history scholars will be used to set many people free and advance God’s purposes on earth. They will not only inspire a love for truth but a love for the Truth Himself (John 14:6). True disciples embrace a lifestyle of pursuit and discovery. They ask, confident that they will receive. They seek, confident that they will find. They knock, confident that the door will be opened to them. We live in exciting times.
(1) 1 Peter 3:19-20, 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 also refer to imprisoned angels or spirits. Scholars have identified that these verses refer to the story of the fallen angels recounted in the book of Enoch. See for example The New International Commentary of the New Testament, The First Epistle of Peter by Peter H. Davids; Word Biblical Commentary, Jude-2 Peter, by Dr. Richard J. Bauckham; The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible and Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ by Dr. Michael S. Heiser.
© 2017 Nathan Shaw.
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