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Plēroō Passage Review
Throughout this series, we've looked only at specific fulfillments of specific Old Testament prophecies as explicitly defined by the authors of the New Testament. While there are references to Old Testament prophecy outside of these passages, the lack of the verb plēroō leaves it ambiguous whether the authors are alluding to the Old Testament or claiming a fulfillment or prophecy.
While our standards have been strict, this was only to rule out any possible misidentification of prophetic fulfillment. Our current data set is also valuable in that it is limited to how Jesus and the apostles understood textual prophecies from the Old Testament – as we attempt to understand textual prophecies in the Old and New Testaments.
With that in mind, let's review our five points of prophecy:
Point One: Prophecies usually have multiple fulfillments
This one should not be a surprise to anyone who has studied prophecy. I went into this expecting to see it and was not surprised.
I was, however, surprised by how few prophecies only have one fulfillment. I was aware that multiple fulfillments were not unusual. I was not aware that singular fulfillments are unusual.
Point Two: The context may be misleading in prophecy
This one was a huge surprise for me. I went in expecting the larger context to explain away all seeming inconsistencies, but the larger contexts of the originals and the fulfillments generally make the inconsistencies bigger. It's kind of shocking just how little attention Jesus and the apostles pay to the original context of the verses they quote, when we've been told all our theological lives that "context is king."
Point Three: Past, Present, and Future do not matter in prophecy. Prophecies solely about singular future events are the minority.
At first glance, the second part of this point may seem like a retread of Point One – and in a way, it is. But it is important to stress the high levels of chronological schizophrenia at work here. Past, Present, and Future are meaningless concepts in prophecy.
A prophecy already fulfilled may be fulfilled again. A prophecy about a future event may also be about a past event. One paragraph of prophecy may have one line about the past, one line about the past which also looks forward to the future, and another line about multiple past and future events.
Again, this is in complete opposition to the 'common sense' definition of prophecy as being about future events. Looking at the Bible, it is clear that prophecy is far more than prediction.
Point Four: The exact wording does not matter in prophecy, or we have a different version of the Old Testament than Jesus
I was utterly dumbfounded by this because it goes against every Protestant jot-and-tittle instinct I have. And yet it cannot be denied that either Jesus and the apostles had a different Greek/Hebrew text than us or they didn't give a flying flip about exact quotations.
Even if they did have a different version, God chose not to preserve it for us. So even if these are exact quotations of a different version, apparently God thought it was fine to not preserve that exact wording.
Point Five: A passage does not have to be explicitly prophetic to be prophecy
This one did not surprise me, since the Psalms in particular are commonly seen as both about the life of David and Prophetic. We might even consider this a subset of the 'context doesn't matter' principle. It should, however, give us pause about what other seemingly non-prophetic passages may be prophetic.
There are our five points based solely on the conditions mentioned at the beginning of this series (Old Testament prophecies with explicit fulfillment in the New Testament). But there's one more plēroō passage that's worth taking into account that we're going to look at next time.
Now this particular plēroō passage is something of an odd duck. It technically doesn't fulfill our conditions, because it doesn't refer to any specific Old Testament passage. Instead, it refers the entirety of the Old Testament, and in my opinion, completely explains why the New Testament interprets the Old Testament in the way it does.
That's a big statement, so bear with me until next time.
Next: [BTT043] Luke 24:44-46/ The Entire Old Testament