Symbolic mountains

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The Creation Concept


Symbolic mountains

Mountains of the Bible

Strange things happen to mountains

Overview of the mountains of prophecy

Mountains of Israel in Ezekiel 36

Biblical mountains in context

Ezekiel's mountains

Interpreting Old Testament Promises

Hidden Riches of Cyrus

Treasures of darkness

On abstaining from strong meat

What happened in the valley of Shittim

W.L. Alexander on Prophecy

Relation of the Old to the New Dispensation, by J. A. Alexander

Symbolism and the gospel

The mountains of prophecy

Treasures of darkness

Isaiah wrote that God will give the "treasures of darkness" and "hidden riches of secret places" to Cyrus, who was a type or figure of Christ. (Isaiah 45:3) Could those promises refer to secrets that have been hidden in Bible prophecy? The prophecies are messages of God couched in symbolic language. Jesus compared the kingdom of God to "hidden treasure:"

Matthew 13:44
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
What is the value of peace of mind? What is the value of wisdom? Job said "the price of wisdom is above rubies." (Job 28:18)

Proverbs 8:11
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Peter said the trial of our faith is "more precious than gold." (1 Peter 1:7)

Many things are plainly revealed in scripture, but there are also things that God has kept hidden from men.

Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Isaiah said God would speak to his people in "stammering lips" and in "another tongue". (Isaiah 28:11) Prophecy was revealed intermittently, over many centuries, by different prophets, and it was given in the language of types, figures, and metaphors, that need interpretation. Isaiah said the reason was so that people will not understand it. He said it was so that "they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." (Isaiah 28:13)

The prophecies of scripture were "sealed." (Isaiah 29:11, Daniel 12:9) The oracles of God were committed to the Jews, but the Jews did not benefit from it, (Romans 3:2, Hebrews 4:2) and they remained subject to the curse of the law. (John 7:49, Galatians 3:10)

The prophecy of the 70 weeks was intended to "seal up" prophecy. This was one of several things the prophecy was said to accomplish. (Daniel 9:24)

It is Christ who opens the seals of the book described in Revelation 5:5, and so it is Christ who has been given the "treasures of darkness" and "hidden riches of secret places" that were promised to Cyrus. Cyrus in Isaiah's prophecy was a type of Christ.  

At the time of the end, the saints of God, who turn many to righteousness, are described as shining as stars (Daniel 12:3) and as the sun. Jesus said, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 13:43)

This suggests that eventually, Christians will understand the things that remain "sealed" and hidden in the prophecies of the Bible. Daniel said that while the "wicked" won't understand, the "wise" will understand. (Daniel 12:10)

Isaiah's statement that God speaks in "stammering lips" suggests that prophecy has to be considered in the context of previous revelation, as well as subsequent explanation given in scripture. The 70 weeks prophecy is an example, as interpreting it correctly depends on the previous prophecy of Jeremiah, and the curse outlined in Leviticus 26.  

The curse in Leviticus 26 is a prophecy about "time." It is about the duration of the chastisement of Israel. The 4 periods of 7 times of Leviticus 26 span the future of Israel, from their captivity in Babylon, to the end of the age. Daniel says the curse was poured out upon Israel, when they were taken captive in Babylon. (Daniel 9:11) That would be the first of the four periods of "7 times" of Israel's chastisement. The last 3 periods of "7 times" of Leviticus 26 correspond to the 3 sections of the 70 weeks: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week.

The 70 weeks began with the decree of Cyrus. (Daniel 9:27, Isaiah 44:28) Cyrus was called God's anointed, and so he was a type of Christ, who has received the "hidden riches." Christ is willing to share those secrets with his saints. (Romans 8:32)

Cyrus was called God's "shepherd," and Jesus is called the "good shepherd." (Isaiah 44:28, John 10:11) Cyrus gave the word to build Jerusalem, and lay the foundation of the temple; (Isaiah 44:28) Jesus said "I will build my Church." (Matthew 16:18)

The 4 periods of "7 times" described in Leviticus 26 are the duration of the chastisement of Israel. Because they abhorred God's statutes, and walked contrary to God, God said he would walk contrary to them. (Leviticus 26:40-41) How does God walk contrary to them? They were blinded to the gospel. (John 12:40, Romans 11:7)

In the last period of "7 times," God says he will remember his covenant with their fathers, and will be their God. (Leviticus 26:45)

Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy consists of 3 sections, each of which is "7 times." The word "time" here is a variable, that takes different units in each section.

The first section is 7 times, where a "time" is 7 leap years, or 19 years, as there are 7 leap years in 19 years, in the ancient Hebrew and Babylonian calendars. The second section is 7 times, where a "time" is 62 years, which is the age of Cyrus (or 'Darius the Mede') when he took Babylon. (Daniel 5:31) Cyrus is the same person as "Darius the Mede" in Daniel's prophecies.

The last section of the 70 weeks prophecy is 7 times, where a "time" is a year. It is the "week" in which Christ confirms his covenant with many. (Daniel 9:27) His covenant is the gospel. (Daniel 9:4, Galatians 3:8) But the 70th week is divided, the last half-week is a symbolic three and a half years, the symbol of the entire age of the Church. It is the 70 weeks prophecy that "seals up" other prophecies, especially those that refer to the final half-week, the "time, times and a half." (Daniel 12:7) It also provides the key to unseal those prophecies, so we can understand them.  

The appearance of an ominous message on the wall at Belshazzar's feast, described in Daniel 5, was the prelude for the takeover of Babylon by Cyrus. The king of Babylon was slain that same night.

The phrase containing the words "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin" can be arranged in a pattern similar to the pattern of the phrase "time, times, and a half" mentioned in other prophecies of Daniel and in Revelation. The "time, times, and a half" is mentioned in Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7, and Revelation 12:14, and form an obvious link between the two books.

The words "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin" are thought to represent monetary units, the mina, shekel, and peres, or half-mina. The Columbia Encyclopedia says "These Aramaic words may be translated literally as, 'It has been counted and counted, weighed and divided.'"

Daniel interpreted the writing as follows (Daniel 5:26-28):

Mene: God has numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
Tekel: Thou are weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
Upharsin: Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

These phrases, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin" and "time, times, and a half" are related, as when expressed as monetary units, it is equivalent to "shekel, 2 minas, and a half mina."

The "time, times, and a half" is equated with 1,290 days and with 1,335 days in Daniel 12:11-12. Both point to the end of the existing worldly system, and the introduction of a new era.

Daniel 12:11
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

This number, 1,290 days, fits the pattern of "time, times, and a half" when broken down into the component leap years and regular years, with months of 30 days. It is equivalent to the "time, times, and a half" of Daniel 12:7, as it fits that pattern, where the first "time" has units different from the remaining "times."

1,290 days = 13*30 + 2*12*30 + 12*30/2

Daniel 12:12
Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

This number, 1,335 days, also fits the pattern of "time, times, and a half" when broken down into the component leap years and regular years, with months of 30 days. It is equivalent to the "time, times, and a half" of Daniel 12:7, as it fits that pattern, where the first "time" has units different from the remaining "times."

1,335 days= 12*30 + 2*13*30 + 13*30/2

How can two sets of numbers represent the same thing? Because both are symbols! They both represent the last half-week of the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel 9.

They do not refer to a literal three and a half years, as no literal period of three and a half years has 1,290 days, or 1,335 days. Neither can any literal three and a half years have two different total number of days!

Peter wrote that the prophets wrote, not to serve themselves, or for the benefit of Jews, but for the Church. He said they ministered "unto us." They wrote primarily about the gospel, and they wrote "by the spirit of Christ that was in them." (1 Peter 1:9-12)

The apostle Peter reminds us that "exceeding great and precious promises" were given to God's saints. (2 Peter 1:4) The major promises of the OT appear to apply to Israel, but the NT applies them all to Christ, (2 Corinthians 1:20) who is the "seed" of Abraham, and to his Church, consisting of those who are 'made nigh' to the "commonwealth of Israel," and "the covenants of promise," by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-14)

So the "time, times, and a half" of Daniel 7:25, the 1,290 days, and the 1,335 days are all symbols of the "remaining time of the Church" when the gospel goes to the world.

The 1,260 days of Revelation 11 and 12 also fits the pattern of the phrase "time, times, and a half." When John wrote, all years had 12 months, as the calendar used was the Roman one. However the number is clearly symbolic, as no literal three and a half years has 1,260 days.   

1,260 days = 12*30 + 2*12*30 + 12*30/2

John also refers to 42 months, the equivalent of the symbolic 1,260 days and "time, times, and a half." These all refer to the time of the Church, in which we are now.

Copyright © 2010 by Douglas E. Cox
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