How do we fit the pieces of the end-time prophetic puzzle together? How do we match the markings or colors? We said in the last blog that we let Scripture interpret Scripture. But how does that work exactly?
We follow the prophetic connections found in the prophecies, compliments of the Holy Spirit. The connections are nearly identical words or phrases found in two passages. It’s His signal that the passages go together. Each passage sheds some light on the particular topic of the prophecy or the event being foretold.
We see this, for example, in the connection of being raised up in John 6 to the description of the rapture 1 Thessalonians 4 where the dead in Christ rise first. Both passages have the common element of resurrection that forms the connection.
The connection then yields an added element: more information is provided that expands on what we know about that end-time event. For instance, we learn that once we are raptured at the sound of the trumpet, we shall be with our Lord always. Paul continues teaching about our Lord’s coming in the next chapter. In chapter 5 he informs us that because we are sons and daughters of the Light, God did not appoint us to experience the wrath of that Day.
This, in turn, leads us to another truth that comes by extension. In this case, the truth is not stated directly in either passage, but by extension from other prior connections, so that we know the truth is valid. For example, John says we are raised up at the last Day. When Paul continues teaching about our Lord’s coming in the next chapter, we learn that the last Day is also called the Day of the Lord because both Paul and Jesus were describing the same event.
In Thessalonians, Paul calls it the Day of the Lord. By extension we can now say that the rapture occurs at the start of the Day of the Lord, the last Day in God’s prophetic great Week.
This gives us confirmations that increase as more and more connections are studied. For example, the last Day is obviously the last day of God’s great Week, which is the 7th Day (when counting from Adam). Hosea 6:1-2 connects this to the 3rd Day (when counting from the Jews’ rejection of Christ at His first coming). This expansion and confirmation means we can now make even more connections about the rapture and the Day of the Lord because that Day has many, many signs associated with it. That’s how we can know that the rapture cannot be an any-moment, signless, sort-of coming before Christ’s second coming.
In short, the Holy Spirit has built into God’s Word the standard of truth set by God that at least 2 to 3 witnesses ultimately establish the truth. So now we have four practical and simple questions we can ask when reading God’s Word so that we let Scripture interpret Scripture.