Isaiah tells us that Godís ways are not manís ways. Godís words, the words of true prophecy are also not like man's words. Godís words start out as small seedlings, but over time they grow, give off branches, form buds, and finally burst into bloom. Just so, the word "Israel" starts out as the tiny seed of one man named Abraham, but through the ages, the word "Israel" grows, changes, and finally bursts forth into the brotherhood of all mankind. Words of prophecy often have past, present, and future connotations. Each word demands tremendous respect and study of all the contexts of its usage. Reverence for the source of prophecy is the key to its study, for it is God who must lead our minds into the understanding of what He himself has inspired?
Without the indwelling spirit there would be no prophecy and no interpretation of prophecy. But reason and the scientific method are also critical for the elimination of error, and for the building of a strong foundation from whence inspired intuition may leap safely. Therefore, both reason and faith are necessary for the complete appreciation of prophecy, just as they are for the full appreciation of all other phenomena.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are important because they provide crucial missing information to the overall prophetic picture of the Old Testament. The leader of the Qumran community, the Teacher of Righteousness (100-200 B.C.), is an inspired and master interpreter of scripture. He has much to teach us, and like the other Old Testament Prophets, the Teacher of Righteousness hints at a revelatory experience that very likely represents further "collaboration" with Melchizedek.
Of course, God Himself is the ultimate source of all true prophecy. He tells us:
I am HeóI am the First,
And I am the Last as well.
My own hand founded the earth,
My right hand spread out the skies.
Isaiah 48:16 From the beginning, I did not speak in secret; . . .
Isaiah 48:3 Long ago, I foretold things that happened,
From My mouth they issued, and I announced them;
Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass . . .
Institutional religion cannot afford inspiration and provide leadership in this impending, worldwide social reconstruction and economic reorganization because it has unfortunately become more or less of an organic part of the social order and the economic system, which is destined to undergo reconstruction. (Doesnít reconstruction imply deconstruction first?) The religion of living experience finds no difficulty in keeping ahead of all these social developments and economic upheavals, amid which it ever functions as a moral stabilizer, social guide and spiritual pilot. The spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesusí religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic and political reorganization of the world.
I will bring them to My sacred mount
And let them rejoice in My house of prayer,
"For My house shall be called
A house of prayer for all peoples."
Thus says the Lord God,
Who gathers the dispersed of Israel:
"I will gather still more to those already gathered."
God himself is being quoted here by the prophet. Isaiah presents his inspired collaboration with Melchizedek with a certainty of mind beyond mere human assurance. God is clear: anyone who would, can come. He is a loving father, actively pursuing the embrace of every mortal being in the world. The eternal covenant is open to all who have faith and who would follow Godís Ways and Will. Man is not absolved of suffering, but he is lifted up over it, in the "peace that surpasses all understanding." And this is the "kingdom of heaven" that is "within" as spoken of by the Son of Man. What are Godís Ways? What would God have us do? Here is Godís answer through His inspired prophets. We will first review the Old Covenant with its external commands and then the New Covenant with its internal guidance. Together they are the Way of God.
Now, suddenly from out betwixt the lines of Micah comes a prophecy about the birth of Jesus, 700 years before it happens! It appears as part of a discussion about Israel in the latter days (Micah 4:12 to 4:14), about the Babylonian captivity in 587 B.C. (4:10 through 4:11) and about Assyria in 700 B.C. (Micah 5:4 to 5:6). The prophet himself probably knows nothing of the dates of occurrence of these separate events, or even their true import to the future they speak of. Thus, the interpretation of scripture is equally as important as the scripture itself.
God guides the interpreter, through the leading of the spirit within the interpreter, thus revealing his plans only to those who have harmonized their will to His. Only God Himself truly knows the future and any prophet that does not openly acknowledge this truth is by definition a false prophet. Conversely, a true prophet is known partly by the "fruits of the spirit" that his/her close inner relationship with God should yield. In fact, prophecy or prophecy interpretation is itself one of the fruits of this inner relationship with God, who is the very inspiration of the prophecy under consideration.
The remnant of Jacob shall be,
In the midst of the many peoples,
Like dew from the Lord,
Like droplets on grass Ė
Which do not look to any man
Nor place their hope in mortals.
The remnant of Jacob
Shall be among the nations,
In the midst of the many peoples,Ö
The remnant of Jacob (equivalent to Israel) and not Jacob itself is what is gathered together in the upcoming trial period. These are those who know and love the one true God and who survive whatever destruction there is of that period. The remnant of Jacob is the remnant of Israel (Christians) plus the remnant of Judah (Jews). Of course anyone else who recognizes and knows the one true God in his/her heart is also included in this group. God cares little about who we are on the outside but everything about what we are on the inside. As always, whoever would come can come. The door to the kingdom of heaven is forever open to all. And so, through the process of deciding what we stand for in life we select who we will become, unlike the flower, who has no choice but to unfold. Further, we note that the geographic location is of little importance, as the remnant arises from within the midst of the worldís peoples "like droplets of dew on grass." These people "do not look to any man" or "place their hope in mortals" because they look only to God in everything they do.
There is no peace in the heart or progress in the mind unless you fall wholeheartedly in love with truth. The pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness leads to God. Truth is valuable because it can be acted out, it can be lived. Truth can never be manísÖ Without the exercise of faith. "fail not to discern the words of truth that come not through the traditional oracles of supposed inspiration" (Jesus) "the man was not hungry for truth. He was not dissatisfied with himself. He was not ready to ask for help, and the eyes of his mind were not open to receive light for the soulÖYou cannot reveal God to those who do not seek for Him." (Jesus) "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." (Jesus).
Now prophecy is true both in the context of the time of its writing and in the time of its prophetic future fulfillment. And so, the church of Philadelphia spoken of in Revelation as existing in the latter days (now) would have characteristics like the church of Philadelphia existing at the time of Johnís vision and writing. One might then expect this congregation or church of the latter days to be a group, like Abnerís, true to the message of Jesus (the gospel of the kingdom of heaven), and to be concerned with issues of brotherly love such as the brotherhood of man predicated on the Fatherhood of God. The elect are those who choose (elect) God's Will.
Above quote is from "The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand", written by Edmund J. Roache.