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perspective in prophecy may explain Paul?s not at first defining the precise time of the end, and so leaving it to be misunderstood.

The second Epistle to the Thessalonians, therefore, only makes plainer the meaning of the first, and adds new items of prediction. It is important to recognize in Paul?s epistles a progress in prophecy, in doctrine, in church polity. The full statement of the truth was gradually drawn out, under the influence of the Spirit, upon occasion of successive outward demands and inward experiences. Much is to be learned by studying the chronological order of Paul?s epistles, as well as of the other New Testament books. For evidence of similar progress in the epistles of Peter, compare <600407>1 Peter 4:7 with <600304>1 Peter 3:4 sq.

(d) The character of prophecy as a rough general sketch of the future, in highly figurative language, and without historical perspective, renders it peculiarly probable that what at first sight seem to be errors are due to a misinterpretation on our part, which confounds the drapery with the substance, or applies its language to events to which it had no reference.

<590509> James 5:9 and <500405>Philippians 4:5 are instances of that large prophetic speech which regards the distant future as near at hand, because so certain to the faith and hope of the church. Sanday, Inspiration, 376-378 ? ?No doubt the Christians of the Apostolic age did live in immediate expectation of the Second Coming, and that expectation culminated at the crisis in which the Apocalypse was written. In the Apocalypse, as in every predictive prophecy, there is a double element, one part derived from the circumstances of the present and another pointing forwards to the future? All these things, in an exact and literal sense have fallen through with the postponement of that great event in which they center. From the first they were but meant as the imaginative pictorial and symbolical clothing of that event. What measure of real fulfillment the Apocalypse may yet be destined to receive we cannot tell. But in predictive prophecy, even when most closely verified, the essence lies less in the prediction than in the eternal laws of moral and religious truth which the fact predicted reveals or exemplifies.? Thus we recognize both the divinity and the freedom of prophecy, and reject the rationalistic theory, which would relate the fall of the Beaconsfield government in Matthew?s way: ?That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Cromwell, saying: ?Get you gone, and make room for honest men!?? See the more full statement of the nature of prophecy, on pages 132-141. Also Bernard, Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament

7. Certain books unworthy of a place in inspired Scripture.

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