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Allegorical Interpretation

An allegory is a symbolic representation of one thing by another. Many of the Scriptures are allegorical in nature - certain physical people, places, things or events of an earlier time have an ultimate spiritual application in the present or future. For example, the Old Testament high priest Aaron was an allegory, or symbol, of our spiritual High Priest Jesus Christ (Hebrews 5:4-5) (see also The Day Of Atonement). The Bible is its own authority for these interpretations. God never left it up to humans to decide for themselves what His Sacred Word means.

Bible Over the centuries since The Bible was written, some people, for a variety of misguided reasons, usually well-meaning and honest, but sometimes not (see Sweet Nuthins'), have applied the "meaning" of parts of the Bible to their own time and circumstances, far removed from what is truly found in God's Word. Some today even see the ultimate fulfillment of Biblical Scriptures taking place, not coincidentally, where they themselves just happen to be. They deny what the Bible plainly says, and hijack the Sacred Scriptures for their own self-serving purposes - using them as a means of glorifying themselves, rather than The Creator, by Whom, and for Whose purposes, they were written.

While allegorical interpretation does have correct and legitimate usage, its self-centered approach is actually more ancient than Christianity, having originated with the pagan mystics, and then adopted by some Jewish and Christian "thinkers." According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Edition:

"Allegorical interpretation is a hermeneutical (interpretive) method used to uncover hidden or symbolic meanings of a Biblical text. Rooted in the techniques developed by Greek thinkers who attempted to overcome the problems posed by literal interpretations of ancient Greek myths, the allegorical method was further developed by Jewish scholars, such as Philo of Alexandria in the 1st century AD, and Christian thinkers, such as Clement and Origen of Alexandria in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Though other methods were often used, the allegorical method was dominant until late medieval times. The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century rejected, for the most part, the allegorical method and returned to the more literal interpretation of the Bible."

"The allegorical method attempts to overcome the difficulties of morally perplexing Biblical passages and to harmonize them with certain traditions and accepted teachings of the synagogue or church. By assigning to each feature of a text a hidden, symbolic, or mystical meaning beyond the primary meaning that the words convey in their literal sense, the allegorical interpretation seeks to make the text more comprehensible, acceptable, and relevant to the present."

Fact Finder: Did any prophecy of Scripture originate from the prophet's own interpretation?
2 Peter 1:20-21

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