| The primary key to understanding the Bible is found in Ecclesiastes 1:9. ("The thing that has been, it is what will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.") The Rabbis taught and the Jews believed that every thing that happened would happen again. Everything written was about things which had happened, but would happen again at a later date; sometimes more than once. Therefore, there would be double references to understand. We use the phrase "history repeats itself."
For example, ancient peoples (not only the Jews) understood that references to a serpent (including sea serpent as in Leviathan) were references to a great world dictator who would come at some later time (last times). Therefore, references to such serpents and to Pharaoh (whose symbol was the serpent) are to be understood as pictures of the coming False Messiah, or Antichrist (as well as Satan, which means adversary). In the same manner, to understand today's events, substitute Europe for Egypt, Russia for Assyria and the USA for Babylon.
Egypt, with pharaoh at its head is a picture of the endtimes confederation of nations, many of which made up the old Roman Empire, whose head will be the False Messiah (Antichrist). Assyria, a country "to the north" of Israel is a picture of a modern day country that will attack Israel (other passages support Russia as this country). Babylon is a picture of a mighty nation of the end times to whom Israel looks for support.
Another key is in the understanding of God's use of "days." In Genesis 1, we learn that God created the universe and everything in it in seven days. Careful consideration of the Biblical and scientific evidence shows that God is not speaking of twenty-four hours days. All of the various branches of science; geology, astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry, etc., agree that the universe is around 16 billion years old and the earth around 4 billion years old. God does nothing without a purpose and the six days of work and one of rest have many applications. An entry in the Jewish Talmud in the Second Century B.C., says: "The earth shall stand 6,000 years; 2,000 years of chaos, 2,000 years of law and instruction and 2,000 years of Messiah." (Yamote HaMashiach means Days of the Messiah, our current time.)
Elsewhere in the Bible, we are told a day is as a thousand years to the Lord. Thus, the Jews understood that "recorded time" would be 6000 years until Messiah ben David (King Messiah) came (to coincide with the six days of creation), then 1000 years of rest (Sabbath), which Christians call the Millennium or Millennial Reign of Christ. We see many pictures of this throughout the Bible. Noah, for instance, was 600 when the flood came, bringing judgment with it. This corresponds to 6000 years when what we refer to as Armageddon, God's second judgment upon the earth, will take place.
An interesting picture of God's use of days is seen in the book of John. In Chapter 1 verse 19, we begin with Day 1 (the beginning). In verse 29, we read "The next day..." This is Day 2. In verse 35, we read "Again the next day...." This is Day 3. Day 4 begins in verse 43 (this corresponds to Yeshua' own time and we read the wonderful passage where the Lord tells Nathaniel He has seen him (in the future) in the Millennium (the Kingdom of God)!
In Chapter 2, we have skipped to the Millennium ("On the third day..." i.e., the third day after the fourth day, or the seventh day). Here we read about the wedding of the Messiah to His Bride, the Church. The article on the Jewish Ceremony of Matrimony gives a picture of what will be happening to Believers in heaven during the seven year Tribulation (Days of Awe) occurring on earth.
The wedding ceremony takes place, followed by the seven day (seven year) chuppah (bridal chamber or honeymoon). The wedding feast does not take place until after the honeymoon. This is the feast Yeshua told of in the parable of the man whose son was to be married. The wedding guests are those who have accepted Yeshua as the true Messiah and have survived the terrible Days of Awe. This section gives a mini-overview of Bible history.
Daniel used days and weeks to indicate years. For example, in Daniel 9:25-26, he says that there will be sixty-nine weeks (the Jews read this as sixty-nine weeks of years, or 483 years, or 173,880 days - the Babylonian calendar, which they used, was based on 360 days, as is the Jewish calendar) from the time the decree went out from the Persian king to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah came. Yeshua entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday exactly 173,880 days after the decree had gone out to rebuild.
Learning the Jewish idioms and word meanings also help to understand the Bible. Jesus's name in Hebrew is Yeshua which means salvation. Yeshua in English is Joshua, but, for reasons unknown, His name was transliterated from the Greek into Jesus. Joshua (in the book of Joshua) is a picture of the Messiah, by the way.