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“Interpretations belong to God” also in that he determines and directs when a prophecy is to be understood by his faithful servants on earth. The meaning of a prophecy can be discerned before, during, or after its fulfillment. Since God tied up the prophecies, he will unravel them at the right time—his time.
In the account of Joseph and the two prisoners, he interpreted the dreams three days before they were fulfilled. (Genesis 40:13, 19) Later, when Joseph was brought before mighty Pharaoh to explain Pharaoh’s dreams, seven years of plenty were about to start. With God’s spirit, Joseph unraveled the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams, so that arrangements could be made to take in the foretold bumper crops.—Genesis 41:29, 39, 40.
Other prophecies are fully understood by servants of God only after their fulfillment. Many events in Jesus’ life had been prophesied centuries before his birth, but this was not fully understood by his disciples until after his resurrection. (Psalm 22:18; 34:20; John 19:24, 36) Finally, according to Daniel 12:4, certain prophecies were to be ‘sealed up’ “until the time of the end,” when, Daniel said, “the true knowledge will become abundant.” We are living in the very time when those prophecies are in the course of fulfillment.*w11 12/1 p. 12