Prolepsis (ampliatio);

An Anticipation of some future Time which cannot yet be enjoyed:
but has to be deferred

Pro-leep’sis. Greek, πρόληψις, a taking beforehand, anticipation.

The Figure is so called when we anticipate what is going to be done, and speak of future things as present. The name is also given to the Figure when we anticipate
what is going to be said, and meet an opponent’s objection. But that Prolepsis is distinguished by the further description “Occupatio”; because, in that case,
the opponent’s objection is not only anticipated, but seized and taken possession of
(as the word means).

Whereas Prolepsis—when it anticipates time which it cannot hold or keep possession of, but has to defer it, after having anticipated it – is distinguished from the other by the word “Ampliatio” which means an adjourning.

God Himself used the figure in Gen. 1:28, when he spoke to both our first parents as then already present, though the building of Eve did not take place till the time spoken of in chap. 2:20-23.

Ex. 10:29 is proleptic of the final departure of Moses from Pharaoh;
as Moses did speak to him again. See 11:4-8.

1 Kings 22:50 (51) —Jehoshaphat’s death is spoken of proleptically. See 2 Kings 3.

Isa. 37:22 beautifully speaks of the then future rejoicing of Jerusalem at her deliverance from Sennacherib, as already present:
“ The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn”; etc.

Isa. 48:5-7 —Jehovah describes how He had from the beginning spoken of future things in this way, and why He had done so.

Luke 3:19, 20 —The imprisonment of John is recorded by Prolepsis.

Compare Matt. 11:2, etc.

Heb. 2:8 — “ Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.”

This is said by Prolepsis, as it is distinctly declared that. “ We see not yet all things put under him.” In like manner we are to understand those Psalms which are written for use in millennial days; especially those commencing “ the Lord reigneth.”  The Lord does not now reign in the special sense and manner definitely spoken of and described in these and similar Psalms. We use them now (by way of application and) by Anticipation or Prolepsis. But the day is coming when they will be used literally, and be true by a real interpretation to the very letter.

There are three Psalms that commence “The Lord reigneth”: viz., Psa. 93, 97, and 99; and it is remarkable that they each end with a reference to holiness. This is because, when the Lord does actually reign, as here described, all will be holy. His name will be“ hallowed” on earth as it is in heaven. “ In that day shall there be upon the bells
(or bridles) of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 14:20, 21). And it is written in Isa. 23:18: “ Her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord.”

This is why also, the four living creatures who call for judgments (Rev. 6.) which shall issue in the Lord’s reign on earth, do so with the three-fold cry of these three Psalms. “ Holy, holy, holy ” (Rev. 4:8). This is why their cry is foretold in Isa. 6:3 in connection with Adonai upon his “ throne, high and lifted up ” (verse 1).

The songs and words of the Apocalypse, though then (and for the most part, if not all, now) future, are spoken of as present. In other words they are proleptic, being given to us under the figure Prolepsis.
Only by the use of this figure can we sing many of the hymns which are put into our mouths, when they speak of future heavenly realities as though resurrection had already taken place; which it has not.

From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain)
page 914. Adapted for website compatibility.

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