April 9, 2015 - A. V. Rauf
MEAT IN “DUE SEASON” : THE IMPORTANCE OF BIBLE PROPHECY (Part II)
As mentioned in the previous article, God declared the end from the beginning and He doesn’t necessarily keep all things hidden from his children.
Deuteronomy 29:29 – The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children.
Proverbs 25:2 – It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
You see according to Jewish tradition the study of prophecy is not necessarily a study of the future. Rather, it is the in depth study and interpretation of cycles and patterns.
Moving ahead, yet another negative attitude toward the study of Bible prophecy is the result of the mishandling the prophetic scriptures by some Bible teachers and preachers.
There are prophetic teachers, and then there are what you call “pathetic” teachers.
Tragically, over the years some have claimed that the prophetic scriptures gave them information that set a date for the Rapture of the church or to identify the personal name of the coming world leader, otherwise referred to as the Antichrist. During WWII, many people thought that Hitler was the antichrist. In 1988, a prominent Christian leader wrote a book which allegedly provided 88 Reasons that Jesus was returning in 1988.
When time proved these men to be wrong, not only did it seriously discredit their personal ministries, but it also gave the unsaved more cause to ridicule Biblical Christianity and had a negative effect on the attitudes of many Christians toward the study and teaching of Bible prophecy. . There are now some who claim that the new leader of Greece and/or the current leader of Turkey is the Antichrist.
Yet, many Bible scholars do believe that this person is alive today and has yet to discover his destiny unless he already has!. Instead of rejecting the study of Bible prophecy because of erroneous teaching, we must reject the erroneous teaching, but at the same time take heed to the valid study and teaching of the prophetic scriptures.
So why study Bible prophecy?
- Understanding prophecy is an essential and fundamental issue for every Christian.
The Bible contains 8,362 predictive verses about 732 different matters and yet Bible prophecy is one of the most neglected subjects in the Church today. Over thirty percent of the entire Bible consists of prophecy, which is biblical revelation given to mankind.
- It is impossible to understand God’s purpose for history apart from the study of Biblical prophecy.
Isaiah 14:24, 26-27—The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, surely, as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:….This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched upon all nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
These scriptures reveal that there is one true God, and He has a sovereign plan for the earth. In the past, God planned and purposed what would happen on earth throughout history. Based upon what He had planned, through His prophets, God declared to mankind what would happen in the future, even to the end of this age. Then, during the course of History, He sovereignly caused to happen all that He planned and purposed and declared through His prophets.
Daniel 4:34-37—And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
NO ONE CAN PREVENT GOD FROM FULFILLING HIS SOVEREIGN PURPOSE FOR HISTORY. The prophetic scriptures are the written record of what God through the prophets declared to mankind would happen even to the end of this earth’s history. Since these divine declarations were based upon what God had planned and purposed for history, no one can truly understand God’s purpose for history apart from the study of Bible prophecy. It is no coincidence that the Book of Revelation, for example, is the last book of the Bible. God intended it to be the capstone of His divine declaration to mankind, because it tells how he will complete his purpose for history.
- The study of Bible prophecy is an effective evangelistic tool.
I believe that God put forth His declarations of future events recorded in the scriptures not to satisfy the curiosity of people wondering what will happen, but rather to be an effective life-changing tool for people of every generation. God uses the study of Bible prophecy to serve as a warning to unsaved people. To warn them in advance that there is a coming wrathful judgment in the future that God has purposed for this rebellious world. Our God is a loving God, a merciful God. But he is also a JUST God. The very dispensation of time that we are living in right now is referred to as the Dispensation of Grace. It too had a beginning and it also has an end. There is a way to avoid this forthcoming judgment and it is through receiving the free gift of salvation through faith in His crucified, buried, resurrected, (and might I add soon to return) son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit uses Bible prophecy to impress unsaved people with the urgency of their trusting in Jesus Christ as their savior, before it may be too late for them.
We now live in a time and age where people are desperately searching for answers. The testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy:
Rev. 19:10—And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Any Christian who avoids the study and teaching of prophecy thereby limits himself from possibly utilizing an effective evangelistic tool that God has purposefully given to us.
- The study of Bible prophecy is intended by God to PURIFY the believer’s life and to change his or her priorities.
For example, all signs clearly indicate that the return of the Lord is imminent. You may have heard of the phrase, “The signs of the times.” How many have heard of that phrase before? Let me inform you today that we are living in the times of those signs!
The English word “imminent” means “hanging over one’s head, ready to befall or overtake one; close at hand in its incidence. “Thus, an imminent event is one that is always hanging overhead, is constantly ready to befall or overtake a person, is always close at hand in the sense that it could happen at any moment. Now other things may happen before the imminent event, but nothing else must take place before it happens.
THE FACT THAT JESUS CHRIST’S NEXT COMING IS IMMINENT SHOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY CHRISTIANS LIVE.
We should be striving to live holy, godly lives every moment of every day, because in the very next moment Christ could step through the door of Heaven and confront us face-to-face. The apostle, John, or Yohannen, emphasized the same truth when he wrote the following to Christians:
I John 2:28-29—And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
Revelation 22:12— and Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his works shall be.
We are running the last lap in this race. We must also be mindful to conform our values and priorities to those of the future eternal state, laying up eternal rewards in Heaven, through effectively living Godly Christian lifestyles, reading our Word, maintaining our relationship with the Father, praying and worshipping the Father in spirit and truth, staying in communion with the Holy Spirit, winning lost souls to Christ, supporting ministries for the sake of the Gospel, having a repentant heart, loving our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
Filet Mignon, anyone?