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BIBLE PROPHECY
A Beginning of Global Governance - #1 in a series
Prophetic Signs that we are in the End Times
The Earth Charter's Spiritual Agenda - #2 in a Series
The New Age Influence at the United Nations - #3 in a Series
Jesus is the Messiah Prophesied in the Old Testament
Like a Thief in the Night - The Rapture of the Church
The Coming War of Gog and Magog, an Islamic Invasion?
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Prophecy Comparison
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The Prophecy Angle

The Caffeine-Free Diet Church, Part 3 of 3


Contender Ministries                                                                            Printer Friendly Version


 

Some people have told us that prophecy is over-emphasized in the church today.  In fact, there is a dearth of instruction on Bible prophecy within churches and seminaries today.  If anything, I believe prophecy is under-emphasized.  The Left Behind ® series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins is an enormous success.  Each new release in this series about the end times consistently conquers the summit of the New York Times bestseller list.  Even secular bookstores clear entire shelves to stock this series.  Tyndale House, the publisher of the Left Behind ® series, recently built a 60,000 square foot warehouse specifically for the Left Behind ® books.  This phenomenon points to an intense interest among Christians and non-Christians alike in prophecy and the end times. 

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Among unbelievers, this interest has historically been focused on astrology, horoscopes, fortune telling, etc.  The secular world has always been fascinated by the prophecies of Nostradamus, and most recently by spirit medium John Edwards.  The Left Behind ® series has managed to direct that interest towards the true prophecies of the Bible.  Many are surprised to discover that nearly one-third of the Bible is prophecy!  If we are to hold that the Bible is God’s Word to us, then we must conclude that He wants us to know prophecy and study it.  There are several reasons for this. 

In the Old Testament, there are over one hundred prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.  By these prophecies and their fulfillment, we recognize that Jesus IS the Messiah, and not merely some charlatan with delusions of grandeur.  The same Book that saw more than one hundred Messianic prophecies fulfilled exactly in the person of Jesus Christ, predicts His second coming five times more often than His first!  Since His first coming is an historical fact, we may be that much more confident that He will come again. 

The Bible is replete with prophecies of events that will occur in the “last days” leading up to the rapture of the church.  Two major prophecies were fulfilled within the last 60 years as Israel was gathered back in from their dispersion and established once again as an independent nation, and also with the reconstitution of the ancient Hebrew language as the official language of Israel.  Many prophecy scholars believe that the fig tree in Matthew 24:32 represents this reborn Israel, and that the generation that will see His second coming (v. 34) is the generation in which we now live. 

While many generations have felt that they were living in the last days, you cannot argue that it is now later than it has ever been.  Prophecy is being fulfilled at a rapid rate.  Knowing the “signs of the times” convinces one of the imminence of Christ’s return.  The effect of this knowledge is that Christians are more prone to holy living, and to spreading the gospel before it is too late to continue fulfilling our Great Commission. 

Prophecy can have a huge effect on the unbeliever as well.  As biblical prophecy continues to be fulfilled, it provides evidence to the divine inspiration of the Bible.  Taking the Left Behind ® series as an example (not as gospel), we can see a very important purpose served by the knowledge of prophecy.  In these books, we find a number of “tribulation saints” who accepted Christ after the rapture of the believers.  The pivotal influence that led these people to Christ is that they recognized the rapture for what it was.  Prior to the rapture, Christian friends and family members had shared with them not only the gospel, but also what the Bible prophesied would be in store for the world.  After the believers disappeared, the memory of this convinced the main characters that the Bible was real.   Whether you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture or not, Bible prophecy can speak volumes to the unbeliever, and convince them that this Book of prophecies is real, and the good news within must be believed. 

Some reject the teaching of end times prophecy because Jesus told us that no one would know the day or the hour of His second coming.  They read into that a futility in being educated in prophetic signs.  While it is true that the exact timing of His second coming will remain a mystery, He also instructed us to “keep watch” regarding the signs of the end.  These signs are the fulfillment of prophecy, and we need to be familiar with them if we are to be good stewards of the time He has given us. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Since nearly a third of Scripture is prophecy, and God does not make mistakes, it only stands to reason that we should not only accept prophecy, but also embrace it as an inspired and important part of God’s Word to us. 

Making a Choice

We have a choice to make.  We can choose to dig hungrily into the Word of God, equip ourselves to face a godless world, and contend earnestly for the faith; or we can forsake sound doctrine in favor of a lightweight social theology.  If we choose the latter, we will be propagating a caffeine-free diet church in which we sit around patting one another on the back for being right, but doing nothing to further the gospel of Christ.  If we choose the former, we will be contenders – fighting the good fight and letting Christ shine through us to reach a world that is lost.  I leave you with Paul’s words to his protégé in 2 Timothy 1:8, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.  But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God…”

Part I - The Caffeine-Free Diet Church

Part II - Apologetics Doesn't Mean Saying You're Sorry