We are to watch and pray for the Lord’s return. We will help you do so by keeping our eyes on the signs of the times and reporting them to you. Jesus chastised the Pharisees for not knowing the signs of the times in His day. So He wants to us know the signs today, for they instill in us hope for the future and encourage us to evangelize the lost while there is still time.
If there is a subject in the Bible that is arguably the most debated, divisive, and distorted....it is the subject of Bible prophecy. Under the umbrella of end times teaching, there are primary issues like: the Rapture, Great Tribulation, Israel, Church, and Second Coming that shape our outlook on the future and even how we live now. We will get to work on some of those issues in future articles. What we will look at now is the elephant in the room. It's a growing trend to negate Bible prophecy in our day. Believers need to answer this question with clarity and boldness:
Is Bible prophecy relevant?
Are we living in the last moments of earth's history? Are we living in the very last days?
When I came to faith in Jesus in 1971 at the age of 16, everyone was talking about Bible prophecy, and Hal Lindsey's book, "The Late Great Planet Earth," had our attention.
It seemed like everything was falling into place.
Not only was Israel reborn as a nation in 1948, but Jerusalem came back under Jewish control in 1967, which to many was a clearly momentous fulfillment of many biblical prophecies.
Yet, despite the fact that the God of the Bible clearly establishes His credentials as the one and only true God by pointing to and emphasizing His prophetic powers, the Church has a sad heritage of both ignoring and abusing prophecy.
In fact, there is probably no other portion of the Bible that has been more ignored and abused in the Christian heritage than the prophetic scriptures.
Prophecy has been abused by apostates, spiritualizers, and fanatics.
With the upcoming re-release of the Left Behind movie due out next month, you can rest assured that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture haters will come out in droves. The secular world, Hollyweird in particular, seems fixated on this idea with the return of Christ, but not in a good way.
It has in recent years released a number of films mocking it, or turning it into some kind of bizarre horror spectacle. Granted, what follows after the Rapture will be a horror show on a 'biblical' scale, but the Rapture in and of itself is not anything to fear for the believer in Jesus Christ.
In these dark days, prophecy performs the same function. The Lord WILL RETURN to execute judgment and vindicate His holy name! While we do not take delight in the death of the ungodly, we do delight in knowing Jesus will rectify all wrongs, judge the wicked, and institute peace on earth. This is ultimate comfort. The ark carried 8 precious souls. It carried every kind of animal. And it carried with it the knowledge of the One True God, and His promises to all generations: holiness in the end.
Why would a God of love, grace and mercy allow the carnage of the Tribulation to occur?
The Character of God
Dr. Reagan: A time is coming which the Bible calls the Tribulation. It's a future period of seven years when God will pour out His wrath upon this earth. During that seven years, tragically one-half of humanity and two-thirds of the Jewish people will die during that awful time. Why in the world would a God of love and grace and mercy allow such carnage to occur? This is the question I get over and over and over.
By Dr. David Reagan
The 20th Century was full of momentous events that no one could have foreseen in 1900. Looking back on that century, what would you consider to be the most important event from a biblical perspective — particularly from the viewpoint of Bible prophecy?
World Wars I and II?
The Great Depression?
The advent of space travel?
The collapse of Communism?
"I wrote it in much more down-to-earth terms," Terry recently told me. "I don't think you should write down to somebody, but ... I wanted it to be really a basic understanding of where the Middle East is going."
He hit the bull's-eye. "Cauldron" is a tour-de-force for one of the top apologetics teachers of the last few decades. And as a writer, Terry achieves what most of us could never hope to achieve.
Many lukewarm Christians have been transformed by studying prophecy. It is the study of prophecy in these days that motivates and convicts us to change our lives and live as we ought. The Rapture has galvanized may wishy washy believers into serious students of the Bible. Knowing that our Lord and Saviour is coming for us soon has inspired them into a new paradigm.
The Fig Tree Prophecy
Bill Salus: This other question from your book Living on Borrowed Time is very important. How do you interpret Matthew 24:32-35?
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
Dr. Reagan: We had a very interesting scattering of responses there. Twenty people responded to this question and there were two who did not. Of the 20 who responded, ten took the position that, yes, it does refer to Israel.