Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Finding Hope in Crisis: Bible Prophecy

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Hope is essential to life. Without it, people descend into deep depression or commit suicide or simply lie down and die.

During the Holocaust, Viktor Frankl, who later became a world renowned psychiatrist, was a prisoner in one of the Nazi death camps. He observed that every year as Christmas approached, hope would sweep the camp that the prisoners would be released on Christmas day. It was an irrational hope, but it was hope. Then, when Christmas would come and go without a release, hundreds of prisoners would just lie down and die. Without hope, they could not live.1 Frankl concluded, "It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future."2

A Desperate Need

The world desperately needs hope in these end times. We live in a world of increasing fears — fear of nuclear holocaust, fear of economic collapse, fear of plagues like AIDS, fear of terrorism, fear of war, and — of course — fear of life and of death.

Our nation needs hope. Our economy has collapsed. People are losing their jobs. Houses are being foreclosed. Corporations that have been American icons for over a hundred years are declaring bankruptcy. Retirement funds have been wiped out. Many people are feeling a sense of desperation for the first time in their lives.

Everywhere people are looking for hope, and that includes Christians. Some might respond by saying, "Christians are the only ones who have any hope!" That is true, but the problem is that most professing Christians cannot articulate their hope beyond a vague statement like, "My hope is heaven."

An Ignored Virtue

I came to this realization one day when I was reading Paul's great love poem in 1 Corinthians 13. It ends with the famous phrase: "There are three things that remain [or abide] — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).

As I thought about those words, it suddenly occurred to me that I had heard hundreds of sermons on faith and hundreds on love, but I could not think of a single one about hope.

At that moment the Lord impressed upon my heart that hope is the most ignored of the Christian virtues. I knew instantly why that is true. It's because hope is directly related to one's knowledge of Bible prophecy, and there is no topic in the modern Church that is more ignored than prophecy.

Stop and think about it for a moment. What is your hope? How would you explain it to an unbeliever? Could you get beyond the words, "My hope is heaven"?

My Heritage

During the first 30 years of my life I received almost no teaching about Bible prophecy, and I lived with little hope. If you would have asked me to define my hope, I would have given you a pathetic answer, based more on Greek philosophy than Hebrew theology.

I was taught that if I died before the Lord returned, I would experience "soul sleep." In other words, I would lapse into total unconsciousness and lie in my tomb until the Lord returned. At His return, I was taught that a "big bang" would occur that would vaporize the universe. My soul would be resurrected, and I would go off to an ethereal world called Heaven where I would float around on a cloud and play a harp eternally.

For me, it was a grim picture. I didn't like the idea of lying comatose in a grave for eons of time. The "big bang" scared me to death. I was repulsed by the idea of becoming some sort of disembodied spirit without any individuality or personality. I certainly could not get excited about playing a harp forever. In fact, I found that idea downright hilarious.

You see, I grew up in a church that believed it is a terrible sin to play a musical instrument in a worship service. Yet, we were going to play harps in Heaven eternally! It made no sense to me, so I wrote it off as a bunch of silly nonsense.

I had no one to blame but myself because I did not study God's Word as I should have. When I finally started doing that, and the Holy Spirit began to lead me into a study of Bible prophecy, I started making discoveries about the future that ministered great hope to my spirit. In fact, I got so excited about my discoveries that I started jumping the pews and hanging from the chandeliers, shouting "Hallelujah!" and "Praise the Lord!" People thought I had gone Pentecostal overnight! No, I had just discovered God's marvelous promises for the future that are designed to give us hope in the present.


This article is an edited excerpt from Dr. Reagan's book, Living for Christ in the End Times.

1) Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning (New York, NY: Washington Square Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, 1963, revised and updated edition in 1998).

2) Ibid., page 115.


hartdawg said...

dr. reagans church sounds alot lot a "church of christ" that alot of people i know go to. they are robbing people of hope teaching that we're going to be a chubby angel floating on a cloud strumming a harp and wearing a diaper.

hartdawg said...

it seems alot of people i know have been thinking of heaven lately. could it be that God is putting it in peoples minds cuz he's getting ready to take us?

YshuaMyLord said...

hartdawg, I was thinking earlier today about how churches are robbing people of hope, not only in the way you mention, but in not teaching them Scripture or about the fact that our only hope comes from, and is in, God. I am especially thankful that Paul wrote that we have not been appointed to the wrath that is coming to judge those who dwell on the earth. What precious hope we do have!!

Billy said...

My biggest hope lately is that Jesus would come quickly...today if possible.

But I'm also trying to remain patient knowing there's people out there that still need to be saved. It's getting tougher every day I must admit.

Donald Dolmus said...

"Living for Christ in the End Times" is a must have it.

Most of the churches here in my country are being leading astray for false apostles and prophets from the Dominion Theology.

They're very powerful because they have the control of most of the so-called christian radios and the only christian TV channel only preach super prosperity.

The apostasy is running rampant in Nicaragua.

But the Lord has kept a little remmant that hasn't bow its knees before Baal.

Way to go Dr. Reagan! Thank you very much for sharing about our Blessed Hope with us.

son of thunder said...

Donald Dolmus, I would also recommend Hal Lindsey's "Faith for Earth's Final Hour."

And it is unfortunate that modern churches do not teach hope and trust in God, but faith in "inner strength" and the "brotherhood of humanity." We have forgotten what the heroes of the bible believed: It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. - Psalm 118:8,9 (NKJV).

We hope for government to give us hope. We want empty religion to give us hope. We want money, things, and people to give us hope. Unfortunately, I'm one of the "we" sometimes.

We look everywhere for hope, but to the One with Whom hope resides.