Over the next few weeks we will continue to share with you the opinions of 13 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Revelation. While being interviewed, the panel had the opportunity to answer a very personal question. The responses were inspirational, encouraging and insightful. The remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts were asked to address:
#10. Why have you devoted your life to the teaching and preaching of Bible prophecy?
Ken Humphries, Treasured Truth Today Ministries
That's probably the simplest question that I could ever answer! I came to know the Lord when I was 16, recognizing that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I had listened to a message on John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The preacher preached something like this, he said, "You know, it's not the desire of the sovereign God that any should perish. Peter tells us in his epistle, 'It's not the will of God that any should perish.'" And, he said, "It's not the will of the Divine Sovereign that any shall perish. It's not the will of the dying Son that any shall perish. Father forgive them. Not the will of the Detecting Spirit that any should perish, because He wants to lead men to Christ. It's not the will of departed saints that any should perish, because they will be praying in Heaven for their unsaved loved ones, no doubt. And, it's certainly not the will of dead sinners that any should perish. Luke 16 speaks of the rich man that died and went to Hell. In Hell in the other side of the grave he was very conscious. He was conscious of thirst, conscious of torment, and conscious of truth because he had five brothers back home and he wanted somebody to go back and tell them." When I heard that sermon my heart just burst open and I cried out to the preacher, "I need to get saved tonight." And he was still preaching! But, I did and I was saved that night.
I began then to attend a Bible study by one of our pastors back home, a Pastor Willie Mullan. Mr. Mullan was a great man in teaching prophetic truth. I'd been listening to him for about two years. The point came to me on one occasion, "I really need to think this through for myself." I began to study with my simple mind. I'm not an academic, but with my simple mind I began to study. I found that I could believe in nothing other than the fact that Jesus Christ and the Apostles had taught us in His Word that He could come at any moment. His coming was imminent, and we should be ready to meet the Lord. We needed to get right with others so that there is nothing between us and God. From that moment on I began to study more deeply. As I said, I'm not an academic. I'm a simple soul. But to me, there is no message quiet like the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
First of all, because prophecy is in the Bible itself. It's part of the Word of God. We are told to declare the whole counsel of God.
Twenty-five percent of the Bible is prophetic in nature. It needs to be taught, believed and understood. There are approximately a thousand total prophecies in the Bible, and 500 of them have already been literally fulfilled. The other 500 we would then assume are yet to be literally fulfilled. If they are not literally fulfilled, how are you ever going to know they were fulfilled? If you make the fulfillment only spiritual or symbolic, anybody could read anything into a passage and claim that they was already a fulfillment of some sort.
The prophecies about Jesus himself, approximately 109 predictions of the First Coming, they were all literally fulfilled. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He rode into town on a donkey. He was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. He was pierced through his hands and His feet. He rose from the dead. Those were literally fulfilled.
There are many Christians who do not hold our view of prophecy that would argue strongly, 'Oh, yeah, literal fulfillment for the First Coming." But, then they want to make symbolic and spiritual fulfillment for the Second Coming. Why would you do that? The First Coming prophecies were not spiritually fulfilled, but they were literally fulfilled. Therefore, the 300 prophecies specifically about Jesus related to the Second Coming will also be literally fulfilled. When somebody says to me, "How do you know we are not in the Kingdom yet? How do you know the King hasn't come back?" Zechariah 14 tells us the Mount of Olives hasn't split in half yet. Christ has not come, sat on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and is not ruling the world with a rod of iron. The nations are not in obedience to Him at this point and time. That is yet to happen in the future.
Nathan Jones, Lamb & Lion Ministries
I believe that Bible prophecy tells us what our future is. It tells us that we win. It tells us that Satan loses. That information is very important because it is a hope for God's people. We live in a world where there is so much sin and so many people who are hurting. They need that hope. We can have that hope when we read about Bible prophecy. Thirty-one percent of the Bible is Bible prophecy, so clearly God wants us to know that God wins out in the end and Jesus reigns forever. That news just gets me excited!
Bible prophecy is a fantastic apologetic. The people who study Bible prophecy increase their faith in God, and that just gets me so excited as well. I want to tell everybody about Jesus. That's what Bible prophecy makes me feel.
Terry James, Rapture Ready
It's one of those things that has to be a spiritual answer. The Lord has put it in my heart and my mind to teach Bible prophecy. This is my passion. It's not simply for the excitement, because certainly in our time you get more guff about believing in Bible prophecy sometimes than you get accolades for. So, it's not for accolades to teach, but from a human standpoint.
I believe God's prophetic news wants to be delivered at this time in history. I think we are right at the end of the age. I think the headlines attest to that.
My ministry begins with that we should first of all devote our lives to Jesus Christ and His Great Commission that He gave us as Christians. If you're not a Christian you should surrender to him and ask Him to come in and save you. But, if you're a Christian, you should also surrender your life to Christ and then be devoted breaking the whole Word to the whole world. That means including Bible prophecy, because we are where we are in God's prophetic timeline. It's never been more important to include Bible prophecy in our preaching messages.
Tom McCall, Tom McCall Ministries
I've given my life to the teaching of Bible prophecy and the whole Bible because it is so important to the understanding of where we are and what's happening, especially in this age where we see so many things shaping up for the prophetic end times.
Israel is back in the land, and is of course is the key to the whole prophetic plan. Israel returning as a nation is the time clock of the Lord. If Israel were not back in the land other things might seem coincidental. But, with Israel back in the land, we have to pay attention to everything that is going on around in the world like the apostasy of the Church which is certainly an end time feature. We see all the nations of the earth almost like a knee jerk reaction going against Israel, and so anytime anything happens, to them it's Israel's fault it seems. The United Nations has condemned Israel every time it has a chance to do, moreso than any other nation.
Then there is the reshaping up of the Roman Empire revived in Europe. And, I see the Gog and Magog situation forming with Russia and Persia and Ethiopia and Libya all in the news these days, with the impending possibility of an outbreak of war. There's also the concentration on the immediate neighbors of Israel with the idea of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 being just on the verge of becoming a reality. With all this happening, why wouldn't we be interested in Bible prophecy? Many people have come to Christ because of the teaching of the reality of Bible prophecy.
I'm a fan of a number of things. I love Biblical Archaeology because I think things are coming to earth that have been hidden. Nobody cared about what was in these mounds for 2,000 or 3,000 or 4,000 years, and now they're digging them up. Every time archaeologists turn a spade they find something that verifies the historicity of the Bible which suggests that the prophecy of the Bible is just as real as the history.
Gary Fisher, Lion of Judah Ministries
I was in the Air Force in 1972 and after basic training my first duty assignment was in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1973 the Yom Kippur War broke out. A few days before that I had bought a book called The Late Great Planet Earth. I went on a temporary duty assignment in Little Rock, Arkansas and we were given the task of taking bombs from the Red Stone Arsenal and putting them on airplanes and sending them to Israel to fight the war. While I was there working 12 hour shifts, every chance I got that book would come out of my hands. It was the first book I ever read on Bible prophecy. Israel was all over this book. I was so fascinated, for the very first time I was reading something with modern-day relevance from the Bible. This event was going on in my life as I was watching the planes going down the runway and taking the bombs to fight this war, so it really had an impact on me.
When I got back to Charleston, South Carolina and my spirit settled down a little bit, inside I knew that God was active in history. Jesus was coming soon, I was convinced of that, and I needed to do something about it. So, I slipped out of the house in January of 1974 and into a little Southern Baptist church in Charleston, South Carolina where I accepted Jesus into my heart. He immediately put in my Spirit that it was Bible prophecy that took me there. It was the one tool that God used to convince me that I needed to get serious about Him.
I thought from that moment on there are many other Gary Fishers out there and Bible prophecy is the only tool that will reach them. And so, I set off on a task to learn everything I could about the subject, and I'm still learning. There are thousands and thousands of Gary Fishers out there that need to hear Jesus is coming soon. We need to be able to articulate why we believe that. So, that is my task in life, and I will be doing it until I see Jesus face to face. Today would be good!
In the next part of this series on reading and understanding Revelation, Dr. David Reagan will personally answer the tenth question: "Why have you devoted your life to the teaching and preaching of Bible prophecy?"