Thursday, September 20, 2012

Revelation Panel: Personal Testimonies - Part 3

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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 members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts and now Dr. David Reagan were asked to address:

#10. Why have you devoted your life to the teaching and preaching of Bible prophecy?

David Reagan, Lamb & Lion Ministries
I'd like to share my testimony as to why I have devoted my life to the teaching of Bible prophecy.

Before establishing Lamb & Lion Ministries in 1980, I spent twenty years teaching International Law and Politics at the university level. I'd grown up in a typical Amillennial church that ignored Bible prophecy, except for once a year when the pastor would deliver a message condemning Pre-Millennialism by arguing there is not one verse in the Bible that even implies Jesus will ever put His feet on this earth again.

My life was changed in 1967 during the Six Day War. When the Six Day War broke out, because I was a professor of International Law and Politics, I followed that Six Day War very carefully. I'll never forget that when the war was over I read a very interesting news article one day that said that when the Israelis decided that they were going to take the Old City which was under the occupation of the Jordanian forces, the logical way to do it was to hit it from the West over at the Jaffa Gate, but certainly not at the Eastern Gate because all that territory was under Jordanian control. The Israelis, always relying on surprise, decided, "No, we're going to hit from the eastern side. We'll come around under the cover of darkness and hit from that side." While they were discussing that they also discussed the possibility of blowing open the Eastern Gate with satchel charges and catching the Jordanians by surprise.

Then the article revealed that when that suggestion was made an Orthodox rabbi was there who said, "No, you'll do that over my dead body, because that gate is supposed to be closed until the Messiah returns." I had no idea what the rabbi was talking about. I had grown up in a church that did not teach Bible prophecy. I knew nothing about Bible prophecy. So, I got out a concordance and I looked up the word "gate" and I started looking at verses. Guess what? I discovered Ezekiel 44 which has a prophecy that says the Eastern Gate is going to be closed and it will not reopen until the Messiah comes.

Next, I got out the Encyclopedia Britannica and I started reading about the Eastern Gate. It said that no one knows for sure why this wall was closed, but the best story is that when these walls were being rebuilt in the 1500's by Suleiman the Magnificent that a rumor swept Jerusalem that the Messiah was coming. Suleiman called the rabbis in and asked, "What does this mean?" They replied, "When the Messiah comes he's going to come from the east. He is going to go through the Eastern Gate, and he's going to run all you aliens out. He is going to become the Messiah and the ruler over the earth." The rabbis were dismissed and the order was given: "Seal up the Eastern Gate! Put a Muslim cemetery in front of it. That will take care of the Messiah because He won't walk in a Muslim cemetery and He can't go through a gate that's closed."

That's a special story for me because that's what got me interested in Bible prophecy. I was hooked from that point on. I could not believe that I was seeing a prophecy fulfilled right before my very eyes at that time in the Twentieth Century. And so, I started studying Bible prophecy intently. That's why I call the Eastern Gate the "Gate to Prophecy" as far as it concerns me personally. Well, that's how I got interested in Bible prophecy. That's one of the reasons we have on our television show Christ in Prophecy a reproduction of the Eastern Gate behind us.

Signs of the Times

As I began to study Bible prophecy I began to discover what's called the "Signs of the Times." These are signs from both the Old and New Testaments that we are told to look for that will mark the season of the Lord's return. Those signs convince me that we are living in that season. That's when I decided to give up my academic career and devote the rest of my life to proclaiming the soon return of Jesus.

The Bible makes it clear that no one can know the date of the Lord's return. But, the Bible makes it equally clear that we can know the season if we know the signs to watch for. For example, consider these statements in 1 Thessalonians 5 beginning with verse 1, "Now as to the times and the epics brethren you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you, yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." That's where we would stop reading in the church that I grew up in. The pastor would use those two verses to convince us that there was nothing that we could know about the Lord's return.

When I started studying Bible prophecy seriously I did not stop reading there, though. I continued and I made a great discovery. Listen to verses 4-6, "But you brethren, are not in darkness." In other words, you believers are not in darkness. "That the day should overtake you like a thief. For you are sons of light. You are sons of day. We are not of night, we are not of darkness. So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober."

Jesus is coming like a thief in the night for the world. He will also surprise those Christians who do not know God's prophetic Word. But, for those who know Bible prophecy, His return will be of no surprise because He has given us signs to watch for. They are also signs that we can understand, because we are children of light in that we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who will help us to understand God's Word. Again, we cannot know the date of the Rapture of the Church, but we can definitely know the season.

We are surrounded today by signs of the times that are just literally shouting from the heavens that Jesus is coming soon. Those signs include signs of nature, signs of society, spiritual signs both positive and negative, signs of technology, world political signs, and the signs of Israel which are the most important of all.

So then, look up, be watchful, for our redemption is drawing near.

In the next part of this series on reading and understanding Revelation, our panel of experts will answer the eleventh question: "Why do you believe we're in the season of the Lord's return?"


Billy said...

Regarding Ezekiel 44:

"Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The Lord said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it. The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.”

Do I conclude from that the following meant Jesus did not enter through the east gate in the following verses and therefore this prophecy does apply to the coming end times? Please clarify for me. Thanks!

"The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

DrNofog said...

Hey Billy,
Jest to an answer a point you raised [back here] about whether peeps will eat meat or not in the Mil' and beyond...

In the 1st 2 pre-flood dispensations, Innocence & Human Conscience, Adam, Eve, and all of humanity were vegematarians...
[or were they just 'vegetative'...] ;-)

After the Flood, conditions were radically changed on the earth [loss of the vapor canopy, actinic radiation, etc..], so God told Noah that they will now need to add "every moving critter" to their diet.. [Gen 6:3]

The Millennial Kingdom is to be *all* Paradise conditions restored to the earth [except for the curse of death]; The carnivorous animals and humans will be radically changed in their digestive systems back to pre-Adamic conditions [vegematarians]. [Our God can do this instantaneously, since He already did it all the 1st time around!]

On the other hand, I might agree wif Nathan, or vice versa, that some cattle and veggies, maybe even fruit, could be GM'ed...

I think 4 of the 12 'fruits' on the tree of life will be a Bacon fruit, a pulled-pork, BBQ rib fruit, a ribeye steak fruit, and a lobster tail fruit!

I, personally, believe that Our God, who has so graciously provided us with salvation, and all of the most savory foods of this world, would not deprive us of these great things, but would also have so much more savory things for us that we cannot imagine!

DrNofog said...

Sorry, that wuz Gen.9:3!

Anonymous said...

Billy,Yes, it is future as the Ezek Temple is to be built after the 2nd Coming during the Kingdom rule on earth. It isnt the Trib 'temple' of antichrist. That is destroyed when a major earthquake lifts up present valleys and puts down present mountains. The Temple is very high built on a plateau allowing for the Temple to be built as a square mile cube.

DrJimmy James said...

Revelation 19:10 says that "for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". One-third of the Bible is prophecy and the very last book of the Bible is an entire book devoted to it. The entire last half of the OT testament is dedicated to it, and Jesus covered the matter in entire chapters and Paul covered the subject in 2 books (1 and 2 Thessalonians). There must have been a reason that God put so much emphasis on future events for Him to have 1/3 of the Bible devoted to one subject. And in order to preach the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), I believe there should be at least as much emphasis on the study of prophecy as God put on it.

I believe John summed up in short the reason:
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." I John 3:2-3.

And Paul in explaining the rapture sums up with "wherefore comfort one another with these words" I Thess 4:18.

All through the gospels you hear the quote "that it may be fulfilled as spoken by". Jesus relied heavily on prophecy as evidence of who He is and as evidence of God's promises being kept. I have debated with many skeptics, a few atheists (which I don't spend much time on Ps 14:1) and doubters and as much as they may disagree with the Bible's historical evidence, geographical and archeological evidence, the one thing they can't refute is the fulfillment of prophecy. Prophecy provides solid evidence for the Bible's authenticity, and it provides hope for the believer, and also a warning to the unbeliever.

Paul says in Colossians 1:28 "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:" Warn them about what? In order to warn every man, you have to know what to warn them about. Sure, hell is a major part of that warning, but prophecy can be used to convince someone that everything the Bible has predicted has come true and the stages are being set for the remaining elements left. You can limit your warning to preaching hell, but that does no good if they don't believe your source is authentic and prophecy is a major tool in proving the Bible's veracity.
And finally, in Revelation 1:3, John writes "blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand". There is no other book that opens with a statement of blessing for the person that reads it. John shows here that what he is about to write should be considered with urgency ("for the time is at hand"), and the only way to preach with urgency is to know why it's urgent, and that comes from learning what the Bible says about prophecy!

Dr. James Ach