On March 16, 2013, I was interviewed by Jan Markell, Founder and President of Olive Tree Ministries. Jan has written eight major books with prominent Christian publishing houses. She has produced a dozen DVDs, some featured on Sky Angel. At one time she traveled full time across America as a speaker. Since 2000, Jan has been broadcasting her nationally syndicated "Understanding the Times" radio program over the airwaves and Internet. It is a great source of news and commentary-driven information.
Jan and I spent the one hour radio program discussing the characteristics and heritage of the Antichrist, called The Man of Lawlessness, and the False Prophet. We remind people that the catastrophic calamities happening today are setting the stage for the Tribulation when all this mystery unfolds.
Famine of Interest
Jan Markell: With all the intriguing issues related to the end of the age that are prevalent today, Bible prophecy ought to be very intriguing to everybody. David, you have been in the realm of eschatology longer than I have, and I'm sure things have changed enormously since you first went into ministry, but I have a question that I realize there is no answer to. Will we ever, ever get the Church interested in these topics? Or, should I say, get re-interested? They was a revival of interest in Bible prophecy some 25 years ago. What do you think happened? And, will we ever get people to have any kind of that same interest again?
Dr. Reagan: You bring up a very sad topic for me, because I've been preaching the soon return of Jesus Christ now for almost 35 years. I've seen the churches' interest in prophecy wane rather than grow. That's really disappointing to me, because it seems to me that the signs of the times are literally shouting from the heavens that Jesus is about to return. And yet, here the Church is simple ignoring it and they are not preaching about it. They are not teaching about Jesus coming back. They are not telling people how to get ready for the Lord's return. They are not teaching the hope of the Lord's return.
It seems that most churches today are primarily concerned about one thing — what can we do to increase attendance? Many unfortunately are going to entertainment, or they are going to a sort of seeker-friendly type of sermon where you never mention sin, repentance, or the blood of Christ. Churches today are preaching a water downed Gospel and certainly are not really preaching Bible prophecy.
Jan, when I talk to pastors about why they leave out the third of the Bible that's God's prophetic word, I ask them, "Why don't you ever preach about Bible prophecy?" Usually what they say to me is, "Well, prophecy is just kind of pie-in-the-sky. I have a congregation full of people who have all sorts of serious problems. I have dope addicts. I've got alcoholics. I have people involved in extra-marital affairs. I then have got to preach sermons that are down to earth and have to do with the problems people are facing now.
My response to that is, "I understand exactly what you are saying and where you are coming from, but you don't understand the message of Bible prophecy." I then point out to them that if you can ever convince people of two things concerning Bible prophecy you will change their lives. If you can convince them that one, Jesus really is coming back. Sure, most Christians believe that in their minds, but they don't believe it in their heart that He is really is coming back. And then, two, that Jesus' return is an event that could occur at any moment. If you convince people of those two things, you will motivate them to holy living and evangelism. I don't know what could be more practical than a message that motivates people to evangelism and holy living.
Jan Markell: I totally agree! I don't understand, like a hand fitting in a glove, the topics of end times and evangelism naturally go together.
Dr. Reagan: I also think, too, that a lot of pastors identify Bible prophecy as total sensationalism. They are convinced Bible prophecy has to do with people setting dates all the times, and making sensational claims. Sadly, those things do happen. There are times when I'm embarrassed to be a Bible prophecy teacher because of the wackos who are setting dates. I remember when Y2K was coming around, and some people thought the world would be coming to an end. They believed American society would cease to exist! It's a really sad situation.
Jan Markell: There's a Lutheran pastor in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area about seven or eight years ago now, who I knew well. It was a fairly solid Lutheran church, and it still is for that matter. This Lutheran pastor put on a series on eschatology in his particular Lutheran church. He did a very fine job. I happened to watch online, and I commend him for it. One of his church members came up to him afterwards, and he later told this story from the pulpit. The church member said, "My life is so filled with problems and with conflict and heartaches, and yet you want to sit here and preach about these end times. You want to talk about this nation of Israel. How is that possibly healing the hurts in my life?" This pastor replied to the gentleman, "If you would first of all bless Israel, some of the issues in your life might turn around." He actually gave that illustration! Other people in this particular Lutheran church were also bucking the series of messages on end times from this very strong Lutheran church in our area. I found that to be an interesting story.
In the fifth segment of Jan Markell's interview of Dr. David Reagan about his book The Man of Lawlessness: The Antichrist in the Tribulation, they will point out events that have radically changed modern society in preparation for the coming of the Antichrist.