Let's finish up my message which was presented at the Eastern Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. I'll tell you a second story of another event in my life that also got me excited about Bible prophecy.
When I was 12 years old, I discovered something in Bible prophecy that relates to the Eastern Gate that I'll never forget. The only sermon our church ever preached on Bible prophecy was this. The preachers said there's not one verse in the Bible that even implies that Jesus Christ will ever put His foot on this earth again. I heard that over and over again. They taught that not one verse in the Bible even implies Jesus will ever put His foot on this earth again.
We called ourselves a "New Testament Church," and we meant it. If the preacher ever said, "Bring your Bible tonight," we all knew to bring our New Testament, but not the Old Testament, because it had been nailed to the cross. The Old Testament was irrelevant. It was only something to be used for children's stories like Noah and the Ark to children. It's no wonder we didn't understand the New Testament, because we didn't even know the Old Testament.
So, there I was, about 12 years old, and I was flipping through the Bible one day. I happened to turn to Zechariah 14. I started reading Zechariah 14 and I couldn't believe my eyes. It says that in the end times Jerusalem will be surrounded by enemies. We now know that's the enemies of the Antichrist. It says that just as Jerusalem is about to fall the Messiah will come to the Mount of Olives. His foot will touch the ground and cause the mountain to split open. Then the remaining people in Jerusalem will come out and hide in the cleavage of the mountain. It says the Messiah will speak a supernatural word, and when He does, the Antichrist and his forces will be destroyed in an instant. Verse 9 says that on that day He will become King over all the earth.
Not only does it say Jesus is going to put His foot on this earth, but He's also going to reign. He's coming back to reign. He'll be King over all the earth. What a day that will be! I can hardly wait.
I was so amazed by that discovery because I grew up in a church that said, "We believe the Bible, every word of it, just exactly what it says from beginning to end, except for all prophecies concerning the Second Coming because they don't mean what they say."
With the discovery of Zechariah 14, I went to my preacher in fear and trembling, because like I said, I was only 12 years old at the time. I asked, "Sir, you say there's not one verse in the Bible that even implies Jesus will ever put His foot back on the earth again." "Yes, sir, Brother that's right." my pastor replied. I said, "Okay, well what about this?" I gave him Zechariah 14. He read the first nine verses. He just sat there and read them. It felt like an eternity. Finally he turned to me and he stuck his finger in my face and he said, "Son, I'm going to tell you something. I don't know what this means, but I will guarantee you one thing — it does not mean what it says."
You know me. I'm stubborn and persistent, after all my name is Reagan and I'm Irish. Every time a preacher would come to town and proclaim, "There's not one verse in the Bible that even…" I'd counter, "What about Zechariah 14?" They'd always say that it didn't mean what it said.
Finally, when I was about 19, we had a seminary graduate come to our church. In our denomination, seminary graduates were very rare, because our church believed seminaries were repositories of the Devil. I agree, some of them are. This guy came and he got up and said the same thing all the other pastors had said. And so, I went up to him and I asked, "What about Zechariah 14?" He didn't even hesitate. Immediately he said, "Apocalyptic!" Boy, that scared me to death. I turned around and ran off. I didn't know what that meant, but it scared me. Later, when I started preaching and people would come up and ask, "What about Zechariah 14?" I would say, "Apocalyptic!" They'd run. I didn't know whether apocalyptic was some kind of disease or what, but it worked. They'd run off and I'd just stand there grinning.
All this went on until one day a man confronted me and said, "Let me tell you something, David. Are you familiar with the First Coming prophecies of Jesus?" I answered, "Yes." He asked, "Were they literally fulfilled?" I replied, "Yes, every one of them." Then he countered, "Why wouldn't the Second Coming prophecies be the same?"
Suddenly, just like that, something clicked. I thought, "Do you know what? That's right. If the First Coming prophecies meant what they said and were literally fulfilled, then the Second Coming prophecies mean what they say and they're going to be literally fulfilled as well."
As the result of his eye-opening question, I began to study prophecy like never before. I discovered the Golden Rule of Prophetic Interpretation which is, "If the plain sense makes sense, don't look for any other sense, or you will end up with nonsense." Take biblical interpretation for its plain sense meaning.
I"ll never forget when I first started studying the book of Revelation the first commentary I ever read was by Henry Morris, the Founder of the Institute for Creation Research. He said at the very beginning basically, "I'm writing this book because people tell me the book of Revelation is hard to understand. It is not hard to understand, it is hard to believe. If you will believe it, you will understand it.