By Nathan Jones
Is the study of Bible prophecy a time-wasting distraction?
One of America's best known and most popular pastors has declared that the study of Bible prophecy is a distraction. What about it? Is it a waste of time to study Bible prophecy? Is the subject appropriate only for fanatics? Or, can it be green pastures for believers? Does it have any relevance for the here and now, or is it just pie-in-the-sky?
A panel of 18 Bible prophecy experts answers those very questions! To find out, read or watch below.
Don McGee, Crown and Sickle Ministries
I find the pastor's statement one of the astounding things that's happening to the Church. To have someone take a whole section of the Bible and say that it's a distraction indicates to me a sign of immaturity at best, and a sign of conceit. I'm going to use that word. That is a strong word at worst.
To say that you can take 25-30% of the Bible and say that is distracting and we don't really need it is a terrible, terrible thing. It reminds me of a young wife who is waiting for her long deployed husband. She receives a phone call and learns he's going to arrive at any minute. She would look at that phone call as a distraction from her Pokeno game?
Bill Salus, Prophecy Depot Ministries
That kind of comment in the end times context is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. We were told in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 that there would come a time when people will no longer listen to sound doctrine. They will have itching ears. They will heap up speakers who they want and teachers who they want. So, basically, that comment doesn't surprise me, for we are living in an apostate period of time.
The problem with that statement though is that by denying prophecy, which is nearly a third of the content of the Bible, you will be taking away a great witnessing tool for the Church. I came to know the Lord through Bible prophecy. I was attending a Chuck Missler Bible study on the book of Revelation. I was so astounded that God knew the end from the beginning that He caught my attention. Bible prophecy grants us an ability to witness. There are so many things going on right now with so many prophecies converging that it's an excellent witnessing tool.
Revelation 19:10 states, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Worship God, it says, before that verse, because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. God is telling us the end from the beginning because He loves us. That should prompt us to want to love Him, receive Him, worship Him, and serve Him.
Gary Fisher, Lion of Judah Ministries
God obviously didn't get the memo that 25-30% of the Bible is Bible prophecy. Jesus said that when you see these things beginning to take place, straighten up, lift up your heads. If God's prophetic word is not important, the Bible prophecy elements that is, then why did He write them?
The theme verse of Lion of Judah Ministries is Hebrews 10:25, "Encourage each other and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." We have no better tool available to us except Bible prophecy. We're to use the prophetic portion of God's Word to know where we are on God's calendar. How would we see the day approaching if we didn't know how to recognize it through the prophetic part of God's Word?
There are also the prophetic elements of our redemption drawing near. We are without hope without the prophetic nature of the Word.
Bible prophecy is far from irrelevant. It is a necessary part of the Word to keep us trudging on toward this thing called the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ. I'm ready for it!
Michael Norten, Author of "Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts"
The pastor could have said Jesus Christ is a distraction, because in Revelation 19:10 it says that the testimony of Christ is the spirit of prophecy. Some 25% of the Bible is prophecy when it was written. That's an incredible statement!
Instead of saying Bible prophecy is a distraction, he should have said it's an attraction. Bible prophecy attracts us to the Savior and gives us hope, it gives us motivation, and it gives us comfort.
Terry James, Rapture Ready
If that is the case, then God must have been totally distracted when He wrote probably 27% of the Bible being prophecy. He was totally distracted. Jesus must have been very distracted when He was on the Mount of Olives and He answered the questions of the disciples concerning what will be the sign of the coming of the end of the age. He was very distracted when He gave very precise, very delineated future events.
Jesus must have had us totally distracted as Christians because He says, "What I say to one I say to all, watch." We are told to watch. Well, watch what? Watch the prophecies that He had just laid out which we see in chapter 24 of Matthew and other passages. Therefore, God Himself is distracted. He must want us to be distracted about all that prophecy as well.
It's a ludicrous statement! The pastor's being just nonsensical and is playing into part of the apostasy that was prophesied by Jesus Christ that would define the last days.
Randall Price, World of the Bible Ministries
Of course Bible prophecy is a distraction if people think that Bible prophecy takes away from evangelism, or takes away from godly living or the family, or all the issues that we consider are so important. But, of course, in fact in the Scriptures this was the incentive for evangelism. It is quite clear that blessed hope was before the Church.
Bible prophecy is tied into Titus 2:11-13, and then verse 14 which says, "Be zealous for good deeds." It is the people who are looking, and I say living in the light of Christ's coming, who are zealously serving Christ. We are to live looking. This whole idea is realizing that life is short and therefore our opportunity to bring the Gospel is also short. There is a world that is perishing, and Christ could come at any moment. That is the incentive to reach out.
The same concept applies to godly living. The fact is that if Christ is coming. I used to tell my children when I would go on trips, I'd say, "I want you to keep you room clean when I come back. If you've done a good job, we will give you some sort of prize or present." But, they never knew when I was coming, so they would look out the window sometimes. When the car drove into the driveway, it was too late to shove everything under the bed. They had to be ready. And, our lives should be lived that way.
Someone once said it is as though Christ died yesterday, was buried today, and is coming tomorrow. Time is that short by God's viewpoint. We are to adopt that kind of mentality, for we as 1 John 3 says know we are going to be changed. Those who have that pure hope in him who is pure purifies themselves. We live in accordance to the One whom we hope and love.
If pastors had a correct understanding of the purpose of prophecy, the very practical purpose of prophecy, they would never think that it was a distraction, but a great aid for all the things they want to accomplish.
In the third segment concerning the question "Is Bible prophecy a distraction?," some more members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will share what the Bible has to say.