Is Bible prophecy revealing the soon return of Jesus Christ?
Bible prophecy is one of the most ignored topics in churches today. Pastors avoid it like a plague. They usually assert that it is either too controversial or too difficult to understand. They often claim it is too other-worldly, meaning it has no relevance to Christian living here and now. The result is that one-fourth to one-third of God's Word has been put on the shelf, and the average Christian ends up living with no anticipation or even yearning for the Lords' soon return.
There are two areas of God's Word that have been terribly ignored and abused in the history of the Church. They are the opening of the Bible and the conclusion of the Bible — the books of Genesis and Revelation. People have tended to spiritualize the opening of the Bible by claiming that the 6 days of Creation were really 6 million or 60 million or 600 million years. When you start out spiritualizing the Bible by claiming that it doesn't really mean what it says, there is a tendency to do the same thing with the ending of the Bible, arguing that the book of Revelation really doesn't mean what it says.
But, the abuses of Bible prophecy applies to more than just the book of Revelation. It applies to all of God's prophetic word, and that is a shame, because the study of Bible prophecy is very important for many reasons.
I'm going to give you nine reasons why all Christians should be interested in studying God's Prophetic Word. The following is the final reason.
9. Reveals the Season of the Lord's Return
Finally we need to study Bible prophecy because it reveals the season of the Lord's return. Nobody can know the date, but we can know the season. Beyond a shadow of a doubt we can know the season.
Look at 1 Thessalonians 5. "Now as to the signs and the seasons, 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 I used to stop reading. The Church I grew up in, we stopped there. The preacher would say, "See, not anything you need to know about the coming of the Lord. He will come like a thief in the night. He's going to sneak up on you. You might as well not think about it nor worry about. Don't be focused on Jesus coming back, just go on and live your life."
One day I kept reading 1 Thessalonians 5, and look what it says: "But you, brethren, you believers, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief. For you are sons of light, and sons of day. We are not of night or darkness, so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober." Why are we sons of day? Because we have the Holy Spirit residing inside of us. And, by leaning on the Holy Spirit, we can understand things from the Word of God that others cannot understand. We can know the season of the Lord's return.
Jesus is coming like a thief in the night for the world. He is coming like a thief in the night for unbelievers. He is coming like a thief in the night even for those who are believers but don't know Bible prophecy. But, for those who know Bible prophecy, He is not coming like a thief in the night.
I remember a few years ago when I was in Orlando, Florida speaking. There was a great man of God there by the name of Albert Peak. He's gone to be with the Lord now. He was 80 years old, and this was the early 90's. At 80 years old he got up and said, "I've been asked to speak on the signs of the times that point to the soon return of Jesus. I've been preaching on this for 60 years. Sixty years ago when I began I had to scratch around like a chicken to find just one sign. Today there are so many signs that I'm no longer looking for signs. I'm listening for a sound — the sound of a trumpet!" That's where I am. I'm listening for the sound of that trumpet.
Look at Hebrew 10:25: "Do not forsake the assembling together as is the habit of some. But encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." What day? It is the Day of Judgment. In verse 27 it is saying that there is something we can see. There's something that we can perceive with our senses. We can say, "You see that? You see that? You see that? Jesus is coming soon. See that? See that? See that? Jesus is coming soon." There is something that can be perceived, and of course those are the signs of the times.
Or, consider what Jesus said in Matthew 24:33, "Even so, when you see all these things..." What? The signs He's been talking about, "...recognize that He's near right at the door." When you see all these things taking place, all of them coming together, you will know that I am right at the door ready to step out on a cloud and come back.
Conclusion: all of God's Word is profitable. All of it! That includes God's prophetic Word.
So, read it. Study it. And, be blessed by it. Then share it with other people.
Three Facts From Bible Prophecy
I want to take a moment to emphasize three facts that are taught in God's prophetic word.
First, Jesus is returning to this earth to reign for a thousand years in glory and majesty from Mount Zion in Jerusalem. During that time, the earth is going to be flooded with peace, righteousness and justice as the waters cover the seas. This is a promise that is made over and over in both the Old and New Testaments. It is one that Jesus Himself made over and over. In fact, Jesus' last words on this earth were a promise to return. They were spoken to the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos when Jesus appeared to him 65 years after His resurrection. Jesus said to John, "I am coming quickly," meaning He is going to return suddenly. And John cried out, "Amen! Come Lord Jesus!"
The second prophetic fact that is made clear in God's prophetic word is that the return of Jesus is going to take place in two stages. First will be the Rapture of the Church, and then, some seven years later, the Second Coming.
The third prophetic fact is that the Rapture of the Church can occur at any moment. There is not one prophecy that has to be fulfilled for the Rapture to occur.
And so, I have a vital question for you: "Are you ready for the Rapture, or will you be left behind to face the terror of the Antichrist and the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation?"
If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are ready. If not, then you need to repent of your sins and reach out in faith and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Do not delay! God in His mercy has extended your life to this moment to give you an opportunity to escape the wrath of God by accepting His grace that He has offered in the gift of His Son.