The Intent Of Biblical Prophecy!
By Ken Humphries
When I think of the intent of Biblical Prophecy I think of the little chorus we often sang in our children's meetings so, oh so, very many years ago! Always it would start with that amazing countdown. Starting off with a very low decibel and reaching crescendo decibels by the time we had concluded. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, we have blastoff! "Somewhere in outer space, God has prepared a place, for those who trust Him and obey…" The chorus did not perhaps convey the message our leaders meant it to; such was our excitement in getting that space ship off the ground and going in the right direction. The whole purpose of the chorus was to have we children understand the promise Jesus made in John Chapter 14, that is of His coming again to receive us who were saved, to Himself, keeping us from wrath and tribulation and that we would spend eternity with Him.
The message of the "intent" of the coming of the Lord Jesus I believe has been lost on a great many dear people in our world today and not least on those who profess to believe on the Lord Jesus and are saved. True Christian people should take a long hard look at our world in this present day and then take another long hard look at the many, many, Scripture references to end time truth and teaching. It must surly become clear, even to the most casual reader of the Bible, the countdown to the coming again of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has begun.
Now we should understand, that amazing coming will take place of course in two stages. There will be the coming of the Lord to the air for the blood bought Church of Jesus Christ, that's the burden of 1 Thessalonians and other passages. There will be some seven years plus in which there will be happenings in Heaven and on earth before the second stage, but there will come that second stage! That will be that coming of the Lord to the earth to judge Israel and the nations, ultimately setting up the Millennium Kingdom, that coming is the burden of 2 Thessalonians and other passages. It is true to say we are not given exact dates as to when that wonderful coming will take place, in fact, in Matthew 25v13 the Lord Jesus made a very potent statement concerning His coming, "Watch therefore; for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man cometh." Again in Acts Ch.1v7 the Lord Jesus after His resurrection said to His disciples, "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power."
Yet, wherever we look today there would seem to be a clear moving towards that final countdown before the Church is launched into outer space and that period known in the Bible as the:
“The Great Tribulation" in Matthew 24v21
"The Day of the Lord" Amos 5v16-20
"The Day of Jacob's Trouble" Jeremiah 30v1-17 (v7)
"Thy Wrath Is Come" 1 Thessalonians 2v16
"The Great Day of His Wrath" Revelation 6v17
"The Wrath of Almighty God" Revelation 19v15
"The Indignation" Isaiah 34v2 actually begins.
As one studies Biblical Prophecy it very soon becomes evident that there are four wonderful and magnificent themes, which emerge. The Rebirth of Israel! The Realignment of Nations! The Rapture of the Church! The Return of Christ!
The intent, or at least one of the intents of Biblical Prophecy I believe is to cause us to follow the Prophetic Scriptures closely in order to see what is actually happening out there and not simply let it slide over our heads saying, well, I don’t understand it all but no doubt somehow, everything will work out for the best. Rather we are to view with interest the things, which have been prophesied and watch as God brings each and every one of those things to pass just as He said he would.
May I encourage you to view closely the happenings concerning the four wonderful themes I have mentioned and ask yourself, does all this have any bearing on me and on the way I live just now?
Why has God included these things in the whole canon of Scripture? Well, I understand from my reading of God's word that all written in Scripture is to affect my living in every area, therefore, I need to know what God says and I need to know, by the power of the Holy Spirit, what God means. Having discovered what God says and what God means then I need to understand what impact that should have on my way of life. You see I am responsible for the known, that is, what I now know. I am also responsible for the knowable, that is, what I should come to know by consistent reading and study of God's precious word and knowing what I know by God's Grace it should have a profound effect on the way I live in this present world.
We, The United Kingdom, are a nation, which once boasted, through Queen Victoria, that the secret of our greatness was "The Open Bible" yet everywhere we look today we see an amazing regression from the truths taught in that good book called "The Bible."
Jeremiah in his day reminded us of a similar attitude prevailing. Jeremiah 6v15a, "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush."
The descent has been on fast track even during my lifetime. As a boy I recall hearing for the first time in my young life of a lady in our area being sent to prison for "getting rid of an unwanted baby" then it was called “the murder of the unborn” we call it abortion today and have made it quite legal. Pregnancy outside of marriage brought shame on the whole family, living together "in sin" was a scandal and those who would do so, often had to leave the area. Drugs were tablets the doctor prescribed to make you well, not eventually kill you in some sleazy corner of the gutter somewhere. Alcoholism was a disgrace to the community not a disease from which an individual suffered and was awarded special weekly payment from the government to aid the habit. Popular music was free from satanic message and indeed, in some instances, was quite likeable. Pornography was kept in the gutter where it belonged; only the depraved and degenerate mindset would want to delve into that mire.
Every school began its day with religious instruction and every classroom taught the Ten Commandments as a matter of course. Governments still believed in Christian values and promoted the Christian Ethic rather than lotteries. Governmental authority was, at least to some degree, respected. Our police were looked up to not looked down on.
I can even recall a time in the village in which I was born and lived for some years, houses were never locked, and integrity and trust were a part and parcel of life.
Today, the most dangerous place for a baby is in the mother's womb. Thousands of living souls are murdered in the womb every year and we have given licence to do so. A whale in the ocean is safer than fetes in many a womb today.
Pornography in books, movies, television, and on the Internet is no longer something to be censored but to be promoted vigorously. Drugs, drink, child abuse and divorce are at epidemic proportions, but because of the massive money to be made through all four, nobody is sufficiently interested to do anything seriously about changing our destructive way of life.
Our prisons are full to overflowing because we simply do not have law and order anymore. We have advanced to the point where we can send man to the moon and have had him build massive stations in space with our amazing technology, yet it’s not safe to walk in the local park at night lest you would not return without harm.
We are continually trying to find new and innovative ways of securing our homes and having to be so very careful what we use as deterrents lest the intruder gets hurt and makes a claim for compensation.
Our schools and homes are filled with rebellious, glue sniffing, drug taking, drink stupefied children over whom parents do not wish to have control or are unable to take control.
Governing bodies have to continually lay traps or set spies amongst their own enforcers of the law to discover how many of them are being corrupted and taking bribes.
Our churches have become overwhelmed with apathetic individuals who will believe the latest new teaching from anywhere as long as it looks good, sounds good, goes with a bang and gives a spiritually fuzzy feeling.
Jesus is no longer the centre of attraction at church these days; in fact, we may not even attend unless we have some entertainment to make the service more interesting, after all, any preacher worth his salt will be able to say with pathos and passion all he needs to say in a very short space of time. I mean, our modern age does not need forty-five to fifty-five minute sermons, we have long ago gravitated academically and spiritually way beyond that kind of old fashioned rhetoric. All of which indicates a nearness to the coming again of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I believe the intent of Biblical Prophecy is to cause us to live in this world as though we actually believe the Word of God and believing that precious truth; it should make a difference to me and everyone else (1 John2v28-3v3).
So follow with me as I endeavour to establish in our hearts once again the amazing events in Scripture that clearly teach of things that must shortly come to pass just as we are reminded in Revelation 1v1. People have listened to preachers too long by far, who take the Scriptures and twist and turn those wonderful truths to suite their own particular beliefs, in order to maintain a following of dear souls only too willing to part with their hard earned money in large quantities. These preachers live an up market lifestyle that those who are lured into following them only dream about, surely it is time to listen to a Holy God who cannot lie and will lead us into all truth.
"To some the Bible is uninteresting and unprofitable because they read too fast. Among the insects, which subsist on the sweet sap of flowers, there are two very different classes. One is remarkable for its imposing plumage; and as you watch its jaunty gyrations over the fields, and its dance from flower to flower, you cannot help admiring its graceful activity. But in the same field there is another worker, whose brown vest and businesslike straightforward flight may not have arrested your eye. His fluttering neighbor darts down here and there, and sips elegantly wherever he can find a drop of ready nectar; but this dingy plodder makes a point of alighting everywhere, and wherever he alights he either finds honey or makes it. He explores all about till he discovers it, and then having ascertained the knack of it, joyful as one who has found great spoil, he sings his way down into its luscious recesses. His rival, of the painted velvet wing, has no patience for such dull and long-winded details. But the one died last October along with the flowers, while the other is warm in his hive tonight, amid the fragrant stores, which he gathered beneath the bright beams of summer.
"To which do you belong--the butterflies or the bees? Do you search the Scriptures, or do you only skim them? Do you dwell on a passage till you bring out some meaning, or till you can carry away some memorable truth or immediate lesson? Or do you flit along on heedless wing, only on the lookout for novelty? Does the Word of God dwell in you richly, that in the vigils of a restless night, or in the bookless solitude of a sick room, or in the winter of old age or exclusion from ordinances, its treasured truths would perpetuate summer round you and give you meat to eat which the world knows not of?"
James Hamilton, D. D. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)