Israel is in her ancestral homeland after almost 2000 years of dispersion. Her presence, however, is a problem not only for displaced Palestinians, but for a whole international community that is trying to come to terms with rising oil prices, global economic instability, China’s ascendancy, Russian resurgence, and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Who can deny that the storm swirling around one of the worlds smallest nations is looking more and more like the Bible’s description of the last days? Even secular thinkers are aware of Armageddon-like possibilities.
Yet whether some of us have been wise in our claim that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled in our day is another issue. Crying “wolf” in the past has caused followers of Christ to do reckless things in anticipation of an any-moment return of Christ. Some who were sure that “the signs of the time” showed that Christ would return in their lifetime failed to plan for the future. Many lost credibility not only for themselves but for the promise of Christ’s return.
I’m not doubting that prediction is a major emphasis of the Bible. A third of the Scriptures are futuristic in content. Jesus Himself emphasized the importance of prophecy when He said, “Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).
Yet, almost 2,000 years later, our generation has exhausted itself with millennial hysteria, failed predictions of Christ’s return, all fueled by media and publishing excesses.
Because of the way many of us have lost our way in Bible prophecy, there are now many younger pastors and congregations who believe that it is far more important to be good managers of our time and limited resources that to be trying to determine what time it is on God’s prophetic time table.
So what I’d like to do is think together about how we are handling the subject of Bible prophecy. But before I say any more, I’d like to know whether you are seeing or experiencing more or less interest in what the Bible has to say about the last days.