June 9, 2016
We all know that the Bible is God’s word, but do you really understand what that means? The words written in the original languages were inspired by God and He desires for us to understand what He says. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished into all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The men who held the pen were directly inspired by the Holy Spirit and we need to take all Scripture seriously. Not only has God given us the guidelines for Christian living, but He’s also given us a look into the future through the many prophecies spoken by the prophets of old. Can we trust these prophecies? Absolutely. The above verse confirms that God spoke the Scriptures and they are given for our edification. Prophecy is just a way of showing us what lies ahead. If we study it we can get a good idea where we are in relation to the final seven years. The Rapture will precede those final years and you’d be smart to study prophecy in order to understand the times in which we live.
It’s been said “Every generation since Jesus died on the cross has been sure of Christ’s return during their lifetime.” That may very well be true, but it’s also true that we need to eagerly anticipate His return. It’s important to honestly study Scripture and not twist it to say something that isn’t there, but we shouldn’t close our eyes to what God tells us through His word. When we study prophecy we can see that certain events need to unfold prior to Jesus’ Second coming. In centuries past, those who diligently studied Scripture should have understood that the signs (such as Israel being back in the land) which were to precede Christ’s return weren’t in place yet. It would have been a mistake to anticipate Jesus’ return during any other generation than this, our current generation. Also keep in mind that the Rapture will happen at least 7 years prior to the Second Coming. Now that’s exciting!
Prophecy can be a tricky subject to study. Interpretations change because we interpret it according to our human knowledge of the time. God inspired those prophets of old to write about future events, and since He sees the beginning from the end He’s able to know exactly what a future event looks like. This verse from Zechariah would have been very hard to understand even a century ago. “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” Zechariah 14:12. This was written at a time when swords and arrows were the weapons of war, but today this could easily describe a neutron bomb or some yet unknown weapon of mass destruction. Very often God describes what the writer couldn’t understand, but as we draw closer to the end of time we’re able to understand more clearly.
Daniel was given an incredible prophecy concerning the last days. A careful study of this prophecy will help you to understand the days in which we live. When Daniel lived the Jewish Temple had been destroyed, but the 70 week prophecy talks about the Temple as if it were standing. Daniel could not have known how this would be accomplished, but he faithfully wrote the words he was given. The Temple was rebuilt but even that one was destroyed. We can be sure that it will be rebuilt because prophecy talks about still future events involving the Temple. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4. Jesus expanded on Daniel’s 70 week prophecy and even more is revealed in the Book of Revelation. We can understand more of prophecy today because our knowledge has increased.
In order for the Temple to be rebuilt, Israel would need to be back in the land God gave them. Until 1948 most Bible teachers twisted Scripture to say that Christians are the “New Israel”. Never twist Scripture; God knows what the future holds and can be believed.“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” Ezekiel 36:24.“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land,” Ezekiel 37:21. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11. “And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” Amos 9:14-15. These are just a few of the verses that clearly state that Israel will be back in their God–given land. Today we can see that prophecy is being fulfilled exactly as God said. By studying prophecy we can be sure that the war and hatred directed towards Israel today is only the beginning of what they will face in the very near future. Prophecy also says that when they finally turn back to God, He will fight for them and win. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Prophecy has been placed in the Bible by God to bring us to a deeper understanding of just what the future history of the world holds. Peter saw wondrous miracles as he followed Jesus, but he tells us that prophecy is a light shining in the darkness. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” 2 Peter 1:19. We can get confused if we believe man’s contrived interpretations of prophecy rather than understanding that the Holy Spirit meant what He said. Many erroneous ideas are put forth when mankind twists the meaning in order to make it fit a certain idea (such as replacement theology). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:20-21. God’s word is true, and prophecy tells us that we are very near to the end of time.
The Bible is replete with prophecies both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled. The First Advent of Jesus fulfilled numerous prophecies, as did His crucifixion. The religious leaders of the time were blind to who He was and like many people today they thought the prophecies were not for their time. If you have any doubts be sure to read Jesus’ words concerning the end of the age. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matthew 24:4. Then He goes on to describe the signs to look for alerting us to the fact that the end of the age is near, including the Great Tribulation. Jesus was not talking about Christians in these verses, but He was talking of a time soon after the Rapture. The Temple will have been rebuilt because the abomination of desolation will be put there. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Matthew 24:15. The Temple is now ready to be rebuilt as soon as an agreement is made, and as we watch the news that agreement could soon come to pass. If you’re curious about prophecy as it relates to today’s news, you might want to take a look at Prophecy Update News in Review at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPQVjsisdIbtLZWeWgv3-fQ. The signs of the times are upon us and for those have not accepted Christ as their Saviour, the horrors of those coming days will be unfathomable. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24: 21. If you’re curious about what will happen during the Great Tribulation, then read Revelation beginning in chapter 6.
Are you too intimidated to read the Book of Revelation? If so you’re missing out on a blessing. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3.True faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will keep you from the events described after chapter 5. If you know Jesus, you are very blessed indeed. We all know people who don’t know Him and they need the blessing of reading Revelation. It will show them what they will face if they don’t repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. Christians are a unique group of people. We live in the world, but are not a part of it…or we shouldn’t be a part of it. Sometimes it’s impossible to tell Christians apart from the non-Christians. When we truly accept Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the atonement for our sin, our salvation is secure. Then we need to study His word and apply it to our life.
The Rapture is a promise to Christians that won’t face God’s wrath and we will be called Home prior to Daniel’s 70th week. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. The Rapture was a mystery, a hidden truth, until Paul was chosen to reveal it. Christians may face persecution from other humans, but we won’t suffer God’s wrath. “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10. The Bible is filled with evidence of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, from the taking of Enoch prior to the judgment of the Flood, to Lot who had to be removed from Sodom prior to God’s judgment, to John hearing a voice like a trumpet saying “…Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Revelation 4:1b. Take comfort in this truth, and talk to your friends and relatives who need to come to a saving faith in Jesus. You don’t want them to go through the Great Tribulation or face eternal death.
Prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of our eyes; signs of the times show us that the end of all time is upon us. You won’t find answers on CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC. Truth is only found in God’s word. Should we take prophecy seriously? The answer is a resounding “Yes”.
God bless you all,
Ron & Nathele Graham
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All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham