January 31, 2019
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11.
Prophecy is one of the topics in Scripture that people seem to avoid. It can get confusing, but our knowledge is increasing so it’s also becoming clearer. If you get confused by prophecy you’re in good company. The prophet Daniel sometimes had trouble with it. He had been young when he was taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon, but he never forgot God. He had kept a scroll of a prophecy of Jeremiah which said that the captivity would last 70 years. Because Daniel took God’s words seriously and also paid attention to the times in which he lived, he knew that the captivity was about over. He didn’t try to find other interpretations in that prophecy but understood it as fact. Even though Daniel understood that prophecy because he could see the events unfolding when he was given a prophecy of his own he wasn’t able to understand it. Daniel was told of future events, including a very evil world ruler who would put himself above every god, even above God Almighty. Although he couldn’t understand what the prophecy meant, he knew that God had described events that would come to pass. He recorded what God said, not what he thought God meant and that prophecy is found in Daniel chapters 9-12. Much of the prophecy describes events which are still future to us so it’s understandable that Daniel couldn’t know what God really meant. The time wasn’t right for understanding. “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” Daniel 12:8-9. It’s been many, many centuries since Daniel received that prophecy and only today is it coming into focus. Time has passed and because we are living through the times leading up to the final seven years of history, end time prophecy is becoming clearer. We can see the stage being readied for the evil world ruler who will soon make himself known. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:27. Daniel believed God and wrote the words he was given. Through the years people have tried to read something into this prophecy that isn’t there. Because of a lack of understanding and not believing what God clearly says, heresy has been promoted. Many false teachers try to convince us that the ekklēsia (Christians) has replaced Israel. These false teachers don’t believe Scripture. It’s always a mistake when people try to make prophecy fit a human perspective rather than accepting God’s greater knowledge. God is very clear that He has not given up on His chosen people of Israel. Even though Israel is a nation once again and there’s a stirring among the people to rebuild the Temple, some people still twist God’s words. If the plain truth of prophecy had been believed, replacement theology would never have been dreamed up.
Because we are nearing the end of days, end-time prophecy is becoming clearer. The prophecy which Daniel was given wasn’t for his own time in history but it is for our time. “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. Daniel wasn’t the only one given prophecy about the days in which we live. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and John are just a few of those who foresaw the end days, believed God even though they couldn’t fully understand, and faithfully recorded what God told them. As we study prophecy we need to prayerfully ask God for understanding. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. God wants you to understand all of Scripture and you won’t be rebuked for asking for His guidance. When studying any topic in Scripture, be sure to prayerfully consider all related Scripture and don’t pull any verse out of context. As we draw nearer to the end of time knowledge is increasing.
The final 7 years of earth’s history have been prophesied to be unimaginably worse than any previous time. God’s wrath will be poured out upon the unbelieving world. He isn’t being unfair. Thousands of years of prophetic warning has been given, but people choose ignorance. Those final 7 years aren’t about Christians, but about God’s chosen people of Israel. It’s a time that will bring Israel to recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Christians won’t face God’s wrath but will be caught up in the twinkling of an eye prior to the judgments of God coming upon the earth. We see that wickedness is growing stronger these days, but Christians won’t see the worst of times. We will be delivered from 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. That’s a comforting truth. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. The Rapture could occur tomorrow or ten years from now. If you haven’t accepted Christ for salvation you’re making a big mistake. Without Jesus as your Saviour, you’ll be left to face God’s wrath. An understanding of prophecy reveals that we’re very near to the end. Heed God’s warnings and give your life to Christ.
When asked about the end of time, Jesus confirmed Daniel’s prophetic words but gave even more detail. Jesus said there would be wars, earthquakes, famine, and pestilence. These things have always occurred but are getting worse by the day. News headlines can be very depressing, and strike fear into your heart. If you look to Scripture for comfort you’ll find it, but you’ll also find some things that are upsetting. We are living in perilous times just as Scripture says. You can live in fear and denial, or you can find comfort through studying God’s word and understanding prophecy. If you take Scripture as truth you’ll understand that none of today’s events are a surprise to God. He exists outside of time as we know it and He gave us prophecy so we’ll know where we are in history. He could “sugar coat” things, but God wants us to know truth and how events will play out so we can take comfort in Him…not in the world. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9. Christians around the world are being severely persecuted and the atrocities that are being done against our Lord is insane. Ronald McDonald is shown being crucified and it’s called art. A comic book depicts Jesus as a failure who must return to earth to “get it right” by following the sun god for instructions. Where is the outrage against the blasphemy of our Lord and Saviour? If you stand up for Jesus you run the risk of being mocked or beheaded. If you stand against the legalized killing of babies you run the risk of being beaten up or murdered yourself. The governor of Iowa is in hot water for signing a bill saying if a heartbeat is detected the baby can’t be killed, but New York is praised for allowing the murder of full-term babies. The hearts of men are wicked. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:12. These are heartbreaking signs of the times, but it will get worse. Jesus said that the end of days would be like it was in the days of Noah and of Lot. Those days were filled with demonic evil, perverse sexual practices, and wickedness. Have you noticed any that activity becoming more common today? I have. If you haven’t then you’re not paying attention.
The Apostle Paul had much to say about end times. Pastors today should heed Paul’s words of advice to a young pastor named Timothy. Even though Timothy lived many centuries ago, Paul told him what it would be like in the end. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5. News headlines are filled with these sins. Instead of reporting it as evil, the media makes heroes of the evildoers. Instead of taking a stand against evil, many pastors invite the wicked to join the congregation in order to not be accused of being legalistic. Scripture says we are to evangelize those who are lost, but we aren’t to accept the sin. It’s a sign of the times that Scripture isn’t heeded.
We can live in fear or we can study Scripture to find peace in spite of the wickedness of our times. Thank God for prophecy because through it we can know what time it is on God’s prophetic clock. Time is running out for this fallen world. Brothers and sisters, keep yourself separate from the wickedness of this life, but share the Gospel with the lost. Only Christ can save us from the wrath to come.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at our Home Page under the Newsletter Archive tab.
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