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We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching the Bible and understanding our time in

the light of Bible prophecy

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Clairvoyants, mediums or Bible Prophecy

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Over a quarter of all the verses in the Bible contain a prediction about the future. Altogether 737 separate forecasts are made of which 594 (80%) have already come true. The remaining 20% deal with events concerning the return of the Messiah Jesus and the end of days. With the prophecies already fulfilled the Bible has achieved 100% accuracy. It is logical to believe that it will achieve 100% accuracy with those yet to be fulfilled.

 

We live in an age when there is widespread fear amongst the general population about what the future holds. Warnings of impending calamity abound. People are looking for answers to the question, 'What does the future hold?' or even 'Is there a future for humanity?' Generally they are looking in the wrong place. Business is booming for clairvoyants and mediums. About 65% of the population read their horoscopes every day. Apart from the 'superstitious' method of looking into the future, business and governments are commissioning more 'experts' to analyse trends and make deductions which help them to plan future policy.

 

Both approaches to the future are fatally flawed. Fortune telling and astrology are condemned in the Bible, besides which their success record for correctly telling the future is so abysmal that it is hard to understand why anyone takes them seriously. The 'rational' method is also unreliable as unforeseen events frequently disrupt the trends and only God really knows the future.

 

He has revealed the future to us in the prophecies of the end of days, and yet the people who claim to believe the Bible to be the word of God are very reluctant to share this information with unbelievers. Most of contemporary evangelism studiously avoids any mention of prophecy and the second coming of Christ, and yet the events He warned us of in these prophecies are already upon us. Why is this?

 

1. We might be thought of as members of a cult

 

Great damage has been done to this doctrine by the wrong teaching of cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses with predictions of the date of the end of the world coming and going, thus causing people to disbelieve the whole idea. Anyone claiming to know the date of the second coming obviously does not believe in Jesus, because He said no one knows the day or the hour of his return (Matthew 24.36).

 

Deranged cult leaders like David Koresh of the infamous Waco siege have also discredited this doctrine and associated it with fanaticism and violence. However we should ask whether we should allow the false presentation of the message of the second coming by cults to prevent us from giving the true message. Why allow Satan a double victory by robbing us of a vital part of our message?

 

2. People want a positive message, not one of doom and gloom

 

Much of the preaching in evangelical churches in recent years has pushed a message that coming to faith in Jesus as Messiah will help you live a better and more successful life now, and that a great revival is coming which will reverse all the negative trends of godlessness, immorality and violence affecting society. This teaching, which we analysed in our October-December 1993 edition, promotes the idea that the Church's task in this age is to alter society radically and to bring the nations into submission to the rule of Jesus. This is hoped to be accomplished by spiritual warfare, marching for Jesus and global evangelistic projects which usually aim at transforming society for the better by the year 2000.

 

Against this the teaching that commitment to the Gospel involves a willingness to suffer and die if necessary for the Lord and that this age will end with tribulation and not triumph for the church is seen as 'negative' and 'defeatist.' But this is in fact what Jesus himself taught in answer to the disciples' question, 'What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?o His reply in Matthew 24 listed persecutions, wars, famines and a time of such great tribulation that no human being would survive if God did not intervene.

 

The message is not all 'gloom and doom' however. After the brief time of tribulation, Jesus the Messiah will return in person to bring in his reign of justice and peace on earth. Our task in the meantime is to rescue as many as possible from the coming time of God's righteous anger and judgment against the wickedness of humanity by calling people to repent and believe the good news that Jesus is the Messiah who died for our sins and rose again from the dead.

 

3. There are too many disagreements among Christians about this

 

It is a sad fact that many churches are unwilling to tackle this subject because it leads to disagreements on details like 'Who is the Antichrist? and 'Will the church be raptured before or after the tribulation? This has even led to splits and divisions in churches with pamphlets written denouncing the opposing view. All this is folly and a diversion from the positive need to proclaim the Gospel and the Lord's return.

 

Obviously it is easier to be more certain about things which have already happened than things which have not happened yet. There are some issues which are not clear from the scriptures and which we should 'wait and see' as to how they will be resolved. One such question is the 'rapture' question. The question is over whether the true church will be taken out of the world to meet the Lord as He comes in the air before or after the seven year period of tribulation which will bring this age to a close.

 

In 'Light for the Last Days' I have avoided taking a dogmatic line on this - mainly because I am not sure of the answer myself! I have read books presenting a convincing case for both views. What I would say is that we can apply positive lessons from both views. The view that the church will not go through the tribulation and that Christ could come at any time teaches us that we must be ready at all times to meet the Lord and therefore make sure that our lives are right with God at all times. The view that we will go through the tribulation teaches us that we must be ready to suffer for the cause of the Gospel, to the point of giving our lives for the Lord if necessary. Whatever view we hold we should also remember that all unbelievers go through the tribulation and therefore do what we can to enlighten them about the only way of salvation through faith in Jesus.

 

4. It's too complicated to understand

 

There are difficulties in understanding books of the Bible like Daniel and Revelation which deal with the last days. However I am reminded of the writer Mark Twain who said, 'It's not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me, it's the parts that I do understand. There are passages of the Bible about the end times which are very clear and easy to understand, but people often prefer not to think about them because they challenge our superficial optimism about the future and beliefs in the 'goodness of humanity.' What is clear from the prophecies of the end of days is that certain things will happen which are beginning to happen now:

 

There will be a restoration of Israel as a Jewish homeland. Ezekiel 36-37

 

There will be a great conflict in the Middle East and hostility towards Israel from all nations. Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 12-14, Revelation 16-19.

 

There will be an increase of wars, famines and earthquakes leading to a time of great trouble on the earth. Matthew 24.

 

There will be a trend towards and one world religion and one world government, which will be anti-christian. Revelation 13, 17.

 

The message of the Gospel will reach all nations despite opposition and persecution. Matthew 24.9-14, 28.18-20.

 

Conclusion

 

Just before his death in 1981 Dr Martin Lloyd Jones gave an interview in 'Christianity Today' in which he expressed the opinion that he saw 'nothing but collapse in the next 20 years of world history.' Refuting the idea that you can 'Christianise the world' he said, 'The end time is going to be like the time of the Flood. All civilisation is rocking and we are facing collapse, morally, politically and in every other way. The condition of the modern world proves that what we must preach more than ever is 'Escape from the wrath to come.'

 

We agree with this and believe that we should prepare unbelievers for the climax of this age, the physical return of the Lord Jesus, showing them how they can be ready to meet him by accepting the salvation he brought us at his first coming.

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