In today’s podcast Brian and I continue to discuss the Lord’s Feasts originally given in Leviticus 23 and how they relate to Jesus’ work on the cross as well as his future return. In this episode we discuss the feast of First Fruits and what it means to us practically.
BOOK REVIEW: When the Lion Roars: Understanding the Implications of Ancient Prophecies for Our Time, by Carl Gallups
I recently finished reading this book and it is a great read. No matter your eschatological point of view, this book is worth taking a look at. I’m not sure what the author’s view is (pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, etc.) but the purpose of his book is to show that no matter what view you hold, there is an absolutely unprecedented convergence of signs and conditions that line up with all aspects of the Biblical end-time framework.
The author asks the question, “What if we truly were living in the most profoundly prophetic times since the first coming of Jesus Christ? What if you were shown the undeniable and shocking proof?” Then he spends the entire book doing just that. That question and claim may sound sensationalistic, but it is not. Chapter after chapter, the author details concrete facts from secular sources that you can go and verify for yourself.
Even if you are not a Christian—especially if you are not a Christian—I would encourage you to give this book a read. I promise it is not a bunch of churchy talk or christianese. It is a riveting read from cover to cover. If you read the first page or two you will not put this thing down.
If you pick up the book, let me know what you thought! I’d love to hear if it struck you the same way it struck me.
In this final installment of our series on the rapture, Brian and I discuss support for a pre-tribulation rapture, the results of the sudden removal of the church from the world, the two parts of the first coming and how it serves as a shadow of the two parts of the second coming, the practical implications of our belief in the future rapture, and much more.
On this question from the recent survey I sent out, participants could choose more than one answer. These were the top three choices by far. Most other reasons were under 5%. These results were eye opening to me in terms of knowing what posts to write, resources to develop, and what books to recommend. They also confirm the direction and content for a book I’m currently writing which will be published by Harvest House Publishers.
I’ll share specific details about he book once I finish the content and we begin to promote it, but it will help address these three barriers that keep people from learning Bible prophecy. It will be a user-friendly resource for churches and individuals wanting to teach the basics of Bible prophecy in a simple, clear, Biblically sound manner.
My partnership with Harvest House is a huge answer to prayer. Many of the prophecy books I have studied over the years have been published by Harvest House including super-solid Bible prophecy experts such as Tim LaHaye, Ron Rhodes, Jeff Kinley, Thomas Ice, Mark Hitchcock, Ed Hindson, and Skip Heitzig. I am humbled and honored to have teamed up with such a great partner. I have worked on many creative projects before but have never felt so called (and seen so many doors open) as I do with this project. I can’t wait to share more so stay tuned!
Anyway, back to the survey. Based on the results of this question and others, two of my goals through this platform will be:
- To help equip churches to teach Bible prophecy in a clear and relevant way that causes spiritual and numerical growth in their local body of believers.
- To help everyday believers, seekers, and skeptics understand the basics of Bible prophecy and how it is the single greatest proof that the Bible is from God.
If you happen to have taken the survey, here are some initial thoughts that may help you overcome the three barriers listed above. First, be sure to check out the 5 Keys to Understanding the Book of Revelation series of posts to get some clarity on barriers two and three above.
Second, be patient with your church and pray about how you may be able to help equip people by teaching a class, organizing a prophecy conference, or starting a Bible study. Its easy to complain about a need that isn’t being addressed, but perhaps you are the one God has in mind to fill that Gap! I love a verse that my pastor often cites…
Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Consider yourself a ligament! Your local church needs you. Often, people with a calling in the area of Bible prophecy see things in a different way. Sometimes only the watchmen and women on the wall see what’s in the distance. It’s our job to tactfully and respectfully figure out how we can help “wake the bride” as author and friend Jeff Kinley so succinctly states in his book of the same name.
I think there are several reasons why most churches don’t teach much about Bible prophecy and I’ll talk about that in an upcoming post.
In the mean time, let me know what you think. Do the three barriers mentioned above seem to keep you from learning Bible prophecy? What resources for churches and people do you think would be helpful?
A few weeks ago I set up a Bible prophecy survey for people to take. It had 25 questions, several of which I’m going to analyze in upcoming blog posts, this one being the first.
One of the key things I wanted to do was to find out what specific areas of Bible prophecy people most wanted to learn more about so I would know what to write about and what resources to create.
See the info graphic above and a screenshot of the survey questions and results below. Needless to say, these are the 3 areas that most future blog posts will revolve around.
Several other questions provided some eye opening results which I’ll share in the upcoming weeks.
I just got back from a Mission trip to Haiti last night. If you’re not familiar with the conditions there, they are terrible. Everything there is broken. The government, the culture, the land, the economy, the health of the people. Everything.
It’s almost as if the land itself if cursed. Even satellite images like the one above (Haiti at left, the Dominical Republic across the border at right) tell a story. Generations of corruption and greed, voodoo practice, a lack of vision, and a lack of education, have kept this country among the poorest in the world. I have been to some of the poorest areas of Brazil and the Dominican Republic but I’ve never seen the level of poverty and brokenness that I saw in Haiti.
It has an official 80% unemployment rate, but it’s really worse than that. Even someone selling vegetables once a week is considered “employed”. It’s probably more like a 95%+ unemployment rate by real numbers. Most people in the villages eat once every other day. Starvation and malnutrition are common place.
As a prophecy student, I found myself wondering if many Christians would think that a focus on Bible-Prophecy (when there are so many basic real-life needs) might be a waste of time, not just in Haiti, but for the Church in general. More than a few times, I’ve heard that argument from fellow believers.
Here are five reasons teaching Bible prophecy is not only relevant, but vital to discipleship and evangelism.
1. IT GIVES PEOPLE A DEEPER CONFIDENCE IN SCRIPTURE
One-third of the Bible is prophetic in nature and one out of four verses in the Bible talk about prophecy. Prophecy intersects with every category of theology and progressively reveals key themes that are introduced in Genesis and converge in the book of Revelation. A study of Bible prophecy demonstrates the incredible cohesiveness and grand design of the Bible. There is no other document like it in history. A study of prophecy deepens our overall knowledge of scripture — something we are challenged to do as believers. The more we know truth, the more we will spot error and the better equipped we will be for ministry and life. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all scripture” is profitable (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 17:11, 2 Timothy 3:16). The book of Revelation even tells in the beginning and in end of the book that there is a special blessing for those who read the words of Revelation and act on them. So, even the book of Revelation is a practical book that calls us to obedience and results in blessing for those who study it.
2. IT ANCHORS OUR FOCUS ON AN ETERNAL HOPE
We led a Bible study in Haiti with a group of people from the village our church supports and one of the verses we studied was Romans 12:12 which reads — “Rejoice in confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Think about how relevant that verse is to someone who lives in extreme poverty, not knowing when their next meal is coming or what tomorrow may bring. An old blind man in our group talked about being patient in trouble and prayer with a smile on his face. I asked the rest of the group about the first part — the part that gives the ability to be patient in trouble. I asked what the hope is that Paul talked about. “What was our confident hope?” Without skipping a beat, one of the younger men, with utmost confidence and joy in his eyes, said in creole, “When Jesus comes back for us or when we die and go to him.” This confident hope is our anchor. In Haiti, the believers are not blinded by wealth and comfort. There, they have a raw Acts chapter 2 type of faith. They know everything else is unreliable — everything except our confident hope!
3. IT PURIFIES OUR WALK
There’s something about reminding ourselves of Jesus’ promised return that moves us from being lukewarm to regaining a faith that is on fire with passion to serve him. Since 2000 years have gone by, we’re easily lulled into sleep and complacency — or even sinful compromise — because we’ve lost any sense of urgency. When we study Bible prophecy and are reminded that He is a promise-keeper, and that many of the signs of His return have been falling into place the past 70 or so years, we begin to live with more excitement, purpose, purity, and commitment. I am thoroughly convinced that the enemy desperately wants to get our focus off of Christ’s return because he knows it leads to a victorious Christian walk and another important aspect of our faith…
4. IT PUSHES US TO SHARE OUR FAITH
We tend to share our faith more effectively and more often if there’s a sense of urgency. The Bible teaches that the rapture is imminent (can happen any moment) and we see the conditions falling into place for everything end-times related. A careful, non-sensationalistic study of Bible prophecy reminds us that there are still many people we know who have not heard the Gospel. Perhaps the Lord has brought someone to mind even as you read this. Don’t wait. Tell them about Christ.
5. IT HELPS PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD
There’s no denying our world is going crazy right now. I recently launched a Bible Prophecy Survey (the results of which I’ll share in upcoming posts) and one of the key areas of focus that came up again and again was global instability. It’s the elephant in the room. These are scary times. But it all makes sense when viewed through the grid of Bible prophecy. What we see today is EXACTLY what Bible prophecy unveils for the end-times.
I believe that a careful study of Bible prophecy is extremely healthy and necessary for Christians today. Focusing our attention on the Lord’s return will help move our faith from an arid wasteland to one that is growing and thriving. An accurate view of Bible prophecy is truly relevant for everyday life and ministry.