Prophecy And Evangelism
By Grant Phillips
Isn’t it tragic that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ speak negatively about prophecy? Those who spend much time in the study of prophecy are often ridiculed for doing so. It is said that this time could be better spent witnessing to the lost. However, the wonder of studying prophecy is that it instills an even greater desire to witness to those who do not know Jesus as their Savior. Actually, the more one studies prophecy, the greater the urgency to tell the Good News of salvation in Christ.
Should a Christian have no interest in studying prophecy when it comprises roughly one third of God’s Word, the Bible? I’m sure they are influenced by those who have given prophecy a “bad name” in attempting to set dates for Christ’s return, and making predictions that “so-and-so” is the Antichrist. These people are false prophets and should never be given an audience, but society loves sensationalism. Society also loves to see those who claim to be speaking on behalf of God fall flat on their face.
If you are a Christian, you really need to be studying prophecy, if not for one reason. God expects you to. He didn’t place this much information about prophecy in the Bible for it to be ignored. Pastors especially, should be strong students of prophecy, and should be teaching it on a regular basis, not at the expense of everything else in God’s Word of course, but it needs to be taught. Sadly, very few pastors know enough about prophecy to teach it to their congregations in the first place.
We are in the last days of the Church age. The Church age is winding down and the signs are all around us. Daniel’s seventieth week, or the Tribulation period as it is commonly known, is just around the corner. Far, far too many Christians are going to be caught off guard when Jesus returns for His Church just prior to the Tribulation. Does that mean they won’t be included in the Rapture? Of course not, but think of the lost people they have failed to tell about Christ’s offer of salvation and His soon coming. How many of those will remain in their sin because they did not hear?
For those who say, “we need to be witnessing, and let prophecy take care of itself,” are you witnessing? I realize that Christians, who know nothing about prophecy, do witness. Unfortunately, there are many, many more who know nothing about prophecy, and still don’t witness. The whole point of this article is to emphasize that prophecy, especially today, brings out an urgency in the prophecy student to witness. If you are a legitimate student of prophecy, I simply do not see how you would have no interest in witnessing to the lost. To the contrary, your desire to witness would increase, simply because you know the time is short.
Something else to consider are those who study prophecy, but do not witness for Christ. Notice that I mentioned in the last paragraph the “legitimate” student of prophecy. Yes, there are those who want to study the fine points of prophecy, but aren’t interested in the message. Christ’s message has always been, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)
All too often these folks just want to argue about what they think they know. That is not the right attitude to study prophecy, or anything else in God’s Word, for that matter.
Jesus Christ has made His message of salvation very clear. Even though this topic too has been tainted by false teachers, the Bible is clear on our need to be “born again” and how to be “born again.” One example, among many, would be, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Therefore, when the legitimate student of prophecy becomes alarmed for the need of people to be saved, and they will become alarmed, they must be clear on the doctrine of salvation as well.
When studying prophecy, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind would be the spiritual welfare of our family members. Then we start thinking about our neighbors and co-workers and others we know. I know I sound like a broken record, but the natural result of studying prophecy is growing in one’s desire to witness. It just happens that way. To study prophecy and not grow with a strong desire to witness is unnatural. It would almost be like seeing a tornado coming, but having no desire to warn others. The natural process wants to warn others of the approaching danger.
So for those of you who just want to argue over the fine points of prophecy, you need to get a life. Your heart isn’t right before God, and you need to get that settled first of all.
For those of you who want to ridicule legitimate prophecy students, you need to start studying the one third portion of God’s Word you have cut out and listen to what God has to say to you.