By Dr. David R. Reagan
What are the two fundamental truths about Bible prophecy?
In the spring of 2012, I believe the Lord began to move on my heart with a very troubling message. I turned it over and over in my mind, and I wrestled with it in prayer. Finally, it burned so hot in my soul that I had to put it on paper. When I finished it, and it was published in June of 2012. I called it A Prophetic Manifesto, and I gave it this stark cover because it contained a very stark message.
Two Fundamental Truths
What pastors need to understand is two fundamental truths about Bible prophecy. The first is that the preaching of Bible prophecy can be a great evangelistic tool, as it was in the first Gospel sermon which Peter preached on Pentecost. Read that sermon. It is nothing but the recitation of one Messianic prophecy after another, followed by assertions that Jesus fulfilled each prophecy.
The second truth is that the preaching of Bible prophecy can serve as a great tool of sanctification, for if you can ever convince a Christian that Jesus really is coming back and that He could return at any moment, that person will be motivated to holiness and evangelism.
Let’s face it, the average Christian no more believes in the imminent return of Jesus than he believes in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. He may believe it intellectually, but he does not believe it with his heart. It is only when a proposition moves from the mind to the heart that it is truly believed and will start having an impact on our minds and actions.
The three most urgent facts of our time that need to be proclaimed from every pulpit in America are these:
1) Jesus is coming back to pour out the wrath of God and to reign over all the earth.
2) The return of Jesus could occur at any moment. There is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled for the Rapture of the Church to occur.
3) The signs of the times indicate that we have arrived at the time of the Lord’s return.
These truths are like a two-edged sword. To unbelievers, they are a call to flee from the wrath that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus now. To the believer, they are a call to holiness and evangelism.
The unbeliever needs to face the fact that our Creator God is a God of justice. Accordingly, He must deal with sin – otherwise life has no meaning.
God deals with sin in one of two ways – either grace or wrath. Every person on this planet is living under either the grace of God or His wrath. It is a terrible thing to be subject to God’s wrath. The Bible says that when Jesus returns, the unsaved will crawl into holes in the ground and cry out for the mountains to fall upon them, so great will be the wrath of God.
The most tragic thing about this scenario is that all a person must do to move from wrath to grace is reach out in faith, confess that he or she is a sinner, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Salvation is a free gift of God’s grace through faith in His Messiah, Jesus. You cannot earn your salvation, and anyone who even implies that you can earn it is an agent of Satan.
For believers, the imminent return of Jesus is a call to evangelism – to share the Gospel with as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
The Lord’s imminent return is also a call to believers to commit themselves to holiness. In practical terms, this means making Jesus the lord of everything in your life: your money, your job, your food, your entertainment, everything.
And, for those pastors who argue that prophecy is pie-in-the-sky with no practical relevance, I ask, “What could be more relevant than a message that propels unbelievers to Jesus and motivates believers to holiness and evangelism?”
That brings me to another point concerning pastors. It relates to the number one cop-out that pastors use for ignoring the teaching and preaching of God’s prophetic word. It is often expressed in this manner: “I’m not Premillennial or Amillennial or Postmillennial. I’m Panmillennial, because I believe it will all pan-out in the end.”
Let me give you a translation of that comment. What the pastor is really saying is that he is too lazy to study prophecy to discover its truths, so he has decided to set aside one-third of God’s Word and simply ignore it. That is tragic!
“Jesus is coming soon!” That’s the promise given by the prophets of the Bible. It’s a promise made to Jesus’ disciples by angels on the very day He ascended into Heaven. And, it is the last promise Jesus made in the last words He spoke on this earth when He appeared to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos some 65 years after His death and resurrection. That promise means all, or it means nothing at all. To the world, it means nothing. To the average Christian, it is something that has been consigned to the indefinite future. To a true believer, it means everything.
True believers yearn daily with all their hearts for the Lord’s return. They share the Gospel at every opportunity, and they live with a commitment to holiness. And, because they live with a yearning for the Lord’s return, they will be candidates to receive a special Crown of Righteousness when they stand before the Lord on their day of judgment. Here’s that promise in 2 Timothy 4: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
In the fifth and last segment of Dr. Reagan’s A Prophetic Manifesto, he will explain the hope we have in these last days and how we should respond.