Faith or Fear? By Nathele Graham It seems that everyone is upset today. No matter…
Use Prophecy to Witness
By Ronald and Nathele Graham
The dry bones of Ezekiel 37 have come together. The signs Jesus spoke of in His Olivet Discourse and the events of Daniel’s 70th week loom on the horizon. The Rapture will happen first, so we know it is getting close. Have you heard about the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39? It’s on the very near horizon. Events are all coming about just as God told us through the prophets of old, but many Christians get confused because they just don’t study God’s word. Don’t be intimidated; study prophecy. It is a great witnessing tool that can be used in a conversation with an unsaved friend or relative to show them that they need to give their life to Christ.
Each Christian should study God’s word and understand that we are nearing the end of time, but it’s important to study prophecy in light of today’s knowledge. The prophets spoke what God told them, but much could not be understood even a century ago. Many commentators of yesteryear came to wrong conclusions based on the understanding of their day, so be careful when you study older commentators. “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. The Hebrew word “da’ath” is translated “knowledge” and means “discernment, understanding, wisdom”. Older commentators just didn’t have the understanding of events that we have today. As we study prophecy we need to increase our own “discernment, understanding, wisdom” in order to be more effective in our witnessing.
Many people close their minds to prophecy saying that it is just too hard to understand. There are Christians, as well as the unsaved, who scoff at and mock the word of God when it comes to prophecy, but then that is prophetic too. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4. Study will give you an answer for those who scoff. The “promise of His coming” will soon be fulfilled, but as Christians we yearn for the Rapture. We will not face the wrath of God but those who have not accepted Christ as their Saviour will face horrendous times before Christ’s second coming. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21. Those are Jesus’ words and they should be taken seriously. He goes on to compare it to the time of Noah, and anyone who thinks God judged His entire creation because Seth’s sons were marrying Cain’s daughters has blinders on. History tells of a time when Christians were being thrown to lions for entertainment and of the horrors that took place during the Holocaust. We shudder at man’s hatred toward other men but Jesus says the Great Tribulation will be worse. News headlines of today are filled with horrendous stories of people being slaughtered because their beliefs don’t line up with Muslim thinking. As we draw closer to the Rapture the birth pangs will get increasingly worse, then Daniel’s 70th week will begin, and then Jesus says the last 3 Â½ years of that seven year period will bring worse tribulation than anything that has ever been seen before. Anyone who rejects Jesus will face that time of judgment, but Christians are promised that we won’t face 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. Yes, prophecy can be a great witnessing tool. You shouldn’t use it as a scare tactic, but as fact.
As believers we have many challenges before us, but what can we do? We see the signs of the times and should understand the urgency of witnessing to our family and friends, but we can feel overwhelmed. We need to be in constant prayer, not only for the lost but for Jerusalem “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6. We also need to maintain a close relationship with our fellow Christians and keep Christ first in our life. There is also a great need to study God’s word. As Peter said “there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” You need to have an answer for this.
The truth of the Rapture and believing that its time is near has led some to become complacent in their duty to Christ. Complacency is of the devil and he would love it if those who are born again would all just sit back, relax, and wait on the Rapture. He would also love it if Christians would remain ignorant of prophecy and blind to the fact that time is short. Satan is hard at work convincing the lost that they are in good shape and not to worry or take seriously what those wacky Christians are promoting. Even if the Rapture is still a few years off, how many of your friends and relatives run the risk of dying without knowing Christ? They need to hear the truth and understand that only Jesus Christ offers salvation. They need to stop being scoffers and become believers before it’s too late.
Satan is the evil behind scoffers and their attitude. As believers in Christ we must combat the lies put forth by Satan and those who follow him. Even Peter was used by Satan to scoff at Jesus’ words and try to stop Him from going to Jerusalem to be crucified. “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”. Matthew 16:23. Whenever we hear someone spouting off against believers, and most importantly against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we can know without a doubt that we are hearing Satan speak. I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has a louder voice and can drown out Satan at every turn if Christians will only speak up.
Christians must adhere to Jesus’ commandments in every aspect of our lives, even when faced by unbelief of those around us. We all have our own miniature world to evangelize and that means that no matter where you go you are to spread the Gospel of Christ. If you are on a business trip don’t leave your Christianity at home. When you’re on vacation or if you’re just out running errands, remember you represent Christ. Our lives should always reflect our faith in Christ. We never know when God’s going to ask us to step out in faith and talk to someone about their salvation. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15. If you are having dinner with a business acquaintance and the conversation turns to events surrounding Israel, can you defend Israel’s right to the land and tell how prophecy is unfolding? The answer is in God’s word and not on the 6 o’clock news. Can you explain the hope you have in Jesus Christ? You might want to do some study in order to have answers.
Don’t neglect a regular Bible study routine. The Holy Spirit will teach us through prayer and study, and that will give us confidence and boldness to witness for Christ. The Holy Spirit will open doors for you to share the Gospel of Christ with others and prophecy is a great place to open a conversation. Most people hear what’s going on in the Middle East and if you understand that prophecy is being fulfilled you can share the Truth with the lost people around you. That will open up avenues for you to explain their need for salvation. God’s judgment is coming soon, but only Christians are given the promise that we will be saved from God’s wrath “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10.
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was the most important event in history and now we are rapidly approaching the second most important event in history… that is the Rapture. Christians must step out in faith to follow Jesus’ commandment to spread His Gospel. I believe some huge obstacles will be thrust directly into the lives of those Christians who faithfully follow Christ’s commandment to share the Gospel. Satan isn’t just going to sit idly by whilst we take away his followers. You may feel the heat of battle, but if you put on the armor of God you will have His protection.
Witnessing can be one of the most daunting tasks for believers and in many countries it is a life threatening choice. It seems as if people are offended by our Christian faith and have no qualms about scoffing and mocking our Lord. Nevertheless we aren’t to shirk our duty and keep silent. Paul was violently persecuted but still continued evangelizing. Nothing dampened his desire to share the Gospel. He prayed for relief from his “thorn in the flesh” but God answered “…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. Is His grace sufficient for you, or are you afraid of persecution?
Current events in the world can cause us to fear, but you can use these events to open doors for witnessing. The Old Testament is filled with prophecy concerning the birth and life of Jesus. Learn these prophecies and be ready to share. Also learn about the many prophecies concerning the events of today and of the not so distant future. If you don’t study these prophecies you will remain as blind as the lost world around you and you will miss many opportunities to share the truth of God’s word. Today Christians are standing in the sandals of the disciples of old. It’s our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and we must not retreat from our assigned task. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. It does take effort and study on your part, but it is worth it.
Certainly the Rapture of Christ’s Ekklesia is nigh and we rejoice in knowing that soon we will be caught up to be forever with our Lord Jesus. If you study prophecy and then follow the current events of the world, especially as they relate to Israel, you will know that Daniel’s 70th week is near and that means the Rapture is even nearer. Be bold and witness while you can. Study prophecy and understand the times we live in. Use this information to share the Gospel with others. Look around you and pray that God will give you boldness to share the Gospel with the lost who cross your path. You really don’t want anyone left here to face Daniel’s 70th week because you were too fearful to tell them the Truth.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham.
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