Mar 12, 2017

Dear Esther,

Why do you think some people don’t want to talk about the end times and the things that will take place (Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, etc.)? I have so many family members who profess to be Christians, but don’t want to have any discussion at all about the end times. They always say the same thing—“It doesn’t matter, we just have to be ready.”

Usually, they will be the ones to begin the discussion on something biblical or spiritual, but if the conversation even drifts to the Rapture or anything else prophetic, there is an abrupt, often angry response. I am always caught off guard. I guess I shouldn’t be. I think discussing the end times makes one more “urgent” in witnessing.

Thanks Esther,

Whitney

 

Dear Whitney,

You ask an excellent question. I have asked the same question myself, many times. How can anyone who loves the Lord not be interested in anything and everything in Scripture, especially things relating to these last days? Prophecy covers about one-third of the Bible.

I know a number of people whom I believe love the Lord but do not want to touch the Scriptures that point to end-times prophecy. They are very busy living their everyday lives but seem to be somewhat oblivious to the vast number of prophetic Scriptures playing out before our very eyes.

Some people completely misinterpret Scripture and don’t get that Israel is God’s chosen nation. They think the Christian church has replaced Israel, which of course is a false teaching. Large movements are underway teaching that this world is going to get better by Christians getting heavily involved in the matters of the world and then Jesus will return.

But that is not at all what the Scriptures teach. The Bible says the world is going to get worse and worse, the church will be removed in the Rapture before all hell breaks loose (sudden destruction) and it will take the Lord Himself to save the world at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. This world is without a doubt headed for judgment and very tough and frightening times.

I have heard a number of people even deny the truth of the Rapture because they don’t study their Bibles. At some point they heard someone considered an “authority” say that the Rapture is a fabrication. Yet these same believers seem to understand many other things about the Bible. Far too many people place their faith in mankind’s teachings and not in God’s inherent Word.

Many believers are genuinely confused. They have had little or no teaching at church from their pastors or Bible teachers on the important topic of prophecy. Many people accept anything they hear from a Bible teacher, mentor or a pastor without studying the Scriptures themselves, as the Lord commands:

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Also, some people may be opposed to discussing the end-times because they cannot contribute anything to the discussion. They have never studied the prophetic Scriptures—so rather than sound foolish or admit a need to learn they would rather throw up a barrier and change the subject all together.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Far too many people want to be spoon fed by others, which is a dangerous way to learn the Scriptures. Some Bible teachers and pastors do an excellent job but many simply regurgitate and repackage what they have heard all their lives from others and do not base their sermons or teachings directly from the entire Bible. They tend to pick and choose leaving out many important Scriptures. This is how false teachings and confusion have entered the church.

Or some people come up with new doctrines apart from the Bible and introduce even more confusion and false teachings, promoting their way to personal glory by insisting that they have discovered hidden meanings to some passages—“new” missing prophecy’s which are nothing more than hyperbole. A “wow” factor penetrates the Christian world and careful biblical scrutiny is replaced with man-invented dogma that is nothing more than speculation filled with loopholes that do not make sense.

People are too often charmed by those who know how to promote themselves and their ideas, rather than taking time to search the Scriptures themselves and realize the ideas being bantered about are sometimes nothing more than personal interpretations, and not biblical truth.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Many Bible colleges and seminaries do not teach Bible prophecy. They frequently teach from books and Bible commentaries written by men who have overlooked the prophetic Scriptures. Discernment seems to be a real problem not only when identifying the true teachings of the Bible—but with life in general. Decisions and choices are made without carefully thinking things through. The strength and depth of a person’s day-to-day relationship/walk with the Lord determines their degree of sound discernment, for the most part.

Another factor to consider is that many people shy away from talking about prophecy because of false predictions. So many people have made one prediction after another about when the Rapture will happen or that they are having visions and dreams about things, which have never transpired. These false prophecies discredit the true Christian church.

Rather than seeing these false teachings and predictions as part of biblical prophecy coming true, those believers who do not fully study and understand the Scriptures see false prophets, teachers and their failed prophecies as only a problem for the church, and not Bible prophecy actually coming to pass.

If the same people who shy away from learning and discussing the last days prophecies would understand that Jesus Himself said that false teachers and prophets would be prevalent in the last days—they would see that all those false predictions are a sure sign that we are living in the last days, as written in God’s Word.

Just because false predictions made by false prophets and teachers exist, it does not mean that the actual prophetic Word of God in the Bible is not correct. All it means is that some people for whatever reasons have disseminated their own ideas, predictions, perceptions and not biblical ones. On the Internet you can find dozens and dozens if not hundreds of false predictions that seem to feed upon one other.

Another aspect and I think, one the biggest reasons why some believers do not want to deal with the last days, is because they are more attached to this world rather than Jesus. Church attendance only, and perhaps some social gatherings take the place of a true relationship with Jesus Christ and true spiritual growth.

A person can be a believer but never get past the early stages of their rebirth or they may not be truly born-again. They might carry a Bible around but rarely read it. Many factors can play into why so many people want to ignore one-third of the Bible. And this is where it gets a bit dicey…

We never want to sound accusatory or wrongly judgmental, but a personal inventory of how deeply some people are committed to the Lord must come into play in this matter. Is a person truly committed to the Lord—or to his or her own agenda? Do professing believers really want Jesus to come back soon or are they too busy living lives as carnal social Christians?

I have spoken to some people who will talk about God in a general way but then when it comes to any in-depth discussions they get uncomfortable and even say, “Well, what if everyone is wrong? We have to plan our lives as if Jesus isn’t coming back soon.”

The Scriptures do teach that we need to live responsibly (to stay occupied) but that we must also watch and be alert. If someone actually states, “We must be ready,” that is a good thing but in order to be ready, we must know what time it is and what season in which we are living. We are commanded to watch and be aware. Those who say, “It doesn’t matter,” when it comes to prophecy are wrong. It does matter, because God says so. He commands us to be aware:

Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33, 35, 37).

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

Because there is a lack of sound biblical leadership in the majority of churches discipleship has not been taught. Every church should have classes in discipleship. Sharing the gospel is to be the first priority but the Lord urges that we are to study the entire Bible, and not just pick and choose from it. We are to be ready at all times to answer questions about the Scriptures, which include end-times passages.

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15)

I can identify another matter that might cause people to not involve themselves in Bible prophecy, because it is evident from websites on the Internet, books and material disseminated all over the world—that some teachers of Bible prophecy are not balanced in their approach to teaching the prophetic Scriptures.

Some seem to forget that the gospel is first and foremost to be an obvious part of any prophetic teaching. (Instead, a salvation verse might be very briefly added at the end of someone’s lecture, book or article.) Glory to God does not always come through, it is more about the Bible teacher or the preacher that attention is given.

Individuals who are rightly bothered by this type of unbalanced teaching may without meaning to, become unbalanced in their own way of accepting the Scriptures by omitting Bible prophecy all together.

We cannot be sure what causes people to behave in certain ways, but if a person is unwilling to learn all of Scripture, including one-third of the Bible dealing with prophecy, then they are not giving their best to the Lord. Some people go through the motions of Christianity by heavy church involvement or learning only parts of the Bible.

I am personally convinced that some professing Christians do not really believe all of what is written in the Bible. They are not truly surrendered to Christ and some most likely are not truly born-again—but outwardly go through the motions as if they are.

Whitney, we must pray that all believers will place the Lord and the entire Word of God first in their lives and come to understand that the prophetic Word of God is for encouragement—to act as a guide for the signs of the times, and a warning to us so we can be better prepared for His return.

And I agree, by understanding biblical prophecy’s urgency factor we can be a more effective witness to the unsaved by pointing out the prophetic Scriptures that far too many “believers” choose to dismiss.

God bless you for your faithfulness.

In God’s love,

Esther

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).