This week’s monster blast in Beirut brought out another rash of predictions from Bible prophecy teachers and students convinced that Gog-Magog was (or wasn’t!) about to break out. Or this or that specific prophecy from Jeremiah or one of the Minor Prophets was on the near horizon.
I don’t get it.
I do understand wanting to get out of here. The world is a mess, and in fact I think a terrific case can be made that we are living the fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:1-5—
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
And sure, there are plenty of prophetic signs that we are in the last days. But we’ve been saying that since about 1975. The problem is when someone emphatically states that Jesus is coming back this year, or “by September,” or some other date.
Much of the public has just tuned-out from all that. I can’t say that I blame them. Actually, I think we have two extremes that are harmful: those that predict a specific Bible prophecy is coming to fulfillment soon, and then those on the other end of the spectrum—skeptics and mockers.
I don’t understand why we can’t greatly anticipate the Lord’s return, while at the same time putting our own predictions on a shelf.
We should have learned by now that so many predictions by Bible prophecy teachers (isn’t that ironic?) just turn out to be false. Another date passes, another prediction goes nowhere.
I also note that many of these teachers claim to have some inside knowledge (“a source in Israel tells me”) that this or that is imminent. Few of us have real contacts, at least high up in military or political circles, and even if we did, does it make sense they’d play it loose with information critical to the State’s security?
It was reported this week that Hezbollah terror chief Nasrallah has threatened in the past to use ammonium nitrate to attack Israel, and he has been seen on video footage claiming that Hezbollah has missiles that can strike ammonia tanks stored in Haifa, thus killing and injuring perhaps a million Israelis.
I think the reality is, we know very little about is really going on in geopolitics, and in the dark recesses of terror centers. Perhaps Nasrallah is telling the truth, perhaps he’s not. Disinformation is the name of the game in the Middle East. The truth is, we don’t know if the blast in Beirut was really from improperly stored ammonium nitrate, or whether it was a terror act.
Again, looking at an occurrence like this, then claiming that it has something to do with a prophecy recorded 2,500 years ago, is really irresponsible. Dozens of times in just the last 10 years, I’ve heard someone claim that this or that event is the unlocking of a prophecy that will usher in the appearance of the Messiah.
None of those predictions was on the mark.
I simply don’t understand why we can’t enjoy Bible prophecy study and highly anticipate the future and the Lord’s Day without fitting every evening news story into the Book of Isaiah.
Some will be upset with me. I grew up with Dispensationalism. I believe most of the things that the RR audience believes. I just don’t like seeing more irresponsible predictions from prophecy teachers who really just want to stand out from the crowd and be the “go-to” source for Bible prophecy.
Our go-to source for that is the Word of God.
Much better to study prophecy in a responsible way and in turn teach our children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, etc. They will listen.
If we stop crying wolf every day.