God has written His plan for man in The Holy Bible, and this plan draws to its conclusion as proven by daily news reports.





I see certain prophecy-related terms that are not used properly. May I offer friendly suggestions on the correct use of these terms?

Prophecy versus prophesy:
• Prophecy is a noun. Example of correct usage: The Book of Revelation is a prophecy from Jesus.
• Prophesy is a verb. Example of correct usage: After Joseph had a dream message from God, he could prophesy Egypt's seven years of drought.

Book of Revelation versus Book of Revelations:
The last book of the New Testament is always written in the singular— Revelation— and never in the plural— Revelations. The Apostle John received a single message from Jesus and others, not a series of messages.

The Revelation of St. John the Divine:
In the King James Version, the translators chose to title the book in this manner. This bloated title translates a single Greek word from the book, Apokalypsis. Apokalypsis can be translated "Revelation, Uncovering, Unveiling."
• The revelation is to John, not of John. John merely acted as a scribe, writing what he was told and what he heard and witnessed.
• Most Protestants would probably not call John by the title "Saint." A saint (Greek = hagios) is any person who passes from his/ her sinful existence on earth to an existence washed of all sin in Paradise/ Heaven. Most Protestants believe a person cannot be called a "most holy thing" (that is, a saint) until final cleansing by Jesus at the Bema Judgment. Paul did use "saint" in Philippians 4:21.
• Many Christians would prefer not to attach the title "the Divine" to John's name. Divine means "Godly." We all possess sin, which is contrary to the nature of God and, therefore, not Godly, until our final cleansing by the sacrificial blood of Jesus.
• Avoid the pitfalls of this archaic title by merely referring to the book as "The Revelation" (Protestant preference) or "The Apocalypse" (Catholic preference).

Media entertainment ignorance:
A movie or television program may contain the word "apocalypse" in its title. The movie or show invariably depicts some disaster, implying "apocalypse" and "disaster" are synonymous. "Apocalypse" only means "revelation." The revelation in this prophetic book of the Bible does foretell many disasters and horrific events during the Tribulation, but the use of "apocalypse" in this manner is improper and shows ignorance of the Holy Bible.

INTRODUCTION. Why should you study Bible prophecy? I will list a few reasons (in no particular order of importance), but there are other reasons.

SINCE PROPHECY IS IMPORTANT TO GOD, IT SHOULD BE IMPORTANT TO YOU. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Bible verses are prophecies from God given to us. Since prophecies must be important to God, they should be important to you, too. God wants you to know the future, and you should also want to know your future.

If you or your pastor refuse to study prophecy, it is the same as ripping one-fourth of the pages from your Bible. You are saying to God, "I know more than You know. I know what is more important than You know." All Scriptures, including prophetic Scriptures, are written for your benefit (2 Timothy 3:16-17, underlining added for emphasis): All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

PROPHECY SHOULD DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO JESUS, WHO IS THE AUTHOR AND SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. The Old Testament is Jesus concealed; the New Testament is Jesus revealed. For centuries before Jesus' birth, the Messiah's coming was promised. His First Coming has been revealed in a supernatural birth in a manger in Bethlehem, precisely as foretold. His Second Coming is promised, and we come closer to that Glorious Day with every passing moment. Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10, underlining added for emphasis): And I [John] fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

PROPHECY STRENGTHENS THE CHURCH. The Church is the Body of the Christ, composed of many individual parts (1 Corinthians 12:27). The Church should be strengthened through the study of prophecy:
• Fulfilled prophecy authenticates the Bible as the inspired Word of God.
• The prophets' messages call members of the Church to live in purity and holiness.
• Prophetic messages consistently teach the imminent return of Jesus.
• Prophetic messages provide motivation to witness to those around us, to do what we can that no one should perish (experience the second death— spending eternity apart from God in Hell).
• Prophetic messages provide a powerful evangelistic tool to attempt to convince the lost that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God and that all should submit to its authority.

GOD COMMANDS YOU TO STUDY PROPHECY, AND WILL REWARD (BLESS) YOU FOR DOING SO. In the beginning of the Book of Revelation, the importance of prophecy is told (Revelation 1:3): [An angel said to John] Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Some pastors refuse to preach anything about prophecy. If these pastors were asked to rip out one-fourth of their Bibles, they would be offended. By their refusal to preach about prophecy, they have ripped out the fourth of the Bible that pertains to prophecy. God wants His children to know His Word (Hosea 4:6): [The LORD said] "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children."

FAITHFUL, METICULOUSLY ACCURATE FULFILLMENT OF PAST PROPHECIES SHOULD CAUSE US TO BELIEVE THAT AS-YET UNFULFILLED PROPHECIES WILL BE FULFILLED IN THE FUTURE. All prophecies that should have been fulfilled by now have been literally, completely fulfilled. There has been no error in prophecy fulfillment. Such fulfillment calculates to an astronomically high level of confidence. Such fulfillment should give confidence that as-yet unfulfilled prophecies will be faithfully executed in God's timetable:
• (Malachi 3:6a): [Says the LORD of hosts] “For I am the LORD, I do not change;...."
• (Isaiah 46:9-10a): "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done,...."
• (Isaiah 42:9): [Says God the LORD] "Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

JESUS WAS HIGHLY CRITICAL OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS WHO FAILED TO PREPARE THOSE WHOM THEY LED. Jesus was far more critical of religious leaders who spent too much time on esoteric interpretations of Scriptures, and too little time on important issues. For example:
• (Matthew 16:3b): [Jesus said] "... Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times."
• (Matthew 7:21-23): [Jesus warned] “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’" "That day" refers to Judgment Day. The warning is clear. Anyone— including any religious leader (pastor, priest) — who fails to warn others of future hardships and the return of Jesus, will be cast out of Jesus' presence (another way of saying cast into Hell). A religious leader who withholds prophetic teaching from his/ her congregation is destroying them because of lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6a): [The LORD said] "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...." They face eternal judgment for refusing to warn and prepare the people who look to them for spiritual guidance.

FLUENCY IN PROPHECY CAN BE AN IMPORTANT EVANGELISTIC TOOL. There are many more lost persons in the world, than there are saved persons. Jesus commanded us in several Scripture passages to evangelize a lost world. In fact, the last thing to be accomplished before Jesus' return is global evangelism (Matthew 24:14, underlining addeed for emphasis): [Jesus said] "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." Being able to cite prophetic Scriptures can present a compelling message for a lost person to seek the Kingdom of God.

STAND WATCH FOR YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FOR COMING DANGERS. Jesus repeatedly taught about love. For example, Jesus taught that there are two great commandments from God, including love for one another (Mark 12:31): [Jesus answered] “And the second [great commandment], like [the first], is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

If you love your neighbor, you will wish no harm to come to him/ her. Ezekiel gave an important message (Ezekiel 33:1-9): Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul."

In ancient times, the fortunate lived in walled cities. There, they were protected at night and during invasion. But, they had to leave the protective walls during the day to tend to their fields, orchards, and flocks. A watchman was stationed on the walls to watch the horizon. If he saw coming danger (then, an advancing army), he would blow the shofar (trumpet) to sound the danger alarm. The people could, then, rush into the walled city and be safer than if left in the fields.

God assigned two areas of responsibility:
• If the watchman sounded the alarm but it was ignored by the people, the watchman was guiltless and any death was the responsibility of the citizens who ignored the alarm.
• If the watchman failed to sound the alarm and failed to warn the people, the watchman was guilty and any death was the responsibility of the watchman.

Today, we no longer need watchmen to sound the alarm of an enemy's approach. We cannot save lives by blowing a trumpet. An even greater danger exists, though. Every person is subject to the "second death" — eternal death of the soul in Hell, without accepting God's grace and the sacrificial death of Jesus.

Every Christian should be a watchman, watching for the coming danger of death without salvation of his/ her family and neighbors. Does God's warning still apply? That is, if a Christian fails to warn others, are their eternal deaths counted against him/ her? If a Christian warns others but they refuse to heed the warning, are their eternal deaths counted only against the persons refusing to heed the warnings? Prophetic Scriptures can be a powerful evangelistic tool to reach the lost.

PROPHECY KEEPS YOU IN A STATE OF READINESS. How wonderful it would be to know with certainty the day of Jesus' return. If we knew He would return, say, September 29, 2017, churches would be packed in 2017. Revival would break out in all churches. Christian love would abound. But, it is God's plan that no one knows (Matthew 24:36): [Jesus said] "But of that day and hour [of His return] no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." You do not know whether Jesus will return today, next month, or ten years from now. You are, however, expected to remain ready for His return at any moment. Read the Parable of the Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). The virgins represent the Church awaiting the return of the Bridegroom (Jesus) to go to a wedding (the Marriage of the Lamb— Revelation 19:7-10). Half of the virgins stayed vigilant for the Bridegroom's return, keeping their lamp wicks trimmed (spreading the Light of Jesus to the world) and their lamps filled with oil (oil is a Biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit). They were always ready to go with the Bridegroom, and they went to the Marriage. The other half of the virgins did not stay vigilant, letting their wicks become incapable of spreading the Light of Jesus and their lamps empty of the oil of the Holy Spirit. They did not go to the Marriage. The Bridegroom (Jesus) was very harsh in condemning the lazy virgins (Matthew 25:11-13, underlining added for emphasis): [Jesus said] "Afterward the other virgins [the lazy virgins] came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."

PROPHECY BUILDS SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TO WARD OFF LAST-DAY SCOFFERS. The Apostle Peter prophesied that the last days would have many who would laugh at (scoff) Bible prophecy (2 Peter 3:2-4, 8-10): ... be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to 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 creation.” |...| But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Isaac Newton was one of the greatest scientists of all time. Newton spent more time studying Bible prophecy than he spent studying mathematics and various scientific disciplines. Anticipating that enemies of the cross would try to tear down prophecies amid much clamor, he said: "About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up, who will turn their attention to the prophecies, in the midst of much clamor and opposition."

Chrislam-promoting Rick Warren wrote a best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life. Warren mocks prophecy: “If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.” He then goes on to characterize prophecy as a “distraction” and says that anyone who lets himself get involved in distractions like studying prophecy “is not fit for the kingdom of God.” Wow! QUESTION: Is Warren ignorant of Bible prophecy? Many pastors know little about Bible prophecy. In my experience, those who know the least clamor the most against preaching/ teaching prophecy. If Warren believed that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, he would realize that mocking part of the Bible is, in fact, mocking God. I am not foolish or brave enough to mock God. if God wants more than one-fourth of His Word to be prophetic in nature, I have no problem with that.

The Apostles did not share Warren's sarcastic dismissal of prophecy:
• The Apostle Paul (Romans 13:12-14): The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
• The Apostle Peter (1 Peter 4:7-11): But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
• The Apostle John (1 John 3:2-3): Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

OTHER. There are other reasons to commend Bible prophecy to the student of God's Word, but I will not add these reasons. Know that God has reasons that you cannot understand (1 Corinthians 13:9-10, 12): For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. |...| For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.



Raymond Finney