By Camilla Smith
The other day I heard a very famous preacher (a great one) speaking about why the church was so weak. Unfortunately I was in the car, pulling into the garage with groceries when the sermon was beginning and I didn’t get to hear very much of it. Obviously, I do not know what his conclusion was. But when I heard him pose the question to the congregation, “Why is today’s church so weak?” I blurted out “Because nobody preaches about the end times!” The radio probably didn’t hear me, so that is why I am writing this down. And that is what I truly believe.
I wonder if you polled churches of today, how many are pastors are teaching Bible prophecy? I mean really getting into the heart of it, week after week after week--not just a little two or three week series. To me, it is essential that Christians know and understand what is just around the corner. Satan certainly seems to have no trouble deciphering where we are in God’s prophetic timeline, so wouldn’t it stand to reason that Christians should have a pretty good grasp of it? How else can we go on the offensive?
How many ministers in the average American church are teaching the truth about the Second Coming of Jesus? Will they mention Israel and the God-given signs that have been fulfilled about God’s chosen people? Are they talking about the Rapture? Do they describe the Great Tribulation and go into detail? Do they focus on the wrath of God and the rise of the Antichrist, the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and the New Earth? What about all those millions of demons that are going to be unleashed in that horrible seven year period between the Rapture and the Battle of Armageddon?
How many pastors are willing to go out there on a limb and talk about Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Thessalonians, and (should we say it?) Revelation? Oh, I don’t know about Revelation. Pretty scary stuff there. Might offend someone. Besides, it is written in secret code and not meant for us to understand.
I am not a Bible scholar. I am not a Bible expert. I am barely a Bible student, but I am getting there. And the more I learn about Bible prophecy, the more I want to know. I cannot get enough of the stuff. I don’t understand why more people are not demanding to hear what Bible prophecy is about. Is it just not the most fascinating subject ever? I believe God told Daniel to seal up his prophecy until the time of the end, and we are at the time of the end, so what’s the holdup? We need to look into this! And that is exactly what a few great “end times” experts are doing today—unsealing the very intricate prophecy that was meant for the people of the last days—that would be US. It is no wonder we are (well they are) figuring all this out. But these prophecy experts are few and far between and they can’t do it by themselves! They need pastors to take it to the masses.
There is some end times prophecy that was meant specifically for the very people who would understand it, the people that it would be relevant to. Why else does it make sense to us? We ARE that group of people. It is all beginning to make perfect sense now. It is all coming together in such an orchestrated manner that there is only one explanation—the God who knew the beginning to the end from the beginning, has put it in our grasp and customized His word for the people of this time in history.
But do we hear this in the mainstream ministries? Not so much. I flip from favorite TV preacher to favorite TV preacher and find a few of them teaching about the Second Coming. It is encouraging and maybe it will catch on. This past week, Robert Jeffress tackled the Great Tribulation with finesse and I must say, I was hanging on his every word. I just could not get over the fact that someone was actually preaching on the subject and I sat mesmerized listening to the message. It was like biblical nirvana!
I want to know more. Don’t you want to know more? I want to know details. I want to know what people think. I want to hear something new. I love how inspired I get by reading and studying the Bible, and searching for the handful of cutting edge teachers who are willing to take on the end times topic and teach about it. I wish the desire to put together the puzzle pieces of God’s revelation to us would overtake us and we would become a little obsessed with it.
But that is just my thought. There are probably many, many reasons why the church of today is weak. Part of it, I also believe, is that the entire church family is divided over the whole Second Coming issue anyway. And whether to focus on it or not. There is that, and then there is the minutia like mega church building funds, mission funds, outreach funds, youth ministry funds, donut and coffee bar funds, popcorn funds, vacation Bible school funds, and the biggie, whether-to-have-rock-music-or-not funds. Ouch.
So my friends, I am just spouting off again, putting my thoughts out there and testing the waters. I am grateful to have a platform to even declare my humble opinions, but if I am going to do so, I might as well stir up a hornet’s nest while I am at it.
I believe that we are living in the last days of life as we know it. There are political powder kegs around the world as thick as ants in an ant hill, ready to blow up at the lighting of a fuse. It won’t take much to ignite a major war. Morality and decency have gone to you know where, in a you know what. Famine, greed, perversion, pestilence—we have all the ingredients. All we need is a giant sinkhole and the demons can start rising from the abyss.
I believe that extremely soon, the trumpet of Gabriel will sound and we will be “harpazoed” out of here. The signs are undeniable. I feel the change and I sense the tide. It is like no other time in history and we are witnessing it unfold before our eyes. And that is why I cannot comprehend the lack of teaching on the subject in our churches. It is the most important moment in the history of mankind—quickly approaching—and there seems to be no cause for alarm. In fact, it is just the opposite. Many Christians have been lulled to sleep and just keep hitting the snooze button.
I can see where a minority of Christians would think we are on the precipice of leaving this earth and kick back and wait it out. But I would love to see what happened to churches if pastors really preached about the times we are in. Maybe they are afraid people would run for the hills, leaving them with an empty offering plate. But more likely, people would come in droves to hear what they are hungry for, or at least what true Christians should be hungry for—details on the return of Jesus.
If there was a huge movement to preach Bible prophecy, I can’t help but believe a spiritual revival would bowl us over and get that fire roaring. To me, Bible prophecy is like kindling. It stokes the smoldering coals under believers and sets our spiritual sparks ablaze. At least that is what it did for me. It was like someone turned the knob on the gas stove from simmer to boil.
But there is definitely an element of the church that is taking a nap. And I guarantee you, while people are snoozing, you can bet that God is hard at work, continuing to spin his perfect web and utterly putting things in motion to finalize His plan for humanity and His kingdom. If you are doing your job, you should see things falling into place around you. Your non-believing friends and relatives should be changing their tune, should be softening their hearts, and should be coming to Christ. Your own life should be looking pretty spiffy and polished—hopefully as close to Christ-like as you have ever been. Do you see a change? Are you touching a life? Do you have that burden? Are you content with your own spiritual status?
There are some exceptional churches among us. And there are many, many, dog-tired and under-appreciated pastors who do a phenomenal job at juggling their ever-demanding and I am sure, exasperating jobs. It is an absolutely self-sacrificial and multifaceted job and I could not do it.
But I wonder if the majority of churches are truly feeding their sheep? Are they leading their flocks? Are they really even watching for the wolves? And are they passionately looking up for the Lamb?
Bible prophecy is an integral part of a Christian’s walk with the Lord. We have a peace that passeth all understanding and a hope that is unprecedented. How do we know this? BIBLE PROPHECY. How can we know what we know, and not be teaching this vital aspect of God’s word?
I think it is a minister’s job to tell the whole story, as best he can, to the best of his true knowledge and interpretation of the scriptures. And that includes the prophecy part—the prophecy of the first coming of Jesus Christ and the prophecy of the soon return of Jesus Christ. Almighty God loved us enough to give us insight into what is coming. Prophecy is in the Bible for a reason and if it were to become the hot topic in the pulpit, we might actually see that revival we have been longing for.
I’d say it is worth a try.