By Hal Lindsey
People often complain that Bible prophecy is too complicated. Why can’t it be simple? They want a single chapter or verse that explains it all. Why isn’t there a John 3:16 of prophecy? John 14:3 comes close. It says, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (NASB)
Jesus is the primary message of the Bible. He is also the primary message of prophecy. If you know Jesus personally, you have received the main message of God’s word. But to skip or dismiss anything further would be insulting to Him. Can you imagine a bride never reading letters from her groom? “No need,” she says glibly, “we’re already engaged.” No. She wants to know everything about him — especially his thoughts toward her.
So, don’t just say, “I’m saved and that’s enough for me,” or “I know Jesus will come again, and that’s all I need to know.” There’s more! All of God’s word, including prophecy, holds treasures, insights, empowerment, and joy. And it’s all there — waiting for you right now. So, dig in!
C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are not simple. They look simple, but they are not. The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of — all about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and what they do to the optic nerve and what it does to my brain — and, of course, you find that what we call ‘seeing a table’ lands you in mysteries and complications which you can hardly get to the end of.”
Don’t be angry with God because His word is not simple. Realize that, like looking at a table, it is both simple and complex. A surface understanding is possible, but endless wonders wait just beyond that surface.
One of the Bible’s amazing features is that it can simultaneously communicate to people of vastly different IQs and levels of education. It communicates with people from different cultures, different centuries, different races, and different levels of interest.
The Bible scholar spends a lifetime “rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV) A small child might hear a verse and know in a moment what the professional theologian spends months confirming. But that does not diminish the work of the scholar. Nor does it mean that the child has gained it all and should stop studying.
When you receive redemption in Jesus, you have received the most important message in God’s word. But don’t stop. Keep learning. Work to increase your understanding. The Author Himself has promised to help you, but anything more than a child’s understanding of God and His word, will often require real effort. Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
He wants us to dig deep into His word — to study it, and to learn. And a major feature of His word is prophecy — something we especially need right now. Jesus said to stay on the lookout for His coming. He said, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is.” (Mark 13:32-33 NASB)
The words “be alert” are a translation of the Greek word, “agrupneo.” It literally means “be constantly awake.” Jesus is not talking about skipping your eight hours of sleep every night. He means we are to be ever watchful for His return. To be alert includes having the ability to know and recognize the signs of the times. So, study prophecy.
It is a fantastic tool for evangelism — today more than ever. Everyone you talk to these days is uneasy. People sense that something huge and terrible waits just beyond the horizon. In many areas of modern life, we seem to be reaching limits beyond which there is nothing but chaos.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons and ICBMs is just one example of a world drenched in gasoline and playing with matches. North Korea and Pakistan are nuclear powers. Iran either is, or soon will be. North Korea and Iran are led by the kind of people who would be all too willing to spark a global nuclear holocaust. Pakistan could be led by such people in the near future.
And now nuclear ambitions have spread across the Middle East. Saudi Arabia recently made it clear that it is in the market for nukes. Turkey obviously wants them, as well as several Asian and African nations. As these weapons spread, the probability of their use is slowly turning into an inevitability.
People don’t want to think about these things, but they know them. The fear lingers like a dark cloud over all their thinking. They read about brilliant men like Elon Musk and the recently deceased Stephen Hawking, warning of an “A.I. apocalypse.” They worry about their children. They fear the future. As a result, alcohol and drug use have reached epidemic proportions. People are looking for escape.
Through the millennia, many have pretended to know the future. But only one prophetic book can be fully trusted, and that’s the Bible. Previously-fulfilled prophecy proves its authenticity. Right now, the world is taking the shape that the Bible predicts for the end of this age. And, while the world is headed for some difficult days, these things also mean that Jesus is coming soon! That’s good news!
We need to spread that word far and near. To do that effectively, we need to know what the Bible teaches about Bible prophecy. We need to make it a major part of our study and understanding of God’s word.
We also need it for our own comfort in troubled times. 1 Thessalonians 4 ends by talking about the Rapture. Finally, it says, “Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NASB)