If Your Pastor Isn’t Talking About the End Times…

Pulpit-End TimesChristians who study Bible prophecy will agree that we are living in some very “curious” times right now.  There are so many things going on that “End Times” “alerts” are going off all the time.  However, not every Christian sees it or maybe they don’t want to see it, this includes pastors!

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of everyone’s blood, for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.  Acts 20:26-28 HCSB

I recently brought up the subject with two different pastoral leaders and they both admitted to me that they don’t know too much about Bible prophecy or really look into it.  On one hand I was concerned.  On the other, I sort of understand.  Ministers get so busy doing “church stuff” that Bible prophecy gets pushed to the back burner.  “Bible prophecy is in the future…It is hard to understand…There is so much and so many different views…It freaks people out…etc…”  But, that should not be an excuse.  Bible prophecy is important.  In fact, whole books of the Bible are dedicated to it.  You can find prophetic Scripture all through the Old and New Testaments.  If your pastor isn’t talking, studying and teaching on Bible prophecy, they are not sharing the “whole counsel of God.”

Q. Over the years, I’ve heard folks like Hal Lindsey, Grant Jeffery, and you suggest that scripture contains a large percentage of prophecy. I am unable to find this percentage figure anywhere and thought you could help me with this for a presentation I’m making.

 

A. According to “The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy” by J. Barton Payne, there are 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament for a total of 1,817. These prophecies are contained in 8,352 of the Bible’s verses. Since there are 31,124 verses in the Bible, the 8,352 verses that contain prophecy constitute 26.8 percent of the Bible’s volume.

 

Source:

Churches/pastors will teach on leadership, how to be a good parent/father/mother, how to love your enemies, etc…  All those are good.  But I don’t want to miss out on more than a quarter of the Bible!

Joel Richardson, in his book The Islamic Anti-Christ (which I highly recommend), says…

One of the primary reasons that we all need to make eschatology part of our regular spiritual diet is that through such, we become prepared. This preparation is not primarily a physical preparation. It is not about the stockpiling of food or finding a safe route of escape from your city (although, to a degree, it certainly could be). It is primarily a spiritual preparation. This preparation or “readiness” occurs for two reasons and neither should be ignored. The first and most important reason is based on the spiritual effects that the study of eschatology has on our hearts. These spiritual effects affect our actions and the way we live. One of these effects is a desire for personal holiness (Hebrews 12:14). When we read about the events as described in the Bible and the terrible and fearful events that will occur, followed by the glorious appearing of Jesus from heaven, we find ourselves desiring to throw off all sin and focus on the hope of one day seeing him face to face. Indeed, “everyone who has this hope fixed on him purifies himself, just as he [Jesus] is pure” (1 John 3:3).

I recently wrote in, It Shook Me to the Core, Why I’m Rethinking Everything, “…I’ve started looking into Bible prophecy and my wife and I have had a new desire to pray and seek God more!  Don’t get me wrong, we have always done this, but we are taking it to a new level!”

The desire to learn more about Bible prophecy has caused me to look at everything with open eyes.  I find that not everyone does this though.  Many people who grew up in church or have listened to their favorite pastor preach on  End Times is pretty set on that specific view.  I believe as we get closer and closer to the last days, more specifics will be revealed and the Lord will allow us to understand the times better.

I recently started looking into the views of Joel Richardson and Walid Shoebat.  I linked to one of Walid’s videos in Another View of Eschatology from a Former Muslim turned Christian.  If you haven’t watched that video, you should take the time to look at it….again do it with open eyes.

Shoebat’s premise is that the West looks at the Bible and the End Times from a very Western centric position.  However, God is always Jerusalem and Israel centric.  Also, we look at things that are written in the Bible and come up with interpretations based on our Western perspective.  However, the Bible was written in the Middle East and there are Eastern understandings that would help us interpret the Scripture better.

Shoebat covers some of this in the video that I linked to above?  As a result of watching that video, I purchased his book, God’s War on Terror.  In it, he develops these “Eastern” interpretations in more depth.

He deals with why the anti-Christ can’t come from Rome or Europe.  He deals with why Mystery Babylon is not the United States or Rome.  He deals with the Gog and Magog war, and why Russia is not Gog.  He discusses specific word interpretations like what “waters” and “mountains” mean to someone looking at the Bible from an Eastern perspective.

Richardson’s and Shoebat’s views are not the only views out there that make sense, but if you are a student of Bible prophecy, it is a view that you should definitely explore!

The book was written in 2007.  Shoebat ends the book looking at certain developments in the Middle East.  Many of the developments that he wrote about have intensified and accelerated.

If your church isn’t teaching, discussing or at least looking at Bible prophecy, here are some things you should do.

1. Don’t leave! – Sometimes the first instinct is to pick-up and look for another church that is preaching, teaching, discussing what you are interested in.  However, you have to think about the fact that maybe God planted you in the church you are in for a reason.  Start to pray!  That is always the first step!

2. Set a meeting with your pastor. – In the meeting, share your concerns about the End Times and how over 1/4 of the Bible contains prophecies.  Write down questions before hand if you think that would be helpful for you to stay on topic.  Ask him where he stands and if he plans on discussing the End Times.  Understand that many people shy away from the End Times because it can be scary or there is just so many views out there.  Offer to help him gather resources or even help find someone that the church can bring in.

3. Start a small group. – If your church allows you, ask to start a small group that will focus on End Times.  There is more than you think that goes into small groups, more than I would like to develop here.  But just know that you should setup some parameters before you start like, “We are going to try and stay open to all Orthodox views on End Times Prophecy.”  It is very easy for individuals to “take-over” and make everyone else who has a different opinion shut down.

4. Study yourself. – There is nothing in the Bible that says you cannot study End Times Prophecy yourself!  Stay open, read and watch videos.  We are so blessed in this day and age to have access to so many sermons, messages and resources today.  Before, you had to wait for a radio show or order a tape.  Now there is so much at your fingertips…  But, there is also so much junk out there too!  You have to filter through it and pray (see #1).

5. Don’t neglect the rest of the Bible and the Faith! – There are so many Christians that focus on End Times Prophecy, that they forget all the rest of what God says in His Word!  Be balanced and “Seek first the Kingdom of God…”

Like I mentioned above, I think we are in some curious times! God always…ALWAYS, let His people know what was coming.  They just didn’t listen!  Don’t be a believer that doesn’t consider the times we live in!

What has been your experience?  Leave your comments below.

Peace,
Todd

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11 thoughts on “If Your Pastor Isn’t Talking About the End Times…

  1. AJ

    Todd:

    Not all Christians believe the interpretations of Hal Lindsey and Grant Jeffery regarding the end times. Yes we need to study the “whole counsel of God” but we also need to be cautious about injecting ourselves into narrative at certain places and not in others.. Regardless of the times, our main focus in the Biblical narrative is not to speculate but to repent and believe, worshipping the LORD in Spirit and in truth and to make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  2. Mic Roland

    Hi Todd,

    Our church has done a fair amount of studying “end times”, though AJ has an important point. The major point is that God wins in the end, so whose team do you want to be on? The ‘action item’ of what we’re told of the end times (which isn’t all that much) should be seeking salvation before it’s too late. After all, whether one sees the AntiChrist rise, or the hail of fire, etc., we ALL face our own personal end times — death. Where do we want to be when that comes? Being a good dad, husband, etc. are good things, but they don’t save anyone (Eph 2:8,9).

    Seems like there can be an unhelpful overemphasis on end-times prophecy study. There is the distraction from the importance of salvation first, of course. There is also a human tendency to overestimate the importance of recent events. People have been ‘seeing the signs’ of the end for thousand of years and been wrong. It’s not the prophecy that was wrong, but our human zeal to connect dots that don’t connect from God’s point of view.

    Back in high school, someone was making a very compelling argument that almost all of Biblical signs were happening (back then) and that the end times could come any day. That was 1973.

    Shoebat has a point about Euro-centric (or America-centric) bias muddying the prophetic waters. There also seems to be a Now-centrism bias too, however, which tends to make people force -their- current events onto prophecy. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars…” When -hasn’t- that been the case? for example.

    God said he’ll deal with the world when he’s ready. We don’t really need to know all his details. He’s not asking us to be coach, but to decide which team we’re on.

    take care,

    — Mic

  3. Todd Sepulveda Post author

    Mic and AJ,

    I think you are missing the point of the post. I never suggested that the End Times message is the only message that we, as Christians, should be focused on.

    If you are going to a church that has discussed End Times prophecy and has brought it up recently, then I would say that is rare.

    Like I said above, over 1/4 of the Bible deals with prophecy. To deny that portion of the Bible is not right!

    Yes, people have been saying that “The End is Near!” for a long time. The Apostles also said it. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t teach/learn/study it.

    I also didn’t promote one view over the others. I think we should keep an open mind and consider all the views. There are many out there that make sense. I think Shoebat’s and Price’s views are important to consider, but we should consider everyone and examine it against Scripture.

    I agree with you that salvation and repentance is the most important. That shouldn’t only be taught from the pulpit, but from every Christian living the life and sharing the message in their circle of influence.

    Peace,
    Todd

  4. gleaningforsurvival

    I have found that very often there is a tendancy to focus 8n end times because it is fascinating. However when you have people filling churches and not living the way of Jesus, they need to get that down first. I think that end times study isbest found for mature believers walking the way of Jesus, in a small group study. Ultimately I should be concerned with being the wise servant doing the masters work because it doesn’t really mater when he comes back, I know he is and I had best be found doing his work. For me the study of end times is about seeing God display he is who he says he is. And if that is today or tomorrow, I find that many who study end times don’t really believe it because their lives betray the real valurs and belief. Obviously that is a general statement, but wide is the road and I’m afraid that road runs right through the majority of american churches. Peace

  5. PJ

    I’ve been hearing about the end times since I can remember. I grew up in the church, my dad was (and still is) an Evangelical preacher. Is this the end times? Who knows, many generations over the centuries have speculated theirs would be the last. Imagine living through the black plague in Europe, WW1 or WW2…or the cold war with the anticipation of nuclear war, and yet here we are. We humans are so stupid, we believe that OUR time and whatever century that is in is THE one. The most progress, the time when all prophecies come to light, the one to pay attention to! and then….300-400 years later our bones are dust and we are long forgotten. The world keeps spinning without us, it’s like we were never there! Good news is we are (as believers) in a better place.

    If the end times are next week or in 20 years, or in 200 years….my agenda stays the same.

  6. Mic Roland

    Todd,

    I know you weren’t promoting End Times as the sole message. Prophecy is a fascinating study. My caution was that it seems very easy for End Times thinking to spin out of control. Many people seem to get trapped in the Harold Camping Syndrome, and lose the gospel amid their zeal “to know the future”.

    A less doom-ful study of prophecy we did recently, was looking at all the Old Testament prophecies foretelling the coming of Christ. It is interesting, looking at those early prophecies, and knowing what actually DID happen with the coming of Jesus. The prophecies were right (of course), but didn’t always turn out the way people thought they would. Many Jews were expecting a triumphant conquerer king (on a white horse), so missed the humble servant that Isaiah spoke of.

    I would expect that End Times prophecies would be the same way. Studying them is a good thing to do, but getting too fixated on details, or too attached to an interpretation can lead one astray (as it did Harold).

    take care

  7. Purus

    I know I am coming late to the party but I just wanted to put in my 2 cents worth.

    Todd has some excellent points but I would not have been saying that 6 months ago. Before then, I was one of those individuals that had nothing to do with the study of prophecy. It was something in the Bible but as far as I was concerned, it detracted from what I call, and have marked in my Bible, as “Heart of the Gospel” found in 1 Cor 15 : 3-6.

    Let me just say I’m not a beginner in this. Although saved in the mid 1970’s I didn’t truly come alive in Christ until about 2002. I was adrift and feeling the need to draw closer to God so I prayed, asking Him for a church. With no further action on my part, a week later, an Independent Baptist preacher knocked on my door, inviting me to church. With an answer to prayer like that, my wife and I knew we better take some action. We started attending church. We have since moved on but what that man started has lived on. We are involved in a local church but our ministries reach outside the church, extending locally and even globally. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and the honoring of His word found in James 4:8.

    That pastor had time to disciple me. That discipleship brought me up in the Lord but at the same time, he never taught any prophecy. Personally, I feel that was because he also believed it would detract from what he wanted to accomplish. His attitude and all the pastors I sat under until now, were the same. No one taught prophecy. A change occurred though, in my life.

    My wife and I had always argued about the timing of the rapture. She’s a pre-tribber and I’m a mid-tribber. In my eyes, it’s not really a critical point but I realized I didn’t really have a handle on the subject. I was just was parroting what someone else had written. That’s when I decided to do a study. I started in the book of Revelation. That led to the study of Daniel’s 70-weeks, what of course, led to a study of the book of Daniel. By then I realized there was a lot of prophecy I didn’t know anything about. Go figure, I had ignored 26% (or whatever the actual percentage is) of the Bible.

    It is so easy to sit in our pews, week after week, but never really live the call that was given us in Matt 28:18-20. For both of us, the study of prophecy has drawn us closer to the Lord and has instilled in us an urgency to carry the Gospel message outside the church.

    Oh ya, we are still divided on the timing of the rapture but we live by Proverbs 27:12

    “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” (NLT)

    The world and our nation are rapidly changing. Personally, I feel judgement is coming to our nation. God’s word has been removed from our schools. Our government has proudly wrapped the White House in homosexual pride colors. God’s definition of marriage has been erased from our laws. Our government supports an organization that kills countless unborn and sells the very tissues that God created.

    Maranatha, maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.

  8. Brian

    What part of Gods word should we ignore, why not just tuck it away in the storage room behind the old organ, the Big Tent, boxes of bible tracts, hymnals, and worn wooden pews? We are constantly screaming for relevance, freshness, life, and renewal in our churches so we trade chunks of inspired inerrancy for lies like contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina labyrinths, psychology and philosophy’s. Seems a good trade ( if you like synthetic nutrition), what’s the beef?

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