Is it the End of the World?

Visiting a church today, I was dismayed to hear the pastor minimize the importance of Bible prophecy. His sermon was rolling along wonderfully, when he detoured and spent several minutes discussing the spiritual “immaturity” of those who study (or teach) Bible prophecy.

How rude and arrogant.

He cited the usual suspects, those irresponsible teachers from years past who predicted Christ’s return and of course were wrong. This has become one of the deadliest arrows in the quiver of prophecy opponents. Harold Camping and others have done tragic harm to the cause.

Yet, I am astonished that the critics force the Campings of the world onto the relevance of the Bible. Harold Camping (or any other failed “seer”) has literally nothing to do with the credibility of the Bible! Nor does the Mayan calendar debate. Nor did Y2K, nor any other traveling sideshow.

Prophecy makes up a third of Scripture. Why would a pastor ignore it, minimize it, or attempt to sanitize it from Scripture (one is reminded of the old Soviet photos where Stalin had a freshly killed perceived enemy airbrushed from an official photo)?

In his amazing little book, Who Wrote Isaiah?, scholar Edward J. Young likened the scholarly criticisms of the biblical prophecies to cutting the Bible into confetti.

Prophecy is being attacked as too incredible to believe, and it is here that we find the frontline battle in our world today, in my view. That Israel—so ubiquitous in the Bible’s predictive prophecy—is maligned and hated to such a degree serves, also, to illustrate the fact that Bible prophecy is true.

It was foretold.

The pastor this morning rightly explained that there are many details we should not be concerned with, including timing of end-times events, etc. The tragedy though is that he wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

One can listen to wonderfully orthodox sermons from pastors today, and then watch the whole thing run headlong over the cliffs when prophecy is mocked and scorned.

Bible prophecy is extraordinarily relevant and “hot” right at this moment. Just one glaring example is the restoration of the Jewish people to their ancestral land; truly the land has bloomed again like a rose in the desert.

How profoundly sad so many American pastors go out of their way to keep true biblical prophecy from their flocks.

Overlooking Jerusalem's Old City, 2011

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