I had a glorious weekend speaking at a church in the upper Midwest. The historic church where I spoke has a history steeped-in the Abolitionists and folks who escaped Europe, looking for religious freedom. They were pious and tough.
I was also blessed by a member of the congregation with the gift of the church’s written history. Veterans of the Revolution rest in the church yard, and the restored facility itself hearkens back to a long-ago day.
As with other places I travel to for speaking (let me know if you are interested in hosting a Bible prophecy seminar—I promise not to be a wild-eyed fanatic. In fact, my dream is to speak to Unitarians or Catholic audiences—not my traditional venues!), I saw opportunities to speak about predictive prophecy in the Bible.
In reading the history of this particular charming church, I read an account of the first pastor riding through the countryside, visiting potential attendees. One woman, standing in her yard, was met by the pastor, an imposing figure on his horse. He asked her if she knew where “the New Jerusalem” is. This mysterious place, of course, is mentioned in Scripture.
She replied that she did not and he announced to her that she could find it “up yonder,” pointing in the direction of…his church!
This is a lesson in early American history, and how the prophetic passages of the Bible have been interpreted through the years.
The New Jerusalem is mentioned in the book of Revelation, and it appears to be a future, literal city descending from the sky, from “heaven.” That is the so-called literal reading. Many others, of course, interpret it as a metaphor, or symbolically. The pastor, for example.
For him, references to the Jews and prophecy and promises in the Bible were somehow meant to mean the future Church. It is also an explanation for the thoroughly American view of Manifest Destiny. Even Ronald Reagan added to his historical shine by referring to America as “that city on a hill,” again, a strong biblical symbol. The pastor, too, believed that the biblical reference to this majestic, celestial city was really meant as a nod to a future, glorious church.
Appropriating references meant for another people is common in the Church. All religions have a certain narcissistic quality, even those who lean heavily on piety and apparent lack of…ego!
It is my contention that the pastor was wrong. The New Jerusalem, read in context in Scripture, refers to a future, literal city produced by God’s creative act alone.
A friend and mentor, the late Dr. Henry Morris, once made a great observation about the book of Revelation (and, by extension, the rest of the Bible) when he said, “It isn’t that Revelation is hard to understand. It’s hard to believe.”
Wow, what a dead-on observation. That’s it.
We have difficulty believing that a golden city from heaven could emerge from the sky one day—although we can wholly believe in UFOs and Bigfoot.
I look forward to seeing the New Jerusalem one day. Having lived in this wonderful country for many years, and visiting a marvelous, historical church last weekend…I know that I haven’t seen it yet.
With news late last night that President Obama had abruptly walked out on “debt ceiling” talks with the Republicans, I was reminded once again just how relevant Bible prophecy is.
For many years, scoffers who made Bible prophecy teachers the butt of jokes mocked the observations made by these teachers. Among these observations was the insistence that one day, we would see both a global economic system and a global religious system.
The U.S. economy is—let’s be realistic—shaky. It is more unstable than any of us have ever seen, save those elderly souls who remember the Great Depression.
We are now worried about defaulting, not only as individuals, but as a nation. We understand that if Greece’s economy falls (and the Greeks don’t have any money), there could be a domino effect in Europe. China holds a lot of notes, but if the nations of the world implode economically, the Chinese will follow.
The Bible’s book of Revelation is read in different ways by different people. Those same Bible prophecy teachers I mentioned earlier see it as a portal of sorts to seeing broad outlines of the future.
Revelation, John’s vision, does imply these global alliances. Do yourself a favor (the book’s text announces that the reader will be blessed just by reading it) and read Revelation. Do it with no one around so you won’t be distracted. See if you can detect evidences for a “one-world” system for the future.
You’ll be surprised what you might find.
One of the fun things I get to do in my study of Bible prophecy is connect with friends who are on the cutting-edge of research. As a matter of fact, far from being the wild-eyed fanatics that critics allege, most of the people who look to the Bible for answers about the future are reasonable and wise. They are, to use a phrase the center-left Christian community loves, “careful thinkers.”
A host of Bible teachers and pioneers in prophecy will gather July 22-24 in Branson, Missouri. “Future Congress” (www.futurecongress.com) is being called the “Woodstock” of prophecy conferences, although it promises to be much more than that. Indeed, a keynote speaker will be G. Edward Griffin, author of the landmark book, The Creature From Jekyll Island, an investigative piece into the Federal Reserve.
Chuck Missler, arguably the most popular Bible prophecy teacher on the circuit, will also headline, along with dozens of other speakers, including biblical archaeologist Randall Price.
I am privileged to call several of these speakers personal friends, including Tom Horn, David Hitt, and Terry James.
David described for me how the planning has gone for Future Congress:
“Two aspects of planning Future Congress really caught us by surprise. First, we’re been amazed at the availability and willingness of so many experts in so many fields to free up their schedules to speak at the conference. Second, It’s been a challenging exercise scheduling all of the featured presentations and workshops so participants can not only get a good smattering of exposure to a range of subject areas but also be able to delve deeper into niche topics that particularly fascinate them.”
Besides provocative talks such as Hitt’s “A Time to Lose Faith” (it is genuinely fantastic!), to topics on “preparedness” and the paranormal (don’t miss Jeff Patty’s presentation on this!), Future Congress is much more than a Bible prophecy conference, where the subject matter is usually tightly focused.
Horn and others who have been involved in the planning recognize the significance of such a gathering.
“Future Congress was conceived as a result of numerous veteran leaders within ministry, finance, geopolitics, and sociology, witnessing a growing chorus of questions from people concerning the short and long-term aspects of the future of society. From banking and finance to conspiracy, from new technology to the supernatural, from prepping to prophecy, people are concerned about how to adapt and thrive in the days ahead.”
I can’t wait for this conference! Besides speaking twice, I am able to help host a few friends, since I live not far from this tourist “mecca.” Branson has an international reputation as a family destination, so think about coming on out to see us. Registration is still open, and I will also report in detail on the conference when it wraps.
Thirty-five years ago today, America celebrated its bicentennial; I remember the day vividly.
I remember it so well for a different reason than you might imagine. I woke up that morning to hear my parents talking about something that had happened very far away.
A week before, terrorists had hijacked an Air France jetliner and had it flown to Entebbe, Uganda. The PLO terrorists had separated the Jewish passengers and now held them, demanding that Israel release other terrorists held in jails.
To make a long and incredibly dramatic story short (you can read about the operation to rescue these hostages in Entebbe, by Iddo Netanyahu), Israel sent an elite force to Entebbe—a staggering 2,500 miles from Israel—and the hostages were freed! This happened on the morning of July 4, 1976.
The rescue force completely surprised the barbarians who were holding the hostages, and the firefight lasted mere seconds.
I remember Entebbe every July 4, but even more today, as America celebrates freedom.
Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident who was held in gulags for years, said after his release that he would sit on his bunk and whenever he heard a plane fly overhead, he thought about the rescue at Entebbe, and he knew someday his turn would come.
I am also reminded—again and again and again, as readers of this blog are coming to know—that God’s Word is sure and true. Fulfilled prophecy proves this.
In Isaiah 54:17, God promised that no weapon formed against Israel will succeed. This was fulfilled in a dramatic way at Entebbe, as the weapon of terrorism failed.
If you want to be inspired, read the account of this hostage rescue. When you do, in your heart, consider that there is Someone beyond our time and space Who watches and intervenes to save us and bring us to freedom, when all hope seems lost.
I salute the members of the Israel Defense Forces, who went to Entebbe and laid their lives on the line.
The Israelis today, so marginalized and harassed for so long in exile, are now blessed and protected by the Almighty.
After you read about the rescue, I challenge you to consider the validity of that statement.
I’m confident you’ll come to the right conclusion.