Thursday, December 27, 2012

Prophecy Watching: Good News And Bad News

Being a prophecy watcher is very difficult at times. Sometimes I actually envy those who can live in blissful ignorance. I believe the difficulties involved account for some of the reasons we "watchers" are recognized and rewarded:

  "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 
(2 Timothy 4:8).

 Of course it is a deep love of Jesus and a deep longing to be with Him and to be in His presence that propels us to study prophecy and to watch for the signs, but there are many hardships along the way as well.

To watch prophecy is to be in a dark place much of the time, as we see the increasing signs around us - signs that are growing in magnitude like the birth pains that Jesus described. The evil and darkness that will characterize the Tribulation is already beginning and to watch prophecy, one has no choice but to  become immersed in this dark world,s as we focus on these signs that we have been given. 

There are both good news and bad news which are associated with being a prophecy watcher. Thankfully, the bottom line for a believer is the simple fact that the good news far outweighs any bad news associated with being a prophecy watcher:

Good News:

Many people share their personal feelings regarding “end times” prophecy, their views of various current events and where the world seems to be heading. It is encouraging that more and more people seem interested in prophecy recently, especially over the last 3-6 months as certain events in the world seem to be converging, creating a general sense of fear or unease. This also creates an opportunity to witness for Christ in the context of the abundant signs around us and the vast parallels with the prophetic scriptures. 

Bad News

Even people who don’t normally pay attention to world news or current events are becoming aware that there is growing talk of economic collapse, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. Similarly, it seems that many people are becoming more aware of the Middle East powder-keg, for the first time, as the situations in Syria, Egypt, Gaza, West Bank, and Jerusalem, are part of the daily news cycle and WMDs (including chemical and nuclear weapons) are prominent in many of these news stories. 

These are just two examples of what seems to be driving people’s fears – there are many more that could be discussed. Earthquakes, tsunamis, super volcanoes, murder, robbery, gang violence, growing radical Islam, totalitarianism, oppression, hyperinflation, health-care, tax burdens, persecution, war, chemical warfare, kidnappings, food shortages/famine, forced incarceration, disease, and on and on that list goes. Its no wonder people are fearful these days. Similar to what happened in the aftermath of 9-11, it seems that a palpable and significant fear – fear of the future - combined with a general sense of unease is growing in many people around this country.

Good News

As stated many times before, it’s hard to imagine being in this world at this time without having biblical prophecy to lean on. It reminds me of what a loving God we have – a God that loves us enough to give us biblical prophecy so we would know what would happen and why – in advance. This was meant to be comforting to us - the knowledge that God is fully in control and the fact that everything we see around us is part of God's overall plan. As the apostle Peter reminded us in 2 Peter 1:19, prophecy is like “a light shining in a dark place”. Indeed it is. As the darkness of the coming Tribulation approaches, with all of the things we see happening around us, we can look to the words of prophecy and gain complete peace and comfort.

It reminds me of a particularly fearful child who was going to face a hospital admission and subsequent surgery. As a way of comforting him, several people on this hospital staff did a “dry run” with the child – showing him where he would first enter the hospital, where his room would be and what it looked like, where the nurses would be – where the post-op recovery would be and what it would look like when he awakened from anesthesia, etc. Familiarity with the people he would encounter and knowledge of what he was facing helped ease his fears dramatically. Imagine a loving God – knowing what His children would be facing in these last days – a God who loves us enough that He would actually give us the future in great detail in His written word and put there for anyone to read.

Knowing what we would be facing in these last days, Jesus began His Olivet Discourse by telling us to fear not – to not be “alarmed” when we begin to see these things. In Luke’s version, Jesus informed us to “look up” when we see the signs around us, because His coming and our "redemption" is drawing near. In this context, the apostle Paul took it one step further when he actually said that we should congregate and give each other “hope and encouragement” in these days -  as he spoke of the “gathering up” of the Church Saints prior to the Tribulation.

It is such a paradox that while being in the midst of such a growing darkness, that we have this “light” of biblical prophecy and the promises of Jesus’ return for His bride and that knowledge alone should fill us with great anticipation and hope – certainly not fear – in fact, quite the opposite.

Bad News

In light of the above, this isn’t really bad news but has to be categorized as such. Here it is: a strict interpretation of biblical prophecy indicates that things aren’t going to get any better on this planet before the Second Coming of Christ Jesus.

Jesus informed us that the generational signs preceding His coming would be like birth pains. We all know what that means (isn’t it interesting that Jesus chose an illustration that every human could understand?). Labor contractions increase in frequency and intensity, particularly during the last phases before birth. Once started, we know that labor pains don't suddenly decrease or reverse course. Once started, the pains continue to worsen until the actual birth. 

We also know that the signs that we were given were all negative signs (earthquakes, famine, pestilence, warfare, deaths, persecution, growing world totalitarianism, financial collapse, suffering, hardships, etc…), including the profile of humanity as given by the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3 (ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, brutal, not lovers of the good, etc…). We also know about the coming wars from Ezekiel 38-39 and Isaiah 17 – not to mention the devastating wars that will occur during the Tribulation.

We shouldn’t have any expectations that any of these descriptions will improve while we’re still around. Whatever we are seeing around us today is not destined to improve in fact they will continually worsen. The very things that are inclined to give us a spirit of fear will increase in the near future.

We need to understand this fact and brace for what could be coming. Everything mentioned above is destined to worsen as we approach the Tribulation (and will dramatically worsen during the Tribulation).  Any expectation that things will suddenly turn around and change course for the better is unrealistic in view of biblical prophecy.

Keeping the bible handy, staying in prayer constantly, and looking up towards Jesus will be necessary in these coming days.  We have been specifically instructed to not have a spirit of fear but to be focused on Christ’s return (Luke 21:28-31).

Good News:

The same biblical prophecies which have been proven correct throughout the centuries inform us that Jesus will gather up His bride before the wrath of the coming Tribulation and that simply cannot be too far away.  1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:16-18, 5: 4-9, Revelation 3:10, the fact that the Church isn’t mentioned at all in Revelation 6-18 (tribulation period), the fact that the Church is seen in Heaven in Revelation 19, before the Second Coming, the fact that Jesus took God’s wrath on the cross for all believers, thus necessitating the exclusion of the Church on earth during that period of God’s wrath (aka the Tribulation), the fact that Daniel was told that this designated period of time (including the Tribulation) was for “his people”, namely the Jews, the apostle John's ascension to Heaven in a manner paralleling the Rapture, just before the beginning of the Tribulation as described in Revelation 6-18, etc., etc.  – all point to a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.  

The signs that we see around us now – the same ones that are so ominous and dark – also tell us that Jesus is preparing to gather up His bride.  Remember His words of comfort and instruction in John 14:1-3:

Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God; trust also in me.

In my Father’s house are many rooms (dwelling places);
if it were not so I would have told you.

I am going there to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me
that you may also be where I am.
Note the following:

1. Fear: Once again, we see an immediate reference to fear: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” How many times does He have to tell us?

2. Trust Him:  Not this world or the things of this world. Trust in Him - exclusively. Remember - He will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5).

3.  Our permanent dwelling place (aka New Jerusalem) is in our Father’s house: Just like the Jewish bridegroom prepared a place for his bride at his father’s house, Jesus prepares a place for His bride – the Church – in His Father’s house.

4. Emphasis and certainty: “…if it were not so, I would have told you.” Jesus isn’t allowing a shred of ambiguity is He? How much more emphasis could Jesus put on this statement? He certainly isn’t a liar is He? He is making perhaps the most definitive statement He could possibly make here. In other words, He is telling us in this passage that His coming will happen. Period.

5. The Mission: I will come back”: Could Jesus have been more clear?

6. The Purpose: to “take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.”

That last sentence is so important. Note that in this description Jesus isn’t coming here to hang around on earth with us. Jesus said explicitly that His purpose is to take us to where He is. He is in heaven preparing that place. He isn’t on earth preparing that place. When He comes for His bride, He is clearly taking His bride - to this place that He is preparing - a fact that draws an immediate distinction with the Second Coming, where He does come to earth to reign for 1,000 years. The apostle John is giving us a vivid description of the process of the "gathering up" of the Church Saints here in this passage - a reference to the Rapture of the Church, not the Second Coming (one of the many distinct differences in contrasting the Rapture and the Second Coming). 

Jesus has made this promise and He made it emphatically.

In these coming days or weeks ahead we need to follow the instructions that we have been given. We can’t give in to fear or a spirit of fear. We should be focused on Christ and His promise of returning for His bride. We need to trust in Him exclusively. We should be looking up as directed. His coming is imminent and that is nothing but good news.



WVBORN56 said...

Wow Scott, excellent to the point home-run! You need a Facebook link to get this out to our friends. Thanks for the encouragement and God Bless you and your family! :)

GG said...

Hi Scott~

I give that a HUGE AMEN!! :) You took us right through the emotions many of us are having these days.

While saying the Good News..The Bad made me feel so at home. I thought I was the only silly one walking around saying things like this but using terms like "On the other hand..." etc. (ha ha). Finally, I just run out of hands and put it back into his.

Thanks so much, as always for walking with us and being a guiding light on this site for us to follow.

God Bless!!


Anonymous said...

As always - just what I need, when I need it! Thank you, Scott! Praise You, Lord Jesus! Thought I was the only one struggling. The encouragement of other believers and all of the blessed encouragements from our Lord ... couldn't make it without them!

Scott - one sign that I've been experiencing personally that I don't remember seeing much about (could have missed it) is family turning against family. Just wondering if anyone else was going through this. I love them all so much. Guess ole' you know who knows right where to throw those nasty ole' darts. Sigh! Got to keep the prayer covering up!!!! Between all of the turmoil and some physical problems that I can't seem to shake ....

Any how - know that I love you all and that I'm praying for you! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for all of Your blessings!!! What would we do without You??!! I love You, Lord. Please come quickly!


Dutch Treat said...

Scott, Like you I also marvel that some people can have such a cavalier attitude through life. Then again some of these same people will be in for a rude shock when the Rapture occurs. Scripture clearly warns us of the upcoming events; and I would rather sacrifice short term problems for long term (eternal) bliss anytime. Thanks again for all you do for us.

Seek But Don't Hide said...

This post pretty well matches what I've been thinking. When I look around I see that people are blissfully ignorant and just going about their normal daily lives. Sometimes I envy them too. But then I remember that until Jesus comes, we have to keep on watching and spreading the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Euro crisis undercuts EU rotating presidency

Anonymous said...

Disenchanted with peace process, EU may try to force Israel, PA into agreement

(Thanks to Chris Perver at for the link.)


Anonymous said...


Yes..It is happening to me as well. It breaks my heart, and I pray about it..and I tell Him it is hard to see my family turning on me.( Not all but some.) I see their love for me fading, I see them shunning me. Its hards. But it just shows me one more sign that His return for us is soon.

Much love to my sisters / brothers in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Wow! THANK YOU SCOTT! this just gave me so much encouragement,I've been feeling so weary,I just really want to leave this world so bad,evil is increasing daily and it seems like I am so detached from the world,but I'm glad I came to your site today!I wish I could repost this on my twitter account,so many people need this encouragement and enlightenment!God Bless

Mrs.C said...

Brother Scott,
Your writings are such a Blessing to us all! Thank you so much dear Brother!

God Bless You and Yours! :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It's uncanny for me reading this post. As I was reading, tears were running down my face. I said only yesterday that ignorance is bliss! Thanks for these encouraging words! It gets lonely being a watcher.

To All: The best truth you can share with unbelievers is this-

What is the opposite of faith?.... It's NOT doubt... It's fear!! See that you not be troubled!

In Faith & Love with Jesus Christ, Sister Rebecca S.

Dave Down Under said...

Good burst Scott and very encouraging.

I'm reminded of the verse of scripture somewhere that says to the effect that "perfect love casts out all fear". And another passage in Romans that says, "the Love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us".

Letting God love us and others through us can only cast off the devil and his suggestions of fear. There can be no fear when love is present, because its of God who is love.

If I'm afraid of anything then I'm not 'in love'!


Anonymous said...

whatever stephen

Dave A said...

Scott... this is by far the best and most encouraging summary statement of the times, events and truth packed concisely that I have ever read. Thank you, Brother.

Scott said...

Thanks a lot - I appreciate it, but as I've said before, I was speaking to myself as much as anything :)

This whole thing has been stewing in the remnants of a brain for a while and I lost internet connection for a day or so and ended up putting this down on word and transferring. The bottom line was originally going to be about how much we may or may not see on this side of the gathering up - and that is still unclear. It may get ugly for a while - we shall see. Thanks again - God Bless

Rachael said...

Hi Scott,
I have been reading your blog daily for a few months. I have been a believer/follower for many years, but living in my happy bubble not really paying attention to biblical prophecy. It's very difficult to understand and easy to ignore. I've been distracted from the big story while raising my family and setting up camp here on Earth. Then one day, a furniture repair man uttered the words "New World Order" and "Globalization". I googled it, ended up on Youtube watching all kinds of scary stuff (some truth/some deception). I believe that's how I happened upon your blog.
Well, I'm here and beginning to wake up and search. I have an appetite for it now and long to find others,who are safe,that I can connect with, learn from and encourage.
Is there a starting point or process to understanding what is going on? A lot of what you write is over my head.
Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Rachael...I HIGHLY recomend Scott's book, "signs of the coming Christ". You can find it on (thats where I found it)It will tell you everything you need to know and wanted to know about end time prophecy events and the order in which it will happen. Nice to have you here! God bless you!


Scott said...

Hi Rachael,

Thanks a lot. I usually recommend two books, depending on how deep you want to go. My book "Signs..." is really just a compilation of the various scriptures that are 'in play' as far as end times prophecy. It might be a good start. I try and make it simple and easy to understand, covering the main topics.

If you want to get very deep in terms of studying the Rapture of the Church, I recommend "Maranatha, Our Lord Comes" by R. Showers. The first half of the book is devoted to the basics of studying prophecy - and the background, but if you skip to the middle of the book you go straight to the Rapture discussion.

In a more general sense (don't let the size of the book intimidate you - the content is actually very straightforward - I recommend "Footsteps of the Messiah" by A. Fruchtenbaum. Its an incredible book and even after reading it 3-4 times, I learn new things every time.

Good luck with this study and hang around here, we usually try to put things in a scriptural reference.

God Bless

Rachael said...

Thank you so much! I look forward to getting started!