Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Prophecy Happens

2 Peter 3 is always worth considering these days:

"First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed."

It almost seems that Peter recognized that one basis of the scoffing is simply the belief that big, epic 'biblical' things can't happen, perhaps deep down they don't recognize that God can and will intervene on this planet when the time is right, according to His plan. Peter reminds us that such things can and will happen.

A more stark reminder of prophetic fulfillment comes from the prophet Jeremiah. We can view these scriptures and categorize in three ways:

- The prophecies
- The reactions to the prophecies
- The fulfillment of prophecies

The first 10 chapters of Jeremiah basically describe God's warnings to the people of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah. Specifically, God was warning the nation of Israel that the Babylonians would come siege and burn Jerusalem if they didn't repent of their sinful ways. These warnings were clear and specific:

1. The Prophetic warnings (taken from Jeremiah 1-10):

14 “Yes,” the Lord said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. 15 Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken!

“They will set their thrones
    at the gates of the city.
They will attack its walls
    and all the other towns of Judah.

I will pronounce judgment
    on my people for all their evil—
for deserting me and burning incense to other gods.
    Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands!

“Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says:

“Israel is like a thief
    who feels shame only when he gets caught.
They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets—
    all are alike in this.

To an image carved from a piece of wood they say,
    ‘You are my father.’
To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say,
    ‘You are my mother.’
They turn their backs on me,
    but in times of trouble they cry out to me,
    ‘Come and save us!’
But why not call on these gods you have made?
    When trouble comes, let them save you if they can!
For you have as many gods

“O Israel, my faithless people,
    come home to me again,
for I am merciful.
    I will not be angry with you forever.

Only acknowledge your guilt.
    Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and committed adultery against him
    by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

A lion stalks from its den,
    a destroyer of nations.
It has left its lair and is headed your way.
    It’s going to devastate your land!
Your towns will lie in ruins,
    with no one living in them anymore.

“In that day,” says the Lord,
    “the king and the officials will tremble in fear.
The priests will be struck with horror,
    and the prophets will be appalled.”

The enemy is coming from a distant land,
    raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah.

They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field,
    for my people have rebelled against me,”
    says the Lord.

This is what the Lord says:
“The whole land will be ruined,

    but I will not destroy it completely.

The earth will mourn
    and the heavens will be draped in black
because of my decree against my people.
    I have made up my mind and will not change it.”

2. The Reaction (by the people and leaders of Israel)
[Chapters 36-38]

the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.”

21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. 22 It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. 23 Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. 24 Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. 25 Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen.

Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim as the king of Judah. He was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. But neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the Lord said through Jeremiah.

Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The king of Judah sent you to ask me what is going to happen. Tell him, ‘Pharaoh’s army is about to return to Egypt, though he came here to help you. Then the Babylonians will come back and capture this city and burn it to the ground.’

15 They were furious with Jeremiah and had him flogged and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary. Jonathan’s house had been converted into a prison. 16 Jeremiah was put into a dungeon cell, where he remained for many days.

So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!”

So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it.

3. The Prophetic Fulfillment:
(Chapter 39)

In January of the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his entire army to besiege Jerusalem. Two and a half years later, on July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, a section of the city wall was broken down. All the officers of the Babylonian army came in and sat in triumph at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Samgar, and Nebo-sarsekim, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser, and all the other officers of the king of Babylon.

Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the royal palace and the houses of the people, and they tore down the walls of the city. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles to Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city, those who had defected to him, and everyone else who remained. 

This scenario represents a predictable pattern, one that we see today. The prophecies concerning this generation remain largely ignored, just as they did at the time of Jeremiah. Christians who attempt to raise the topic, even in our churches are often met with scorn and ridicule, similar to what the prophet Jeremiah faced. 

The prophecies as pertaining to our generation have been presented to the general public and to the church in a broad scale. The last two months alone have presented two major motion pictures dealing with the topic, "The Remaining" was in circulation a few weeks ago and "Left Behind" (one of the best-selling series of all time) is currently being shown in theaters around the nation. The information is there and available, not only via these movies, but the vast array of books and websites that deal with biblical prophecy pertaining to this era. 

Yet, just as in the days of Jeremiah, we see the same reactions today that Jeremiah experienced - the same reactions that he experienced approximately 2,500 years ago. History definitely repeats. 

And just as the prophecies were fulfilled in Jeremiah's era, so will they be fulfilled in our era. 

The Tribulation is most certainly coming and everything that it involves, exactly as described in Revelation 6-18. The information is all there - and in great detail. 

But just as in the days of Jeremiah, these prophecies are being ignored today. Jeremiah 37:2 captures this idea best:

"Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the Lord has spoken through the Jeremiah the prophet."


However, prophecy happens. There is no escaping this fact. 

It always does. The remaining prophecies for this generation will happen exactly as written, just as the prophecies involving the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem happened. It's a guarantee. 

Fortunately, we also have good news given to us, prophetically. The same literal prophecies that are contained in Revelation 6-18 also give us the hope of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, 1 Corinthians 15:50-52, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Revelation 3:10, and John 14:1-3. 



Unknown said...

Hi Scott - I read your blog faithfully every day. I also worked on the Left Behind movie. You are absolutely right about the scoffers. Isn't it amazing how much the prophetic landscape and mindset has changed over the past 20 years since the Left Behind series first came out? The producers/writers of Left Behind are believers with a passion for prophecy.

This experience with Christians bashing the movie and a pre-tribulation has been personally very disappointing. Disillusioning even--if it weren't for 2 Peter 3. Instead of being disappointed by the reaction on social media, I take it as further proof that we are living in the end days and Jesus is coming soon. Keep up the good work! Maranatha.


Scott said...

Kim - I was writing that specifically based on various discussions I have seen regarding those movies. And I see/hear the same old tired mantras over and over and over......It all started with Darby....The word "rapture" isn't in the bible...Its non-biblical...The early church....The preterist view...yada yada yada...I've heard alll of these same arguments for decades and they are all proven wrong time and time again, yet people continue to spit out these "arguments"...Its a bit tiring. Thanks for the comment and encouragement, it , means a lot :)

Scott said...

BTW, I liked Left Behind; it was also "entertaining" to see the critics take, which was entirely predictable