Saturday, June 27, 2015

Is Bible Prophecy Relevant For Our Troubled Times?

Well, of course - we all know that, but this perspective from Joel Rosenberg and Anne Graham Lotz is interesting and highly germane in today's world:

(Washington, D.C.) — Last October, President Obama gave an interesting speech in New York City. At one point in his remarks, the President said, “[T]here’s a sense…that the world is spinning so fast and nobody is able to control it.”
Events are moving fast — here at home and around the globe. The world does seem to be spinning out of control. Economically, socially, geopolitically, environmentally, we just keep experiencing one trauma after another, and no one seems to know what to do.
Yesterday, I wrote a column that raised this critical question: “Is America heading for a terrible implosion or a great awakening?” Specifically, I noted that “the United States is hurtling towards severe trouble, and the events of the past few months — and what may be coming over the next few months — grieves me a great deal. Something is coming. I don’t know what. But we all must be ready in every possible way.”
Ideally, pastors, priests and Christian leaders here the U.S. and around the world would be helping people make sense of all this chaos and confusion by teaching people through the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. After all, the Bible — and specifically Bible prophecy — has much to tell us about our times, and how to live through them with “hope as an anchor for our souls.” Indeed, fully 27% of the Bible — one out of every four verses — is made up of prophecy. The Lord wants to convey critical truths that are vitally important for our present and our future, and He wants to do so, in part, through prophecy.
Unfortunately, many pastors, priests and Christian leaders are not teaching people Bible prophecy. The question is: Why?
In March, Anne Graham Lotz and I co-taught a weekend seminar at the Billy Graham Training Center at “The Cove” to address this question and to help people “rediscover the purpose and power of Bible prophecy.” We want to encourage people to start studying and teaching prophecy once again to discover what the Lord is trying to tell us, especially in the midst of such dark and turbulent times. What’s more, we want to help people understand how to study prophecy, and not to feel intimidated or discouraged by the process.
So, we decided not simply to teach about prophecy, but to model studying and teaching through a particular Biblical book of prophecy. Specifically, we taught verse-by-verse and chapter-by-chapter through a short Old Testament book written by the ancient Hebrew prophet Joel. We observed, interpreted and applied the text. We explored what the Lord was saying through the prophet Joel in his day, and what lessons and principles we can draw out of the text and apply to our times.
The parallels to our times are striking. The Hebrew prophet saw his nation, Israel, drifting far from the Lord and asleep to the things of God. The Lord told him that judgment was coming, not only against his own nation but against his country’s neighbors and their enemies. The prophet was commanded by the Lord, therefore, to try to wake the people up and call them to repentance, reform and revival. The Lord used him to call his nation to prayer, and fasting, and the study of the Word, and to total, humble, devout obedience to the Scriptures. Fortunately, the prophet was faithful to the call.
Anne and I have come to love the little Book of Joel. It is only three chapters long in English, but we believe it has a message near and dear to God’s heart for us now, as in ancient times.
I’m deeply grateful to Anne and her team for posting all the messages we did that weekend online, and making them available free of charge. I hope you and your family, friends and congregation will take time to watch them, or listen to them on your phone. Please carefully study the Scriptures that we cite, both the Book of Joel and the other Scripture passages we refer to. Take notes. Discuss it amongst yourselves. Pray for the Lord to speak to you through His Word and to show you specifically and practically how He wants you to live in light of His Word. Please also use social media and word of mouth to share these videos with others, that they too might be encouraged.
Here are links to the main sites (click here or here), and links to the individuals sessions:
  1. Introduction — Why should we study Bible prophecy, and we should we study the Book of Joel? (taught by Joel C. Rosenberg; note, the session starts with a Rabbi blowing the trumpet known as a “shofar”)
  2. Understanding the Book of Joel, Chapter One — The Harbingers (taught by Anne Graham Lotz)
  3. Understanding the Book of Joel, Chapter 2:1-17 — Blow The Trumpet, The Day of the Lord is Coming (taught by Anne Graham Lotz)
  4. Understanding the Book of Joel, Chapter 2:18-32 — Preparing for the Day of the Lord (taught by Joel C. Rosenberg)
  5. Understanding the Book of Joel, Chapter Three — A Warning of Coming Judgment (taught by Joel C. Rosenberg)
  6. Studying and Teaching Bible Prophecy, Ezekiel 33:1-9 — What Does It Mean To Be a “Watchman on the Wall”? (taught by Joel C. Rosenberg)
  7. Conclusion — Matthew Chapter 24, Jesus Is Coming! (taught by Anne Graham Lotz)
May the Lord bless you as you study and teach the “whole counsel of God,” including Bible prophecy.

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