Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Understanding Prophecy II

One of the biggest problems in understanding prophecy is that so many do not apply the basic principles for understanding scriptures.  For example, different ones have referred to different signs such as the alignment of certain planets or the so called blood moons as signs of the Lord’s return.  Still others have focused on various wars such as World War I or World War II, or the rebuilding of Israel and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.  By just taking time to read a passage completely and keep it in context many of those problems can be eliminated.  Matthew 24:3-8 provides a valuable example. 

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Jesus said we were not to consider these kinds of events as signs of the imminent return of Christ, because they are natural outcomes of the present world and the way it works.  For example, like solar eclipses, the alignments of the planets or the blood moons occur periodically as a result of the orbits of the moon and various planets, and have no special significance.  Claiming they are some special sign is little different that reading the horoscope or practicing astrology. 

Similarly, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and climatic changes such as droughts or climate change result from natural events such as the shifting of the tectonic plates or a slight wobble the earth’s rotation as a result of those tectonic shifts.  Geological evidence shows these changes have occurr3ed periodically since the beginning of time and have no special meaning.  Wars and conflicts are the result of man’s sinful nature, and serve only to remind us that mankind is inherently sinful. 

Jesus said Christians should not allow themselves to be upset by false teachers claiming such events are signs of the end of the world or of the Lord’s return.  They are just a reminder that we live in an imperfect world.  Unfortunately the proponents of global warming are little different than many prophecy teachers, ignoring the science and historical records in an effort to stir people up to accomplish their agenda.  In II Thessalonians 2:1-2 Paul warns against falling for such teaching, regardless who is promoting it.  “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”  Simply taking time to read what the prophecies say can save a vast amount of confusion and concern.  

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