Why church members and pastors avoid Biblical prophecy?

Mike Wingfield
2015-05-26 15:24

As I travel and speak on various themes of prophetic truth in the Bible, I have observed that we are witnessing a serious departure from the consistent preaching and teaching of the doctrine of last things. People do not want to hear prophetic truth, and most pastors refuse to teach or preach it. Why?

 

Some professing believers give various reasons why they are not interested in Biblical prophecy. They claim that it is too complex and has little practical application to daily living. Many could care less about the time of the Rapture, or the nature of the Kingdom of God. They are not interested in a study on heaven or the eternal rewards of the believer. Most professing Christians today view Bible prophecy as a pessimistic view of the future. They do not want to hear messages on the future judgments of God that will be poured out upon a godless generation in the last days. They want to hear positive messages that make them feel comfortable about themselves and give them hope for their generation in this world.

 

Many pastors do not want to study or preach on prophetic themes because it is not what many of their people want to hear. There are many different and opposing interpretations of various prophetic themes that they fear may polarize their people and bring unnecessary division over a doctrine that they view as not being all that important.

 

Many pastors in the liberal denominations teach that God has no future program for Israel and arrive at this position by using an allegorical rather than a literal interpretation of the prophetic texts in the Bible. They have concluded that God has rejected Israel and the church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people. This position, called “replacement theology,” is promoted by the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 347 church organizations in 120 countries. According to the research of Bill Koenig, about 63 percent of American Christians hold this position that is promoted by 14 of the largest 25 church denominations in the U.S. (Bill Koenig, “President Bush, the Bible & Israel,” Hope for the World, Summer 2005, p. 5)

 

As a result of these attitudes, we have arrived at a time when many professing believers and pastors know very little or nothing about Biblical prophecy. Koenig concludes, “Today there are approximately 100 million American church members who have very little to no understanding of Bible Prophecy.” (Bill Koenig, “President Bush, the Bible & Israel,” Hope for the World, Summer 2005, p. 5)

 

All of this is a Biblical fulfillment of spiritual conditions that would prevail in the last days. Jesus said that His return would be at a time when the believers were not even thinking about it (see Matthew 24:44). The Apostle Peter warned, “… there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?”(2 Peter 3:3-4) The Apostle Paul exhorted his young son in the faith, Timothy, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”(2 Timothy 4:1-4) Earlier, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul gave him this warning, “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons …”(1 Timothy 4:1)“The faith” is a reference to the accepted doctrines of the apostles. An examination of the New Testament writings of the apostles reveals that about one out of three verses in the New Testament addresses some aspect of the future. That means that about 30 percent of “the faith” is about prophetic truth. Approximately 80 percent of prophetic texts focus upon the events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ, His millennial kingdom, and the New Earth.

 

It has been my personal observation and experience that Satan hates Bible prophecy, and especially the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ. He is doing everything he can to oppose it and bring great confusion to this area of Biblical truth. Those who avoid Bible prophecy have fallen into the snare of God’s adversary! They are aiding his kingdom efforts to blind people from God’s revelation, and especially the doctrine of last things. Why does Satan hate Bible prophecy? Let us examine five reasons why Satan hates Bible prophecy.

 

Satan hates Bible prophecy because it is centered upon Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the central Person and focus of the entire Bible. He is the central figure in Bible history, poetry, the epistles, and prophecy. Revelation 19:10 declares that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The major reason why Satan hates Bible prophecy is because it reveals that Jesus is God, the Lord and Savior of His creation, and the coming Judge and King. The holiness of Jesus Christ is the common thread that runs throughout the Biblical prophetic texts. Because He is holy, He hates sin and must ultimately judge all sin and sinners. He has promised, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”(Romans 12:19) The day when Jesus Christ will pour out His holy wrath upon a godless, immoral, rebellious, and wicked world is fast approaching.

 

The church today wants to focus upon the grace, love, and mercy of God. These are precious attributes of our Lord Jesus. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the Bible also speaks of His wrath and judgment. The Bible speaks of His love and hate, and His grace and vengeance. All of this can only be comprehended in the light of His holy nature. His holiness demands what He loves and hates, and to whom He will extend grace or vengeance.

 

Satan is the author of confusion, not God (see 1 Corinthians 14:33). Satan is “an angel of light.”(2 Corinthians 11:14) He delights in using the Scriptures to His advantage (see Matthew 4:6). He loves to twist and distort God’s Word. He has many ministers preaching today in many very influential churches in our world (compare 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Many of his ministers refuse to speak about the wrath of God, the judgment of God, and the Second Coming of Christ. They don’t like to speak about sin or repentance. They only speak of the grace, mercy and the love of Jesus Christ! They refuse to proclaim that there is only one God, one Bible, and one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. Beware of these men!

 

Satan hates Bible prophecy because it is God’s Word.

As previously pointed out, prophecy is a major portion of the Word of God. The prophetic theme begins in Genesis and continues as a thread that is interwoven into the entire fabric of Scripture, concluding with a summary chronological overview in the final book of the Bible, the Revelation.

 

Satan has a hatred for the Bible, but especially the prophetic portions of Scripture because they present the clear evidence that the Bible is the Word of God. Long ago the Apostle Peter proclaimed, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)

 

One of the reasons that God has given us prophecy is to prove that He is the one and only true God and that the Bible is the only true revelation from Him! In Isaiah 46:9-10, the Lord declared this truth. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

 

If a prophet makes one prediction and it does not come to pass, he is a fraud and is not a messenger from God (see Deuteronomy 18:21-22). God cannot lie! If God were to give a prophecy, and it should not come to pass in every detail, then it proves that He is not God! Therefore, the accurate and detailed fulfillment of the many prophecies of the first coming of Christ, and those that are now setting the stage for His Second Coming, clearly demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God.

 

One of Satan’s chief tools of deception is to arouse doubt concerning the divine origin of the Bible. If the fulfillment of these divine prophecies given over 2,000 years ago prove beyond any doubt that the Bible is the very Word of God, then Satan must challenge them. He must bring confusion or silence this evidence. His efforts are great at this hour, and his agents are very busy.

 

Satan hates Bible prophecy because it focuses upon the sovereign will and power of God.

The devil does not like prophecy because when people consider it, they come face to face with a holy God Who created everything and is directing everything from His throne in heaven, to bring it all to His end, fulfilling His eternal purposes for His glory. Satan does not like that and does not want people to hear it or believe it. His message is one that promotes luck, fate, or chance. Satan does not want people to know that even he is under the power and control of God (clearly illustrated in Job 1-2). He does not want to face the reality that what God has purposed will come to pass. He would rather think that he and his demons, and all of mankind, have some chance of defeating Jesus Christ when the end comes. Therefore, he must minimize the church’s effort in the proclamation of the prophetic Scriptures that define and display the sovereign will of God.

 

Jesus and His prophets and apostles repeatedly declared that what He has revealed about the future will come to pass. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”(Matthew 24:35) All of this is true because “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”(Colossians 1:16-17)

 

Satan, as a foolish, finite, and sinful creature, has a record of attempting to challenge the sovereign plan of God. He tried to cause Jesus to fail in His divine mission to earth almost 2,000 years ago. He has attempted to destroy the chosen people of God. He has tried to destroy the nation of Israel and her occupation of the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem. He knows that if he can alter or stop one of God’s purposes spelled out in the prophetic Scriptures, then he will have made God a liar and will have dethroned the holy God of the Bible. While he works on that impossible option, his next best plan is to silence the proclamation of the prophetic Scriptures that proclaim the sovereign plan and power of God. If people hear and believe this message they will, from his perspective, reduce his chances of defeating God.

 

Satan hates Bible prophecy because of its powerful impact upon man for the glory of God.

Satan hates the prophetic Word of God because, like all Scripture, it has a profound effect upon those who hear, believe, and apply its message. Bible prophecy causes each individual to consider their own future judgment by God. Through the prophetic Word we all come face to face with the reality that we have been created for the glory of God and will all stand before Him some day! This forces us to think about death, eternity, our future eternal destination, and many other aspects of the future for those who have been created in the image of God. Satan’s objective is to keep all of this far away from our knowledge or consideration.

 

Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come He would “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8) The proclamation of Bible prophecy is a method that the Holy Spirit uses to accomplish this work of conviction. I have observed that the preaching of the prophetic Word is used by the Holy Spirit to bring sinners to repentance. Many people have shared with me how they came to Christ as a result of the preaching of the prophetic Word of God. Satan does not want men to consider that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this [is] the judgment.”(Hebrews 9:27) He does not want sinners to repent and be saved!

 

The Holy Spirit also uses the prophetic Word to provoke believers to godliness. For example, after Peter had written about the final judgment of God upon His creation that will usher in the new heaven and the new earth, he reminded the believers that this should have a very sobering effect upon them and drive them to “godliness”(2 Peter 3:11), and to be “without spot, and blameless.”(2 Peter 3:14) Speaking about the Second Coming, the Apostle John wrote, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.”(1 John 3:3) Obviously, this is something that Satan opposes. He hates moral purity and holiness!

 

One of the Lord’s major purposes for Bible prophecy is the development of an eternal perspective in the daily life of the believer. If we live our lives in light of the eternal plan of God, then we will have great wisdom for living today! Jesus and His Apostles spoke much about the Tribulation and His earthly kingdom. In each context it is clear that what we think about the future will impact how we live today! If we are living for Christ for this moment only, then we will live foolishly. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”(1 Corinthians 15:19)

 

When believers live their daily lives without a sense of the urgency that comes when they are anticipating the coming of our Lord for His church, it will result in a condition of spiritual apathy, complacency, disobedience, and immorality (for example, see Romans 13:11-14)! The New Testament is filled with exhortations concerning the believer’s longing for the return of our blessed Lord! The expectation of His imminent return is the “blessed hope” that motivates us to be a people who are “zealous of good works.”(Titus 2:13-14) Today, in most churches, the return of the Lord is not considered to be “blessed,” and therefore most believers are living as if Jesus Christ will not return in their lifetime! I personally believe that most professing Christians hope that Jesus will not return during their lifetime! This is a pure delight to Satan. He loves to keep the church lazy and asleep! If the preaching and teaching of the prophetic Word of God will arouse and alarm the believers and motivate them to serve the Lord, you can believe that he will do everything he can to prevent pastors from preaching Bible prophecy!

 

Satan hates Bible prophecy because it exposes his nature and future.

One of the chief reasons why Satan must hate the prophetic portions of the Bible is because it exposes his nature, his deceptive strategies, his desperate agenda, and his ultimate defeat in the end. From his finite and sinful perspective, he must keep believers in the dark about all of this if he is to have a chance to defeat God.

 

As the ruler of the evil rebellion against his Creator, Satan’s ultimate objective is to defeat God and to enthrone himself as the god of all of heaven and earth (see Isaiah 14:12-14). According to the Bible, when the end of this age comes, he will attempt to create a one-world government that will be directed by the Antichrist (see Daniel 7:8, 23-25). Satan will indwell this man and will empower him to blaspheme God, oppose God and His people, and declare himself to be god (see Revelation 13:1-10). He will cause the world to hate the believers in Jesus Christ and the nation of Israel (see Revelation 12; 13:7-10). He will fill the world with a hatred for Israel and cause the armies of all the nations to gather in the valley of Armageddon in Israel to drive the Jewish people from the Holy Land (see Revelation 16:12-16 & Zechariah 12:1-9; 14:1-3). Satan’s ultimate objective for Armageddon, knowing the prophetic plan of God, is to gather the armies of the world to the Mount of Olives for his ultimate showdown with God. In Revelation 19:19, the Apostle John wrote, “And I saw the beast [the Antichrist], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse [the King of Kings], and against his army.”

 

Satan is a defeated foe! The Bible teaches that he will be defeated at Armageddon (see Revelation 19:20), and finally, in the plan of God, when he is released for a brief and final attempt to defeat God (see Revelation 20:7-9). After this final defeat, John wrote, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”(Revelation 20:10)

 

It is evident that Satan is doing everything he can to keep pastors from preaching about his ultimate doom. The lack of preaching and teaching on these prophetic themes has created a spiritual ignorance concerning revealed truth about our adversary. This has increased his ability to deceive not only the world, which is already in spiritual darkness, but also the professing body of Christ.

 

I am alarmed that so many pastors and Christians think that they can treat the Bible as a spiritual cafeteria, where they can pick and choose what they want to believe and cherish, and reject those portions of the Bible that do not appeal to them. Who do we think we are? Do we think we know more than God?

 

I would like to remind us all that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) A major portion of the written revelation given to us is prophetic in its nature. God intended for us to study these portions of His Word and to understand and apply them. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) This is not an option! Notice that this is a command!

 

The church is in a sad spiritual condition today! If you do not agree with this statement, then you do not agree with the prophetic Word of God and have been deceived by the master deceiver! I believe that one of the major reasons why the church is so spiritually weak today is because it is void of Biblical truth, and especially prophetic truth! As the prophet Hosea said long ago, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood. … My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:1-2, 6a)

 

If the cry of your heart is not, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20), then, something is spiritually wrong! If this world is your comfortable home, then you are too much like the world, and heaven may not be your home! We are to be content and enjoy the life He has given us here and now, but we are at best “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”(Hebrews 11:13) Our joy and affections are to be “on things above, not on things on the earth”(Colossians 3:2). This kind of mindset and lifestyle does not come except through the renewing of our minds through the prophetic Word of God.

 

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