Christ Commands Us To Learn/Know Bible Prophecy
Christ Commands Us To Learn
& Know Bible Prophecy
Some Evangelical Churches Are
In Rebellion Against Christ’s Commands on Bible Prophecy
The Alpha-Omega Report
America, The Babylon: Vols 1 & 2
Is your church rebelling against the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Many evangelical churches across America and around the world are deliberately ignoring the commands Jesus gave to all believers just days before His crucifixion and resurrection.
In our world today, there are church leaders advising the universal Church to be “Purpose-Driven” and to essentially ignore the commands of our Lord concerning the issue of God’s prophecies concerning His Return, The Day of the Lord and the end of the Gentile Era.
Perhaps the most well-known proponent among Church leaders advocating ignorance of God’s Word concerning Bible Prophecy is Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church and the author of numerous best-selling books such as “The Purpose Driven Life” and “The Purpose Driven Church.”
In Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” pages 285 and 286 Warren implies that an interest in Bible Prophecy and “end times” events are a distraction from living the Christian life and a distraction from evangelism. Here is the pertinent excerpt:
“God’s timetable for history’s conclusion is not connected to the completion of our commission.
“Today there’s a growing interest in the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. When will it happen? Just before Jesus ascended to heaven the disciples asked him the same question, and his response was quite revealing.
“He said, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
“When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission to the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!”
Wow, did Jesus really say to the Disciples: “The details of my return are none of your business?” Let’s look at the relevant passage to which Warren references, Acts 1:7
“It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
Nowhere in that statement does Jesus tell His disciples that the details of His Return are none of the disciples’ business. He simply says it is not for those disciples to know.
Here, Rick Warren puts words into Christ’s mouth that were not uttered nor insinuated. Rick Warren’s statement is absolute heresy. Furthermore those words did not apply to the Universal Church of the future because of an earlier, lengthy dissertation Christ gave to His disciples on the Mount of Olives.
We know that, just weeks before Christ’s Ascension into Heaven, (days before His Crucifixion) Jesus gave prophetic details concerning the conditions that would exist before His Return. His remarks are readily known today as “The Olivet Discourse.” This was so-named because the conversation took place on the Mount of Olives.
Our Lord’s remarks on the Mount of Olives not only outlined the major highlights of future events that would unfold just before His Return, but his remarks also contained orders or “commands” to the disciples and the future, universal church.
The Olivet Discourse where these commands are found can be located in Matthew 24 as well as in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 13 as well as in Luke 21. In the Olivet Discourse narrative, we find that Matthew’s account provides the more exhaustive and lengthy details.
Imperative Mood in the Greek Grammar
We need to emphasize the fact that the New Testament was originally written in the Koine dialect of the Greek language. “Koine” in Greek means “common,” so that the Koine dialect signifies that the dialect is common and was the common dialect in the first century A.D. Koine-Greek grammar had many elements and among those was the concept of “Grammatical Mood” which allows the writer/speaker to express their attitude towards what they are trying to convey. There are 4 primary moods in Greek grammar:
- Indicative Mood: statement of fact (normal)
- Subjunctive Mood: statement that adds “to” such as “I want to help”
- Optative Mood: statement of wish. It expresses a wish, a hope or potentiality. “I wish I could help.”
- Imperative Mood: a statement issuing a command or an order, particularly used in a military aspect. “Help” or “You do ____” in which the blank is filled in by a verb. “you eat this.”
In the case of Jesus’ statements in the Olivet Discourse, we find Jesus using the “imperative mood” in a dozen different statements.
In Matthew’s account we find that The Lord Jesus Christ gave us 10 different “verbs of command” in the original Greek text according to Matthew and there are 2 different commands repeated twice each for three different words. These “verbs of command” order us to be very much attentive to God’s Prophecies and developments in the world related to the prophecies. Below is a list of those verbs of command.
1. “See to it that you do not err.” [Matt: 24:4; Mk 13:5; Luke21:8]
2. “So to it that you are not disturbed (or scared) [Matt 24:6; Mk 13:9; Luke 21:9]
3. “don’t be terrified” [ Mark 13:11; Luke 21:14]
4. “Understand/Know” [Matt: 24:15: Mk 13:14; Lk 21:20]
5. “Don’t believe” [Matt 24:23; Mark 13:21]
6. “Look up/ Stand erect” [Luke 21:28 ]
7. “Learn” [ Matt 24:32; Mark 13:28 ]
8. “Know” [Matt:24:32; Mark 13:29; Luke 21:31]
9. “Watch” (be awake for His Return, parable of the thief) [Matt 24:42; Mark 13:33 ; Luke 21:36]
10. “But Know this” [Matt 24:43]
11. “Watch” [Mark 13:35]
12. “Watch” [Mark 13:37]
Every one of these commands is related to the idea of knowledge.
Christ’s Negative Moods of Command Issued:
We have the following ‘negative’ commands given by Christ:
- “See to it that you do not err.”
- “not disturbed (or scared)”
- “do not be terrified.”
- “don’t believe”
With the first command, the negative command is concerned about not making an error in judgment, which requires prior knowledge to avoid making an error.
The second and third commands are related to fear and the cure for fear is knowledge of what God has planned.
The fourth command is don’t believe false teachers or false messiahs and this again requires a prior understanding in advance.
Christ’s Positive Moods of Command Issued:
There are 8 Positive Moods of Command issued by Jesus in the Olivet discourse. Half of these are direct commands of knowledge.
- but know
There are 4 other instances where the Imperative Mood implies an understanding but involves a physical act of observation based upon knowledge of what to observe. These instances are:
- Look/Stand erect
In EVERY instance of the imperative mood of command, the Lord Jesus Christ is indicating a prior need for knowledge of God’s future program, for Divine Prophecies or knowledge of Biblical Prophecy.
It should be very clear to any thinking Christian that God intends for us to know and understand Bible Prophecy and to be on the alert for the fulfillment of Bible Prophecy especially when we understand one particular prophesied event, the “Parable of the Fig Tree.”
Learn The Parable of the Fig Tree
For us Christians today, the most significant prophecy that should prompt all of us to learn prophecy and be alert and watchful is to learn the Parable of the Fig Tree. Why learn the meaning of this parable? For that answer, let’s re-examine the beginning of our Lord’s discourse on prophetic events, yet to come.
In Matthew 24, verses 1 through 3 provide us with the context for His discourse to the Disciples.
1. “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to [him] for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2. “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down
3. “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?”
The narrative begins in verse 1 by providing the context of what will be presented in chapter 24. Jesus had just exited the Temple in Jerusalem after a contentious visit thanks to the Pharisees when the disciples mentioned the grandiosity of the Temple area. Jesus responded by telling them that in the future the Temple would be destroyed. This revelation of the future prompted the disciples to ask in verse 3:
“Tell us, when shall these things be.” They then ask for a specific sign of His coming and of the ‘end of the world.’ Their questions precipitate a lengthy discourse from Jesus covering the whole of Matthew chapter 24 in which Jesus describes in headline fashion the key characteristics of the end of the age, just before His Return.
One particular point Jesus makes is the parable of The Fig Tree. It is “the” singular and most important indicative sign that His Return is near, even within the lifetime of some of those who are alive at the time it transpires. So what is the parable of the Fig Tree?
Simply stated, the parable of the Fig Tree is Christ’s prediction that Israel, as a Fig Tree, would be restored as a nation after an unspecified period of time in which Jews would be dispersed throughout the world without a sovereign homeland.
Israel is being symbolized as a Fig Tree, which indicates that when Israel is reborn as a nation, the generation which witnesses the rebirth of Israel will not “pass away” until “all these other things” predicted by Christ in the Olivet Discourse take place. This means that the generation which is alive at the rebirth of Israel will not die off until Jesus Christ returns and establishes the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah.
The lesson of the Fig Tree is that the generation which was alive at the time of Israel’s rebirth in 1948 will not die off before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. So how long might that be? Could it be 70, 80, 90 or 100 years? The answer is a resounding, “Yes” to any of those numbers. At this writing in 2011, Israel has been a nation for 63 years. If we add another 7 years for a period of Tribulation and rule by the Antichrist, we come to the year 2018 as a 70 year period since the re-birth of Israel.
Given the fact that 7 is a special and ‘perfect’ number with God, it may well be that 70 years is the length of time between the rebirth of Israel and the Second Coming of Christ.
Whether the time frame is 70, 80, 90 or 100 years, most of us who are alive now, need to have a full knowledge of Bible Prophecy so that, whether we remain until His Second Coming or not, the understanding of Prophecy should be fully known by all living believers in Christ from now on.
There should be no excuses for any genuine Christian not knowing at least the salient points of Biblical Prophecy. All genuine churches should and need to be explaining and teaching Bible Prophecy like never before in the history of the Church.
We can say this not only on the basis of Christ’s own commands for all believers to know and watch but also on the basis of the commands and exhortations of the New Testament epistles and the book of Revelation.
The Apostle Paul Teaches Prophecy
The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy with advice on many issues concerning the ministry to fellow believers. Of primary importance, Paul states:
II Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
In the next chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul describes the future situation of the Church in chapter 3 verse 1.
II Timothy 3:1
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
Paul goes on to describe key characteristics of the “last days.” Paul describes future characteristics of humanity and then ads the admonition in verse 5:
V. 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
How can one turn away without having prior knowledge and understanding to avoid being deceived? Make no mistake, in the last days Paul states deception will be rampant. In verse 12, Paul states that Believers in the last days will suffer persecution. Don’t you think that Believers today should be aware that they may face persecution?
In verse 13, Paul warns that evil men and seducers shall become more prevalent.
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
Paul then tells us in verses 14 through 17 the antidote to deception:
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
“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.”
Yes, the antidote to deception within the Church is knowledge of ALL scripture, including Bible Prophecy which comprises at least one third of all scripture. Our knowledge of ALL scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproving, correcting and for teaching righteousness so that we can become strong, maturing believers in Christ. Knowing ALL of God’s Word, including prophecy, is therefore of critical importance in the last days prior to Christ’s Return.
We would be remiss if we failed to note that the Greek grammar of Paul’s remarks are couched in the “Imperative Mood of Command.” So Paul also commands us to know ALL scripture including Biblical Prophecy.
According to Paul, learning and knowing Bible Prophecy is not an option – instead we are commanded, we are ordered to learn and know Bible Prophecy.
Paul is not alone in stressing the importance of knowing the prophetic scriptures. He is following and repeating the commands of The Lord Jesus Christ as shown in the Olivet Discourse. The Apostle Peter also writes in his second letter to the entire Church of the need to know and understand prophetic scriptures.
Peter’s advice is couched in his acknowledgement that soon he would no longer be around and that future believers should follow his advice, particularly in the end of the age preceding Christ’s Return. See II Peter 1: 14-15.
Peter then proceeds in chapter 1 verses 19 through 21 to explain the importance of prophetic scriptures:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
Written prophecy is more certain than spoken or verbal prophecy and Peter advises all believers to “take heed” of scriptural prophecy as prophetic scriptures were guided by the Holy Spirit. Peter then proceeds in the next verse to explain why the need to “take heed” of prophetic scripture.
II Peter 2:1
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Peter warns that in the future, the end times, there will be false prophets and false teachers bringing damnable heresies.
In Chapter 3, Peter reminds the Church:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,”
“And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:”
In the last days, there will be scoffers questioning the reality of prophecy, especially of the validity of prophecies concerning the Return of Jesus Christ. Peter notes that such scoffers are “willingly ignorant.”
Peter then wraps up his epistle with this advice:
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Peter tells us we are to be looking for the prophetic fulfillments yet to come. We are to be knowledgeable about prophecy so that we can maintain sound doctrine and not be seduced or deceived by false teachers and false prophets.
The book of Revelation also commands us all to know Biblical Prophecy. At the very outset of the book of Revelation we find in
Chapter 1, verse 3:
“Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.”
Those who respond to the prophecies are blessed. That seems like a pretty good incentive to pay attention to the prophecies of God, particularly those found in the book of Revelation.
In Revelation 19: 10b we find the following statement by an angel to John, the revelator:
“the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
The very essence of Jesus’ testimony is the spirit of prophecy and something that is worthwhile for us to learn and know. Therefore we must ask ourselves, why is there such a movement by some Church pastors within the modern-day Church in America to exhort all churches to refrain from teaching Bible Prophecy?
It is clear that any admonition to ignore Bible Prophecy and to refrain from teaching Bible Prophecy is an act of Rebellion against Christ’s own commands and those of Paul and Peter.
Learning and retaining the knowledge found in scriptural prophecy is simply not an option nor is it a waste of time. To the contrary, we are blessed to have such knowledge and such knowledge helps us to remain grounded and able to resist false teachings, and avoid being deceived by false teachers and false prophets.
A grounded knowledge of Bible Prophecy will be a blessing, and an encouragement to Christian living, especially in times of Tribulation.
For these reasons, it is nothing short of abomination for any pastor to admonish fellow pastors and churches to ignore teaching God’s prophecies concerning the events yet to come.
Furthermore, considering the fact that the “critical” sign of His imminent return has already come to pass, namely the fulfillment of the parable of the Fig Tree – the rebirth of Israel – we should be especially alert to current news events and be knowledgeable of Biblical Prophecy, otherwise we may find ourselves deceived and asleep at the time He returns. Furthermore, failure to acknowledge prophecy robs any and all believers of a powerful reason to witness to unbelievers and to share the gospel of salvation.
In conclusion, if you’re a church pastor reading this article do you realize that you have no options concerning the teaching and instruction on Bible Prophecy. Church Pastors MUST not ignore instructing and teaching the congregation on Bible Prophecy.
This means more than a simple sermon. It means in-depth instruction of the entire spectrum of unfulfilled prophecy, so that your congregation is grounded with deep roots in understanding what is yet to come so that your congregation will be ready and not deceived nor asleep as coming events unfold in the near future.
If you’re a church member, you need to realize that your church needs to be providing in-depth knowledge and instruction on the subject of Bible Prophecy. If you’ve not been given thorough, class-room type of teaching on Bible Prophecy you should bring this article to the attention of your church pastor and the elders of the church in hopes that they will be persuaded to obey Christ’s commands to provide you and your fellow congregation members with knowledge and understanding of God’s prophetic doctrines.
Suggestion To Church Pastors and Elders:
Because Bible Prophecy is so critically important and so extensive, Churches should hold something like Bible Prophecy Conferences or Seminars on Prophecy. These could be held on a long weekend featuring specific classes and topics related to Biblical Prophecy held at the church. Some churches have been known to begin with a one hour class on a Thursday and Friday evening, followed by a day and evening of continuing classes on Saturday, with final remarks coming on Sunday morning and or evening.
If possible, a church could invite special speakers to teach on given subjects of prophecy. These speakers might be Seminary professors or Bible Prophecy book authors. These additional speakers would help alleviate the Church pastor’s limited resources of time in presenting such a conference or seminar.
Also, most pastors would have a hard time providing in-depth quality of understanding on at least some difficult subjects within prophecy, such as the issues surrounding the identity of “Babylon” or issue revolving around the Rapture or perhaps the war of Gog, Magog.
Churches should also be providing ongoing adult Bible studies related to Biblical Prophecy, this is especially true of large churches with numerous, different adult Bible studies dealing with different subject topics.