Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why I Don’t Study Revelation or Prophecy (anymore)

Next month I will be writing Honest August. My goal is for not only me to be honest, but you too. The tough questions start next week. They might leave the comment section empty, or create an environment of honest communication. Your choice. But here is this week's post:

In the past few weeks, I’ve had a few key conversations. Conversations that revolved around the last book of the Bible, and how everything is going to play out in the next few years.

It seems to me that I haven’t had conversations like this in a long time.

I, for one, respect these people and their ambition to study biblical prophecy.

Yet, just the opposite, there are teachers of prophecy that I do not respect.

Perry Stone and Jack Van Impe, to name a few. I am not impressed by their specific dates and deadlines. Van Impe is convinced the Mayan calendar is biblically confirmed as Doomsday. I guess that means John Cusack’s 2012 is right around the corner. I’ve heard Perry Stone go on about God using a global EMP blast to take the world back to the 17th century for the tribulation.

No joke.

But this is nothing new. There are people I respect and don’t in every sort of field.

As for me, when I first began to study the Bible seriously, I started at the end. It was fun, in a science-fiction-Kirk-Cameron-Growing-Pains sort of way.

I read Left Behind. A handful of them, anyway. But wait 6 more months for the next book? I got bored.

Not just with the series. Bored with the idea of Prophecy.

So I moved on.

One day, I wondered why Israel would reject the Messiah. I had heard there were hundreds of Messianic prophetic statements in the Old Testament. What did they have to say about Christ? And why are they ignored?

The Messiah would conquer Satan.
“He [Messiah] shall bruise your [Serpent] head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

The Messiah would be a leader like Moses.
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you [Moses] from among the brothers.” Deut. 18:18

The Messiah would have world domination.
“There came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days....and to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion.” Daniel 7:13-14

The Jews were expecting a political leader.

And for good reason. The prophecies they focused on described him that way. Jewish scribes poured over their writings. Searching and studying, so that they could know the Messiah when they saw him.

But they missed it. Was he the political leader they envisioned? No. Were the prophecies wrong? No.

God’s plan both matched the Scriptures AND far exceeded the scribes expectations. He was more than some political leader. He is the King of the spiritual kingdom.

I think the same thing is true with our future prophecies. All of our experts, scribes, and even our religious nuts, can search and study and say,
“It’s going to be like this. Like this. And like this.”
Some of them go as far as to give us dates (2012). Or explain the things of God in modern scientific terms (EMP blasts).

And some more respectable teachers say,
"The horns represent this. The bowls represent this. Gog and Magog represent this country."

Yeah. Sure. You can say that all you’d like.

But I think when all of our prophecies are revealed, it will show that our best experts got it wrong. Or at best, incomplete.

So this is why I don’t study Revelation or our prophecies anymore.

But I don’t know why the whole topic has faded.

Did the Left Behind series burn us out?

Did Y2K come and go without the rapture?

Or how about the book 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988 (don’t laugh. 4.5 million copies sold!)?

Or is Shane Claiborne closer to the reason?

“Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offers them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death.”

I think, maybe we are tired of thinking about tomorrow.

Maybe we need God to meet us today.

Maybe we need less of ‘God, get me outta here!’ mentality.

And more of ‘God, how do you want to use me to heal a broken world?’ mindset.


These are just my thoughts. Take them or leave them. I don't claim to have prophecy figured out, and would LOVE to hear what you have to say on the topic.
Why has this topic faded from pulpits, small groups, and evangelism styles?