We have been criticised by Christians for focussing too much on Bible prophecy and not saying enough about the love of God.  This article suggests five possible reasons why people shy away from dealing with prophecy, and why they criticise those of us who do. There are some good reasons and some not-so-good reasons for doing this.

(1) Fear

Sharing one's beliefs (especially on spiritual matters) can be daunting.  Often, rather than facing those fears, people make excuses for their silence.  Criticising the beliefs of those who do share is usually the most convenient excuse for not sharing our own beliefs.  It is worth examining ourselves to be sure that we are not reacting against what others are saying about Bible prophecy as a mask for our own fear, pride, laziness or some other bad spirit in relation to not sharing our faith more.

It is wise to question the beliefs of others (including ourselves), but to do that most effectively requires that you listen first to what they are saying.  If you are still convinced that someone is going about it wrongly, one option is to produce your own outreach material (tracts, videos, or whatever), focusing on what you think are the most important issues.  It may be that you will come up with something that would inspire others of us as well.

(2) Bad Press

A concern about prophecy which is more understandable is that it is often associated with "kooks" and religious fanatics who distort prophecy for selfish gain, often to win converts, make money, or induce fear.  Each time someone sets a date (i.e. for Jesus’ return, in particular) which passes without being fulfilled, more confusion and disillusionment results.  This has led people to avoid the subject of prophecy altogether.  But how 'safe’ is this?

Just because the subject of prophecy is abused should not stop us from looking at it sincerely.  The solution is to ensure that our motivation for studying it is right.  We need to ask ourselves whether we are trying to make a prophecy say something that conforms with our theories, or whether we are looking for ways to understand and act on whatever the prophecy actually is saying.

Scepticism about prophecy hinders otherwise good Christians from seeing how world developments line up with the bigger picture.  It takes mental effort to sift through the many false doctrines about prophecy that abound.  But doing nothing about finding the truth in all of this, allows the lies to win by default.

(3) Delays

Some cynicism towards the subject of prophecy is because prophecy, by its very nature, deals with things that have not yet happened.  The Bible says that faith is, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)  Dealing with the unknown and responding on the basis of prophecy takes trust... and many people's trust in modern-day “prophets” has been shaken due to clearly false predictions as referenced in the preceding point.  The answer is to ground our trust in something more solid than spurious predictions by isolated individuals.  

We do this by lining up everything we hear coming from such people with the "Cornerstone" - Jesus and his teachings - making sure we do not take things out of context.  If we do this, we can usually discern whether a prophecy is true or false. (Hebrews 4:12)

The gift of prophecy can be abused and Jesus warned that false prophets would appear directly before his return doing just this. (Matthew 24:24)  It is wise to question people who have not been tried and tested.  In contrast, we can have more confidence in prophecies Jesus and the early disciples gave us, even if some of them have been a long time in coming true.  Over 350 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the New Testament, which means that New Testament prophecies are likely to be fulfilled too!   Also, if something is prophesied by an Authority like Jesus, it is wise to consider that he went to the trouble of informing us for our benefit, and that we should listen closely to what he has said and seek to understand what it means to each of us personally at this point in history.

Just because something has not happened yet does not mean to say that it never will happen.  We are living in an age when prophecy and reality are more visibly merging, with the prediction in Revelation 13:16-18 being a good example of this.  People who claimed just a few decades ago that this prophecy was only symbolic have had to re-examine their position with the arrival of an implantable microchip for humans which is already being used for buying and selling on a small scale... something the Revelation 13 prophecy predicted 2000 years ago!

(4) "Doom and Gloom"

Many people wrongly assume that Bible prophecy is all about "doom and gloom" and that we are filling people's heads with fears and doubts.  Notions of death and judgement are challenging, but this should not cause us to run away from these realities.  Considering death and meeting our Maker can be the point at which we start to truly live.

Some people argue that we should not worry about the future and that we should get busy living in the present.  This sounds good, with Jesus saying something similar in Matthew 6:34.  However, it is wise to question our motivation for using this argument, especially when it hinders a balanced discussion of prophecy.  Do we, for example, worry about how we will survive even now, because of our enslavement to money?  If so, then maybe facing “doom and gloom” will actually be the first step in freeing us from such fear.

Jesus' resurrection and return is fundamental to Christianity.  If Jesus was resurrected, it means we can be resurrected too.  Jesus said: “He that loses his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39)  Confronting our fear of death, and learning to die to self, is the Christian walk.

The Great Tribulation is measurably linked to the return of Jesus, when he will defeat evil and establish his Kingdom on Earth.  It is the one time when we will be able to confidently set an actual date for the return of Jesus, and as such, it is inseparable from our greatest hope as Christians. (see Revelation 21:3-7)  True, it is often darkest just before the dawn, but if the rising of the Son is what the darkness is all about, then I say, “Bring it on!"

The second coming of Jesus marks the end of all oppression and injustice.  This is "good news” for those of us who have accepted Jesus.  He is coming back to wipe away all tears from the eyes of his servants.  We just need to be certain that we are his servants, by following his example of love.   

While Jesus is coming back, he also said that his Kingdom is within us now. (Luke 17:21)  Are we frightened to think about Jesus' return because we have refused to be judged by his teachings today? (John 12:48)  The best form of future preparation is present and continual surrender.  Imagining the future can help us in the present, and surrendering to Christ now naturally prepares us for his return.

Jesus refers to himself as "the beginning and the end".  The way to understand the end of all things is to understand the beginning of all things.  As we draw closer to the end, circumstances will necessitate a return to the simplicity of the message Christ gave right from the start (cross reference Hebrews 10:25 with Acts 4:32-35, for example).  This leads us to the final section below.

(5) Where is the 'Gospel Message'?

Some Christians say we have left out the 'gospel message' from what we teach, an assertion which we strongly deny.  For many church-goers, the 'gospel message' is summed up in John 3:16.  However, 'believing in Jesus' is much more than simply believing in his death and resurrection; it is doing our best to obey what he taught as well. (John 14:15)  We feel it is the churchy “gospel" which has left out the full truth of the Gospel.

Many professing Christians view prophetic texts, like The Revelation, as being separate from the real 'gospel message'.  Worse still, they tend to see everything that Jesus taught in the gospels as being contrary to the so-called 'gospel message' too!

The opening of The Revelation says: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass..."  (Revelation 1:1)  The book is for servants of Jesus Christ.  The decision to ignore this message, or even go so far as to condemn those of us who share it with others, clearly does not come from the Spirit of Christ but from some other spirit instead.

Prophetic teachings of Jesus contained within the four gospels and The Revelation are part of the 'gospel message'.  At what point does something contained within the words of Jesus stop being a part of the gospel?  When Jesus said "repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15), he meant the whole message.  If we focus on one teaching to the exclusion of others, or add and subtract from the message, we clearly do not believe the gospel, which places us in a precarious position. (Matthew 5:19; Revelation 22:18-19)

The Revelation can be challenging to unravel but this should not stop us from trying.  We are given a vital clue as to how to unravel this book (and all prophecy) when the angel says to John: "...the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:10)  Put simply, in understanding and following the teachings of Jesus, the mystery and spirit of prophecy is revealed.

(For example, a sincere follower of Jesus will take what he said about not being able to serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24) and will understand how this fits in with the prophecy about the cashless society.  (Revelation 13:16-18)  The Antichrist uses Mammon to enslave people, whereas Jesus sets us free from working for money, which enables us to refuse the mark of the beast when it becomes impossible to buy and sell without it.)

Jesus said that many of his teachings were given to help prepare us. (John 16:1&4)  Jesus also instructs us to love others the way he loves us. (John 13:34)  Therefore any talk of 'love' or the 'gospel message' which neglects what we need to do in order to be prepared is not the kind of love that Jesus taught.

We are deeply concerned that the public are actively being primed to accept the Antichrist and his deceptions, with much of the church world falling into this category, either by being deceived or by doing the deceiving.  Misconception about the true 'gospel message' plays into this deception.  Most Christians are being taught to say "Lord, Lord" but they are not being taught about Jesus' instructions, either in theory or in practice. (Luke 6:46-49)  For example, Jesus instructs us to sell our possessions and give the proceeds to the poor (Luke 12:33); to share the message with others (Matthew 28:19-20); and to trust that God will look after us each day. (Matthew 6:25-34)  What better preparation is there than this, both for the times in which we live and for service in Jesus' Kingdom when he returns?

On this web site, we have had a strong emphasis on Bible prophecy (including a link to our film, 'The Mark', and the book, Armageddon for Beginners).  We have done this for two main reasons: (1) They explore developments happening before our eyes in order to help make people aware; and (2) They point to Christ's solution of living-by-faith in order to help people prepare.  We continue to witness a serious 'gap in the market', with many churches preaching about 'love', forgiveness, the sinner's prayer, health and wealth, signs and wonders etc., but with very few churches teaching people to follow Jesus' example, especially when it challenges the status quo.

World developments reveal that we are on the threshold of the most challenging period of human history the world will ever see.  If we are about to be thrown into a war zone, going into denial is not going to help anyone.  What is needed, is clear vision and thorough preparation.  More than ever, people need to see love in action as defined by Jesus Christ.  This is the true "gospel of the kingdom" which needs to be preached to every living creature before Jesus returns. (Matthew 24:14)

Conclusion

We hope this article has been helpful in working through various doubts and concerns you may have had regarding our emphasis on Bible prophecy.  As we have shown, the spirit of prophecy and the teachings of Christ are one and the same.  Unfortunately, our experience to date has been that few people seem to appreciate this, resulting in a serious lack of spiritual and practical preparation.  In recognising this, we hope readers will consider that God may be leading us to get out there with our message to help re-address this problem.  Lastly, we hope that some of you will also be inspired to help with this urgent and important mission while there is still time.