This week a young man that I admire wrote to me, saying that he had read my book, “Connecting the Dots: A Handbook of Bible Prophecy.” He said he enjoyed it, but wanted more information on how evangelism and prophecy fit together. He said, that he had always heard that Jesus will not come back until every tribe, tongue, and nation have had a chance to hear the Gospel at least once. He added that the book gave the impression that the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will complete the evangelization of the world.
I think that this young man identified a most-important aspect of the teaching of prophecy that needs to be explained again to our generation. There is a very close connection between prophecy and evangelism.
Here are some of the thoughts that occur to me now on the subject. The Lord willing, I will continue to think about it and write on the topic
Before the Rapture
Prophecy is one of the best ways to win people to Christ. Fulfilled prophecy proves that the Bible is true and Jesus is different from all other spiritual leaders (Isaiah 46).
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear is respect, but there is also the threat of judgment for our sins. Properly presented, information about future trials and judgments can be instrumental in bringing conviction of sin.
The Lord Jesus ascended into Heaven from the Mt. of Olives right after giving the Great Commission once more to His disciples. The angels related His teaching and ascension to prophecy, saying that He will return again to the same place in the future (Acts 1:1-11; Zechariah 14:4).
Jonathan Edwards’ message, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” started the Great Awakening.
Billy Graham usually included a prophecy message in each crusade.
Hal Lindsey’s book, “The Late Great Planet Earth” was instrumental in winning great numbers of people to Christ.
Calvary Chapel and the Jesus People Movement were steeped in prophecy. “Maranatha,” Signs inside cars, “Warning, Driver going up in the Rapture,” etc.
Salem Kirban’s book, Guide to Survival” was an extremely effective tool for witnessing.
Greg Laurie often speaks on the subject of prophecy at his crusades.
The “Left Behind” series was used by the Lord to win multitudes to Jesus.
In 2 Peter 3:11-12, Peter did say that we can speed the Lord’s return. This must mean that by winning other people to Christ we shorten the wait for His return.
During the Tribulation
Untold numbers of people will accept Christ immediately after the Rapture of the Church.
During the Tribulation it is likely that all true Christians will be “witnesses” for Christ and many will be “martyrs” (same Greek word, martureo).
The two prophets and 144,000 witnesses will undoubtedly preach the Gospel, being protected by God’s power (Revelation 11; Revelation 7; Revelation 14).
By wise use of technology, underground Christians will probably still be able to share the Gospel far and wide.
During the Tribulation there will be a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9-10).
The “Mark of the Beast” (Revelation 13) will force people to finally make up their mind, resulting in many brave conversions in spite of the consequences.
Finally the lord will use angels flying in the heavens to finish evangelizing the people during the tribulation (Revelation 14). They will proclaim the eternal gospel to all people and warn them of judgment.
This will fulfill the promise that the lord will not return until the whole world has heard, but this should not be an impediment to missionaries’ zeal.
It is likely that there will be a great End Times revival. God warned people before various judgments, and some cultures were revived (like Nineveh) while others were not (Noah’s generation).
In summary, evangelism and prophecy go together perfectly!
- Prophecy Conference in January (bible-prophecy.com)