Recently Barbara and I had the privilege of visiting the offices of the Blue Letter Bible and of sharing a prophecy update with their wonderful staff. Although we have used their site for our sermon preparation week after week for nearly 15 years, we had never met Jim Milligan, the CEO of the ministry. I was happy to tell him that I consider the Blue Letter Bible the most valuable site on the Internet. If I could only choose one site to visit from now on, I would miss Google and some other great destinations, but I would pick BLB (the short version of their name)!
I spoke on the topic “Red Skies.” Jesus said,
“When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky
is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.– Matthew 16:2-4
Of course he also warned the Disciples that they could never know the exact day or hour of his return, but this verse is a warning not to ignore the signs of the times. I shared four “Red Skies” developments in these critical days. You can download a pdf file of the notes if you wish. But here, I would like to say a little more about the first one: “Apostasy and Revival.”
Apostasy, or a “falling-away” from the truth, is a major sign that the End Times are approaching (Matthew 24:12; 2 Timothy 4:3; Revelation 3:16). Revival is not guaranteed, but the Lord always gave warning before sending great judgment. In many cases the warning was ignored (people of Noah’s days, inhabitants of Sodom in Lot’s days, etc.), but in others, they repented and experienced revival (the Ninevites in Jonah’s days).
Today, even though many people are interested in prophecy and world events, most pastors do not share what the Bible teaches about the End Times with their flocks. Here are some of the reasons for this:
1. Anti-prophecy attitude – Some well-meaning Christian leaders neglect prophecy. One example is a prominent pastor who ignores the subject on purpose, and told his readers, “If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy. “ This might sound pious, but it ignores passages like Acts 20:27 where Paul spoke about teaching the “whole counsel of God,” and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 where he made it clear that all Scripture was inspired by God and was therefore profitable. After all, more than a quarter of the Bible is prophecy.
2. Others say – “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:3-4) They are turned off by too much speculation and false date setting.
3. Others won’t preach anything that is controversial. (2 Timothy 4:3)
4. Still others are Anti-Semitic at heart. They teach that the Church has replaced Israel. These folks need to read Romans 11!
Pastors today have a choice to make: Will they faithfully proclaim the truth so that people may understand the remarkable events of our time, or will they be like the Pharisees who withheld the truth from the people and were called “hypocrites” by Jesus?