Wednesday, April 24, 2024
39.0°F

The Christian view of the world: Past, present and future

by Bob Shillingstad
| August 22, 2020 1:06 AM

As Christians we have a worldview that God created this world, the entire universe and we were created in His image. Man turned from God and we have been in a fallen world ever since, however from the beginning there was a plan of redemption — the birth and crucifixion of Christ. Although we still live in this fallen world we have this redemption and also hope of restoration with the return of the second coming of Christ. The celebration of the first coming with Christmas is dominating in our culture but the discussion of the events leading to the restoration, or second coming is not on everyone’s radar!

When current events shake up our lives people start asking questions, “What does the Bible say about what is happening and what is in Biblical prophecy?” We thought this would be a great opportunity to interview Bill Perkins, president of Compass Ministries locally. Compass has sponsored Bible prophecy conferences for decades along with trips to Israel and Biblical historic sites. Bill has brought in many outstanding speakers to address prophetic topics through the years and we thought this would be an excellent time to talk about prophecy in the Bible.

Bill, most are familiar with prophecies from Micah, Isaiah and other Old Testament books about the birth and life of Christ. Compare those prophecies with the second coming of Christ which many are not familiar with.

The first thing you have to decide is how you’re going to interpret Bible prophecy, literally or figuratively. The prophecies of Jesus first coming were all fulfilled literally. Therefore I look at future Bible prophecies also being fulfilled literally.

End time prophecy has been around for decades and frankly created a lot of skeptics. How do you respond to these people?

The inclusion of specific Bible prophecies in the Bible is critical to separating the Bible from every other book on the planet. God says he gives us Bible prophecy to prove the Bible is trustworthy. One fourth of the entire Bible is prophetic in nature so God obviously felt it was very important to know. Detailed prophecies about the time in which we live today are easily found throughout the Bible.

What prophecies stand out that have recently been fulfilled that should grab our attention?

Prophecies about Israel being scattered for 2000 years and then returning are some of the greatest prophecies in the Bible. The Bible prophesied that any nation that protected them would be blessed, and they were and that has included the United States, where nearly half of all Jews live today.

Israel was also prophesied to take over their God-ordained homeland as a nation in one day, and they did; To remain a pure race while dispersed, and they did; they would have an immensely strong army, and they do; they would have Russia and Iran as their arch enemies, and they do; and have nuclear weapons, and they do. Lastly, they were prophesied to be a burdensome stone to the entire world, and they are.

We are living in an age that has rejected morality, sexual norms and even marriage standards. Does all of this have a place in our prophetic timeline?

The Bible predicted that the world would continue to wax worse and get to the point where “self” was more important than the Creator. Reading Romans Chapter One is a description of what is here and to come.

Obviously the pandemic, rioting and tension in the Middle East is raising awareness of prophecies being fulfilled to many Christians. What is your take on all of this?

Actually, not too much. We have had far worse pandemics, far worse rioting, far worse Middle East tension, and far worse persecution of Christians then we have in America today. The next big event prophesied to happen on the Earth is God removing all of the Christians in a split-second. This happens without warning, and it takes place without anyone expecting that to happen.

Thousands of people receive your newsletter, attend conferences you sponsor as they do with other similar events. Why should Christians make prophecy of the Bible a priority to study?

Bible prophecy was given to us by God for comfort because right after the removal of all true Believers, a horrific tribulation for seven years follows. We are to be comforted that we will not have to endure being here during God’s judgment on earth. As we study prophesy it is a reminder to us to be serious about our walk with Christ and should also give us an urgency to witness to others about what is coming. The establishment of the State of Israel, as we said, was a clear fulfillment of prophecy.

Hebrews 9:28 gives us a clear picture when the Word says, “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

To watch free streaming videos on Bible prophecy by excellent teachers, go to compass.org/TV

• • •

Bob’s religion columns appear Saturdays in The Press. Email Bob: bjshill@mac.com

photo

Shillingstad