Inside View Mar/Apr 2021
I often meet friends of Israel who tell me Bible prophecy is seldom taught today. It went from being an extremely popular topic among Christians to a forgotten relic. I grew up when prophecy conferences were common in churches. Were it not for a major prophecy conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the beginning of the 20th century, I doubt The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry would even exist today.
That annual conference grew in popularity until it couldn’t accommodate everyone who came to the auditorium. Eventually, it branched out in all four directions of the city, cutting across denominational lines as people eagerly listened to the prophetic Word and what God revealed was yet to come.
When the Nazis began persecuting the Jewish people in the 1930s, it was believers who knew the Jewish people’s prophetic significance who met in Philadelphia to found The Friends of Israel Refugee Relief Committee. Had they not understood Israel’s importance in God’s redemption story, it is likely our ministry never would have been formed.
A wonderful outcome of the Philadelphia prophecy conference was the number of people who came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Historically, major prophecy movements in the church have seen multitudes come to faith because a direct correlation exists between understanding God’s work—past and future—and recognizing that Jesus is the only way to God.
Although many today see little value in studying Bible prophecy, God says otherwise. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord stresses the priority of prophecy. It sets God apart from all other gods, religions, and faiths. In dealing with the false idols that Israel worshiped, the Lord declared,
I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; yes, let him recount it to Me in order, from the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place. Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none (Isa. 44:6–8, NASB).
God’s point is that no one else can foretell the future. He alone is capable of accurately predicting it each and every time. And He makes the case that He alone is the one to whom we should turn and in whom we should trust.
God wanted Israel to live with the full knowledge that He is the one and only God of the universe. No one knows the end from the beginning except God. And He says we should not fear His prophecy but, rather, be His witnesses.
Prophecy is inestimably valuable to us today. It gives us confidence to trust in God, who has done what He said He would do in the past and who will do what He says He will do in the future. Prophecy can challenge anyone who professes faith in another religion. Let their god declare the future, as our God does!
We need not fear the things to come. In fact, they should motivate us to share the knowledge with others so they may come to saving faith in the Redeemer of Israel, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. This is how we should live: studying and proclaiming prophecy to help others see there is no other God in whom to believe.