I’m writing this at McDonalds—the one near me. They are finally open for service after months and months. It has been one of my favorite hang-outs, where I can do my reading and blogging.
Today is Sunday. I love to come and worship with friends at my church. And the pastor always has a good message. But I hate it that he is missing so much in his doctrine in that he doesn’t ever preach on bible prophecy or the coming of Christ. As you know, I write on that subject frequently. For some reason I think God has called me to stay in this church. I am strong enough in my faith and beliefs that I will not be affected, and maybe someday I will speak up (to him and others) more on what I believe. But for now, I feel content in just writing about it. That almost sounds hypocritical, but I’m not sure that bible prophecy is something to be used as a witnessing tool or to be preached just for the sake of sounding my futuristic beliefs. It seems that when Paul wrote about it, it was always in response to a problem (1 Thess. 4) or as a matter of the course of his doctrinal message (1 Cor. 15). Anyway, I pray that someday soon I will be more vocal and excited about His soon coming. It is just really hard to do now since so many have different views and many reject the Rapture of the church. I know that that is not a good excuse for me. I kind of wish that I was more like Hal Lindsey. When he was younger, he used to preach outside in the open on college campuses about the rapture and future things. That was when he wrote his famous book, The Late Great Planet Earth. As far as I know he is still alive (about 90 years old) and he has a weekly program on line. God bless him.
Let’s see, my interest in Bible prophecy began when I was about 8 or 9 years old, when I began hearing people talk about the Rapture. I can’t remember who it was, whether it was a preacher or maybe my mother. Anyway, they would be trying to describe how quickly Jesus would come and take us away. They would say it that will be as fast as the twinkling of your eye. And then they would try to explain how fast that would be. And I remember someone saying that it won’t be the blinking of the eye but the twinkling of the eye.
Well that was the start of it. And that thought continued to intrigue me for many more years. Gradually my knowledge of the bible increased as I read more and more of it, especially after I was saved at age 12. Oh yes, and one of the things that excited me and turned me toward salvation is the knowledge that heaven would be a real place. I remember talking to my camp counselor about it. I had the idea that heaven would be like a dream, but he told me that it would be just as real as our life now, and even better.
So that’s the early background I had in bible prophecy. Not a lot, but those few pleasant thoughts of the Rapture and heaven really took hold. I remember, along the way, that I read some books on the subject. One was by Hal Lindsey. I read parts of it, and it seemed interesting, but I think it overwhelmed me a bit. So, I chose not to strain my brain on the subject. For the most part, I just held to the belief that someday Jesus would come to take me away. That’s all I really needed to know.
Well, years went by and God kept opening the door to more and more prophecy teaching. In 1977 I began attending Northwestern Bible College in Minnesota. I liked all my professors; and one in particular, Dr. Edwin Hartill was a good prophecy teacher. The classes from him were all excellent: Hermeneutics, Bible Survey, and Revelation. He definitely believed in the pre-tribulation rapture, and he wasn’t afraid to teach it.
During the same time my church put on a week-long seminar by J. Dwight Pentecost (a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary). He was teaching from his new book, Things to Come. What a treat! What a great book! I remember him saying something like, when it comes to the Pre-tribulation Rapture, I am not only dogmatic about it, I am doubly dogmatic! His book lays it out quite well. I have the book, and whenever I want to know anything about bible prophecy, I can usually find it there.
A few years went by, and I think it was about 1993 when I began going to these bible prophecy conferences once a year. They helped me tremendously in my faith and kept me looking up. One particular speaker that everyone liked was Dr. David Larson. He was the pastor at First Covenant Church in Minneapolis.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a prophecy conference, but I do listen to Jan Markell’s weekly radio broadcast, where she hosts excellent speakers from all over the country. They are so good. I have also been doing some writing. This I think has helped me the most, because it has forced me to read and study the subject. So far, I have been able to write two books on bible prophecy: Biblical Evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and The Coming Millennial Kingdom. Both of these are self-published under my name, and printed by Lulu.com. I also have a another book coming out soon, called, After the Rapture: What Happens on Earth and in Heaven after the Rapture.
So there you have it: how I became interested in bible prophecy. And my interest remains strong. At the same time, I feel sad that so many have little interest in the subject and so many preachers purposely ignore the subject. I don’t know for sure, but I have been told that most of the Seminaries are teaching against the Pre—tribulation Rapture and are instructing their students that the subject of prophecy should be regarded as nothing more than a distraction.
I think I can see how this wrong teaching fits today—that is, how it is a sign of His soon coming. For we are told in 2 Peter 3:3 that in the last days there will be “mockers,” saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” And we also see in these days that people are not enduring sound doctrine, but are listening only to those who tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3).
But I am determined to seek the whole truth, which includes bible prophecy. We must open our ears to all of the word of God. It is all inspired by God and we must pay attention to it. The truth is, Jesus is coming very soon. He said in His word, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).