“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor…” Hebrews 2:9
There are those who say the study of, preaching of, and conversations about Bible prophecy are useless. I am especially saddened by so many younger pastors and preachers who, either by personal choice or influence from seminary professors, have been convinced that Bible prophecy is a waste of time. One of the reasons they have been given is that we need to focus more on the problems of the here and now and let God worry about the future. Another reason there is such a lack of emphasis on Bible prophecy from certain quarters within the church is because of the growing popularity of what is known as replacement theology. Many are teaching that the Church has replaced Israel. This simply is not true. The Church is the Bride of Christ, comprised of all true believers, Jew and Gentile, but God also still has a plan and a purpose for Israel.
The need, as is true of most things in life and ministry, is balance. A pastor should not teach and preach exclusively about Bible prophecy, but neither should a pastor completely neglect it. If he does, he will have to leave out much of the Bible! One of the main purposes of the preaching and teaching of Bible prophecy is to give us a fervency and an urgency for the here and now. The needs and trials faced within the lives of individuals, couples, families, churches, and a nation need to be viewed and addressed within the context of the now and the then. The motivation for life and for the way we live our lives needs to be with the perspective of the now and the then. What do I mean by this?
Pastor and author, A.W. Tozer, can help us understand how to live our lives thinking of the now and the then. Consider his words based on the verse quoted above from Hebrews 2:
“We see not all things under Him, but we see Jesus. God has put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. We do not see it all done yet, but we have faith, and we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than angels in order that He might suffer death. We see Him crowned with glory and honor at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. And when He comes back again, He will put all things under His feet.
For myself, with God’s help, I want to live for that time. I want my money to live for that time. I want my talents, whatever they may be, to live for that time. I want my time to be given for that hour when He comes back again. I do not want to divide my time and live for the earth while this is approaching. I believe with all my heart that God has put all things under His feet, and one of these days, He is coming back to take His power and to reign. May God grant that you and I be ready.”
In every relationship, in our stewardship, in every temptation, in every opportunity, we need to live our lives with the perspective of the now and the then. Everyday we need to realize that the return of Christ, whatever day that may be, is one day closer than ever before. We need to remember that we will stand before Him and give an account of the now. This mindset should affect who we are, how we live everyday, and have an impact on basically everything we do. We are to live our lives to the fullest, everyday, enjoying the life God has given us, but always with the then in view. If you live your life with the firm belief that Jesus truly could return at any moment, it will change your life.
On one final point, so many pastors and churches bemoan the fact that they are not seeing as many people come to faith in Christ as they once did and that their churches are not baptizing as many people as they once did, and that their church members do not have the burden for evangelism that they need to have; for them I have a reminder. Revelation 19:10 has a powerful word for us concerning the now and then. John wrote, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” John and the Lord are telling us, the whole point of prophecy, the spirit of prophecy is to testify of Jesus. When a person and a church get a passion for the return of Christ, they will get a passion to see people come to faith in Christ. The then has everything to do with the now.