Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Responsible prophetic discernment
It is easy in these days of 24 hour news and messaging to become so sensitized to current events that we are seeking prophetic signs in everything. Remember what Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees who asked him to show them a sign from heaven? In Matthew 16:2-4, Jesus says, “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 lowering. O ye hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky; but can you not discern the signs of the times.” The Holy Scriptures give us what to look for regarding the end times. They are very specific about the time of the Lord’s return and what will occur. But we must discern responsibly.
We know, according to the Apostle Paul, that several distinct things must happen before the Lord returns. He writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3, “That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” This is very clear: 1) don’t be deceived, 2) falling away, 3) antichrist (beast) revealed, 4) sits in the temple as God.
He also writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” So 5) Lord returns with a shout, 6) dead in Christ rise first, 7) saints remaining on earth meet him in the air. This is consistent with Biblical prophecies written about the return of Christ. There is no mention of the stock market or the US political situation, although these things may have a role in moving the prophetic clock forward and are interesting side stories.
We, as saints in these days and as watchmen and teachers, must be responsible in how we explain these events. We must be discerning and careful to not overstate their significance, use inflammatory language, or to tie Biblical absolutes to our subjective opinion in order to advance personal viewpoints. Be careful not to be driven by intrigue or fear, or to be led astray by false doctrine. Be as those in Berea from Acts 17:11, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” The prophetic must align with scripture. Crying wolf too many times can cause many to stumble. Let us discern responsibly.