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You Will Do Well To Pay Attention To It

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

It is great to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The title for the lesson, “You Will Do Well to Pay Attention to It” and the text is in the New Testament 2 Peter chapter one verses 19 through 21. Listen to the Word of God.

And we have the Word of the prophets made more certain and you will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came up out by the prophet’s own interpretation, for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Certainly these are all important truths for our understanding and our sharing, witnessing to others regarding the Word of God. In Scripture, therefore, God exhorts us to pay attention to it, that is, according to 2 Peter chapter one and verse 19 in part, the Word of the prophets made more certain. Here specifically regarding the Old Testament prophecies, but, of course, all Scripture as God breathed, inspired of God for our instruction, our encouragement and our applicable personal involvement.
Well, why? 2 Peter chapter one and verse 19b: As to a light shining in a dark place. Because, you see, all Scripture including predictive prophecy is God’s light to our feet as we travel through this dark world. And until when? 1 Peter chapter one and verse 19c. Until the day dawns and the morning start rises in your hearts. These two images point us to the second coming of Christ. Dawn is the daybreak, the beginning of light. And at the second coming of Christ in the air, Christians will first see by sight our Lord Jesus Christ. Prophecy is perfectly true, but limited revelation. However, when Jesus Christ returns personally for us his presence will replace prophecy. And according to Revelation chapter 22 and verse 16 where it says, in part: I Jesus, I am the root and the offspring of David and the bright morning star. Here the imagery refers to the brightest star still visible, the greatest light announcing the arrival of a unique and spectacular new day. But until that time we will do well to pay attention to the Word of the prophets.

Today we have so many sources of information, media of all kinds. Mankind’s many opinions and ideas and philosophies, but as Bible believing Christians Scripture, the Bible is perfect truth, truth from God and our final, accurate and authoritative source of truth from God himself.

In 2 Peter chapter one and verse 21 it says: For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. That is, God’s inspired writers revealed God’s words as authentic and absolutely reliable, unlike the words spoken or written by mere men.

A prophecy scholar has suggested the top five general questions usually given today regarding prophecy in these last days which began at the first coming of Christ. The first of the top general questions: Isn’t studying prophecy all just speculation? Well, this question assumes that we can never correctly interpret or understand prophecy. It is true that Bible prophecy has often suffered by both friends and foes of Scripture. For example, date setting, extravagant newspaper prophecy, identifying the antichrist have all turned many off to Bible prophecy. Add to this the many different camps of prophetic views which can really frustrate us, confuse us. So is prophecy just futile? Is it just to be ignored? God directs us through Peter in 2 Peter chapter one and verse 19: And we have the word of the prophets made more certain and you will do well to pay attention to it. The admonition from God is to pay attention to it, that it is the word of the prophets, the prophets of God made more certain. And so instead of futility, we should have a fervor to study prophecy, fulfilled prophecy of the past and even unfulfilled prophecy yet future.

And where else can anyone get 100 percent accurate revelation of the future? Of course, the interpretation is the difficult part and yet the Word of God is true and we strive prayerfully, led by the Holy Spirit, comparing Scripture with Scripture, to seek the truth. As far as interpretation, it does take effort. It is work to correctly divide the Word of God. But instead of ignoring and ignorance, we need effort and expectation and being workman to correctly divide the Word of God. And it can be exciting as we seek to better understand God’s prophetic Word for us. And it is regarding our future.

 

A second question that is often asked regarding prophecy: Where is America in prophecy? America is nowhere referred to in Scripture. And it is also true of most modern nations. The real question is: Why isn’t the lone superpower in these last of the last days not referred to in prophecy? A Bible scholar has given this answer, which seems to be logical, reasonable, rational. And that is that the major next important future prophetic event is the rapture, the catching up of the Church. At the rapture America will probably lose more people per capita than any other major industrialized nation. That is, lose more Christians per capita than any other major industrialized nation. And probably over night become a much weakened nation. Think of the leadership absence and also, for example, think of what millions of unpaid home mortgages would do to our stock market if millions disappear. And so perhaps America will no longer be a super power. Or, at least, it will throw the country into a great time of adjustment and confusion.

A third question: What is the number one sign that we are, in fact, in the last of the last days? Undoubtedly the answer is the resurgence of the modern nation of Israel. In 1948 the dry bones of Ezekiel 37 came back to life. How do I know this is the correct interpretation? Well, Scripture. It tells us. It reveals the answer to us. In Ezekiel chapter 37 and verse 11 it says in part: These bones are the whole house of Israel. Certainly that should be plain enough. And why is this important? Because the nation, a modern nation of Israel, needs to exist in their Promised Land for numerous future prophecies to be fulfilled literally. For example, Daniel chapter nine and verse 27, the Old Testament prophet Daniel chapter nine and verse 27 describes a final antichrist that will make a seven year covenant with Israel and, therefore, Israel needs to exist.

A fourth question that is often given regarding prophecy. Will the whole earth be destroyed in a nuclear holocaust? Is a nuclear nightmare going to totally destroy mankind, civilization as we know it? Today there are certainly rogue nations that could easily start a nuclear war. Consider, of example, 2 Peter chapter three verses five through seven, which says, in part: By God’s Word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. Verse seven. By the same Word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Now notice carefully to answer this question: Will the whole earth be destroyed in a nuclear holocaust by a rogue nation, for example? Notice carefully verse five. It says by whose word? By God’s Word. Notice verse seven. By the same Word, meaning mankind’s word? Well, no. Again, only by God’s Word. So the meaning is plain. Mankind evidently will never completely destroy this earth. God himself has sovereignly reserved that for himself in divine judgment. But, of course, it also tells us and reveals to us in yet future unfulfilled Scripture or prophecy that God will create new heavens and a new earth and so not all is dark and bleak for the believer.
A fifth question usually asked regarding prophecy: Is the recent explosion of knowledge a sure sign that we are nearing the end? This question is tied to the Hebrew prophet Daniel’s words in Daniel chapter 12 and verse four where it says: But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.

Now in the immediate context of this verse and this passage in Daniel 12 the original Hebrew wording translated go here and there or run to and fro, all ways—according to ancient language scholars—always refers to the movement of a person searching for something. So you put it all together. So people will search for answers in the end time, in the last of the last days regarding the devastation that will come particularly in the seven year tribulation in Jacob’s trouble to discover increased knowledge through Daniel’s words, this scroll, this book. Now by application we can also deduce this. History scholars have found that from 1500, AD 1500 to AD 1830, that is 330 years, the overall knowledge of mankind doubled. But from 1930 to 1960, only 30 years, knowledge doubled again. And now history scholars have deduced that since 1990, now, the estimated knowledge of mankind doubles an incredible every 17 months.

But regarding prophecy in particular you will do well to pay attention to it. Today we know more about prophecy, especially unfulfilled future prophecy, we know more today than even 50, 100 years ago. And so enlightenment is so much better than ignorance regarding the Word of God, regarding even the prophetic Word of God. May we study, may we prayerfully seek to correctly divide the whole counsel of God.

 

                       David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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