In our world today, we have a very strange phenomenon taking place, that goes to the heart of life’s great questions.
Predictive prophecy in the Bible is questioned, mocked, ridiculed, and dismissed.
And more of it is coming true with each passing day.
There are plenty of reasons why Bible prophecy is mocked:
•A century of Bible deconstruction in the seminaries of America, taking their cue from European institutions since the Enlightenment.
•An almost total absence of teaching about Bible prophecy in America’s pulpits. As pastors and ministry struggle to keep people in the seats, there is a reluctance to teach “controversial” issues, and Bible prophecy happens to be one of them.
•Outright bad teaching in scores of books and curriculum resources. For example, in Zondervan’s The Quest Study Bible, we see this entry in the notes for Ezekiel 36:35-38, titled "Did Ezekiel foresee the modern Israel?":
“There are others who see this prophecy primarily fulfilled in the return of Israel from captivity in Babylon. They believe modern parallels of the Jews returning to their homeland are mostly coincidental.” [emphasis added]
This is one of the most outrageous statements I’ve ever heard, but mirrors statements by other scholars like Dwight Wilson, who has written of Israel’s “supposed restoration.” [emphasis added]
What’s going on here?
What’s going on is a dirty little secret in the American church, in which ministry leaders and too many scholars seem not to like Jews and the modern miracle of Israel. In other words, we are all looking at the same thing: the modern return of the Jews to their ancestral land, as foretold in the Bible. The first mass wave of Jews began to return in 1882, to settle in Palestine (the 1,900-year-old regional name affixed by the Romans, to erase “Judea” and other Jewish history).
Today, seven million Jews are citizens of the state of Israel.
This doesn’t sit well with many Christians. Isn’t that insane?Several high-profile evangelical leaders purposely miss the significance of this particular fulfilled prophecy. The end-times restoration of the Jews to their ancestral land is a huge plot-line, and is very difficult to ignore.
Clarence Wagner provides some historical context for us in explaining the rise of “Replacement Theology,” the view that the Old Testament promises to the Jews have been transferred to the Church:
“After the Second Jewish Revolt (AD 133-135) put down by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, theological and political power moved from Jewish Christian leaders to centers of Gentile Christian leadership such as Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch. It is important to understand this change, because it influenced the early Church Fathers to make anti-Jewish statements as Christianity began to disconnect itself from its Jewish roots.”
What we are witnessing is a transfer of mainline church ideology (anti-Israel, anti-Bible prophecy) to the evangelical church. It’s really quite breathtaking, but we must understand that it didn’t happen overnight, nor is it a new belief. Generations ago in the American church, we were seeing grievous attacks on the Bible. For example, one of the main scholarly resources for mainline pastors actually denied that the Bible is true. Many seemed not to notice:
“The great scene at the Red Sea still survives as a metaphorical expression of the faith that God does stand on the side of the unjustly downtrodden and helps them to victory in ways that seem mysterious to both them and their oppressors.” (Interpreter’s Bible, Abingdon Press, 1952)Metaphorical expression.
In 2016, the marginalization of Bible prophecy teaching and an appreciation for the Jewish people is virtually an epidemic in high-profile American churches. While tens of thousands of smaller (by “smaller” I don’t mean inferior. At all) churches still do teach the Bible, it is the monolithic “mega-church movement” that severely downplays the miraculous nature of the Bible. High-profile ministry leaders have shifted their focus to, well, themselves, first. A great deal of time is spent marketing Dear Leader’s latest book, curriculum, DVD series, and the like.
Little time is left for serious Bible preaching, teaching, and study. A big loser in this landscape is the miraculous nature of predictive prophecy in the Bible. From passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Zechariah and other prophetic books, there is a dominant theme: at a time known only to God, He has always planned to put an end to Jewish exile and return His people to their land.
The world hates this. Sadly, tragically, too many in the Church hate this.
They can’t stop it, though.
Today, Israel is a miracle of, well, biblical proportions. The Miracle on the Mediterranean is a stunning example of God keeping His promises.
There are bright spots. Groups like Christians United for Israel (CUFI) are seeing their membership rolls swell. Other groups, like the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and Bridges for Peace have good resources for those starved for real Bible teaching.
My own book, The Miracle of Israel, written with ace Bible prophecy teacher Gary Frazier, has just released and serves as a primer for believers and non-believers alike.
While there are enemies of the Bible throughout history (and isn’t it ironic there are more than a few in modern American Evangelicalism?)…they can’t stop it. They can’t erase it. They can’t destroy it.
In The Rule of Faith and Life, published in 1928, famed Presbyterian scholar Robert Dick Wilson said it all:
“If we are Christians, let us not hesitate to adopt as true to fact the accounts of miracles and the prediction of future events…”
There you have it. The Bible’s predictive prophecy and prophecies fulfilled, stand like some giant neon light in the night sky. The Lord never lies and He always keeps His promises, right down to the letter.
That should serve as a great boost to our faith as individuals.