Monday, January 7, 2008

Clearly vague prophecies . . .

I fall for it every time. While flipping through the channels, I'll come across a program where one of the so-called experts on biblical prophecy promises that in the next 60 minutes he'll show me how the bible clearly foretold modern events. They will claim that not only has the bible predicted events that has already recently happened. But, that based on this unblemished record he will show me what the bible clearly states will happen in the immediate future.

"Well," I tell myself, "I've got to watch this." So, like touching a hot stove over and over and over, I watch with anticipation waiting to be marveled at some prophetic revelation that somehow the rest of the world missed.

They show newsreels of war and famine and slick digital reproductions of future wars as they scroll the 800 number where you can order the DVD series, books, and study guides where you can study these prophecies in further detail. The obligatory Hitler reels are always included. I can't blame them for that - he is the embodiment of evil in the modern world.

They even quote a couple of scriptures which Clearly apply to some of the news footage or to some world war I & II videos they have shown.

The problem is that there is nothing CLEAR about them. Nothing short of Cultural and literary acrobatics are required to even hint at a connection between these prophecies and modern events.

Of course they will tell you it is because you haven't spent decades studying the text. Fair enough. But don't tell me how CLEAR they are. Tell me that through decades of study, you have found prophecies hidden in the text, buried beneath thousands of years of symbolism and guarded by multiple language barriers. At least then, I'd give you the benefit of the doubt.

But would God really make prophecy so hard to understand that only a couple of people in history would be able to figure it out?

Personally, I don't buy it.


Janet Rubin said...

This thing about God's prophecies is, that while it is always 100% accurate, many times you don't see it CLEARLY until it's happened. Isaiah and Micah and David couldn't have looked at the words they wrote and understood clearly that Jesus would be born in a manger in Bethlehem, grow up doing what He did and then die on a cross only to rise again. the Jews were expecting something entirely different. But once it happened, many could look at those prophecies and say, "aha! that's what it meant!" Revelation? The end times. There are plenty of people who think they have it all figured out. But I think we'll be surprised when it doesn't all play out just like a Left Behind novel:)
I think that everything we NEED to understand perfectly, God explains clearly. Clearly enough that anyone can get it. Otherwise, we see through a glass darkly..

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Great point, Janet.

I for one, will not be surprised when it doesn't turn out like Left Behind.

I think they have it all wrong. Of course, I don't know for sure. That's why I wouldn't write a book basically saying "I know this is what God meant or I know Left Behind is wrong." Maybe a novel or even a non-fiction which speculates.

What bugs me is how sure they are. I'm convinced some are just in it for the money-create a hoopla and sell DVD's and tickets to seminars. But I've met Jerry Jenkins. He's different. He's a good guy and a humble guy who happens to truly believe Lahaye's scenario.

Kay said...

It will be what it will be.
I agree with Janet. Hindsight is 20/20 and I think that is especially true for prophecy!
It's kinda on a need to know basis. He will make clear to us the things we need to know in advance. Otherwise, we just keep on in faith, knowing He has it all worked out.

Jerry Pat Bolton said...

Con men and shysters run amok and now with cable and the disc they can reach more and more . . . Plus they have the computer to make things look believable even as they are shilling us . . . Excuse me if I seem harsh here, but I personally do NOT believe God particularly wants us to know when his prophecies are going to take place . . .

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

I pretty much agree with what everyone is saying.

Some prophecies are clear, but as Janet said it's easy to see it after the events have taken place. Which also falls into what Jerry is saying about God not wanting us to know the timing.

One that really intrigues me is the 70 weeks prophecy. The math works out on that one. But there is still some debate as to whether the original intent is being mis-interpreted. It's still a prophecy of something that has already happened but the language is clear enough that the wise men knew when to look for the Messiah.