Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is Prophecy Practical?

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 2 Peter 3:11,12

Not many women come to the Oak Street Bible Shop to buy books on prophecy. In fact, the staff could not remember when a woman had last even browsed Glen’s beloved prophecy corner. But today they had directed a lady there to search for books on Revelation.

“It’s for my husband” she said. “He is going to take a course starting next Wednesday night, and wants to read ahead. He’s already studied Daniel and feels he is ready to move ahead to Revelation.” She had a list in her hand made up from “suggested readings” posted on the Revelation sign up sheet. She seemed perplexed, so Gary was helping her.

“Mc Gee has a very easy to understand outline, that many people find helpful,” he said.

“Isn’t it pretty hard to understand?” the lady said with evident misgivings.
“McGee has made an outline of every book in the Bible. He said that the easiest of all was Revelation.” She still looked as if she was unconvinced.

“All I hear is how difficult it is to understand,” she said. “How could it be the easiest?.”

“Well”, continued Gary, “McGee said, its great events are numbered in order, from one to seven. He just follows the numbers.”

“But what about all those symbols? Who can say for sure, what they stand for? It just sounds like speculation to me. Everyone has their own opinion, so who knows for sure if there even is a definite meaning?”

“There’s the man you should be talking to” said Gary, pointing to the figure of Glen seated in the back room at the coffee urn table. Glen was reading a book on the Song of Solomon.

“Glen, would you like to help this lady”, he inquired. Glen rose to his feet and slipped into his jacket, zipping it up halfway in a gesture of respect.

“Actually, ma’am,” Gary is being too humble. I thought he was doing a fine job explaining Revelation. But, McGee says the symbols in Revelation are explained in the book itself.” The expression on her face indicated she did not believe him, but was too polite to say so.

“Let me give you an example” Glen said with disarming patience. He spoke from memory. “In Revelation chapter twelve there is a great dragon pictured. Depending on who you believe, it is false religion or maybe, the communist nations, whatever someone wants to rail against. But the dragon’s identity is stated right there in verse nine. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. No mystery there, although many want to make it a mystery.”

For the first time, the woman’s scepticism began to melt. “You mean it’s that easy?” she asked.

“Well, I wouldn’t say easy. You need to have patience. Some of the meanings in Revelation are explained in the earlier books of the Bible, going all the way back to Genesis.”

She looked at Glen with respect. He did have a kindly manner. “You know what really bothers me?” she said in a confidential way. “I mean, what if, as you say, we can know what prophecy is all about? What I want to know is what difference does it really make? It’s all going to happen anyway, whether we understand it or not. There’s nothing we can do to stop it, so why torture yourself by learning about what you can’t change?”

Glen could have made her little speech for her. He had heard it so many times before, starting with his own family. He smiled before he began his answer. "Ma’am, do you listen to weather reports?”

“ Well, yes I do, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything. I like to know what the weather will be in case there will be a big storm, or if it’s going to frost, so I can bring my plants inside”.

Glen looked into her face, so naive and innocent, before he spoke. “Ma’am, “Can you change the weather? Don’t you agree that it is the things we can’t change that we most need to know about? When we know what is coming, in weather or in prophecy, then we can make intelligent plans. That is why God tells us about the future before it hits us. Also, it proves that He has written the Bible. Our holy Bible is the only book that tells us the future, and it is never wrong. The Book of Mormon and the Koran don’t even contain prophecy. Anyway ma’am, Gary has a good selection for you, and I’ll be giving out the books I use in my course, next Wednesday.”

“Your course!” She exclaimed. “Then you must be that Glen? My husband says you are very thorough.”

“I try to be” said Glen, “I sure do try to be”.

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