By Kenneth J. Davies
With the advent of war in the Middle East, we can now expect the usual prophecy-mongers to begin hawking the latest versions
of their paperbacks. What was relegated to the 99¢ table in your local Christian bookstore just last week, is now
“Updated!” and “Revised!” to take into account the latest newspaper headlines, and predicting that this
conflict is the prelude to WWIII/Armageddon. Only the names of the locations and key players have been changed. It reminds me of
the “prophecies” of Nostradamus. They’re constantly being “updated” and “revised” in
order to make them sound like they predicted current events.
There’s big and fast money to be made writing paperback novels like this that appeal to our fears and misunderstanding
of Bible prophecy. These false teachers count on your ignorance of the Word of God and on your memory being short. The question
is: Will you be taken in by it?
Of course, the Bible is much more reliable than Nostradamus, and never needs to be “revised” or “updated”!
As the Word of God, it is always current. Some assume that it is only relevant if there is some prophecy being fulfilled at the
moment, but this is a dangerous and false assumption. It can lead one to look for the latest sensationalistic book on prophecy, or
fall for the latest claims of the popular prophecy pundits. As Christians, we are called upon to “grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember the Bereans of Acts 17? They were commended by Paul for comparing what he taught with
the Scriptures to see if what he was saying was actually in there. Christians today need to do the same, rather than simply trusting
their favorite preacher/teacher/evangelist. They may have slick sounding arguments for these being the “last days,” and
enticing looking covers on the latest update to their last book of failed predictions, but does it line up with the Word of God?
Based on Scripture, I can say with confidence that the current conflict in the Middle East is not the beginning of “the
end.” It is not the start of Armageddon! Jesus was very clear about when “the end” would come, and what that end
was. The “end” He spoke of was not the “end of the world” as the King James Version mistakenly translates it.
It is “the end of the age.” What age? That in which Jesus and His disciples were living when the N.T. was being written
— the Old Covenant, Mosaic age. When was it to end? Jesus said the end would come when the gospel had been preached “in
all the world” (Matt. 24:14), and the sign of the end would be the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:2; Luke
21:20). Paul records that the gospel had been preached in all the world, yet most people refuse to believe it! Read it for yourself:
“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it
and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” (Col. 1:6)
“This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have
become a servant.” (Col. 1:23)
The common denominator of the currently popular prognosticators is a total disregard for the time statements of the Bible. When they
see a text such as, “This generation shall not pass away before all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34), these Pied Pipers
say that “generation” doesn’t mean what it appears to mean, and change the definition to something other than what it
is in that same context (see Matt. 23:36). When these teachers see the terms, “near,” or “at hand” (Rev. 1:1, 3;
22:6-7, 10-12, 20), they say that “near” really means “far” and “at hand” means “a long time
off.” When will they cease to sin by denying the Word of God and attempting to lead His people astray in order to line their own
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled,” for these things have already happened, just
as Jesus said they would! He told His disciples, “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then
He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see
the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matt. 16:27-28). When you hear the paperback prophets say that Jesus was merely referring
to His transfiguration that took place only six days later, ask yourself: Where were the angels? When did Jesus hand out rewards to every
person according to their works? If the transfiguration was the coming of the kingdom of God, why were Christians still looking forward
to its coming at the time Paul was writing his letters? Why did Jesus imply that only some of His disciples would live to see this event?
Why did Paul say to Timothy that Jesus would “judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1)?
Why did Jesus say, in His parable of the sheep and goats, that the saints would inherit the kingdom (and eternal life) at His second
coming (Matt. 25:31-46)?
Finally, ask yourself: Do I really want to spend my hard-earned money on a book by someone who has been proven to be a false prophet?
You can look up the failed predictions of your favorite prophecy “expert” on the Internet. You will see that these so-called
scholars and experts have been wrong again and again, as they have claimed that the newspaper headlines were the fulfillment of Bible
prophecy, all the while promoting their latest paperback.
Shouldn’t you rather read the Bible for yourself? Shouldn’t you rather believe what the Bible says? Are we going to allow
what we’ve been taught about the Scriptures determine what we choose to believe in the Bible, or are we going to allow the Bible
to determine what we believe in the teachings of men? I would encourage you to do the latter.