By Rufus R. Clifford, III
I am sure you are aware of how human nature remains the same throughout the years. People have a tendency to be people no matter what age they are living in! We are by nature only interested in things that are affecting us at the moment. For example: Store owners, who are business minded, know that the best time to order snow shovels and sell snow shovels is not in the summer! Why? There is no need. People are not thinking about snow in the summer! I believe you get the gist of what I am saying. We have, in my opinion, the opportunity to make this year the most successful year for teaching others the gospel! Why is that? The fact that people will be people is what I am basing this statement on! In fact setting up Bible studies will be easier this year than any other year before. The reason for this is a simple one: human nature!
When does a person think about death? When they are around death. When does a person think about Jesus coming back? When they know that people believe he’s coming back close to the year 2,000! This year will be a good year for those who are interested in personal evangelism! (which should include all Christians). The reason being is that those who teach the false doctrine of premillennialism and those who believe this doctrine are convinced that the year 2000 will be a special year for them.
What does this mean for the “snow shovel salesman”? It means if people believe it’s going to snow six feet, he’s going to sell a lot of snow shovels! What will he do to prepare? (1) He will have a ready supply of shovels on hand, (2) He will know all about snow shovels! Let’s take this same mentality and apply it to setting up studies this year. What should I do to prepare for this opportunity? First: Have a ready supply of statements to make that will create interest in the other person to study!
Example: Hey Fred, has your preacher been talking much about Jesus coming back and the rapture? What do you believe is going to happen this year? (Let’s get together next week and see what the Bible says about Jesus coming back.)
Hey Martha, are you getting ready for all this Y2k stuff they are predicting? (If she hasn’t heard, fill her in.) No electricity, no food, banks shutting down! Then switch the conversation to spiritual matters: Really I’m not too worried myself, because my faith lies in God! (play it by ear from there). Have yourself questions to present to folks that will lead into religious conversations that will open the door for you to say: “Why don’t we get together one night next week and see what the Bible says about that! What night is best for you?”
Second: Know your shovels! Study the following books of the Bible: Zechariah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Revelation. These are four books in the Bible which are apocalyptic in style. This means that much of their message was written with symbolic or figurative language. You don’t have to be- come an authority on all four; you just have to know what premillennialists try to teach from each one! Below are some helpful insights:
Zechariah — Chapters 9:9-10 — Premillennialists deny that the reign of Christ as king has begun. Chapter 14 — a favorite text used by Premillennialists who give it a literal interpretation and apply the chapter to a future point in time.
Ezekiel — Chapter 38-39 — Premilliennists believe this is referring to a literal fulfillment. Study the terms Gog and Magog and Armageddon. Familiarize yourself with what these chapters are really teaching!
Daniel — Chapter 2 — Premillennialists do not believe that the Kingdom of God was to be established in the days of the Roman Empire. Learn about what Daniel proph- esied about these four kingdoms that would come and go! Babylon (gold), Medo-Persia (silver), Greece (brass), Rome (iron), and about the kingdom God would set up (vv. 44-45) that could not be moved (Heb.12:28).
Revelation — Chapter 20 — Premillennialists are futurists — that is they consider the book of Revelation as an unfulfilled prophecy about future history. They place chapters 4-19 as just before the coming of Christ and then chapter 20:1-10 as the millennial reign, judgment, and the final state. Suggestions: Know why the book was written and to whom! Familiarize yourself with chapter 20 and the 1000-year reign. Remember that the second coming, bodily resurrection, reign on earth, literal throne of David, Christ on earth, etc. are not taught in Revelation 20:4! The doors of opportunity are going to present themselves to all of us this year so let’s be ready! Take advantage of the time you live in and the events taking place to reach out to those who are lost and confused and blinded by the deception of the devil. Many are in darkness and cannot see, but you and I are lights in this world for Jesus (Matt.5:14-15) and we are here to glorify him (1 Cor.10:31). So let’s shine brightly and tell others the good news!