The Gift of Prophecy and the End Times

Posted by on 6 February 2012 | 0 Comments

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I would like to think out loud with you about the Gift of Prophecy and the End Times.

When I became a Christian, I was nineteen and a sophomore in college.  I was raised Catholic and deeply respected God and the Church.  One day Campus Crusade found me in the student union and presented the four spiritual laws which I accepted, and my accelerated path to spiritual growth began.  I started attending a dispensational Bible Church and I was taught that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the Book of Acts.  Today, some 40 years later, I no longer subscribe to the "cessationist" belief.

In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter quoted Joel 2 and spoke about the "last days."

Joel 2:28-31 (NIV)
[28] 'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
[29] Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
[30] I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
[31] The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

Acts 2:14-21 (NIV)
[14] Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
[15] These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!
[16] No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
[17] "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
[18] Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
[19] I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
[20] The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
[21] And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

These verses make it clear to me that the "Last Days" began with the Cross, the Resurrection, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and and the beginning of the Church.  The Last Days have existed alongside the Mystery of the Church and have been going on for almost 2000 years.  However, the ultimate fulfillment of the Joel 2/Acts 2 promises will occur in the last seven years of the Church Age which I believe are called the "End Times."  The End Times are the final seven years immediately prior to the Second Coming of Jesus.

It seems to me that God is promising that in the End Times, the gift of prophecy is going to be released in an unprecedented way, and it will be associated with signs and wonders in the Heavens.  This means the Church will experience a deeper level of prophecy in the End Times.  Perhaps many of us will not be comfortable when men, women and children are dreaming powerful dreams and seeing spectacular visions that will help others come to a saving relationship with Jesus, and help us navigate the terrors of the End Times.  During the final seven years of the last days of the Church (i.e. End Times), we will also be exposed to the prophetic ministry of the Two Witnesses who will exercise supernatural authority from God, calling down His judgments from heaven (Revelation 11).

My point is this; I believe the Church needs to prepare for a global outpouring of the Holy Spirit and it is something we need to start talking about.  We will need it to endure the pressures of the Great Tribulation and we must not be caught off guard when it begins.

I will share more of my thoughts on this controversial subject in the days to follow.

Donnie

Comment from a reader:  As you well know, I have not subscribed to cessastionism since Dr. Walvoord tried to teach it to me in Eschatology 101 in 1966.  I think you are right that many evangelicals are going to have a difficult time with men, women, and children sharing their dreams, but we’re seeing a lot of that in the Islamic community today.  The fact is the church in Iran is growing faster than anywhere else in the world today—at a rate of 18% or better.  And many of the conversions there are coming through dreams about Jesus.


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