Are We into Newspaper Eschatology?
One of the criticisms leveled against many prophetic ministers, is that we are propagators of "Newspaper Eschatology," meaning we line up certain events from the Scripture based upon current events. This is one of the main criticisms leveled against a well known prophetic minister Jack Van Impe. During his program, his wife will show clippings from news articles while Jack explains how it fits into what has been predicted in the future.
For those who may not be paying attention, there is ample evidence that we are living in the last days prior to the return of Christ. This is not a prophetic assumption, but is based upon hundreds of Old and New Testament Scriptures combined. Hebrew scholars note that Ezekiel 37 describes in detail a vision of Dry Bones that can absolutely apply to the events both during and after the Holocaust. The lineup of nations in the famed battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39, are in our time aligned in an Islamic coalition, making this vision of the prophet more possible in our time than at any other time in history. The restoration of Israel (Jer. 30:17-24; Joel 2:25), the reunification of Jerusalem (Ps. 102:16), the return of the Jews from foreign nations back to Israel (Isa. 43:6-6; Jer. 16:14-16), and the blossoming of the land to produce fruit that is sent around the world (Isa. 27:6) are all a part of the preparation of Israel for the return of the Messiah.
The fact is prophetic critics are often men who have their own agenda or hermeneutical process of interpreting the Scriptures.
There comes a moment in world history in which the events occurring in Israel, gentiles nations, and the church collide with the predictions of the time of the end. When newspapers are reporting events that clearly line up with the prophetic words of the Old Testament prophets, Christ and the Apostles, there should be no argument or criticism when ministers begin pointing out the amazing parallels of current events with Biblical narratives. Certainly a teacher/minister should never carry the parallels beyond the obvious and clear linking between prophetic verses and news article. Also, all prophetic ministers must take care to not advance speculation in a manner which seems to be their own spiritual prediction.
Some have suggested that comparing events of today with Biblical prophecies is mere "prophetic sensationalism." One of the definitions of "sensational" is "causing or intending to cause intense feelings, especially of curiosity, horror, etc." Over the years when revealing the actual prophecies related to the blossoming of the desert in Israel (Isa 35:1-7), the amazing occurrences at the Dead Sea (Ezek, 4) and the events related to the ravenous birds in northern Israel (Ezek 39), I have been accused of "sensationalism." I have difficulty in considering this intended negative statement, as actually being a negative statement, as everything God does and every fulfillment of His Word is in my opinion SENSATIONAL, as another definition of the word sensational is, IMPRESSIVE! Other definitions given to the word are, "amazing, dramatic, thrilling, revealing, spectacular, breathtaking," etc.
Does sensational describe the amazing pictures we see from the cosmos taken by the Hubble telescope? Does sensational describe the human body which is "wonderfully and fearfully made" (Ps. 139:14)? Can sensational describe how God restored the nation of Israel, bringing back the Jews to rebuild the waste places to make them a great army? Is it overkill to describe these events as sensational? What about the ministry of Christ in healing the sick and raising the dead? My father once preached a message called, "The Sensational Jesus of Nazareth," as every miracle Christ preformed was sensational!
If there were no facts or truth connecting the reports of events now unfolding with the predictions of the Biblical prophets, then modern prophetic teaching would never be sensational by the anti-rapture, anti-prophecy fulfillment groupies. The fact is prophetic critics are often men who have their own agenda or hermeneutical process of interpreting the Scriptures. There is the Kingdom Now group along with the Dominion or replacement Theology crowd. Then add the Preterists and the Amillennialists in the mix and we have a bowl of hodge podge, thick with ideas, all who firmly stand against the Pre-millennial coming of Christ, especially as it relates to the concept of a gathering together of the overcoming remnant prior to the seven year tribulation cycle.
In the time of Christ there were two groups: those who believed in him and those who did not, just as BC there were Biblical Jews or Gentiles. There were those, such as Anna and Rabbi Simeon who were anticipating the arrival of the Jewish Messiah and recognized him at the temple when he was an infant (Luke 2:25-37), and others who considered Christ a heretic. The skeptics were so intent of preventing Christ from influencing the multitudes that they went as far as to accuse him of working miracles through demon spirits (Matt. 12:24). It was also Christ that gave predictions of what would occur in one generation, including the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:-1-3; 23:36).
I wonder what the "Jerusalem Post News" would have written the day the Romans surrounded the Temple to overtake the Temple Mount platform. Let me imagine for a moment the headlines reading, the sensational prediction of the sensational Jesus of Nazareth is about to come to pass! Our headlines today could read, the sensational prophecies of the Bible are now coming to pass and prophetic sensationalists are now sensationalizing their predictions! For the skeptical and often critical observers of Biblical prophecy, you may intend to mock ministers such as Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impel, myself or others through insulting our intelligence and insinuating that we know little or nothing about the Bible and the proper manner in which to interpret it. However, maybe you should read a few papers and compare for yourself. That may be difficult for you as the outcome of your research might be overly "sensational!"