This title seems more like it would come from someone like Rick Warren than someone like me that has a Bible prophecy website. Nevertheless, my observations and my own experience tells me that many that become obsessed with Bible prophecy may become unprofitable servants. There is a danger that some of these Christians will do little for the cause of Christ during their whole lives.
Let me clarify that I am not talking about those called to the teaching ministry, especially those that major in Eschatology. Nor, am I saying that Christians should not be interested in learning all they can about Bible prophecy. I am talking about obsession. When Bible prophecy becomes such an obsession that you do nothing else for Christ but speculate on conjectures about the end times you probably really are on a prophetic trip of your own making.
From what I read, from the emails I get, and from the comments I get on my blog (half of which are never posted), it is obvious to me that I am not overstating the problem. If you do some of your own searches on the Internet on prophecy related keywords and visit the sites and the discussion forums you would know that I am probably understating the problem.
There are people that do nothing else in their lives but obsess over prophetic passages and the meaning of the latest world event in relation to some Old Testament passage that they dig up. That seems to be their whole mission in life. Even those who believe God called them to teach Bible prophecy have to be careful about not reading their own conjecture into scripture.
I think I can make a fairly educated guess that over ninety percent of those teaching Bible prophecy on the Internet have so much wrong that they are wasting their own lives teaching it and it is misleading people that are reading it. I do not think Jesus is going to say “well done good and faithful servant” to those that spend their whole lives misleading people even if they do so with good intentions.
A prime example in the headlines of the news today is Herold Camping with his Rapture prediction in May. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that his math is contrived and his predictions are not coming from anything taught in the Bible. Yet, thousands of his followers are obsessed over the timing of the Rapture and they are doing nothing for Christ but spreading Camping’s nonsense so the world can laugh at us Bible prophecy believers when it does not happen. I am sure Camping already has a backup date to keep the brain dead hooked after his date comes and goes. If this date setting gets bad enough more countries might even outlaw premillennial theology like China already does.
I wish I could say that Camping is an exception. He is only an exception because he is much more well known than others that are also setting dates and promoting weird theories. There are thousands on the Internet teaching every loony theory the human mind can think up. The sad thing is that there are hundred of thousands and even millions, that buy into this nonsense and obsess over the crap that they teach.
Some do nothing at all with their lives except to continually talk in bible prophecy forums about how soon Jesus is coming, or who the Antichrist is, or the symbol on the patch of his right eye (a bit of hyperbole… I think). Many of these do not even participate in any work of the Spirit. Their total works for Christ are their own speculations. They add nothing to the ministry of the Body. All they have to offer the Church is speculation on Internet sites.
If 90 percent of the teaching on Bible prophecy on the Internet (and often books) is crap, than 90 percent of the people teaching it are probably unprofitable servants if they are even servants of Jesus at all. Many of the current teaching on Bible prophecy actually come from those in cults, or from neo-gnostic’s, or even pagans. In many cases those Christians that are buying into and obsessing over what these are teaching are not only wasting their own time they are exposing themselves and others that they influence to danger.
I look back in my own life and observe that I once obsessed over Bible prophecy. Some might even say I still do, but I have toned it down and I now use what I learned for the mission that I know that I have been given. Even with my early obsession I believe God was in it because I now know that it was all preparation for what I have been doing the last dozen years in this ministry. However, I certainly remember in the 80′s that I was teaching everyone that I knew that Jesus was probably coming before the year 2000. Why? Because I read books by Bible prophecy scholars that make a very good case for Jesus coming in that time-frame.
I was never much for small talk so with friends I usually tried to steer conversations to more interesting topics (at least to me). I was shocked one day when a man I believed was a good friend got angry at me for some forgotten reason and then trashed me by accusing me of teaching my Bible prophecy speculations in our circle of friends because I just wanted to be the center of attention.
So was he correct? The answer is no. That is not why I spoke about Bible prophecy at all. I spoke about it because I believed it, I knew more about Bible prophecy and the Bible than anyone I knew, it was on my mind, and I wanted other people to believe that Jesus was coming soon. In those days I was leading and co-leading a very large singles group. I did not need Bible prophecy to be the center of attention. I usually was the center of attention whether I liked it or not.
In hindsight, I did have to ask myself if it was wise for me to have been so obsessed over Bible prophecy and to talk about it so much. After all I was wrong, Bible prophecy was not fulfilled within the time expectations that I believed and that I suggested to others. The answer t my question was yes it was a wise think for me. That was due to a number of truths that I am now aware of. Speaking of bible prophecy helped build up my own faith, it was also building the faith of others because much other Christian theology came into the discussions besides just Bible prophecy and it was a door that allowed me to talk to people on other Christian topics.
Further, the early obsessing on Bible prophecy led to learning the teachings of many different views on that subject. That is very useful to me today in this ministry. (There were not so many bad apples teaching about Bible prophecy in the days before the Internet and self publishing. Today listening to too many people without having solid grounding in the Bible can be downright dangerous.)
“The Late Great Plant Earth” by, Hal Lindsey probably led more people to Christ than any book outside the Bible in our generation. However, events on earth did not happen like Hal Lindsey wrote in his book. Nevertheless, his Christian theology was solid and so were the general premillennial pre-trib eschatological concepts that he taught, so God used the book mightily and He is still using Hal Lindsey through his Bible prophecy teachings.
Over the years I also have run into some people who gave up on Christianity or at least on premillennialism because things did not happen as Lindsey taught. A few even told me that they arranged their lives as if the 90′s would never come. They now are bitter about Bible prophecy teachers. They threw out the baby with the bath water. I question if those that departed were actually Christians? It seems to me that they just bought into the theories of Hal Lindsay because there was something on earth that wanted to escape in the 80′s (like perhaps the policy of mutual assured destruction MAD). Did they ever really have a relationship with Jesus Christ if His delay caused them to lose their faith? I think not. They cannot blame Hal Lindsay either if they did not come to know Christ because the way to salvation was always clearly explained in his books.
It seems the same thing is now playing out once more. Many today are obsessing over Bible prophecy theories and grasping at straws expecting a fulfillment in a couple of years. They accept any end of the world theory that comes along even if it comes from pagan sources. They want to escape because they are afraid of the troubles that they see coming (Islam or the decline of the almighty buck) and they certainly do not want to believe that they will ever suffer any persecution for Christ in America.
Had I just obsessed on Bible prophecy and done nothing else God could not have done much of anything with me in my earlier days. I suppose I actually did limit what He could do through me back then. However, along the way I came to the belief that this unusual obsession on Bible prophecy was preparation for something in the future. I had no understanding about how or when God would use me later in life but that was the unshakable feeling that I had.
I really did not have a clue how God would use all the information that I acquired over the years through private study because the Internet was not even in place yet. I did come to the realization that God put me in a certain location to get an early retirement from Government so that I could be financially independent to work for Him full time but I did not know the details. Now 16 years later I have no doubt that the learning and the Bible prophecy obsession of the past was actually setting the stage for the Internet ministry that I now do.
I said all that to say this. If you’re going to get obsessed with Bible prophecy make sure it is a calling and not just a diversion from what God really wants you to do in your life. I was fortunate, for me it turned out to be a calling, but I bet that most that get obsessed with Bible prophecy never do anything worthwhile with it. For one thing to teach on Bible prophecy you have to be well grounded in all of the Bible. Most people teaching Bible prophecy today have not done the necessary Bible study so they use extra-biblical sources and they have convoluted hermeneutics. For many Christians their obsession on the end times becomes a big diversion that keeps them from doing something useful with their lives.
If those that are obsessed with bible prophecy are not now also building on the house of God, or are not in training for a biblical teaching ministry, there is a very good chance that those spending all their time obsessing over things like hidden Bible codes, time distance codes, planet X speculations, Mayan speculation, etc., or on conjectures from people like Marrs, Van Impe, Robertson, Marian prophets etc., will indeed become unprofitable servants.
Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.