Pastors who refuse to preach about Bible prophecy are failing to "teach 20 to 40 percent of the Bible,” said Jack Hibbs, pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Southern California.
Hibbs' remarks came as part of the Prophecy Q&A event held at Calvery Chapel where the pastor was joined by Jan Markell, the director of Olive Tree Ministries, Pastor Barry Stagner of Calvary Chapel Tustin in Costa Mesa, California, and Amir Tsarfati, the founder of the nonprofit organization Behold Israel.
Hibbs urged pastors not to forsake teaching prophecy, adding that “The book of Revelation, Chapter 19 tells us that ‘Jesus Himself is the Spirit of prophecy.’ Jesus said, ‘I give you these things in advance, so when they happen you will know that I Am … the self-existing eternal God.’”
He added that at some seminaries, Bible prophecy is no longer being taught, which he said is problematic because courses in eschatology teach about the prophetic Word given by God, about the Messiah and about salvation.
“People are going to go pay $100,000 to go get their doctorate in theology and come out expected to become a pastor of a church and the world around them is being prophetic, whether they like it or not,” Hibbs said at the Oct. 19 event. “It’s happening and they don’t know what to do. They don’t know what to say, so they avoid it because they have never been taught in the seminaries.”
“That’s not a good start. Watch out where you’re going to seminary if you’re going. It’s sad,” Hibbs lamented.
Even Jesus rebuked His disciples when they didn't believe in prophets and prophecy, Tsarfati said, because they “missed” out on the plan of the God of salvation who is the Messiah.
“As far as I’m concerned, when they leave prophecy out … it’s the number one sign of the woke and progressive and that’s the progression of the world,” Tsarfati added. “The progression of the believer is when they realize it was Jesus. The progression of the church that is not into Jesus is [going] down to the road of shame, embarrassment and sadness.”
While he stressed that pastors should be teaching prophecy, Tsarfati said people shouldn't stop attending a particular church simply because it doesn't teach about prophecy. Because, he added, “being around other Christians is important.”
Christians in these scenarios, he said, should seek out knowledge about biblical prophecy and prophets from other avenues if their churches do not offer that information.
“How many times have you encountered people who say, ‘we don’t have any church around 10, 20 miles [of us]?’ I’m saying this: if that’s the only church around, go there and take food supplements. And the supplements are online — watching others teaching Bible prophecy because you don’t get that in your church,” Tsarfati advised. “If they're the only church around, you don’t want to not go to church. You need that fellowship.”
When asked about his thoughts on progressive preachers, Stagner said he avoids listening to preachers that deny the existence of prophecy and prophets.
“I don’t listen to this nonsense. … It takes me too quickly to the phrase ‘shut up,’ Stagner responded. “If you hear [in church] more about improving your this-life-situation and solving society's woes, than you are hearing about being equipped to get people into the Kingdom of God, leave.”
Stagner said that, unfortunately, all throughout the world, many people are “forced” into the only available churches in their communities that have pastors who are intimidated by the idea of teaching about prophecy and prophets. He said there should be no excuse for pastors avoiding parts of the Bible, and every pastor should put in the effort to study the Scriptures to fully understand all parts of the Bible.
“Prophecy and prophets are part of the Book. It needs to be taught as you come upon it in Scripture. You can’t just skip over those things because they're hard,” Stagner advised. “If we skipped over everything that was hard or difficult, we would be teaching John 3:16 every week because everybody knows that. But there are things in Scripture that are hard to deal with.”
“These things require a lot of study and homework to understand them fully and completely — especially in light of times that we live in today. And it takes that effort to get in there and mine those things out. And not everyone is willing to do that. But they should be,” Stagner continued.
As the event came to a close, the panelists discussed how they view the End Times and how in the last days, “the anti-Christ will come on Earth.”
Hibbs predicted that the U.S. dollar will “collapse.”
“Scripture says [the anti-Christ] is going to deceive the world. Something economically has to collapse: the U.S. dollar soon, with what’s happening, and there’s going to be a need for a new economy,” Hibbs estimated. “The anti-Christ is going to have the answer and he’s going to bring peace because there’s going to be Mayhem.”
If a believer is not eagerly awaiting the expectation of Jesus’ return, Tsarfati said, “there is something terribly wrong with their understanding of the Scriptures.”
“The believer has to have that expectation for the return of Jesus to take him out of here. And if he doesn’t have it, he never probably studied [Scriptures] to understand how important it is and [there’s] a big problem with your Christian understanding if you don’t have that,” he said.
The speakers all agreed that the world won’t stay the same during the tribulation.
“The whole geopolitical landscape is going to change during the tribulation. … Everything’s going to change during the tribulation,” Stagner said.
“Everything’s going to change in a moment," he added. "If you’re heavenly-minded, you will want to do more good because you’ll want to take people with you. We have a mandate from God: the Great Commission. Rescue those who are drawn toward death. We are here to save souls. That’s exciting. To act on behalf of God. Christians will be able to handle whatever comes their way during the End Times.”
While echoing predictions of End Times events, Tsarfati added that the world will welcome the anti-Christ to bring peace amid chaos. Christians, he said, should recognize that Jesus said He is coming back and “He wants to find his followers doing His business.”
“People will celebrate the death of the people of God. The moral standard is going to change so dramatically. It’s going to be horrific. In the future, beheading will be the practice of the governments of the world,” he predicted in reference to the tribulation period. “He who will not take that Mark of the beast when the beast will be here ruling the world, his head will be chopped off. It’s not going to be a crime.”
Hibbs stressed that Christians, however, won't have to face the tribulations associated with biblical End Times: “Can we be clear that if you’re a born again Christian and believer you won’t see that.”