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Listen up!

"Listen up!"

If God doesn't exist, there's no problem. If God does exist, then He either somehow communicated to and revealed Himself to men, or He didn't. If He didn't, there's no problem. If, however, God HAS spoken to mankind, then we had better listen up!

This short, colloquial argument gets right to the heart of the matter. If God has spoken, men and women -- for their own sakes -- ought to listen to what He has said, and respond accordingly.

The Bible purports to be God's message to mankind. Of the many lines of evidence brought forward to support that claim, consider those portions of the Book that are regarded as prophecy. There are four things that set Bible prophecy entirely apart from other writings:

Three purposes are served by the words of the prophets. First, they encourage the faithful to keep the faith, not to lose heart (eg, Hag 2:1-9; Zec 8:9-13; Zep 3:18-20). The prophetic message itself is encouraging in this regard, and faith is also strengthened by seeing predictions accurately fulfilled. This purpose is applicable to people of all nations and all ages (cf Luke 21:28).

Second, the prophets warned the wayward that they need to get right with God before it is too late (eg, Joel 1:2-15; Amos 2:4-8; 3:1-12; Hos 14:1-3). There are specifics involved in many of these warnings: specific to the time of the prophets, and specific to the time often referred to as "the last days" -- the time many people now call "the end of the world". However, the general warning applies to men and women of all eras (cf Acts 17:30,31).

Finally, prophecies were given to vindicate the one true God. They were intended to show that His word is truth, and that what He utters COMES TO PASS (eg, Isa 45:18-25; Eze 38:14-23; 39:7,8). Thus Bible prophecy is powerful testimony that there is indeed a God, that He is involved with mankind, and that He cares about how we respond to Him (eg, Amos 5:4-6, 14,15; Hos 11:1-9; Eze 18:25-32). This third purpose -- the vindication of a righteous, caring God -- sets Bible prophecy apart from all others who claim to foretell the future.

Because God's Book makes demands upon those who read it, or who hear its words, the temptation is very great just to dismiss the whole thing. That is a dangerous course. Scripture was given to help us be prepared when God sends His Son to earth again. We have a choice: it is up to us whether we will listen or not. Tragically, most people will not listen. The apparent silence and inaction of God during their lifetime has made a prediction of the apostle Peter come true:

"First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation' " (2Pe 3:3,4).

In other words, "I'm tired of waiting. I've never seen any divine intervention, and I never will. Every generation has been predicting the Second Coming! It's all a bunch of myths from the ancient past."

Peter goes on to say that this attitude is fostered by a deliberate refusal to acknowledge that God HAS intervened in human affairs in the past. Because He is forbearing, God is now deferring His intervention in order to allow as many as possible to repent, but the time will come when he WILL step in (vv 5-10). Peter's conclusion is a serious warning and a very pointed question:

"What sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God?" (vv 11,12).

Believers, listen up! The Coming of Jesus the Christ back to earth is soon.

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