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About Me and My Approach to Bible Prophecy


About Me and My Approach to Bible Prophecy

It has been over twenty-five years since I began to study Bible prophecy as a preteen. I remember when I read through Revelation for the first time, it sparked a hunger to understand this fascinating book. I believe God put this desire in my heart because He has used Bible prophecy to continually redirect my focus to Him ever since.

I now understand why Jesus calls believers to "watch" repeatedly in the scriptures. It is harder to stray from God when you are paying attention to, and understand the times we live in. What an amazing blessing it is to witness the puzzle pieces rapidly falling into place for the soon fulfillment of many prophecies described in Scripture.

Sadly, most of the Church has fallen asleep and turned a deaf ear to the prophetic scriptures because many consider the topic controversial and divisive. But this too was foretold to occur in the last days before Jesus returns (2 Peter 3:3-4, 2 Timothy 4:3-4). I believe this happens because Satan does not want people to expect the imminent return of Jesus, and as a result lead more holy lives, as they see the lateness of the hour.

In recent years, the Lord called me to share what I have learned with others. Several years ago, I taught a Sunday school class on Bible prophecy. I will forever have gratitude for the blessings I received and lessons I learned from that experience. Due to a job transfer and move, my family and I are in a different church home. Here the Lord has given me more opportunities to share my passion for Bible prophecy.

When we found out we had to move, my husband and I started looking for a church that had a sound Bible teacher and preacher. We found Pastor Wayne Turner through his website www.bibletrack.org. He is the pastor of South Pointe Bible Fellowship in Fayetteville, Georgia. Pastor Wayne is a firm believer in sound Bible doctrine, but he also believes that being involved in a ministry is important to keep up good spiritual hygiene to produce spiritual fruit. Though he wasn't the first to suggest I start a website, Pastor Wayne's encouragement to do so helped confirm this is what the Lord wanted me to do. I pray this website will be an encouragement and blessing to all who read it.

My approach to Bible prophecy

My studies have developed over the years through discussions on internet communities and through gleaning from several prophecy teachers, many of which you can find on my links page. How I approach Bible prophecy has a lot to do with how I'm wired. The Lord gave me a scientific mind, which makes me always question how and why things work. I have a hard time believing things "just because."

My career is in Meteorology. My approach to Bible prophecy is much like how I forecast the weather. When making a weather forecast, I have to take a look at a lot of different parameters at various layers of the atmosphere. If I look at one or two parameters, or did not make sure the model initialized well, chances are my forecast will be bad. Likewise, when studying Bible prophecy I look at the context of the passage, but also how the passage fits with the rest of Scripture, or parameters, if you will, to gain better understanding of how all the prophetic pieces fit together. For both my career and my studies, I find it important to understand the big picture before looking into the details.

Looking at all the parameters when making a weather forecast doesn't necessarily mean my forecast will verify every time. Neither I, nor the weather models are perfect. In contrast, God's Word is perfect. But no matter how much I study Scripture, not all of my understanding will be correct because I am human. However, I believe that if we are diligent and seek understanding and wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we can gain a pretty clear picture of what most of the prophetic scriptures mean. This is why I continue to study prophecy. I yearn to understand prophecy better, much like I try to learn from my mistakes at work to make better weather forecasts. Therefore, I consider this website a continual "work-in-progress."

I hold to Bible teacher Dr David L. Cooper's "Golden Rule of Interpretation," which states:

    "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise."

To add to this, history tells us that fulfilled prophecy thus far, has found fulfillment in the literal sense. Therefore, there is no reason not to take future prophecy as literal. Interpreting Scripture in a symbolic way becomes highly variable to each individual reader, but everyone reads a literal fulfillment the same way. There is no confusion if we are all on the same page:

1 Corinthians 14:32-34 - And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

In almost every case, Scripture will interpret Scripture when using a "word-for-word" translation (KJV, NKJ or NASB), instead of a "meaning-for-meaning" translation (NIV). Using a "word-for-word" translation also helps to minimize interpretative biases made by the translators. My personal preference, and what I use on this website is the New King James Version.

I used Biblegateway and E-Sword to do word searches, and an online interlinear Bible and concordance that aid in understanding of the original language. For your convenience and further study of context, I link each verse found in the commentary to the full chapter on Biblegateway or to my commentary in another study.

Personally, I find that building on the study of others is the best way to approach Bible prophecy. I can't say I agree 100% with any one teacher or fellow prophecy buff. However, reading what others think, with a prayerfully discerning eye, has many times illuminated something in Scripture I did not see before and was able to add to later. The keywords here are "prayerful discernment," as false teaching is running rampant in these last days.

Most prophecies have a partial fulfillment, a dual fulfillment, or may even be hidden as a prophetic parallel. Also, prophecy tends to repeat itself in history:

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 - That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us.

The beauty of prophetic Scripture is that you end up understanding more of the Bible. As you will find, I cite passages from nearly every book of the Bible in my material. The Bible really is one book and you must study it that way. Think of the study of prophecy as being one big puzzle. You can't see what the picture is you are putting together if you look at only one or two pieces. Neither can you complete the puzzle if you try to shoehorn a few pieces where they don't belong.

For those passages that seem to make no sense, I believe it is vital to look to other scriptures for explanation. Also, keep in mind that the historical and cultural context may help in the interpretation. Always make sure that your interpretation is in harmony with other Scripture and don't build doctrine on a few verses, especially if it conflicts with other Scripture. Lastly, and most importantly, try to throw out all human assumptions and reasoning. Rather, study Scripture at the leading of the Holy Spirit because He will give wisdom to understand if we ask:

James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
1 Corinthians 2:7-10 - "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."

Maranatha!

Amy Van Gerpen


 
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