David Reagan - The Basics of Bible Prophecy
If you were asked to list the basics of Bible prophecy, what topics would you include in the list? Or, would you even be able to make a list? One-third of the Bible is prophetic in nature, and most Christians know little or nothing about these prophecies. Stay tuned for a consideration of the fundamentals of God’s Prophetic Word.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Well, as you can readily see our set is just a little bit crowded today. On each end are Associate Evangelists of mine in this ministry. And on my right is, Nathan Jones, the co-host of this program, and on the left, Tim Moore, one of our Associate Evangelists, these are the book-ends today. And sitting next to me is our very special guest, his name is Darryl Nunnelley. Darryl is a businessman from Winchester, Kentucky, and a life-long Bible teacher. And he is a member of our ministry’s Board of Trustees. In just a moment we are going to find out more about him.
Well, the reason Darryl is with us today is because he is the co-author with me of a new book that we have just published, it is titled, The Basics of Bible Prophecy. And since we are the authors of the book, we are sitting in the hot seats today where our interview guests normally sit. And since we are the ones to be interviewed I am going to turn the program over to, Nathan.
Nathan Jones: Great, thank you, Dr. Reagan. This is comfortable, all right. Well, Darryl I have to say this is a great book, sir. Before we get into your background I want to know what is your favorite chapter? You give 24 lessons like: The Jews in Prophecy, New Testament Prophecy, The Rapture, The Antichrist, The Millennium. What is your favorite chapter?
Darryl Nunnelley: So, you wanted to start out with the most difficult question, right?
Nathan Jones: Sure, thing let’s get that out of the way.
Darryl Nunnelley: Well, I don’t have it.
Nathan Jones: Okay.
Darryl Nunnelley: I don’t have one.
Nathan Jones: Okay, why is that?
Darryl Nunnelley: I have two.
Nathan Jones: Two.
Darryl Nunnelley: And the reason being number one of those two is chapter 18 is about the Second Coming.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Darryl Nunnelley: And then the other one is 23 about death.
Nathan Jones: Okay.
Darryl Nunnelley: And the reason why I would say that they are the most favorable to me is because those are the ones that I believe, from my talking to a lot of other people, that they don’t know quite as much about as some of the others. In other words everybody wants to know about death, but nobody wants to talk about it.
Nathan Jones: Right.
Darryl Nunnelley: And they don’t understand what’s happening at death. What is going to happen immediately? And then what’s later? Versus is the spirit going to always be conscience, or is the body going to be dead and gone forever? Or are they ever going to be reunited? Just a lot misinformation out there about death.
Nathan Jones: Well, I can understand why you like death so much. How I met you was a fascinating story because we met in Israel while you were taking your wonderful family around. And then I came up to speak at a church in Kentucky, and you told me something amazing, that you only had a few months left to live according to the doctor. Is that why death is fascinating for you because you’re here, you’re alive. So what happened?
Tim Moore: A walking miracle.
Darryl Nunnelley: I hadn’t even thought of that. No, the reason why I chose that one is that most people don’t understand what happens after death. And many books go into it and they make it complex. But, Dave and I tried to make this very simple.
Dr. Reagan: It is amazing how many Christians think that when they die they become angels.
Darryl Nunnelley: Yes.
Nathan Jones: Well, we had long discussion in your hotel about death because you were facing it. Do you think the Lord then has given you a second chance to write this book? To do all the ministry that you do?
Darryl Nunnelley: Well, I don’t know what all God does or when, but yes, He has lead me to this. And I had dreams of this book a long time ago. But thank goodness I didn’t try to do it myself until I talked Dave into helping me with it. He is the mastermind behind this book.
Nathan Jones: So, the idea behind the book is, Dave? What is your favorite chapter Dr. Reagan?
Dr. Reagan: No, no, that’s not true at all.
Nathan Jones: No.
Dr. Reagan: The idea behind the book is his.
Darryl Nunnelley: Oh, then.
Dr. Reagan: He’s the one who came up with the idea. He’s the one who came up with the vision. And I was just simply the one who said, “I think it is a great vision, a great idea, and I’ll help you.” Okay.
Nathan Jones: So, the meeting of the minds.
Dr. Reagan: Now are you going to let me respond to that question?
Nathan Jones: I asked it, yes.
Dr. Reagan: Alright.
Nathan Jones: Please do.
Dr. Reagan: Well, I don’t know that I have a favorite chapter. But I’ll tell you what I think is the most important chapter of the 24. Without a doubt to me the most important chapter is number four, “The Interpretation of Bible Prophecy.”
Nathan Jones: Oh, that is big. Why is that important?
Dr. Reagan: Because that’s what everything depends on. And one of the things that we do in this book is that we start each chapter with a bold assertive statement. And in chapter three the bold assertive statement–chapter four that we make is, “Bible prophecy was meant to be understood by the common person.” That means you don’t have to have a Ph.D. degree. You don’t have to have a seminary degree. You don’t have to have a degree in hermeneutics. Whatever that is? I always want to ask, “Who is Herman?” But hermeneutics. But our point is that if you are going to understand Bible prophecy you need to take it for its plain sense meaning. And the problem is that most people have always spiritualized prophecy; that has been true of the Church since 400 AD. And the result of that is that the majority viewpoint in Christendom today is the Amillennial viewpoint. Which is totally based on the spiritualization of prophecy. It ends up saying end time Bible prophecy does not mean what it says. If you spiritualize prophecy you will end up being an Amillennialist, or Postmillennialist. If you take it for its plain sense meaning you become a Premillennialist. And what happened was the Catholic Church in 400 AD adopt Amillennialism, began to spiritualize all of Bible prophecy. Nobody could say anything because the church ruled absolutely. And it wasn’t until really the 1700s when people could get hold of the Bible because of the invention of the printing press. And they began to read the Bible because it had been translated into their languages. And they began to say, “Hey, the Bible says Jesus is coming back, going to reign for a 1,000 years; says so six times in Revelation 20. It says so all through the Old Testament.” And they began to develop once again the idea of Premillennialism; that the Lord is coming back to reign for a 1,000 years. So, that to me is the key to all of Bible prophecy; do you approach it symbolically or for its plain sense meaning?
Tim Moore: Well, I think you all have answered one of the questions I would have asked which was who came up with the idea for this book. And obviously it initiated with Darryl, and then Dave you followed up on that.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, Darryl came up with the idea, the vision. He presented me with all the chapters, and he wrote the first draft of all of them, and then I took it from there.
Tim Moore: And you all have really touched on the purpose of the book which is to get the average person understanding that they too can understand Bible prophecy. And then an outline of some of the lessons that Bible prophecy would teach.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, what Darryl has taught for many, many years an overview of the Bible using a book similar to this. And he came to me and said, “You know I’ve done this for years. How about one that just focuses on Bible prophecy?” Why don’t you just talk little bit about your vision, and your purpose.
Darryl Nunnelley: Well, I was teaching in Africa for several years; I would go twice a year spring and fall. And then after a while of teaching some other things besides the overview of the Bible these people got to started to asking me, “Why don’t you tell us about prophecy?” And that’s when I came back I realized now, and looked up some prophecy and looked up some scholars. And that is when I landed on Dave, and his conference. And I went to the first two and realized that this man’s books I need to get. So then I went back and started teaching prophecy to those people in Africa. And what I liked about that is they had no preconceived notions. They weren’t into spiritualization like a lot of Americans, excuse me, are. And they just wanted to know what the Bible says, plain and simple.
Tim Moore: Wow. What a blessings.
Darryl Nunnelley: And so, I kept going. And I got to thinking about how I had taken that book that Dave was just talking about that survey of the Bible book, and I had changed it a little and put it on PowerPoint and they got it. And I was, I was a lot of people. I don’t think I’m abnormal, my parents drug me to church. Okay? Every Sunday of my life. And I knew all the stories; I knew everything about them forward and backward except where they fit. What the dispensations were. What God’s plan is? And I just felt kind of lost and actually did not understand how to read the Bible or understand it. So, I got back from Vietnam and I went to a church with my wife at that time where she had been going. And the preacher, he was kind of a tall guy, put his arms around me. I had never met him before and said, “Darryl, I’m starting a new class next Sunday and I want you in it.” Well, I was used to taking orders. I said, “Yes, sir.” And so I did. It was a 26 week lesson. And a lightbulb came on. I mean I then understood dispensations and why this person came before that person, and how it fit in God’s plans. And not just the difference between the Old Testament and New Testament but the context of a lot of things in it. And I never will forget at the last meeting he said, “Okay, now people in this church have heard about this book and this lesson. And we are going to start it again next week, and Darryl Nunnelley is going teach it.”
Nathan Jones: Surprise.
Tim Moore: Praise the Lord!
Dr. Reagan: Well, that is the best way to learn something.
Darryl Nunnelley: Oh, yes, right. So, that’s what got me started.
Tim Moore: You know it is fascinating to me you mentioned the new believers in Africa resonating with this message of Bible prophecy. And I tell people all the time that when Paul went to the church at Thessalonica he didn’t wait years and decades like some folks tend to today to get around to Bible prophecy. Early in his teaching with this young brand new planted church he was talking about the return of Christ, and Bible prophecy. And they were hungry for that message, and had follow up questions. Which is why he wrote two more letters to them that we have to this day. So, your testimony of the believers in Africa is so powerful, as it would apply to those of us here.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, and keep in mind too that the very first Gospel sermon ever preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost was all Bible prophecy. All he did was say, “The scriptures say this; Jesus did it. The scriptures says this; Jesus did it.” And finally they yelled, “What must we do to be saved.”
Tim Moore: Amen.
Nathan Jones: Well, Dr. Reagan since you helped format the book you added a lot bells and whistles I guess you would say, you put a lot under the engine. What are some of the formats? What are some of the features that you put in this book?
Dr. Reagan: Well, we came up with what I said previously was a bold statement for every chapter in here. For example The Church in Prophecy: “The fact: There is both bad news and good news for the Church in Bible prophecy.” And then what we do is we try to develop that statement, or concept with scripture. And we have at– it’s direct, it’s to the point, it’s succinct. It’s not you know somebody talking forever about this, but it gets right down to the point.
Nathan Jones: It is just a few pages per chapter, right?
Dr. Reagan: And then we conclude each chapter with study questions that a teacher can use with the students. And the students themselves can use. A person doesn’t have to have a teacher with this they can go through it themselves, but it’s designed for a class. And then we also have charts, we have diagrams, we have certain boxes where there is special information in them. We have a lot of quotations from various Bible prophecy teachers like Tim LaHaye, and people like that, David Jeremiah. So, we’ve put into this a lot of different sources and thought processes for people to look at.
Darryl Nunnelley: And this is called the basics. In other words anybody can take this if they don’t even know about prophecy because we’ve put in a lot of scripture. They can take it and learn along with a class just moderate the class with the questions. And understanding that they don’t have to dig deep into anything like most prophecy books are, this is called an overview. A basics that anybody can teach.
Nathan Jones: We’ll I’m anxious to dive into it. So, folks, we are going to take a break, briefly, and when we get back I’m going to ask them, Tim and I questions related to the Bible prophecy that they teach in this book.
Nathan Jones: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and our discussion of this new book, “The Basics of Bible Prophecy.” I’m Nathan Jones, Associate Evangelist and Web Minister here at Lamb & Lion Ministries. And on the other end is Tim Moore who also serves as an Associate Evangelist with our ministry. Tim and I are interviewing Dr. Reagan and Darryl Nunnelley. Dr. Reagan is of course the Founder of our ministry, and Darryl Nunnelley actually is one of our Trustees. The two of them teamed up to produce this new book. Now, on the back cover of the book is a series of Bible prophecy questions that are addressed in the 24 lessons contained in this book, “The Basics of Bible Prophecy.” So, Tim and I are going to start throwing these questions at Dave and Darryl. And Tim why don’t you go ahead and lead with the first one would you?
Tim Moore: I’d love to. We already talked a little bit about the interpretation of Bible prophecy as symbolic or literal? I’d got to tell you Darryl I thought of you recently when I heard a great sermon on Ezekiel 37, the Valley of Dry Bones, but it was all spiritualized. The man wanted to talk about how God restores us. And truly that is a great principle, but did not address one iota of the literal fulfillment in our day and age. So, I want to ask you: Have all the Old Testament prophecies been fulfilled? Or what relevance do they have for us today?
Darryl Nunnelley: Oh, a lot of relevance. And no, they haven’t all been fulfilled in anyway shape or form.
Tim Moore: Right.
Darryl Nunnelley: You know there were 109 prophecies, specific prophecies about Jesus’ First Coming.
Tim Moore: Yes.
Darryl Nunnelley: And all of them came true, to a T. Well, there is as many prophecies about Jesus’ Second Coming in the Old Testament as there are in the New Testament. There’s also many other prophecies that haven’t been fulfilled such as in the wars of the end times, many other cases. So, we can go back, what has been fulfilled exactly, prophecies in the Old Testament, and therefore we know, just another way of knowing for sure that the Bible is the perfect Word of God.
Tim Moore: Amen.
Darryl Nunnelley: And we can also know for sure that the prophecies that have not been fulfilled will be coming true just like it said.
Tim Moore: Well said.
Dr. Reagan: You know Tim, people might be shocked to realize that there are many people who teach that all Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled.
Tim Moore: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: I was at a national religious convention several years ago where I was asked to have a discussion. It wasn’t a debate, but discussion where I presented my viewpoint, the other person presented his viewpoint. There were questions. I argued that Jesus is coming back to reign again. And the other person said, “No, He’s not.” And I said, “Well, what about Zechariah 14?” And I pointed out that Zechariah 14 says the Lord is coming back to the Mount of Olives. When His foot touches the mount it is going to split in half, He’s going to speak a supernatural word, the Antichrist and his forces will be destroyed. And verse 9 says, “On that day He will become king over all the earth.” Somebody in the audience asked the other fella, said, “What does that mean?” And he said, and this was a seminary professor, and he said, “I haven’t the slightest idea of what it means. But I can guarantee you one thing it was fulfilled somewhere, somehow because all Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled.” And then he gave us his biblical reason for that, Luke 24:43 Jesus said, “These are my words which I spoke to you while I’m still with you that all things which are written about me in the Law of Moses, and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Well, I would say, “Amen. They must be fulfilled.” But it doesn’t say they have been fulfilled.
Tim Moore: Amen.
Dr. Reagan: So, yes. And one of the reasons so many in the church just don’t understand prophecy is because very few read the Old Testament. And you cannot understand the New Testament without the Old Testament. Daniel and Revelation fit together like a hand in a glove.
Tim Moore: Yes, they do.
Darryl Nunnelley: And not only that but the only thing Revelation 20 tells us about is the timing of the Millennium. The Old Testament tells us what’s going to happen in the Millennium, in New Testament the Millennium.
Tim Moore: Well, Darryl it is obvious you’re not only a student, but an apt teacher of Bible prophecy and everything else related to the Word of God.
Nathan Jones: Well, in your research and this is what I want to get into because you were facing down death, you had months to live the Lord gave you second chance. You studied death, and you studied Heaven. I love the subject of Heaven, chapter 20 tell us what did you learn about Heaven. What’s it going to be like?
Darryl Nunnelley: And that’s something so many people don’t understand but we put it in concise form. A lot of people don’t realize it’s not going to be an ethereal Heaven, we’re not going to be on clouds playing harps.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, how do ghosts play harps?
Dr. Reagan: Really?
Nathan Jones: Don’t their hands go through the harp?
Dr. Reagan: Oh, I always thought we were.
Darryl Nunnelley: Well, I can’t play a harp anyhow. So. So, it’s going to be a real place. Our bodies are going to be reunited with our spirit. We are going to have a perfect body.
Dr. Reagan: So, it will be tangible, you could touch us.
Darryl Nunnelley: Yes, and we will be continually learning, never as much as God, He knows everything. We are going to be continually experiencing and knowing other people. Okay? And it’s going to be a perfect situation. I mean God is going to be light, the sun is going to be destroyed in Revelation. Okay? And it will be perfect light. So, it will be such as like I like to say, it is like a frog in water. A frog is in its own realm. It doesn’t know what driving a car. It can’t even tell the difference between a barn and a house. It doesn’t know if it’s a cow on the shore, or if it’s a person. A fish is in its own realm and he doesn’t understand our realm. The same way with an eagle. He doesn’t understand what it is like to turn a TV on or cook breakfast, or knows there is a difference between electric or gas. He’s in a different realm. And so it is hard for us to understand that the Bible says it’s going to be a perfect thing because it is beyond us. God is spirit. And in John 3:24 says, “We must” M-U-S-T, “must worship God in the spirit.”
Tim Moore: Amen.
Nathan Jones: Okay. And that’s what we will be, we’ll be spirits then in our holy heavenly body.
Darryl Nunnelley: In our spirit body, tangible spirit.
Nathan Jones: I love it when you taught this to people Dr. Reagan as you tell them they are not going to spend eternity in Heaven and they’re shocked. Where are they going to spend it?
Dr. Reagan: Well, they will be in Heaven, but Heaven will come to earth. So, heaven right now is not on earth. Heaven is where God resides. But the book of Revelation says point blank God is going to come down to the new earth, and He is going to live in our presence eternally. And we will live in His presence eternally. We will have tangible bodies. We’ll be on a new earth, and God will be living there with us. And that just comes as a real shock to most people because I find most Christians believe we are going to be these ethereal bodies, spirits, ghosts, and we are going to live in an ethereal world and there is nothing tangible. It’s going to be on a new earth. And so, you know Randy Alcorn wrote, we quote he a lot in this and Randy Alcorn wrote the most definitive book there is on Heaven. And he said, “If you want to know what Heaven’s like go out and look out in your backyard at what you see and consider it to be perfect, perfected, everything you see perfected.” That’s what the new earth is going to be like.
Nathan Jones: No chiggers.
Dr. Reagan: No chiggers. No chiggers.
Tim Moore: Well, we sing, “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.” So, literally, Heaven will come down and glory will flood the earth with the presence of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Reagan: Even, so, though his point is so good that there is nothing–even when we think of it that way we cannot fully understand what it is lying ahead of us. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8:18 which says, “That the sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared to the glory that is yet to be revealed to us.”
Tim Moore: Amen.
Dr. Reagan: And I know some people who are suffering mightily, mightily.
Tim Moore: It’s like the song that is playing right now says, “I Can Only Imagine.” We can only imagine how glorious it will be. But you all excite me with the thing that we can look forward to which is being with the Lord. So, let’s talk a little bit about the timing of the Lord. How can we know that we are living in the season of the Lord’s return? We talk about signs all the time, Darryl, but what is your study and really your presentation in this book have to say about the signs pointing to the soon return of Jesus Christ?
Darryl Nunnelley: Well, Dave has categorized the signs. And then a lot more he didn’t actually get around to it but there are so many. The signs of nature. The signs of society. The signs of spiritual, both positive and negative. You talked about a minute ago. And then, Nathan, the signs of technology.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Darryl Nunnelley: And, Dave, the signs of world politics.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Darryl Nunnelley: And, Tim, the signs of Israel.
Tim Moore: Yes, sir.
Nathan Jones: Especially Israel.
Darryl Nunnelley: Okay, but here in just the last few years, like the last three or four years I dare say practically every prophecy scholar has agreed that the main sign is convergence. The converging of all the other signs. Before that for several years it was about Israel, what’s happened to Israel, through Israel, because of Israel, whatever, and they’re still very important. But it is the convergence of all the signs coming together is how we know the season is near.
Tim Moore: Yes, sir. Oh, my. Well, I couldn’t agree more.
Dr. Reagan: I don’t have anything to add to that. That was very well put. We don’t know the date. We cannot know the date. There are many people who think they do but they’re sincerely deceived. But we can know the season.
Nathan Jones: Well, speaking of not knowing the date you have a chapter on the Rapture. There is a lot of fear right now with the world getting worse and worse. Some people are feeling a little hope right now with our current president, but overall the world’s a mess. And Christians are worried that it is going to get so bad that we will live into the Tribulation; the seven years of God’s wrath on this earth. And then we get this term the rapture. Is it even in the Bible? What is the concept? Tell us quickly a little about that.
Darryl Nunnelley: Well, the rapture in the Greek was called, “harpazo.” And then when the Latin Vulgate was translated it became “rapturo,” and that’s where we get the name rapture, but it means caught up. Taken away.
Nathan Jones: So, it is a Latin word that has been translated into English into what?
Darryl Nunnelley: Rapture, in other words. But some of the translations say caught up. That’s okay. Fine. There have been a lot of people raptured like Enoch, and Elijah, even Philip we don’t know where he went but he was raptured. Okay? Jesus was raptured, so was Isaiah and Paul.
Nathan Jones: So, it is a very biblical concept.
Darryl Nunnelley: Yes, it is. And it’s very clear that Jesus is going to keep the true believing Church, not the fake people, Christians, but the true Christians.
Nathan Jones: Who have accepted Him as Savior.
Darryl Nunnelley: He is going to keep us from the wrath.
Nathan Jones: And He is going to do that?
Darryl Nunnelley: With the Rapture, before the Tribulation.
Nathan Jones: Explain a little then what is the Rapture going to be like?
Darryl Nunnelley: Well, first of all the New Testament Saints are going to be caught up to Jesus who comes down to the clouds, or in the air.
Nathan Jones: He doesn’t come to the earth, just to the clouds.
Darryl Nunnelley: Correct. And He is going to marry those bodies with the spirits that He brings down from Heaven. And then right after that we who are still alive, presuming we are, will be caught up, those true Christians to meet them in the air. And that’s when we will go up with Jesus to Heaven forever to be with Him.
Nathan Jones: Why do you believe then that happens? Maybe Dr. Reagan can answer this: Why does this happen before the Tribulation and not in the middle or after?
Dr. Reagan: Well, the Bible does not clearly reveal the timing of the Rapture, just as it doesn’t clearly reveal the timing of the Battle of Gog and Magog, we just have to work on inferences. But I think the best inference of the Bible is that it will occur before the Tribulation begins. And one of the reasons, there are many reasons for that but one of the reasons certainly is imminence. The Bible teaches over, and over that we, that the return of Jesus is imminent; it can occur any moment. The only way you can have an imminent return of Jesus is to have a Rapture before the Tribulation begins. Because if you don’t believe in a Rapture, or one before the Tribulation then what you’re doing is you are saying there’s certain events that must take place before Jesus returns. I don’t believe that. I believe there is not one prophecy that has to be fulfilled before Jesus return; He could come any moment. He could come while we are talking here. So, imminence is one of the reasons I believe it is going to occur before. But there are many other reasons. One of them is the book of Revelation, the structure of it; the first three chapters focus on the Church. Then you come to chapter four and John is taken up to Heaven and there is no mention of the Church until you get to the last chapter of Revelation. There is mention of Saints, but there’s going to be people who are going to be coming to the Lord during the Tribulation; they are going to be accepting Him as Lord and Savior. But there is no mention of the Church.
Nathan Jones: Wow! Well, I want to close this segment because we only have a few seconds left with what you ended, the summary overview of lesson 24. “The message of Bible prophecy for Believers is that Jesus will triumph, and we will win in the end.” I love it that you end the book with the purpose of Bible prophecy and that’s what?
Dr. Reagan: We win in the end!
Nathan Jones: Amen! Hallelujah!
Tim Moore: The Lord is glorified! Yes.
Nathan Jones: Well, folks, that’s our program for this week. I hope it’s been a blessing to you. And I hope you will order a copy of our new book and use it to organize a Bible prophecy study group at your church or home. Until next week, the Lord willing, this is Nathan Jones speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for your redemption is drawing near.”