Dr. David Jeremiah, megachurch pastor, bestselling author and popular Bible teacher, believes the End Times began in 1948, when a nation that features prominently in the Bible was re-established as a state for the first time in 2,000 years. In fact, considering "the whole scope of world history," Jeremiah would have to conclude that "yes, we are in the End Times," or Earth's last days.
"I personally believe that the End Times, in the sense of Bible prophecy, probably started for us in 1948 when Israel became a nation, because many of the prophecies in the New Testament especially, could not be fulfilled until Israel was at home in her nation," Jeremiah told The Christian Post in November.
The Shadow Mountain Community Church senior pastor, who took over that position from another prophecy buff, Dr. Tim LaHaye, examines perhaps one of the most intriguing books of the Bible in his latest work, Agents of the Apocalypse.
In Agents of the Apocalypse: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times, Jeremiah examines the Book of Revelation through 10 distinct characters or groups, including "The Exile," "The Martyrs," "The Two Witnesses," and "The Dragon." Each chapter opens with a "a fictional element," intended to help readers fully grasp the meaning of the apocalyptic work, explained Jeremiah.
In the following transcript of Jeremiah's phone interview with CP, the minister described by Tyndale House Publishers as a "prophecy expert," describes the role of a prophet, reveals his position on the Millennium, and explains why Christians should be at peace about the coming end of the world.
CP: You have been described as a "prophecy expert." What is a prophet?
Jeremiah: A prophet in the truest sense of the word, according to the Old Testament, is somebody who can tell the future with accuracy. There aren't any modern-day prophets. The modern-day prophet would only be reporting what the scriptural prophet had already said.
The incredible thing about prophecy in the Bible is that in the Old Testament, there are over 300 prophecies about the coming of Christ to the Earth, which we celebrate at Christmas. These are very specific, detailed prophecies, and every single one of them was fulfilled accurately. In the Bible, there are eight times as many prophecies about the Second Coming, and we believe those will all be fulfilled in detail and in accuracy as well.
So prophecy is not just, "Oh I think this might happen in the future." No, the Bible says a true prophet has to get it 100 percent right. If he misses on one prophecy, he's not a true prophet. So in the Old Testament the prophets told the future, and the Bible and history tells us that they were absolutely accurate.
CP: For clarification, are you a premillennialist, an amillennialist…? (The reporter stumbles over the second term).
Jeremiah: That's always an interesting term isn't it? Most of the time if it's hard to say the word and you have to explain it, something's going on, right? (laughs)
Here's what I believe. I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come back and that he could come back at any moment, after which will be a 7-year period of tribulation on this earth which will conclude with the return of Christ again with the people from heaven and his angels. Then the Millennium, which is the 1,000-year reign of Christ, will take place.
When I say I'm premillennial I just mean that I believe Jesus Christ is going to come back first and the Millennial will happen later. If I say I'm pre-tribulational, that means I just say I believe that Christ is gonna come back in the Rapture and that there will be tribulation following that. So in that respect, you said it right, I'm premillennial.
CP: Are we living in the End Times?
Jeremiah: It's always interesting to try to put a point down on a sheet of paper and say, "OK, here's where we are." What we do know is, we're much closer to that time than we've ever been.
I personally believe that the End Times, in the sense of Bible prophecy, probably started for us in 1948 when Israel became a nation, because many of the prophecies in the New Testament especially, could not be fulfilled until Israel was at home in her nation. Now that she is there, you begin to see some of these other things starting to happen. The coalition governments of Europe, many of the things the Bible talks about and Israel in her land, so I think I would say yes, we are in the End Times, as you look at the whole scope of world history.
There's a passage in the New Testament that I always like to tell people. It's this: "You are nearer to this than when you (first) believed" (Romans 13:11). In other words, we don't know when it's gonna happen but we know it's a whole lot closer than it was when we first came to know Christ.
CP: There are different periods in history where certain events are going on and everyone feels like their generation is going to be the generation that sees Christ return. This can affect people's attitudes and daily lives. What's your advice to Christians who are watchful of things going on but don't want to be shaken too much in terms of having a particular mindset about the things they are witnessing?
Jeremiah: You know what, you've hit where a lot of believers are. That's where most people are: "I'm OK to know about this but I don't have to think about it, and I don't want it to affect how I look at life." The reason for that, if they have that kind of attitude, is because they really don't understand… The Bible doesn't say, "When you see that the Lord is gonna come back, put your head down and your shoulders bent over and walk around in defeat." No, the Bible says, "If these things are happening, lift up your head, because your redemption is drawing nigh."
One of the things that people have told me as they've read this book that I just released is, you know, people want to know when they look at all these world events is where is all this going. And the wonderful thing about the Book of Revelation, it tells you where it's going and it tells you how it ends up and it tells you that we win, that Jesus Christ is victorious. When you know that in your heart, it settles you down and you can live your life everyday with the confidence that, you know, "I don't understand what's going on right now, but man I'm on the right team and God's in control and He sees all of this and He's gonna bring me through with my hands up high." So I don't think prophecy should ever be a discouragement to people. I think it should be motivational and exciting.
Jeremiah, author of dozens of books, has been leading Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, since 1981. The Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated congregation attracts more than 7,000 worshippers weekly. Jeremiah's Turning Point Ministries, founded in 1982, makes his teachings accessible to tens of millions of people around the globe via television and radio broadcasts.
Read more of Jeremiah's thoughts on the End Times: Popular 'Prophecy Expert' and Bible Teacher Suggests Possible Reasons Why America Is MIA in the End Times