How old were you when you began to love the study of Bible prophecy? Hear Roberta Potts tell her story to Dr. David Reagan on television’s “Christ in Prophecy.”
Last aired on September 30, 2012.
Dr. Reagan: Did you know that one of the daughters of Oral Roberts has been a lifelong student of Bible prophecy? Stay tuned as she shares her insights about God’s prophetic Word.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Our special guest this week is Roberta Roberts Potts. She is one of the four children of Oral Roberts and his wife Evelyn. Roberta is the author of a great new book about her dad, his ministry and her family. It’s this book right here called, My Dad, Oral Roberts. It’s one of those books you just do not want to put down once you start reading it. And that’s because it is fascinating, insightful, inspirational and heartwarming. And it’s illustrated from start to finish with many wonderful photographs. Roberta welcome to our program.
Roberta Potts: Thank you so much.
Dr. Reagan: We are just delighted to have you here today. And I want you to just start off by telling me what prompted you to write such an intimate portrait of your dad, his ministry, and his family.
Roberta Potts: Well the day before my dad passed away he had fallen and was in the hospital and he was in a great deal of pain. So the doctors had put him on a bunch of antibiotics and narcotic drugs, anything to kill the pain. He had been comatose, and then out of nowhere he started singing. It was the most unusual thing I think I’ve ever seen. All of a sudden out of nowhere he was coherent as you and I are sitting here today.
Dr. Reagan: Singing.
Roberta Potts: Singing.
Dr. Reagan: Was he singing loud?
Roberta Potts: He was singing at the top of his voice. And he was singing songs which had been pivotal in his ministry. For example: Something Good is Going to Happen to You which was his TV theme song in the 1970’s. And a song that was his testimony song, When He Reached Down His Hand for Me and that was his testimony after being healed from tuberculosis. Well it was about 45 minutes when he was singing and then that ended and after that he went right back into that comatose state. And the next day he passed away.
Well after that my husband and I were talking and my husband said, “You know honey I don’t think he was just singing those songs to be singing. I think he was reliving his entire life through those songs.” Well I began thinking about that and I thought, “You know if I ever wrote a book about Dad I could describe his life through those songs. Every song could be a chapter in the book. It could tell his story.” But I dismissed the thought. I thought, huh, well that’s just a daughter wanting to trade off the reputation of a famous father. And oh, I don’t want to write some fluff book about my father just to make money. No, no I don’t have time to do that. That’s not God. That’s just me.” Months went on though and I kept getting that until I finally started feeling some pain in through my abdominal area, and I knew that it wasn’t just my idea, that it was a God idea. And so I sat down and interestingly once I divided up his life by those songs it was like the book wrote itself.
Dr. Reagan: And that’s one of the characteristics of the book is that every chapter title is a song.
Roberta Potts: It’s a song. And then I give the words of the song. And really honestly you can describe his entire life through the songs.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, because that song that you picked for each chapter really is what that chapter is about.
Roberta Potts: It really is.
Dr. Reagan: That had to come from the Lord.
Roberta Potts: It had to because I’m not that smart.
Dr. Reagan: Well folks, I first met Roberta several years ago when I started speaking at a Bible Prophecy Conference in Tulsa that is held annually and sponsored by the ministry of Phillip Goodman. Roberta was always at these conferences and she often played the piano during the breaks between speakers. And I found out that she and her husband Ron live in the Tulsa area where she is a practicing attorney. While I was reading her remarkable new book I noticed an intriguing comment on page 219. I have it marked here in red and Roberta I’d like for you to read it to the folks. Read what you wrote there on page 219 ok.
Roberta Potts: Alright. “While I had what church folks called memory verses as a little girl. I began studying the Bible in depth when I was a teenager. I loved Bible prophecy then and now. I remember having this big chart of all the coming events described in Revelation, Daniel and other parts of the Bible. Many times when I had invited a girlfriend to spend the night at my house I would spread out my chart on the bed and teach my friend everything I knew, or at least what I thought I knew, about Bible prophecy. My mother would inevitably spy the light coming from beneath the bedroom door during the early morning hours and assume that we were giggling, or perhaps talking about boys as was the custom of most girls. Well we did that too.”
Dr. Reagan: I can well imagine. That’s such a delightful passage. And I tell you when I read that it really jumped out at me because it suddenly dawned on me that you have been teaching Bible prophecy longer than I have. I didn’t get started until 1980; you were long doing it long before that. Now tell me what got you interested in Bible prophecy. And what has sustained your interest in it over in the years?
Roberta Potts: Well to begin with it was the drama. I mean it is so dramatic. I mean the thought that these demonic locusts could come out of this terrible pit of hell and come sting you and everything. I thought, “Wow that’s really exciting.” So when I was a teenager I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. Now, and I still love the drama of Bible prophecy. But now I also love it because honestly it helps me deal with the news. It helps me deal with the direction the world is going in. The world is getting darker, and darker. It’s changed so much from the time I was on the bed teaching my friends, thinking I understood Bible prophecy when I didn’t. But it’s gotten so much darker. And yet the Scripture says that prophecy is a light, it is light in a dark place. And when you understand the promises of God for the future you can deal with some of the things that we’re seeing happening in our world today.
Dr. Reagan: I want to tell you something I think that your interest in prophecy as a teenager had to come from the Lord. It had to because most people I run into today tell me they are terrified of Bible prophecy that it scares them to death. And I keep on saying, “Hey, there is a lot of bad news in Bible prophecy but there’s only good news for those who know the Lord.”
Roberta Potts: That’s exactly right.
Dr. Reagan: I had a guy write me one time said, “I don’t like prophecy it’s all about scary things that go bump in the dark, and I just don’t.” But you found it fascinating.
Roberta Potts: That’s what’s fun about it.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah. Well let me ask you this question you make it very clear throughout your book that your Dad was a very, very focused man.
Roberta Potts: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: And his focus was on evangelism and healing. Did he ever show any interest in prophecy? Did he ever preach about prophecy?
Roberta Potts: Oh, yes, absolutely he was very interested in prophecy. In fact he wrote no less than three books about prophecy.
Dr. Reagan: Is that right. I didn’t know that.
Roberta Potts: Yes, the most known would probably be the book called, The Drama of the End Time.
Dr. Reagan: Ok.
Roberta Potts: And then you may want to know that just a few years before he passed away, in fact I think it was the last time he heard God’s voice speak to him. It was in what God referred to as a wake-up call. And the Lord was speaking to him saying, “The Church is not ready for the coming of the Lord. Pastors are not teaching Bible prophecy. People are not talking about the promises that are in the Scripture.” And dad was very concerned. The problem was by that time he was like 88 or something.
Dr. Reagan: Yes.
Roberta Potts: And he no longer had the venue, the avenue to get the message out like he wanted. And he was very frustrated. He got to speak that message in a few churches but not as many as he wanted to. He wanted to get that message out that we need to prepare for the coming of the Lord.
Dr. Reagan: Well it’s an important message and its one that God laid on my heart. It’s what this particular ministry is all about is preaching the soon coming of Jesus. You know I have read many books about your dad. But I had never read his autobiography which is, Expect a Miracle: My Life and Ministry Oral Roberts. He has a whole chapter in here about you. In which he said you were shyest of all of his children. I don’t know what happened to that shyness but anyway.
Roberta Potts: Oh, it’s still there unfortunately.
Dr. Reagan: But he also mentioned the fact that you were the most spiritual of all of the children the one most interested in things of the Word, and the Lord and that sort of thing, and what a great compliment. You know I read his chapter and I can see love all the way through it. And I read your book and the thing that comes out in your book is how much you loved your dad. Even when you disagreed with him, even strongly disagreed with him you just loved him to death and that is something that really radiates in your book. It’s a great Christlike spirit there that just really touched my heart as I was reading it. And one thing about that book you had me laughing one page, and you had me crying the next page. And I did never know what was around the corner, I just kept going. But when I was reading this autobiography I noticed in it that he a list in here of his favorite sermons. And he had some powerful sermons. I’ve seen them on tape, on movie reels and all. And one of them that he mentioned was a sermon about the end times and that was the first time I knew that he ever had any interest in the end times.
Roberta Potts: Oh, yes, very interested. And very concerned that Christians would be ready and understand it. And that’s one reason why I’m so grateful for your ministry Dave.
Dr. Reagan: Well, thank you.
Roberta Potts: I’m so grateful for what you are doing for the Lord. And you’re getting that message out.
Dr. Reagan: Well we’re trying. Well I’ll tell you what we’ll come back in just a moment and ask you some questions about Bible prophecy. OK?
Roberta Potts: Ok, teacher.
Dr. Reagan: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and my interview of Oral Robert’s daughter, Roberta Roberts Potts. Roberta I want to talk to you a little bit about Bible prophecy, I know you have been a lifelong student of it. And I met you at a Bible prophecy conference and then you said in your book that it was something you’d always been interested in. Let me just start off with a fundamental question: Do you believe we are living in the season of the Lord’s return, and if so why?
Roberta Potts: Well first of all I just want to say that this is an unfair question. You’re the teacher, and I’m the student so there is my disclaimer. Lawyers love disclaimers, so now I have said my disclaimer. But yes, I absolutely believe we are living in the season of the Lord’s return. And of course season is the operative word there.
Dr. Reagan: Oh, yes.
Roberta Potts: I think the fact of the foreshadows we’re seeing all at the same time; the rise in the earthquakes, the pestilences we are seeing. We are seeing so many things that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24, and I don’t think it is so important just one of those things. But the fact that they’re happening all at the same time; you know the march to one world government, the sexual perversions all those things, we are seeing them all at the same time one generation. And that speaks volumes to me.
Dr. Reagan: Do you see Israel playing a role in that?
Roberta Potts: Oh, absolutely. My goodness in fact I will never forget the day in 1967, June of 1967 I got a phone call from my sister. I had just turned 16 so I was just able to drive and my sister calls me she says, “Roberta you have to come over here right now. You just have to stop what you are doing and come over here.” And I thought, “Oh, no one of the children is sick.” You know. So I drove over there and she said, “Roberta do you realize what’s happening in the world? Do you realize that Israel has the Temple Mount?” And I’m like, “Huh? Well so?” And she goes, “Roberta do you realize what that is prophetically? That means so much!” I mean she preached me this sermon about Bible prophecy.
Dr. Reagan: Sounds like she knew Bible prophecy too.
Roberta Potts: Oh, oh yeah. She was just on cloud nine because she knew that some of the prophetic events could not take place unless the Jews had what I think the Bible refers to as the mountains of Israel.
Dr. Reagan: There you go.
Roberta Potts: And that day when in the Six Day War when they took that, it was highly significant. So yes, I believe Israel, without Israel we’re kind of sunk.
Dr. Reagan: Well I think I know what the answer to the next question is. And that question has to do with what’s called Replacement Theology; that says that the Church has replaced Israel and God has no purpose left for the Jews, your response.
Roberta Potts: If you really believe that then just have to throw out the Bible because the Bible from beginning to the end is God’s Word to the Jewish people. There’s not a word in the Bible that was written by a Gentile.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah.
Roberta Potts: It was all written by the Jews. And oh, how do explain Revelation? How do you explain the place where it lists all the tribes? And how do you replace that with the Church? It doesn’t make any sense. It becomes nonsense.
Dr. Reagan: It’s called spiritualization, you just spiritualize it and when you spiritualize you become God because then you can make the Scripture say whatever you want them to say.
Roberta Potts: I think that is a dangerous area, very dangerous.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, no it’s a terrible thing this teaching that God has replaced Israel with the Church. And why, God has given so many wonderful promises to Israel and He plans to fulfill every one of them to a remnant of believing Jews.
Roberta Potts: Absolutely.
Dr. Reagan: But He’s given equally great promises to the Church; we don’t have to covet the promises of Israel. I mean He’s promised us new bodies. He’s promised us that we will reign with Him over the earth. I mean why should we covet the promises of Israel. Yet, I know why it’s because anti-Semitism is supernatural in nature. I’ve met people who hate Jews with a passion and they’ve even met a Jew. But Satan puts it in people’s hearts to hate the Jewish people.
Roberta Potts: It’s so sad, its’ so sad.
Dr. Reagan: And it’s so sad. Well let me ask you this. Many pastors over the years, I’ve been at this now 32 years and every time I run into pastors I talk to them, “Do you ever preach on Bible prophecy?” They usually say “No.” I’ll say, “Why?” “Well it’s too controversial. Or I don’t know that much about it.” But mainly their answer is this, “Its pie in the sky. It has to do with the future. I want to preach sermons that have to do with the here and now. And the problems that people are facing here and now.” What about it is Bible prophecy just pie in the sky? Have no relevance to the present?
Roberta Potts: Well I think it is very here and now. For me it’s the only thing that explains the news. For example you were a history professor, history major many, many years ago. And most people will know that Europe for centuries had war, after war, after war. Let’s see there was the Seven Years War, there was the Thirty Years War, there was the 100 Years War, and those are just three out of all the conflicts. In fact part of the reason why the colonists wanted to come to America was not just religious freedom, but also because they wanted to escape all those wars. So given the history of Europe how do you explain that all of a sudden now there is a European Union? And when one of them gets in trouble the other one bails them out.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, after centuries of hatred.
Roberta Potts: How do you explain that absent the book of Daniel? How do you do that? Explain that. Prophecy explains the news, without that. Here’s another example, when I was growing up in the 50’s I read about from Revelation that the Lord said that Antichrist is going to make everyone have a mark. They are going to have it on their forehead or their hand. And I thought, “Well how can that be? How can he get everybody to get a tattoo?” Why back then you didn’t get tattoos. And if somebody did get a tattoo later on they would regret it.
Dr. Reagan: Yes.
Roberta Potts: And they would cover it up, or they would try to get it off. I mean it was not cool to have a tattoo.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right, that’s right.
Roberta Potts: And yet now all of sudden voluntarily people are getting tattoos all over their bodies. How do you explain that absent the book of Revelation? You can’t understand the news, so relevant, it’s absolutely relevant.
Dr. Reagan: It certainly is. Well let me ask you this: one complaint that I have find often voiced about Bible prophecy that it’s just too difficult to understand. Pastors often tell me, “I’m not Pre-Millennial. I’m not Amillennial. I’m not Postmillennial. I’m pan-millennial; well it’s just going to pan out in the end.” To me they’re saying I’m too lazy to study this. But none the less people say it is too difficult to understand. And there are parts of prophecy that are difficult to understand and there are symbolic things. But what would you say is a crucial key, or some crucial keys to understanding Bible prophecy?
Roberta Potts: Well one thing I would say and it is going to say very simplistic. But a lot of Christians really believe that they do not need to study the Old Testament. The Old Testament is passé and all they need are the words of Jesus, or the words of the New Testament. Well you can’t possibly understand prophecy if you don’t study the Old Testament. You can’t understand what Jesus said. In fact when I study the words of Jesus I think that He assumed that the audience knew the Old Testament. He assumed that. So if you don’t know anything about it, you’re lost. So I think that is one of the problems.
Dr. Reagan: Roberta it is hard for me to stay seated when you do that. I want to get up, dance around, and shout, “Hallelujah,” because I have preached that for years, “Get into the Old Testament.” You know in the book of Revelation there are 350 references to the Old Testament not a single one is identified, not one. It never says, “As it says in Isaiah, or whatever.” And you can’t understand that unless you’ve read the book of Daniel or know something about the Old Testament.
Roberta Potts: It alludes. The New Testament alludes to the Old Testament. And so that’s one reason why people get so confused.
Dr. Reagan: Sure, and the other key to understanding Bible prophecy.
Roberta Potts: Well and I learned this from Phillip Goodman you were mentioning him earlier is interpreting Scripture with Scripture. Sometimes you’ll come to a verse, and you’re just like, “What does this mean?” But usually you can find a companion verse somewhere else in the Bible that will help enlighten you on that. So there’s a lot of little things like that.
Dr. Reagan: Sure. Well Bible prophecy contains a lot of promises about the future, a lot. What would be one of your favorite promises of the future?
Roberta Potts: Oh, well they’re all wonderful and I think they’re all my favorite. But the very neatest thing to me is from 1 Corinthians 13 when Paul says, “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.” When I see my Jesus.
Dr. Reagan: Amen, amen.
Roberta Potts: And He’s going to know me like, or I’m going to know Him like He knows me.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah.
Roberta Potts: If He numbers the hairs on my head, I’m going to know Him like He knows me. It is so incredibly exciting to know that.
Dr. Reagan: I always think of that verse in Romans 8:18 I believe it is where it says, “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is yet to be revealed to us.” You know that is a mouthful. There are people suffering terribly from depression, and cancer, and all kinds of horrible things. It says, “No matter what you suffer, it is nothing compared to the glory that is yet to be revealed to us.” Wow.
Roberta Potts: Absolutely, absolutely. I think of my mother-in-law who is suffering now with dementia, and you can see in her eyes how she suffers. And before she lost her mind she knew Jesus. I mean she was the most precious mother-in-law and I think of that Scripture and I pray that over her.
Dr. Reagan: Amen.
Roberta Potts: It’s not worthy to be compared to what she is going to see in Heaven.
Dr. Reagan: Well one other thing here the majority viewpoint concerning end time Bible prophecy among both Catholics and Protestants in the world today is Amillennialism. Most people are not aware of that because there are so many popular writers in the Premillennial camp and write so many books, people think that is the majority viewpoint but it is not. The majority viewpoint is Amillennialism and that is the view that we are in the Millennium right now. It began at the cross it will end when Jesus Christ comes and that’s it. There is not future Tribulation, there is no future Millennium we are in it right now. And Jesus Christ is reigning from Heaven over all the world. What is your response to that?
Roberta Potts: Well when you want to figure out a concept you generally want to look to the source where the concept came from. And the concept of the Millennium came from the Bible last I knew. So let’s check out and see what the Bible says. If you were to look at Isaiah it says that if it’s during the Millennium mom can take her little toddler out to the nest of a snake.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right.
Roberta Potts: And say, “Johnny stick your hand down there.”
Dr. Reagan: Play with a snack.
Roberta Potts: No problem. This is one of those like an advertisement; don’t do this at home, ok, because we are not in the Millennium. It is not safe mothers please don’t let your child stick his hand down in the nest of a snake because it’s not safe. I remember the time you had a program where you were preaching somewhere and you had this lion in a cage.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right.
Roberta Potts: And as I recall you did not let that lion lose.
Dr. Reagan: I did not! I was scared to death of that lion.
Roberta Potts: So I think that answers that question. We are not in the Millennium.
Dr. Reagan: Well I tell you this if Jesus Christ is reigning over this world right now He’s not doing a very good job of it because every nation is in revolt. And the Bible says when He reigns they’re going to be in submission. He is going to rule with rod of iron. It says the earth is going to be flooded with peace, righteousness, and justice. Where is that today? It says six times in the book of Revelation the millennium will last a 1,000 years. And if you have the Amillennial viewpoint it’s 2,000 and going. So you have to go in and spiritualize all that and say it does not mean what it says. And you get in trouble when you start doing that.
Roberta Potts: Absolutely.
Dr. Reagan: You know I believe not just with regard to Bible prophecy but I believe with the whole Word of God from the book of Genesis to the end that you should just take the plain sense meaning of the Scripture. I like to say, “If the plain sense doesn’t make sense, don’t look for any other sense or you’ll end up with nonsense.”
Roberta Potts: Nonsense.
Dr. Reagan: Nonsense, just take the plain sense meaning. Yes there are symbols in places, but symbols have a plain sense meaning.
Roberta Potts: That’s right.
Dr. Reagan: You know Jesus is called the rose of Sharon, well that is because He is a beautiful person and He’s not called the tumbleweed of Texas. So you know these symbols have a meaning behind them and it is pretty easy to figure out what those meanings are. Well let me ask you another question. This is a hotly debated one and that is the timing of the Rapture. You know there’s a lot of people who believe in a Rapture, many don’t, but many do. But they will debate the timing. Is it going to be near the end? Is it going to be in the middle? Is it going to be before the Tribulation? Do you have any opinion about that at all because the Bible doesn’t clearly say, “You know the Rapture is going to occur here, or here or here.” You have to pretty much figure it out; you have to deduce it from what the Bible says. But what is your opinion?
Roberta Potts: Well I believe we are going to escape. And one reason I believe that is that Jesus picked two particular Bible personalities when He said it’s going to be like the days of, He picked Noah and Lot.
Dr. Reagan: Yes.
Roberta Potts: OK, both these guys they lived about 4,000 years apart. The only thing I know of really that they had in common was that they both faced a coming cataclysm and they both escaped.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right.
Roberta Potts: Now it would have been different if Jesus had said, “Well it is going to be just like the days of Jeremiah.” Jeremiah predicted a terrible, terrible upheaval.
Dr. Reagan: Which he had to live through.
Roberta Potts: And sure enough he didn’t escape it, he lived through it.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right.
Roberta Potts: Or if Jesus had said, “It’s going to be like the days of Daniel.” Well Daniel was taken captive during that same upheaval he didn’t escape. But Jesus didn’t say it was going to be like the days of Jeremiah, or the days of Daniel.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah.
Roberta Potts: He said, “No it is going to like the days of Noah and Lot.” And then the thing that is kind of the capstone for me is when He tells us to always be on the watch and pray that we might be counted worthy to escape. And I’m going to be watching and praying because I want to escape.
Dr. Reagan: Well you’ve taken that right out of Luke 21:36, I was turning over there while you were speaking.
Roberta Potts: See I told you know this stuff better than I would.
Dr. Reagan: Well I loved it when you started out with the word escape. Because Jesus says we are to pray that we are to escape this. And I have people attack me all the time saying, “Well you’re just an escapist.”
Roberta Potts: That’s right.
Dr. Reagan: I plead guilty. I said Jesus told me to be an escapist. I pray to escape and others have. And they say, “Well you just don’t want to suffer for the Lord.” I say, “Well you know if you stand for the Lord Jesus Christ you are going to suffer for the Lord.” The Bible says there is going to be tribulation for believers. But I’m talking about the Great Tribulation. I’m not talking about the tribulation that we’re going to experience as a result of harassment and persecution.
Roberta Potts: That’s right.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, we’re going to experience that. But we’re talking about the Great Tribulation here. And I think that you put your finger on the most important point that I would make and that is imminence. The Bible says that the Lord can return any moment, any moment. And we’re to watch for His return any moment. And when you stop and think about that the Second Coming, what we call the Second Coming that can’t happen any moment because there are too many prophecies that have to be fulfilled before the Second Coming occurs.
Roberta Potts: That’s right.
Dr. Reagan: But there’s not one that has to be fulfilled for the Rapture to occur. And I’m never told to watch for the Antichrist. I’m told to watch for Jesus Christ.
Roberta Potts: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Dr. Reagan: So I tell you what I think you’re a better teacher of Bible prophecy than you believe you are. I mean you just got it zeroed it.
Roberta Potts: Oh, I pale in comparison to your knowledge.
Dr. Reagan: Oh come on. OK, well we will come back in just a moment with some more questions for you.
Dr. Reagan: Well Roberta I want to thank you so much for being our special guest this weekend. I tell you I have just been so blessed by the book you have written. So blessed in fact I want you to promise us to return next week and let’s talk about the book, and about your dad, his ministry, and your family. OK?
Roberta Potts: Absolutely.
Dr. Reagan: Well thank you. I am going to take that as a General MacArthur pledge. Well folks that’s our program for this week. Until next week at the same time this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb and Lion Ministries saying, “Look up, be watchful for our redemption is drawing near.”
End of Program