Why Kids Love Bible Prophecy
And why adults fail to teach it.
By Don Gordoni
I’ve spent the last eighteen months serving as a part time children’s pastor and have discovered that Bible Prophecy is one of the most exciting topics to share with kids. Anyone who has ever spent any time trying to capture the elusive attention of a squirming child takes notice when the little eyes brighten and the room falls silent — because, believe me, it is a rare event. But this is what usually happens whenever I show children how Bible stories relate to the Big Picture of God’s prophetic game plan.
Why do kids get excited about Bible prophecy? Why do they show more interest than adults often do? Does the typical adult involved in Children’s ministry know how interested and hungry kids are to learn about Bible prophecy? Well, let’s consider these questions and start by looking at some reasons why kids love God’s Prophetic Word.
How Children Think
Children soak up the vivid imagery of Bible prophecy, especially of the end times. Kids know how to use their imagination to picture how things were and how they will be. They get excited and ask great questions. They identify with Bible characters and express appropriate emotion. (I can imagine pastors reading that last statement and thinking “If only adults would do that when I preach!”).
Kids think concretely and take the Bible at face value. Adults often try to make things more difficult when they look for hidden symbolism in passages that can be easily understood when read with the presupposition that God inspired His Word to be understood by the masses, not just Bible scholars.
Curiosity about Bible Prophecy took seed in Dr. David Reagan’s life when he was twelve years old and he read Zechariah Chapter 14 for the first time. The passage is a very clear and easy to understand account of the Second Coming of Jesus. The passage says that Jesus will come back to the Mount of Olives and then proceed to reign over all the world for a thousand years. Dave tells how he had heard preachers proclaim: “There is not one verse in the Bible that even implies that Jesus will ever set his feet on this earth again.” So, he asked his pastor how this could be true in light of Zechariah 14. Dave’s pastor read and reread Zechariah 14 and finally exclaimed “I’m not sure what this means, but I’ll tell you one thing, it doesn’t mean what it says!”
Kids often are better at recognizing when convoluted theological explanations don’t make sense. If you recall the fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Anderson, it was a little child who “uncovered” the tailor’s scam by pointing out the emperor was naked as a jay bird!
Kids enjoy thinking and day dreaming about eternal things — like dining with Jesus at the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb in Heaven and then returning on horseback with Him when He comes back to the earth as King of kings. They also are thrilled with the idea of being a part of the worship service at the foot of God’s throne that is described in Revelation chapter 4. My wife and I often lead the kid’s worship time at our church, and it is wonderful to see the smiles and looks of awe that kids develop as they envision rejoicing with all the believers in the presence of God in Heaven.
Kids are natural hopers, and when you give them a promise, they don’t forget it — they remind you of it as often as possible until their hopes are fulfilled. I love the song “Finger Tips and Noses” by Newsong. Here are the lyrics:
Up in the hills somewhere in Kentucky In a little old school way back in the nothing Where special kids born with special needs Are sent to learn life’s ABCs Their teacher, Mrs. Jones, tells them all about Jesus How in the twinkling of an eye He’s coming back to get us About streets of gold and pearly gates How they want to go, they just can’t wait And she can’t keep them in their seats They’re all at the windows straining to see
And it’s Fingertips and noses pressed to the windowpanes Longing eyes, expectant hearts for Him to come again All they know is that they love Him so And if He said He’d come, He’s coming And they can’t keep their windows clean For fingertips and noses
She tried to explain to the kids about His coming She tried to calm them down, but they just wouldn’t listen They just giggled and they clapped their hands They’re so excited that He’s coming for them And the first thing you know they’re out of their seats Back at the windows straining to see
Where will Jesus find us when He comes again? Will we be like little children waiting just for Him?
With our Fingertips and noses pressed to the windowpanes Longing eyes, expectant hearts for Him to come again All we know is that we love Him so And if He said He’d come, He’s coming And we can’t keep our windows clean For our fingertips and noses
The Challenge We Face
The Holy Spirit is drawing this generation of children to a clear understanding of the end times because Jesus is coming soon. Our kids today will need the hope of the imminent Rapture of the Church more than previous generations because of the challenges they will encounter. My wife and I are raising eight kids and I often sit and watch them at play and wonder what their life will hold. If Jesus tarries very long their life experience will most certainly be very, very different from mine. In fact, our society’s spiritual condition is worsening so rapidly that our oldest son, who is sixteen, has already been spared much of the inevitable debauchery that our youngest son, who is only three weeks old, could be exposed to in his formative years.
Just contemplate a few of the challenges that they will face. One will certainly be gross immorality of all types that will be considered acceptable, and if they protest it, they will be labeled “intolerant bigots” and “hate mongers.” They most likely will not enjoy the freedoms of a strong USA determined to protect a constitution built on godly principles and directed and protected by God-fearing leaders. Our moral and economic failures have created a house of cards that is certain to come crashing down, possibly subjecting our kids to foreign rule and to anti Christian constitutions like the one just proposed for the European Union. Children who know Christ and face the prospect of a hostile world are not to be pitied because God’s provision will be amply sufficient, however, they need to be well prepared by you and me.
Why Bible Prophecy Is Ignored
Sadly, most kids don’t have a teacher like Mrs. Jones and the teaching of Bible Prophecy to kids is neglected. I asked my media associate, Larry Watts, who started teaching kids Bible truths over twenty nine years ago, and has four children of his own, to help me understand why kids are not taught the importance of Bible Prophecy. Here’s what we concluded:
- Parents and teachers haven’t really studied Bible prophecy. You can’t teach what you don’t know, and if you don’t believe it yourself, you can’t teach with the passion that the subject deserves.
- Children’s Bible curriculum often focuses on brief self-contained passages or topics without considering the “big picture.” The authors don’t seem to understand that even very small children can begin to grasp that God is in charge, has a plan, knows the future, and will reward them for their faithfulness and judge those who do not believe in Him.
- Bible prophecy is considered controversial and peripheral. Teachers think that Bible prophecy is too difficult for children to understand, but this is only true if Bible prophecy is reduced to contrived symbolism.
- Bible Prophecy is thought of as being a negative topic that will bore, or scare kids, or even worse: turn them into fanatics!
- Bible prophecy, especially the end times, is considered too violent and graphic for children. Granted, there are some passages that must be handled sensitively, but all that is found in Scripture can and should be presented in an age appropriate manner. Bible prophecy is filled with wonderful promises for believers. This is what should be stressed to children.
- Most parents and teachers fail to recognize the practical value of understanding Bible prophecy. As I stated earlier, I believe that this generation of children needs hope more than ever. How does a child know that they can count on God? Show them God’s promises, show them that God has always done what He said he would, and watch as their hope grows.
Our children are dependent upon us for so many things. We can choose to feed them wholesome foods or junk food, create an appetite for TV or great literature, but however we choose to feed their body, mind, or spirit, they generally trust us to care for their needs. As parents, teachers, grandparents, and neighbors, we must ask ourselves, “Am I introducing these kids to all that God intends for them, including the truth about Bible prophecy?” Are we preparing children for short term success or eternal rewards?
Resource for Children
Dr. David R. Reagan, founder and director of Lamb & Lion Ministries, has authored the only book ever written for children about the end times. It is titled, Jesus is Coming Soon! Check it out by visiting our online resource center.