Imagine the difficulty of trying to put together a 2500-piece jigsaw puzzle if you had all the pieces, but not the box with the picture. You could examine all the details with as much care and precision as possible, but it would be very difficult to figure out how the pieces relate to one another and how each one fits into the overall picture. And even if you were to successfully assemble several groups of pieces scattered around the picture by matching colors and patterns, it would still be very difficult to figure out how these groups fit together when they don’t seem to match up in any obvious way. It wouldn’t take very long for most people to resign themselves to the fact that this is about as far as they will ever get.
Unfortunately, this is the way many try to understand the Bible – spending a lot of time looking at the details, but without having the big picture as a point of reference. They read the same familiar passages over and over, realizing that they must fit together in some way, but find it daunting and perplexing to try to move much beyond this. Or going back to the puzzle analogy, some have even concluded that the pieces don’t really fit together to form a single picture, but are really just parts of many different, unrelated pictures. This can all make it virtually impossible to understand and appreciate the fact that God has a plan that He has been sovereignly and faithfully executing throughout history.
I am very thankful that I came to realize this through the book What on Earth is God Doing? Satan’s Conflict with God by Renald Showers and the course he taught (based on the book) at the Word of Life Bible Institute in 1986. The book and course together had a profound impact in shaping my understanding of the Bible because they allowed me to see how all the pieces fit together to form the big picture. This laid a foundation for both my studies and my teaching over the last 25 years.
In 2000, I began teaching a course I called “Conflict of the Ages: Satan’s War Against God,” which began with an introduction to dispensationalism and then took Dr. Showers’ basic theme and approach and developed them within the context of dispensationalism. I have since taught this course seven or eight times and have always been excited to watch as many students started to see the big picture of the Bible and how it all fits together.
I will be teaching a similar course, “God’s Plan throughout the Ages,” in about a month, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It will be one of two courses that will be taught during the next School of Prophets conference which will be held January 30 to February 3 at the Willow Valley Inn. The course Dr. DeYoung will be teaching is the Book of Daniel These are being offered as graduate-level courses in the School of Prophets master’s and doctoral programs, but are open to anyone who would like to take them for credit or just audit them.
There is still room for those who would like to attend. For more information you can go to the Lancaster Conference website by clicking on the conference ad to the right or this link: www.schoolofprophets.org/lancaster.
If you have been considering enrolling in the School of Prophets, these courses offer a great opportunity to get a jump start on the program with 6 credits in just 20 class-hours (along with the reading and course paper).