Why another End Times website?
Technically, claywatts.com has been around since 2002. It started as a compilation of my earlier teaching materials, most of which are reproduced in a document in the Free Materials section. The emphasis of this new and improved site hosted by Squarespace and designed by my son, Ben Watts, is on my self-published books, a venture I began in 2015.
However, I continue to follow the principles embodied in the original site. It all started with an article titled "Avoiding the Great Deception" that came from my End Times teaching in the 1980's and 1990's in Wednesday and Sunday classes at a church in Cedar Hill, Texas.
My approach to teaching was to first to read and take notes on all the scripture passages that seemed relevant to my topic. One of the early topics I researched was the 30 or so passages in the Gospels that cite fulfillment of Old Testament passages.
As I read the Old Testament passages carefully, including chapters around them to get the full context, I was shocked to realize that most of the passages would have been difficult, if not impossible, for readers before Christ to have predicted even the approximate nature of the subsequent fulfillment. I realized that they could only be accurately understood after their fulfillment!
It slowly dawned on me that this is the nature of God-inspired prophecy. Most of the time it is meant to be mysterious. Even Daniel was told to seal up certain prophetic words and not try to understand them until the time of the end.
Suddenly I had to repent of my disdain for the Pharisees and even the disciples who couldn't understand what Jesus was all about. Especially those whose profession involved memorizing most of the Old Testament and studying it intently all their lives. How could they be so dense? By honestly looking at the passages through their eyes, though, I realized that I, too, would have been unable to apply the scriptures to what was happening before my eyes.
So my first revelation on End Times had to do with being careful how to interpret any prophetic passages, especially those in the Old and New Testament regarding Christ's second coming. In fact, I saw that trying to determine once and for all exactly how such passages should be interpreted was very dangerous, and could easily lead to being deceived. Could this be one of the sources of deception that Jesus and other NT writers warned about? Hence my first internet article on "Avoiding the Great Deception".
This was quite a downer, I must say. Teachers of the Word don't like to admit that they can't figure out what a particular passage means, or how a group of related passages about a topic should be interpreted. In fact, this is the source of most denominations and sects. Each has determined how certain topics should be interpreted, and that becomes their doctrine. If you can't accept it, you need to move on to another denomination. Each one not only builds walls to protect their version of truth, but they may feel obligated to prove that the other interpretations are misguided or even heretical.
Now there are many areas where such doctrinal differences are important and truth needs to be determined and protected. However, unfulfilled prophecy is not one of those areas. I repeat--most prophecy is meant to be mysterious, by definition. Unfulfilled prophecy, whether partial or ultimate, near or far, is in the future and knowable only by God. Our responsibility, as the New Testament writers demonstrated, is to recognize that fulfillment as quickly as possible and cite it to bring glory to God for fulfilling His Word.
But how do we accurately recognize when a prophetic passage is being, or has been, fulfilled? The New Testament is abundantly clear that such things are only knowable as the Holy Spirit provides insight to believers who are filled with the Spirit. Even then, they must be intentionally operating in the Spirit and their interpretations confirmed by their colleagues in the Spirit.
Even more difficult, however, is recognizing when not to attempt a definitive interpretation of an unfulfilled prophetic passage. This is unnatural for Bible teachers and preachers. I believe the best approach is to admit that there are many possible interpretations, and that the ultimate fulfillment may be something completely unexpected.
It is not wrong to speculate on interpretations, of course, and it can be helpful to do so in order to gain broader and deeper understanding of these difficult passages. But we should hold any such interpretations lightly, and we should be open to new perspectives as End Times events progress and perhaps take different paths than expected.
So that is the purpose of this website, and of the books and articles I am being led, I believe by the Holy Spirit, to write. They are not meant to persuade you to believe a certain doctrinal or speculative position, e.g., whether the Rapture is going to take place before, during, or after the Tribulation, That is an example of "preconception leading to deception". As sure as we insist on one of those positions, events will put us in a box, as they did the Pharisees, and we will miss the fulfillment happening before our eyes.
Rather, my writings are meant to edify and comfort you with examples of how I believe God is working in these End Times. Then it is up to you to ignore them or file them away as possibilities to help you navigate these exciting and challenging last days before Christ's return.
So we, by being open to unexpected fulfillment of prophetic passages, will be able day by day to ask the Holy Spirit, "Is this that which was spoken by the prophets?" If we do so in humility, and with genuine interest in how to understand God's prophetic Word, I truly believe the Holy Spirit will guide us individually and as a body to behave wisely and hasten the day of Christ's coming.