SPRING HILL — If there's someone who has his finger on the pulse of the Middle East today and its place in Bible prophecy, the Rev. Ray Rouse believes it is Jimmy DeYoung.
DeYoung, a conference speaker, author and journalist, with doctorates from Tennessee Temple University and Louisiana Baptist University, will present a prophecy conference at Spring Hill Baptist Church next week.
"I would say in the U.S. today, he is probably the No. 1 speaker on prophecy," said Rouse, the senior pastor at the host church. "He's so knowledgeable, not only of the Bible and prophecies, but about what's going on in the world today."
According to a news release from Jimmy DeYoung Ministries, DeYoung has lived in Jerusalem for part of each year for the last 22 years, having arrived there at the time of the Gulf War in 1991. During his early years in the Middle East, he founded the Assembly at Jerusalem, a Christian church that meets in Jerusalem.
As a journalist/correspondent, DeYoung has met and interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, Israeli President Shimon Peres, former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, former defense minister Moshe Arens, Jordan's foreign minister, Marwan Muasher, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The scholar has been featured regularly on the Day of Discovery television program and is heard daily and weekly giving updates on events in the Middle East on more than 1,500 radio and Internet stations. His speaking schedule has taken him throughout the United States, Europe and South America. This week, he is the guest speaker at Word of Life Florida in Hudson as part of its Winter Conference series.
DeYoung has authored several books and Bible studies and has produced audio and video materials, including a documentary on the building of a third temple in Jerusalem.
Shortly after graduating from college, DeYoung worked at Word of Life Fellowship in Schroon Lake, N.Y., and spent 12 years in various staff positions, including staff evangelist and producer of radio programs that were broadcast worldwide.
For the next five years, DeYoung was the vice president and general manager of New York City's first Christian radio station, WNYM. During that time, he produced and hosted a daily talk program.
DeYoung continues to monitor current events as they unfold in the Middle East and compares them to prophecies in the Bible. The theme used throughout his media and speaking outlets is salvation through Jesus Christ and the belief that Christ will soon return.
That will be the emphasis of the conference in Spring Hill.
"What I see taking place in our own country indicates that we are in the last days," Rouse said. "The Bible says times are going to wax worse and worse. Lawlessness will reign. Today we have a lack of morality. (The prevailing attitude is) nothing is wrong anymore."
Other parts of the world give indicators, too, he said.
"The Bible said there will be natural disasters. The climate change is talked about. We want to have this prophecy conference because we read and follow the news and see that the Bible is being fulfilled."
DeYoung spoke at the church about 18 years ago.
"The church was full," Rouse recalled. "For this conference, we've already gotten calls with couples coming from as far away as Winter Haven to stay in hotels to be able to hear about the end times."
Rouse said DeYoung will give a timeline for the upcoming events that he believes are prophesied for the church at large and will explain the different viewpoints of those who disagree on the order of future events.
"When you hear him, it just flows," Rouse said. "He's like a computer; he's brilliant. He goes 100 miles per hour, but he's a powerful preacher. He doesn't just expound on Scripture, though that's the springboard. He makes it relevant and shows how it is being fulfilled."
Rouse said anyone who is interested in what the Bible has to say about the future should make time to hear DeYoung.
"I hope it will affect people's lives," he said. "What we believe about the future affects how we live now."
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Spring Hill Baptist Church, 3140 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill, will host Jimmy DeYoung in a prophecy conference at 10:50 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday and at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The time given for Sunday evening was incorrect in Wednesday's edition.