Reprinted from eParousia #1, February, 2003
A question often asked of us at Sola Scriptura is, “With so many important subjects in the Word of God, why should I study end-time prophecy? Won’t God work it all out in His own way and in His own time? Aren’t there more important issues to discuss?” These are good questions, and every believer should be able to answer them. We agree that the return of Christ is not the most important doctrine of the Christian faith. However, it is often a doctrine that is misunderstood or simply ignored.
Here are some points to be considered as to why we must study and understand biblical prophecy:
1. The return of Christ is the blessed hope of every believer (Titus 2:13). It behooves us to understand what will happen when Christ returns.
2. We must be prepared as the plan of God unfolds. We may be that generation upon which the end times fall. We must be ready and prepared.
3. We should study the entire truth of God’s word. Prophecy is part of God’s Word. Approximately 25% of Scripture is prophetic or predictive in nature. If we ignore prophecy, we are ignoring an important part of God’s word, and we should study “the whole counsel of God.”
4. We do not want to be deceived. Jesus warned His disciples that in the last days there would be many false messiahs and false prophets, some of whom would even do great wonders to deceive people (Matt. 24:4-5, 23-26). The apostle Paul warned the Thessalonian believers to not be deceived about the Lord’s return (2 Thess. 2:1-3). By studying and understanding Biblical prophecy we will guard ourselves from error and deception.
5. The consummation of God’s plan is the great goal of the Church. Like the faithful Abraham, we are “looking for the city which has foundations whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:9-10). As Paul taught the Corinthians, this life is but a shadow, but the resurrection and the life to come is our great hope (1 Cor. 15:12-28).
6. The study of prophecy provides an anchor for our faith. Our faith will be revitalized as we see the fulfillment of prophecy in the past and it will encourage us to believe that God will also fulfill His promises that are yet future.
7. We demonstrate our obedience by studying prophecy. As Paul taught Timothy, we also should heed these words: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Prophecy is part of God’s word, His truth. If we are to be obedient, it must be part of our study and our teaching (Matt. 28:18-20).
8. Studying prophecy provides purpose for our life. As we read God’s word concerning the future we see that we are promised ultimate victory over the flesh, the world, Satan and death. Having an eternal perspective allows us to persevere under trial (2 Cor. 4:16-18) and stand firm until the end.
9. A proper understanding of the future motivates us to godly living. In the New Testament, almost every time Christ’s return is mentioned, there is an appeal to godly living. Some examples are 1 Thess. 5:4-10, 2 Pet. 3:9-14, 1 John 2:28-29. Having an understanding of coming prophetic events and the return of Christ will motivate us to live godly lives as we “look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:12).
We pray that over the coming months your own understanding of biblical prophecy and the return of Christ will be enhanced and that, as a result, you will be encouraged in your faith and your relationship with God will be deepened.
This article was originally published through eParousia, Sola Scriptura’s monthly end-times e-newsletter.