By Rev. Bill Lee-Warner
A question often asked of us is, “With so many important subjects in God’s Word, why should I study end-time prophecy?” That is a good question, and every believer should be able to answer it. Here are some points that might be considered:
1. A study of prophecy expands the believer’s understanding of the purposes, plans, and person of God. A significant percentage of Scripture is prophetic in nature. The Old Testament has over 300 prophecies regarding the first coming of Christ, all of which were fulfilled literally. Also included in the Old Testament are prophecies dealing with the Second Coming of Christ. The New Testament has significant sections of prophetic literature (Matthew 24, Luke 21, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Revelation) as well as many references to the second coming.
2. A study of prophecy irrevocably sets that understanding in cement. On the socio-political scene, our world evidences an increasing move toward wickedness. The world isn’t going to get better through education, programs, or peace initiatives. The moral fabric of mankind needs revolutionizing from the inside. Christ is the answer, to be sure, and every believer needs to focus on being salt and light in the world. Biblical prophetic literature, however, clearly indicates that things won’t get much better until Christ comes again.
3. A study of prophecy will enable the believer to avoid being deceived should he enter into the last days. In the context of the Olivet Discourse, an end-time teaching by Christ (Matthew 24), Jesus begins His teaching with the warning, “See to it that no one misleads you.” Paul, in his instruction to the Thessalonians (2 Thes. 2:3), echoes Jesus when he says, “Let no one in any way deceive you…” In the same chapter Paul explicitly states that in the last days a blinding deception and delusion will prevail in the lives of those who fall for Antichrist’s lies.
4. A study of prophecy is obedience to Christ and equips the Christian with information necessary to be alert and “heed” what Jesus has revealed regarding the last days. Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) challenges believers to “be on the alert” (24:42) and “be ready” (24:44). In Revelation 1:3 (ca. Rev. 22:7), Jesus announces a blessing for the one who “heed[s] the things which are written in [the book].”
5. A study of prophecy will prepare the saint(s) with strength and perspective should they enter that period of history. Scripture reveals that the closing seven years of history (the 70th Week of Daniel) will be fraught with: (1) geological convulsions (Rev. 6:12; Matt. 24:7); (2) cosmic disturbances (Rev. 6:12, 8:12; Joel 2:31); (3) despotic inhumanities (Rev. 6:3-4; Matt. 24:9-11); and (4) Satanic deceptions (2 Thes. 2:10); all of which will cause fear and confusion for all who are not expecting or anticipating such a time. Jesus described this time as a “great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” (Matt. 24:21) Daniel said it will be “a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.” (Dan. 21:1)
6. A study of prophecy will provide an anchor for the soul, gripped to a solid rock, as well as remind every saint of that living hope and embed it deeply in his heart. Paul reminds us in Titus 2:13-14 that the coming of Christ is, for the believer, a “blessed hope.” One day Christ will return as the Scripture clearly dictates (Acts 1:11). That hope is like a harbor lighthouse for a ship on the stormy sea. The turbulence we experience in this world will someday give way to a glorious golden millennium where righteousness and true justice will prevail. The king will be none other than Jesus Christ.