Why study Prophecy?
Gregory D. Davidson, D.D.
I have been acquainted with many Christians who believe that a study of prophecy is useless. I even heard a prominent evangelist here in my area say that we should never study prophecy and that the Bible backed up his claims.
This centuries old trend is not only confined to my neck of the woods, it seems to be an “unspoken” rule throughout many churches and ministries in our nation that they do not teach prophecy.
Many find prophecy hard to understand and boring. John Calvin, a great Reformer, wrote a commentary on the whole Bible except Revelation. Prophecy was never meant to be so hard to understand that even one of the greatest leaders of our Church could not understand it.
People get into trouble when they get away from a literal understanding of scripture and begin trying to symbolize or allegorize everything. We should take the Bible literally and not try to read into it something that isn’t there. Every prophecy that has ever been fulfilled has been fulfilled literally.
As Christians, we have the author of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, present with us when we read and study scripture. We should always seek His wisdom when we try to interpret God’s Word.
It is my view that we should all at least familiarize ourselves with the basic tenets of prophecy. After all, all of God’s Word was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Below are Ten reasons why we should study Prophecy.
1. Jesus told us to watch. He tells us in Matthew 24:42:
“Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord is coming” A knowledge of end-time events will keep us alert and ready.2. Prophetic scripture is the Word of God. We must never ignore any part of God’s Word. It has been said that 28% of the Bible is prophetic scripture; almost a third of scripture! The second coming of Jesus is mentioned some 318 times in the New Testament. Remember Paul’s words to Timothy:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
II Timothy 3:16,17 (emphasis mine)3. It proves the Word of God is true. Friends, God is no liar! When we see how many prophecies were fulfilled to the smallest detail, we will build our faith. Jesus fulfilled many, many, Old Testament prophecies by His birth, life, death, and resurrection.
Lets look at one of Jesus’ prophecies that was fulfilled to the letter. In responding to His disciples statement about the grandness of the temple, Jesus said,
“See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” This prophecy saw its fulfillment in A.D. 70 when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem. Tradition says that the fire in the city was so hot that the gold on the temple melted and ran into the cracks of the rocks. Thusly, the Roman soldiers had to tear down every stone to get the gold!
This is not a special case. Every prophecy given by inspiration of God has been fulfilled literally and to the smallest detail.
4. The Apostle Paul valued prophecy. Many scholars agree that the first epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians was one of the first books of the New Testament. It was certainly one of his first. The mass of content in both letters to the Thessalonians is prophetic. Thus we see that prophecy was important to Paul and the early church.
5. Jesus rebuked the people for not knowing the signs of the times.
“Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?”
28 Now learn a parable of the FIG tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Mark 13:28-30
We know from Hosea 9:10 that Israel is the fig tree. Israel became a nation again in May of 1948 thus putting forth her leaves. There are differing views on this issue but some think that this generation will not pass away until we see the second coming.
You can see that a study of prophecy is essential to knowing the signs of the times.
6. Prophecy promotes revival. Looking back over history, you will find that when congregations and individuals focused on the study of prophecy and end-time events great revival resulted.
There is just something about learning of the reality and consequences that we will face in the end times that motivates us to live better lives and focus on God’s will.
7. A promise of blessing. God promises blessing for those who read and meditate on the Book of Revelation. We see this throughout the word of God that if we read and meditate on the Holy scriptures we will make our way successful. We can not meditate and be complete by ignoring almost a third of the Bible.
8. A study of Prophecy promotes Holy living. As we touched on earlier we will want to live better when we see the blessing that study brings and the reality of the consequences of sin now and in the future.
We can be sure that every prophecy that has been given will be fulfilled to the letter because that is how it has been since the beginning. A study of prophecy assures us that God will do what he says in the future because He has never failed to do so in the past. Prophectic study also reveals that the Rapture of the Church is emminent so we must do our best to witness and live right for God now, which brings us to our next reason.
9. Prophecy promotes witnessing and missions. When people see prophecy being fulfilled around them and the terrible events that will take place during the Great Tribulation when the restraining force of the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth, many will be motivated to witness to their family, friends, and to the ends of the earth. There should be an urgency in our hearts. The Church in America needs to study prophecy to be educated on this issue. A recent poll showed that nearly 70 % of Christians agreed that there was more than one way to heaven. This is unacceptable. A good study of prophecy would resolve this issue and motivate Christians to rebuke this heresy before it is too late.
10. A good study of Prophecy gives us confidence and hope. It shows us that no matter what happens, God is in control and He has a plan for our future. It assures us that we will spend eternity with Him if we have given our lives for His service.
The world can crumble around us but we can be assured that God will do what He says. Prophecy reveals that as members of the body of Christ, we will not have to endure the Tribulation and the wiles of the Antichrist. We can rest easy knowing that our fate is sealed.