Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Verse 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Why Should We Study Bible Prophecy?
A Bible Study by Jack
I make known the end from
the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My
purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.(Isaiah 46:10)
Here’s a question I’m often asked
and it’s a good one. If we believe the Rapture will take us away before all the
End Times events occur, then why do we need to study prophecy?
are several good answers to this question. One of the clearest comes from the
Olivet Discourse, specificallyMatthew 24:15-16.“So
when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes
desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand–
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”Even though the Lord was speaking
primarily to Israel here, He directed everyone who reads Matthew’s gospel to
9:24-27, a prophecy given to Israel, and the key to
understanding End Times prophecy.
Another good reason is that
Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians are chock full of End Times prophecy. Every
chapter of both letters contains a reference to the 2nd Coming for an average
of one every 13 verses. Paul went to such lengths even though it’s pretty clear
he had taught them that the rapture would take place before the anti-Christ is
revealed. If the Bible really is the inspired Word of God, why did He
have Paul describe events on Earth after the rapture if He didn’t think we
needed to know them?
And then there’s the Book of
Revelation. John shows the Rapture occurring in chapter 4 but then goes on for
another 15 chapters, mostly describing conditions on Earth, before
re-introducing the Church inRev. 19. Same question, why
describe events on Earth after the rapture if He didn’t think we needed to know
Some scholars say it’s so those
left behind at the Rapture can read Revelation and the Thessalonian letters and
find out what’s going on to help them endure the End Times. That may be OK for
the middle of Revelation, but John’s book begins and ends with the Church in
view, and the Thessalonian letters were written specifically to the Church. For
some reason, we’re supposed to know how End Times events unfold.
Here’s The Best One
And that leads me to what I think
is the biggest reason. For that we’ll go first to Isaiah 44:6-8.
This is what the LORD says-
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: “I am the first and I am the
last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my
ancient people, and what is yet to come- yes, let him foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long
ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other
Rock; I know not one.”
Here is the two-part test for anyone who would be God. Part one:
Accurately recall every event of the past. Part two: Accurately predict every
event of the future. Of all the so-called holy
writings, only the Bible answers this challenge. Other “gods” require that you take them at face
value, offering neither evidence of their existence, nor proof of their
trustworthiness. But ours says, “I’ll prove that I’m real and that you
should trust me.” He tells us our past (sometimes as personally as Jesus
did with the woman at the well inJohn 4:17-18) and gives us detail
about the future that only someone who has already seen it can know.“I
make known the end from the beginning,”He proclaims,“From
ancient times, what is still to come.”(Isaiah
46:10) He’s chosen this way to authenticate Himself to us
because He’s the only One who can do it and be right every time.
This is so we need never be in
the position of having zeal without knowledge, (Prov.
19:2) believing passionately but unable to defend our position.
When we share the Gospel with someone, and they respond with, “That’s just
something you believe,” it’s good to be able to justify our beliefs with a
summary of God’s 4000-year track record for truth-telling (the Old Testament)
and to explain that someone who’s been that truthful about the past is likely
to also be truthful about the future (the New Testament).
When I was a kid in upstate New
York, nearly every family went to church on Sunday and ours was no
different. We belonged to one of the main line denominational
congregations in town. With a few lapses here and there, this habit
carried me into adulthood and though I lived in several different places, on
most Sunday mornings you could find me in the local version of that same denominational
church. But then, two important but unrelated pieces of information
came to my attention at about the same time.
The first was from a man who was
one of the most influential public speakers of his time and a lifelong student
of human behavior. We happened to share one evening together and over
dinner he asked, “Did you
know that if you were to devote just one hour each day to the study of any
subject that interests you, within 5 years you could be one of the world’s
leading experts on that subject?” I was amazed at the possibility
that one could become a world leading expert in only five years no matter how
many hours a day it took.
The other piece of information
came in the form of 3 cassette tapes that were given to me by a friend.
It was a series on Bible Prophecy, a compilation of research done over the
years by various scholars. Its purpose was to demonstrate that throughout
the 4,000 years of the Old Testament God had maintained a perfect record of
predicting the future to Israel. No matter what set of standards you
apply, statistical analysis, rules of evidence, forensic science or whatever,
you’ll find that this could not have happened by chance. It could only
have been done by someone who can see the end from the beginning, an ability
unique to God.
I decided to apply the action
step from the first piece of information to the subject matter of the
second. Over the next several years I spent hours every day learning all
I could about Bible Prophecy. In addition to studying the Bible, I read every view by nearly
every respected scholar before forming my own opinion that the pre-trib,
pre-millennial, dispensational view is the one most consistent with a strict
literal, historical, grammatical interpretation of Scripture.
You Believe Doesn’t Result In Action …
Even though I’ve spent a lot more
than one hour a day for a lot longer than 5 years, I don’t claim to be a
leading expert on prophecy. But as I studied, the logic of God’s claim
indisputable. The history of Israel is replete with events first predicted and
then performed with faultless accuracy. And when it came to the Messiah, over 300 specific
prophecies, given over a span of several thousand years, were fulfilled in
detail within one generation, the one in which He lived.
And so after nearly 40 years of
sitting in church most every Sunday, I finally opened my Bible and became born
again. I also became convinced that through the study of prophecy God can
prove Himself to any reasonable person beyond a shadow of doubt. That’s when I
began teaching what I was learning.
Friends, I totally agree with Jack, I had a similar spiritual
awakening. No rush of emotion for me, no gushing of tears while I stumbled
blindly down the sawdust trail as a choir sang “Just as I am,” but a dead
certainty that God has to be Who He says He is, He has to have done what He
said He did, and the Bible has to be His inerrant Word. I called it a
rush of logic, but the certainty I felt drove me every bit as humbly to the
foot of the cross as a teary eyed confession would have, and yet it gave me a
staying power that’s often missing in more emotional conversions.
I knew what I believed and why I believed it and could explain it clearly to
anyone who cared to listen.
As often happens to people who
undertake a serious study of prophecy, I concluded that if the 25-30% of the Bible that’s
prophecy can be trusted then the rest of it can be trusted as well, so I
began studying it too. I discovered that God made a whole bunch of
promises to us, such as His promises to see us through the tough times we can
now see coming, and to take us to be with Him before He judges the world.
These promises have more meaning because they’re backed up by His proven track
record in prophecy.
If you’re not every bit as
certain as I am about God, then try a study in prophecy. I bet it will
galvanize you into action just as it did me, especially as you begin to
understand how little time is left.
And even if you’re already sure
you know who God is, you still have a great reason to study prophecy. But
it’s not just so you’ll be better informed about what’s coming. It’s so
you’ll feel the urgency to tell your friends about it while there’s still
time. Because if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps
of the Messiah.