Reasons for Studying Biblical Prophecy
In our previous article, we noted four negative attitudes that people have toward the study of biblical prophecy. These negative attitudes are unfortunate, because there are significant reasons why the study of biblical prophecy is important. This present article will present three of those reasons.
First, one-fifth to one-fourth of the Bible is prophecy. In light of this, those people who reject the study of biblical prophecy because of a negative attitude toward it choose to avoid twenty to twenty-five per cent of the biblical revelation that God has given to mankind—revelation that God wants human beings to possess and heed. This avoidance amounts to willful rejection of a major portion of God’s truth and, therefore, has serious implications.
Second, it is impossible to understand God’s purpose for history apart from the study of biblical prophecy. Isaiah 46:9-11 quotes the following divine declaration:
“I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:…I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
Isaiah 14:24, 26-27 states, “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:…This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”
These Scriptures reveal that there is one true God, and that He has a sovereign purpose for this earth’s history. The evidence that He is the true God and that He has a sovereign purpose for history is this:
In the past He planned and purposed what would happen on earth throughout history. On the basis of what He planned and purposed, through His prophets God declared to mankind what would happen in the future, even to the end of this earth’s history. Then, during the course of history, He sovereignly causes to happen all that He planned and purposed and declared through His prophets. No one can prevent God from fulfilling His sovereign purpose for history.
Nebuchadnezzar, ancient Babylon’s greatest king, learned by personal experience that the God of the Bible has a sovereign purpose for what happens in history.
After God had completed His infliction of the king with a form of mental illness that caused him to live like a wild animal, Nebuchadnezzar wrote the following:
“I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:34-35).
The prophetic Scriptures are the written record of what God through the prophets declared to mankind would happen even to the end of this earth’s history.
Since those divine declarations were based upon what God had planned and purposed for history, no one can understand God’s purpose for history apart from the study of biblical prophecy.
In light of the facts that God has a sovereign purpose for this earth’s history; that on the basis of that purpose He declared to mankind what would happen to the end of history; and that the prophetic Scriptures are the written record of that divine declaration, it is no mistake that the Book of Revelation was the last book of the Bible written. God intended it to be the capstone of His divine declaration to mankind, because it foretells how He will complete His purpose for history. Because this is so, the person who decides to avoid the study of Revelation will remain completely oblivious to how God will complete His purpose.
Third, the study of biblical prophecy is an effective evangelistic tool. God had His declarations of future events recorded in written form in the Scriptures, not to satisfy the curiosity of people concerning what will happen, but to be a life-changing tool for people of every generation.
God uses the study of biblical prophecy to serve as a warning to unsaved people: To warn them of the future wrathful judgment that He has purposed for this rebellious world and for all people who fail to receive His gracious gift of salvation through faith in His crucified, buried and resurrected Son, Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit uses biblical prophecy to impress unsaved people with the urgency of their trusting Christ as their Savior now, before it may be too late for them.
I personally have witnessed people coming to a personal saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the study and teaching of biblical prophecy. For example:
One church that had asked me to conduct a prophecy conference urged its people to invite unsaved acquaintances to the sessions. One woman invited her eight fellow office-workers to attend the conference. Every one of them came, and all eight trusted Christ as Savior. At the same conference, a believer, who was a custodian at a public school, brought the unsaved superintendent of that city’s public school system to the conference men’s breakfast. In response to the study from biblical prophecy that was presented at that breakfast, the superintendent placed his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Any Christian who avoids the study and teaching of biblical prophecy thereby fails to use an effective evangelistic tool that God has given to us.
My next article will present the fourth reason why the study of biblical prophecy is important.