Are you afraid? Do you listen to the network news and find many reasons to stay in your home and bury your head in useless pursuits? Many people are addicted to watching the news and are very scared because of what they hear. Instead of reporting news, it seems reporters are geared to instill fear. People deal with fear in various ways, such as playing video games, partying, YouTube videos with low moral value, and much more. By throwing themselves into such activities, they hope to drive the trouble out of their minds. Instead of turning to God for answers, people turn to the world. The world has no answers, but God does.
God has given Biblical prophecy, but the mindset of most Christians is that it’s too confusing. I agree that you can’t understand it unless you study. When you study, it’s important to let go of ancient interpretations and study it with knowledge of today. Daniel was given an amazing prophecy of the end times but was told,
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:3).
The word “knowledge” is “da’at” in Hebrew and means “knowledge, perception, skill and discernment, understanding, wisdom.” In other words, what Daniel was shown would make no sense to him, but as time went on, this prophecy (and indeed, all prophecy) would make more sense. Daniel wanted to know more.
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (Daniel 12:8).
He was very concerned about what he had been shown. Remember, Daniel was Jewish and had heard some disturbing things concerning the entire world, but mostly about Israel. We all need to be concerned about Israel. The answer that was given to Daniel wasn’t what he wanted to hear.
“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:9-10).
Brothers and sisters, we are nearing “the time of the end,” but too many Christians don’t even try to understand prophecy. Have you studied the book of Daniel? Have you studied Revelation? Have you studied any Biblical prophecy? If not, you should, and if you do, then use increased knowledge to gain understanding.
Until a few years ago, things that happened miles away could only be known after time had passed. If a large earthquake happened in Japan, it would take time for the news to reach people in distant lands. But now, we can watch on-the-spot live news coverage. As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, there’s live coverage of it all. I have an App on my cellphone that sends an alert every time rockets are shot at Israel. Sadly, it goes off way too often.
When Scripture tells us that there will be two witnesses in the streets of Jerusalem during the final week of History, and that the whole world will see them lying dead in the street, people of yesterday just didn’t understand how. Truly, knowledge is increasing, and we need to apply it to our understanding of prophecy. It seems that knowledge of Biblical prophecy is stuck in the Dark Ages. Praise God, there are a few knowledgeable men who share their insights.
When Scripture was first written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, the weapons of war included horses, spears, and swords. When Isaiah penned the prophecy in Isaiah 17 regarding the destruction of Damascus, the weapons of war were very primitive.
“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid” (Isaiah 17:1-2).
I can understand why those who have read it through the years were confused. Damascus, Syria, is an ancient city, and there have been many wars fought there, but none have left it a ruinous heap. How could soldiers on horseback with swords and arrows totally destroy this large city? Maybe they could have set fire to it? The ancient people wouldn’t have known about airplanes flying over with bombs. You see, updating the understanding of prophecy based on modern knowledge can make it more understandable.
The news media is a good thing but also a bad thing. Instead of simply reporting news, they choose a side and give a biased report slanted to make their chosen “hero” look good. Today, Russia is the bad guy, and Ukraine is the good guy. The truth is that both are led by humans who fail. The images of the destruction that Russia is causing in Ukraine are truly sickening. On the other hand, do you remember a few years back, when Hunter Biden was paid millions of dollars by the Ukrainian government to basically do nothing?
Friends, use discernment when placing your loyalties. The tragedy in Ukraine can also be the catalyst for evangelism. Does that make headlines on the nightly news? There are many Christians who are working hard to provide food and shelter to those who have lost their homes in this war. Another overlooked aspect of the war is that Israel has rescued hundreds of orphans and displaced people. I’m certain that when the fighting ends, there will be many stories of God’s mighty hand at work. Never lose sight of the fact that God is eternal, and nothing that happens surprises Him. His desire is that everyone looks to Him for salvation.
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22).
The greatest tragedy is when a person dies without asking for salvation through Jesus Christ. Use knowledge of prophecy to witness to the lost.
Don’t be afraid to study prophecy. The Apostle Peter tells us just how important it is. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
Peter had been speaking about his experiences with Jesus whose birth, life, and death were the subject of many prophecies. Had the religious leaders understood those prophecies, they would have recognized Jesus as their Messiah. They chose blindness and ignorance. The miraculous things Jesus did should have been evidence that He was the Messiah, but understanding prophecy should have clinched it. Today the world is getting darker, but God’s light outshines the darkness.
Peter said that Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, and all of the other prophets of God didn’t make up the prophecies but were inspired by the Holy Spirit. They were given a look into the future and described it as best they could with their knowledge of the time. Today, we’ve gained knowledge, and that should make the study of prophecy come into focus.
We are nearing the time of Jacob’s Trouble. That’s what Jeremiah called Daniel’s 70th week. “Alas! for that day is great so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7).
Why is it called the time of Jacob’s Trouble? Jacob was the father of 12 sons; each was the head of one of the tribes of Israel. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Those final seven years (Daniel’s 70th week) are about the nation of Israel. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s chosen people are referred to as “Jacob” or “Israel.” Usually, when the nation is rebelling against their God, they are called Jacob. When the nation is in fellowship with God, they’re referred to as Israel. So, by calling that time “Jacob’s trouble,” we know two things. First, the nation is in rebellion, and also those seven years are about Israel.
Today, many Jewish people from all nations are returning to Israel, but most of them don’t believe in God; they aren’t in fellowship with Him. Even though the entire world is judged by the wrath of God, the main focus is Israel and bringing them to a covenant relationship with God. One false belief held by some Christians is that Christians have replaced Israel in God’s heart. That is absolutely ridiculous. We have our place, and Israel has their place. Not only have we not replaced Israel, but we will be Raptured prior to the start of Daniel’s 70th week.
As secular knowledge increases, Biblical knowledge should also increase. We are drawing very close to Daniel’s 70th week. Study Revelation and understand what a horrific time those seven years will be. When the Lamb opens the first seal, the end begins. Read Revelation with discernment. Christians have nothing to fear from the horrors of that week. The reason we have nothing to fear is that we will be safely at Home with our Lord. Revelation chapters 2 and 3 contain seven letters which Jesus dictated to the Apostle John. These letters describe the history of Christianity. The first letter, addressed to Ephesus, describes those Christians in the first century who faced much persecution. Unfortunately, they had begun to change their focus from a relationship with Christ to religion.
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and has borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted” (Revelation 2:2-3). That sounds good, but Jesus sees everything, and has a criticism. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left they first love” (Revelation 2:4). They were turning the joy of salvation into works and religion.
Today we live in the time of the final letter written to Laodicea… the apostate church. What a sad letter it is. Christ is no longer the focus, but many false teachings have entered. The congregation is lukewarm… neither hot nor cold. Jesus says He will spue them out of His mouth. Apparently, the leadership of the congregation has failed. Instead of preaching the pure Gospel, it’s watered-down God’s truth in order to make it easy for the pew-warmers to hear. We should learn from this, but instead of reading Jesus’ prophetic words, we are shutting Him out of our worship and our lives. When was the last time the Gospel was preached from the pulpit in your place of worship? It does make people uncomfortable to think they sin and need to be forgiven.
Jesus isn’t wanted inside the Laodicean congregation, but He hasn’t given up. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Don’t wait for the pastor to preach the Gospel. You have a Bible, so study and allow the Holy Spirit and increased knowledge of God’s truth to guide you. Answer the knock… Jesus wants to come in to your heart.
The first verse of Chapter 4 reads, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1).
Remember, the history of the church ended in chapter 3. The first words in chapter 4 are, in Greek, “meta tauta,” which indicate a sequence of events. First, the Church Age runs its course, then a door is open in Heaven, and the Apostle John (representing Christians) was told to “Come up hither.” John is a picture of the Rapture.
Knowledge is so important to understanding all Scripture, but when studying prophecy, knowledge is very important. Use it wisely.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.