Why Study Prophecy?

January 23, 2009

Prophesy is happening so rapidly. Those of us who have studied it for years are even shocked.
But more shocking than this is that churches are not shouting this news from the rooftops that Christ is about to come for His church! Only a very small segment is telling of Christ about to return.
So why study prophesy? It seems so strange to me that we even have to ask this question.
As for me, I came from a non-Christian home, but began going to church as a youngster on my own. I didn’t know it then, but do now, that God had a plan for me.
As a teenager I attended church and even at one time thought I should go into ministry. As life progressed through the military and music careers, I fell away. I know now because I didn’t have the “foundation of rock” needed to survive the storms of life.
But in the mid 70’s I stumbled across Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late, Great Planet Earth -- and the race was on!! I went absolutely sideways over Bible prophesy.
The force of impact this prophesy had on my life led me to become a student of the subject. Some 30+ years later, my enthusiasm has not subsided. In fact, prophecy proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the validity of scripture. It’s the one thing that has solidified my walk with the Lord.
What does God say about studying prophesy? Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to HIs servants the prophets.
In other words, if there is any major event God is about to bring upon the world. He is going to reveal it to those people He has called to a prophetic ministry.
I know that God is calling, out loud right now, to His people -- but I also know that the church is being slow to hear the call.
In 2 Peter 3:3-4, “Know this first of all, that in the last days, mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers feel asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ ”
Now, who would be asking this question? It certainly is of non-believers of course, but also the church!
It is happening, and it is a sign of the times!
In many encounters with Christians, including pastors and lay leaders, I’ve been told that prophesy isn’t relevant and that we shouldn’t have to study it! That it really interferes with their performance as Christians in the things that are really necessary.
So why study it? Read Deuteronomy 18:21-22. “So how shall we know what the Lord has said? If what the prophet says comes true, know that he is the one I have sent. If not, then do not be afraid of him.”
From the beginning, God showed how to determine if the Bible was, or was not, His word. He said that it will only be proven by fulfilled prophesy.
Prophesy is God’s chief evidence that the Bible is His Word
Jesus used prophecy to prove that He was the Messiah.
All through the gospels, Jesus said that this was done that it might be fulfilled, which was prophesied by the prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc. 
He kept referring to these things. Its important to emphasize that He was using it in a contemporary sense. I mean, He was taking contemporary incidences and saying that they were fulfilling prophecy. This is important because prophecy has, at different times, relevance to current (or) contemporary issues.
The fact that prophecy is being fulfilled literally in these current, contemporary issues is God’s proof that the Bible is the Word of God and that Jesus Christ is the only Messiah!
It’s evidence to the world that ALL of the Bible is the truth!
Bible Prophecy Has a Great Evangelistic Purpose
Jesus used it that way. He used to say that certain things were done to fulfill the prophecies that God had predicted.
Matthew 11:2-3 says, “Now, where John, while imprisoned, heard the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are you the expected one, or shall we look for someone else?’”
Here we see that even John was confused about this certain prophesy. The coming Messiah was portrayed as both a conquering and reigning king while another said He would come as a peacemaker and a suffering messiah that would die for the sins of His people. John knew that He was one of the other and wanted to be sure.
“Jesus answered and said to then, ‘Go report to John what you hear and see; the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.’”  Matthew 11:4-5
Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 35, a very familiar prophecy.
So Jesus was proving to even John that the prophecies spoken of in Isaiah, were coming true. He presented all these things as credentials.
At the end of Jesus great ministry and after He’d been raised from the dead, He appeared to His disciples on the famous “Road to Emmaus” event and He said in Luke 24:44-47, “‘These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ The He opened their minds to understand the scriptures, Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
So there He shows that prophecy, about Him, was all through the Hebrew scrolls of the Old Testament, plus the prophets and Psalms. Now if God didn’t think prophecy was important, why did He put all those passages about His son throughout the Old Testament?
In fact, we know that approximately 28% of the Bible was prophetic when written and that about 80% of it has been fulfilled.
A lot of people want proof that God exists and the only proof that God ever authorized to be used to prove the validity of scripture, to prove the reality of Christ as the Messiah, to prove that He was raised from the dead, has been two things: 
1) The circumstantial evidences of Christ’s life, death and            resurrection
2) The prophesies about those that were fulfilled in the very presence of those who first heard these prophesies.
All through the Book of Acts, the apostles used prophecy to prove all of these event in the life of Christ and they used it in evangelism! 
One of the few examples is in Acts 13:26-30. It says,
“Brethren, Sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear  God, to us the word of this salvation has been sent. For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. When  they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.” -- as predicted.
So, we see how the use of prophecy is so valuable and important.
Now, why should we study prophecy about the Second Coming? Because it is commanded!!
In Matthew 24, When Jesus gave the signs for the coming end of the age, verse 32 states, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near...”
“Now learn” states that it is a command.
Matthew 24:33 states, “So, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” N.A.S.
Do you know this?! Does the church recognize this?! I think most of today’s churches are asleep!!
The reason of course is that pastors are not teaching prophecy and  the imminent return of Christ.
Then Jesus said, “Truly this generation shall not pass”, of course meaning the generation that sees all these signs.
We could very possibly be that generation!
Learning Bible prophecy is commanded, it’s not an option. God said He would do nothing until His servants, the prophets, His secret council, warn the people.
Why else should we study prophecy?
In I Thessalonians 5:1-5, we read how the study of prophecy gives us direction as times begin to get more difficult. God said that there would be periolous times just before the return of Christ.
At the end of this passage it says, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night or of darkness...”
That is what the prophetic word is for!!
In fact, I Thessalonians 4:15-18, God speaks of the promise to take out the church before the great time of distress known as the tribulation and that this should be a great comfort for one another to know this.
This is a huge thing! Knowing that we are approaching these terrible end times. By knowing prophecy gives us comfort because we can understand what is taking place.
The pews of America are full of scared and bewildered people because no one is telling them what is happening!
Prophecy is also a great motivating tool to lead people to Christ. When people begin to understand how it all works, it turns up the temperature of their faith!
It is the one thing that really got me going.  ~R.M.

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