“People are very interested in the future, but they would rather rely on the foolish speculations of men rather than the absolutely reliable prophecies (100% accuracy) in the Bible.” (David Reagan) Too many Christians dismiss prophecy as irrelevant and having no practical significance for their lives but as we will see from Dr. Mark Hitchcock’s book The End and Dr. David Reagan’s teachings in this letter, knowing biblical prophecy is not “a playground for fanatics but green pastures for disciples.” http://www.lamblion.com/files/multimedia/television/transcript_Prophecy34.pdf
1. Prophecy is a major part of Divine Revelation. Twenty-seven per cent of the entire Bible is prophecy. Thus, if we knew the entire Bible and yet overlook prophecy we would only know 73% of God’s Word. On test scores in most schools and colleges that is close to flunking. There are 1527 Old Testament passages that refer to the second coming of Christ. For every time the Bible mentions the first coming of Christ, His second coming is mentioned 8 times. People are exhorted to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ over 50 times. Jesus refers to His second coming at least 21 times. The apostle Paul tells us that all Scripture is written by God and profitable for us and we are to know and teach the full counsel of God’s Word. (2 Timothy 3:16 and Acts 20:27)
2. Prophecy proves the truth of God’s Word. The Bible has an amazing track record of 100% accuracy 100% of the time; it is batting 1.000. God, Who prewrites history, says, “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” (Isaiah 46:10) No person or no other book in the world (the Koran, Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedras, etc.) contains fulfilled prophecies that are very specific (versus generalizations) and 100% accurate. For example, see Isaiah’s prophecy about Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28) prophesied 142 years before it was fulfilled as seen in Ezra 1:1–3. Also see Jeremiah 25:11–12; Daniel 2; Deuteronomy 28 and 29; Luke 21:6. God mocks man-made idols and fortune tellers who say they know the future: “Present the case for your idols,” says the Lord. “Let them show what they can do,” says the King of Israel. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen. Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods.” (See Isaiah 41:21-24)
3. Jesus Christ is the main subject of prophecy. “The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.” (Revelation 19:10) As we saw in point 1 there are 1527 Old Testament passages that refer to Jesus’ second coming. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for missing the signs for His first coming as 109 different (300 in total) Old Testament prophecies about His first coming were specifically fulfilled in His life, ministry, death and resurrection. For example Psalm 22:16 (“they pierce my hands and my feet”) was written about 1000 years before Jesus’ death on the cross and 700 years before crucifixion as a form of execution. Psalm 110 written by King David speaks of the Deity of Christ and verse 1 is quoted in New Testament Scriptures (Hebrews 1:13) as further validation that Jesus is God.
4. A special blessing is promised for those who teach and listen to prophecy and obey what it says. “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.”(Revelation 1:3) Prophecy is like “a lamp shining in a dark place” pointing to the return of Christ, “the Morning Star” (2 Peter 1:19) that gives us hope in the midst of a dark and evil world. (Galatians 1:4) It assures us that Jesus is coming back and that He will resurrect us and that we will live with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever in heaven. Yet the book of Revelation, the most prophetic and thus hope-filled book in all the Bible, is rarely taught by pastors even though there is a clear command from God to teach the book of Revelation: “Then he instructed me, “Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near.” (Revelation 22:10)
5. Prophecy gives us an eternal and thus proper perspective on life. It tells us the end of the story which is the wonderful news of eternal bliss for all who are saved plus extra rewards for obedience, and lovingly and firmly warns the unrepentant to repent now and avoid eternal damnation. Without knowing our good end and looking forward to it day by day it would be like coming into a movie that has already started and not knowing the plot and leaving before it ends and not see the happy ending. Heaven is not a misplaced, unfounded hope. “And they lived happily ever after” is true.
6. Prophecy helps us understand the whole Bible. A person without a basic understanding of prophecy will be lost in large sections of the Old Testament and several books of the New Testament and he or she has little hope of “accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Prophecy reveals God’s plan for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel (Romans 9-11), the Gentile nations (Genesis 12:1-3; Zechariah 8:22-23) and the church of Jesus Christ (Jews and Gentiles as “one new man”- Ephesians 2:15-16; Romans 11) called to preach the gospel and make disciples until the Rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and God’s plan resumes with Israel (the 70th week of Daniel – Daniel 9:24-27)
7. Prophecy is a tool for evangelism. For example, see Acts 8:26-38 and Isaiah 53. God often uses the warnings of the last days and the coming of Christ to awaken people to their need for Christ.
8. Knowing Bible prophecy helps protect people from heresy. False religions and even false prophecies by “Christian leaders” are based on an inaccurate understanding of Bible prophecy. For example, “date setters” have misled and hurt many people (e.g., Harold Camping), along with false prophecies by the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormon’s heretical teaching on heaven and hell, plus false teachings within the church (dominion theology and various cults).
9. Prophecy motivates us to live godly lives in light of eternity. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-13; also see 1 John 3:2-3) God gave prophecy to change our hearts and our attitudes and actions to be more in line with His Word and character. Prophetic knowledge encourages patient waiting (James 5:7-8); earnest watching (Matthew 24:36-42; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9); dedicated work (2 Timothy 4:6-8; Galatians 6:7-10); and hope-filled living (Titus 2:11-15).
10. Prophecy reveals the sovereignty of God over time and history, thus for us as believers we can have peace in the midst of trials and afflictions knowing that our Lord is perfectly loving and all powerful and that He is in total control of all of our life for our greatest spiritual and eternal good. (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:18-39; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)
Len and Kristen