Why Study the Subject of Prophecy?
By Steven J. Hogan
It is imperative that we study the subject of prophecy, but why? Why is it so vitally important that we study it at this time, in these days? Let me give you a number of reasons:
- The subject of prophecy is God’s Word. Every subject in God’s Word is inspired and important, and so too is this subject of prophecy, of eschatology. Might we then show ourselves approved to God as workmen who do not need to be ashamed, but who handle accurately prophetic truth, who understand what it says, and then teach it rightly.
- There is much said in God’s Word on this subject of prophecy. Now we may have 5 verses on baptism, 10 verses on communion, and we would all agree that these are important subjects for the church, but there are literally thousands of verses on end times’ prophecy. This enormous number of verses about the future of the church should help us to see the great importance of this subject, and then motivate us to study it and learn it. In fact, there are over 100 verses alone specifically on the return of Christ and the rapture of the church. Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Micah, Zechariah, Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, Romans 11, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, 2 Thessalonians 1-2, Revelation, etc.
- There is a great amount of prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled. When we talk about prophecy we understand that there is fulfilled and unfulfilled prophecy, that which was fulfilled in the past, and that which is still to be fulfilled in the future. Now that we are closing in on the end of this age we need to see that there is a lot of prophecy yet to be fulfilled on this earth. Should we not be excited to understand what God says in His Word about the coming days and years, about what is to soon to take place on this earth, and what is to be our future, and more likely, the future of our children and grandchildren? Zechariah, Simeon and Annas’ examples speak loudly to us, for they were excitedly looking forward to the fulfillment of Old Testament predictions about Christ, the promised Messiah. And they were actually witnesses of Christ’s 1st coming. Might God so sovereignly work it out that we witness Christ’s 2nd coming, and then are raptured from this earth. Luke 1:67-79, Luke 2:25-32, Luke 2:36-38
- This subject of prophecy is now more relevant than at any other time in history. Since the Jews are back in their land, the land of Israel, then we know we are living in the end times and that the return of Christ is at hand. Therefore, it is now most critical to study and understand what God’s Word says about the end times and the return of Christ. Should we not want to know what God says about the end times and the coming of Christ? Should we not want to know what may take place in our lifetime? Please understand that it relates not just to you, but to your family, your friends, your church, and to the gospel of Christ and the glory of God. Matthew 24:3-44, Luke 21:5-36, 2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 6-7
- God has told us certain things about the future that He wants us to know. Now God has not told us everything that is going to happen with regards to the end times and Christ’s return, but only certain things, and it is these things which are in God’s word. Should we not want to know these things that God wants us to know? Might we then study these sections of Scripture that speak about Christ’s 2nd coming so that we can find out what our heavenly Father wants us to know. Might we take Jesus’ words to heart, “Be on your guard, I have told you everything ahead of time.” Mark 13:23
- So you don’t fall into error. There is so much error on this subject of prophecy, and we need to know what is true so we can recognize and refute what is false. That’s why Paul spent so much time on this subject when writing to the Thessalonians, for there were these false teachers, these errors and with that, deception, with the result that the church was confused and unsettled. Do you not see in this day and age that the devil is working hard and doing all he can to lead us astray. As Christians we should not want our families, friends and our church to be deceived, and especially as the day of Christ draws nearer. Might we clearly understand prophetic truth so we can be encouraged, and so we can speak out against the false teachers and counter their errors. Matthew 24:4, Titus 1:9
- Because Christ loves you and wants to see you and wants you to be want to see Him, to be looking forward to His return. Jesus Christ is our Savior, Lord and King, our lover, friend and brother, and He can’t wait to see us, and take us home to heaven to be with Him. Should we not then be wanting to see Him? Of course, we should be excited about seeing Him, and therefore wanting to learn from His word as much as we can about the circumstances and events leading up to His coming. If we aren’t excited about Christ’s return, if we aren’t longing for Him, and looking forward to seeing Him, then what are we excited about, what are we longing for? 1 Peter 1:10-12
- God wants you to know prophetic truths so you can share it with other Christians. Might we be good students, schooled in this subject so we can instruct and warn others about what is going to be taking place in these coming days. We are commanded to encourage one another as we see the day drawing near, but we can only do this as we ourselves know and understand prophetic truth as it is revealed to us in God’s Word. Matthew 28:19-20, Hebrews 10:24-25
- God wants you to know the subject of prophecy so you can be at peace. In a world of confusion, calamity and conflict, in a world where things will get worse and worse before the return of Christ, God tells you, “Be still and know that I am God”. Wars, famines, earthquakes, plagues, economic distress, and persecution will all take place in the end times. But knowing that they will come, and that God is in control, and that this is all part of God’s plan, and that God will be exalted, will then help us to trust Him, and to be at peace. Psalm 46, Matthew 24:4-8, Revelation 6:1-8
- So you can understand it. Many people don’t study this subject of prophecy because they don’t think they can understand it, that it is too confusing, that it is too hard to figure out, that there are too many opinions, or that it is too controversial. But why would God ever give us this subject if it was too hard and too confusing? Why would God ever give us this subject if we couldn’t understand it? I am telling you, that God by His Holy Spirit, will enable us to understand this important end time’s subject. Pray to God, read and study prophetic truth, compare Scripture with Scripture, learn about it from other godly men, and read and study it some more, and you will understand it. Proverbs 2:1-10
- So you can know what God says about Christ’s coming so you will be motivated to share the gospel with the lost. All this truth about what is going to happen in the near future about fiery judgments on earth and fiery judgments in hell should encourage us to proclaim the gospel to the unsaved. The more we know the truth about the coming of Christ, the more we will want to warn the lost and tell them to repent of their sins and believe in Christ’s death and resurrection before it’s too late. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
- So you can know how you are to live in the end times, in the time leading up to the return of Christ. God’s Word gives many specific instructions to the believers in the church regarding the end times and how we are to live, instructions about faith, hope, love, evangelism, prayer, fellowship, error, perseverance, suffering and holiness. Seven letters to seven churches are given to us in Revelation 2-3, and these are in the context of the greatest prophecy book in the entire Bible. They are no doubt needed and relevant for all Christians living in these end times. Listen and take heed to what the Spirit tells the churches so you can know how to live, so you can be an overcomer, and so you can be ready for Christ’s coming.
- So you can be pure, holy and godly. There are many challenges and temptations for the Christian, and even more so in the end times. We don’t want to be worldly Christians when Christ comes back. We need to know and understand end times’ prophetic truth so we can be pure and holy, unstained by sin and the world, and useful then to the Lord in faithfully doing His work on earth. 1 John 3:2, 2 Peter 3:9-14, Luke 21:34-36, Revelation 18
- The Old Testament prophets wrote about the end times for the Christians of today. Yes, the prophets wanted to know the times and circumstances of Christ’s coming, but it wasn’t for them, it was and is for us. Isn’t this encouraging? The prophets were really writing for us. Should we not then read what they wrote, knowing that it pertains to us and the days we now live? Even the angels long to look into these things, which means this is critically important. Therefore we should want to read, study and know it so we can clearly and completely tell others the truth about the return of Christ and the rapture of the church. “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; and whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.” Ezekiel 3:17, Daniel 12:4, 9; 1 Peter 1:10-12
- To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Much of what God says about the future is a warning to us about the upcoming difficulties, danger, distress, and about the devil’s work in the end times. God wants us to know what will be taking place so we can be ready, so we can do battle. A good coach knows the game plan of the opponent, and a good general knows the strategies of the enemy, their tactics and tendencies. Might we know the schemes of the devil and the plans of God so we can be prepared, so we can put on the full armor of God, so we can be ready to fight, so we can be overcomers and winners. Ephesians 6:10-13, Revelation 2:7
- God will bless those who take heed to His instructions on the end times. I believe we all want to be blessed by God. Might we then read and understand what God says to us so we can know what to believe, take to heart what is written, and be doing what God wants us to be doing in the days before His Son’s return. The more we know and do, the more we will be blessed and encouraged. And those who don’t read, understand, and take heed will not be blessed in the way that God had planned for them. Revelation 1:3-4
- Because the consummation of God’s plan, the fulfillment of much of prophecy, is the great goal of the church. God’s plans for the church will soon be fulfilled, and this will occur at the coming of Christ. The glory of God and of Christ will be seen as God fulfills His plans for the church. If this is the great plan of God, the great goal of the church, then we should be excited about prophecy and be wanting to study the texts of God’s Word that speak so much about it. Ephesians 1:9-11
Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back soon. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:25). In the middle of one of the greatest chapters on prophecy we are told that God’s prophetic word will be fulfilled. Might we show our love to God by being diligent to study His word so we can know all He wants us to know about His Son’s return, so we can be excited and prepared, and so we can be looking forward to seeing our Savior, and then being with Him forever and ever. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming back with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). “God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10