We only have one more study in the series of the Ezekiel Prophecy series by Jack Kelly, so before we finish it, I thought we should know if studying End Time Bible prophecies is worthwhile or not.
With many things there is a thin line between extremes. Over my years of being a born again Christian, I’ve seen pastors and churches which lay too much emphasis on the Wrath of God- we used to call these “Fire and Brimstone” pastors, and then others on the other extreme- who preach nothing but the love of God, as if He’s some peace preaching hipster in the sky who is nothing but love and blessings.
God is a Righteous Judge for sure, and He is also a very loving God- but too many learn one or the other view but not a whole lot of in between teaching. The same could be said for studying Bible Prophecy, especially those concerning the End Times.
Not many churches teach Bible Prophecy, and if they do, they don’t study it very often. In my 20 years of being a born again, church going Christian, I can count on one hand the times I heard a pastor preach or teach about prophecies. That said there are some crackpots, doomsayers and even Christians who go over board and see prophetic signs in everything which has given false ideas of what will happen in the End Times and consider all who believe and study prophecies as fools, radicals or dangerous. As we’ve all heard about the many ‘doomsday’ type cults and groups who made predictions or believed the end was near. Some people sold off everything, quit their jobs and either partied hard the night before the Y2K apocalypse or committed mass suicide believing they would be raptured in a comet.
I’ve had a lot of discussions about End Time prophecies over the years. Most folks scoff at the mention of it, telling me that every generation believed they were living in the end times and that they felt for certain Jesus was coming soon.
I had a discussion like this a couple of weeks ago at a bible study. The subject came up by one of the other folks there, who has been a Christian for a couple of years now. They were curious, and believed that things going on around the world- wars and rumors of, earthquakes and other natural disasters were pointing to the Lord’s return. I reminded them that nature fell when man fell, and that nature is ‘groaning’ in those ‘birth pangs’ that Jesus talks about which do point to His coming again.
What I didn’t expect was that a lifelong Christian believer first scoffed at it, and said that just because world events seem to be lining up with some prophecies; it doesn’t mean that they are going to happen. He also brought up that same argument that other generations seemed sure theirs was the generation, and it shouldn’t be focused on by true believers because no one knows the time or day.
While it’s true no one knows the time or day, Jesus does give clear signs to be aware of, and I reminded my friend, as well as pointing out that the Book of Revelations goes deep into what is going to come about. He commented that he’s never read Revelations, because he doesn’t understand all the symbolism and just figures Jesus will come back when He’s good and ready. After that he didn’t want to discuss it any further.
This seems to be the case with many folks, and I find that sad because Christians ought to be taught, and that the church (all denominations) has done a great disservice to the people for not teaching about it more.
I want to ask some Christians (even Christian leaders) who claim that people who study and focus on End Time prophecies create negativity, promote self-centeredness and consider it a waste of time- why would you mock people who desire to dig deep into the prophecies concerning Christ’s return, when it’s obvious that many people ignored the prophecies of His first coming?
To claim that Satan has people like me distracted by reading about future events recorded in the Scriptures is ridiculous. They use some scripture verses as ‘proof’ that we’re too busy watching and not ‘doing’, yet miss the point that we are prepared no matter the time.
“Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find waking: verily I say unto you, he will gird himself about, and make them to sit down at table, and will come forth, and serve them. And if he come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and shall find them so, blessed are those servants. Now understand this, that if the good man of the house had known at what hour the thief would have come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be dug through. Be ye also prepared therefore: for the Son of man will come at an hour when ye think not.”
But the Bible also tells us to watch and be prepared, case in point the Parable of the 10 Bridesmaids.
I think it comes down to those who are still earthly minded and comfortable in this world, instead of remembering that this earth will someday pass away and all things will be made new by Jesus.
The Bible gives many verses about being watchful and giving blessings to those who long for Christ’s return. Even without the blessings, shouldn’t it be that those who follow Christ would study His Word whether we understand all of it or not? It seems to me that the more I study it, the clearer it becomes.
I don’t know the whens, hows and whats when it comes to the End Time prophecies. I have read many theories and suppositions over the years, and while some make a lot of sense and seem plausible, others’ not so much- even especially when read in light of scriptures. The point is that Bible prophecies are fascinating, and exciting. The Old and New Testaments’ prophets and prophecies are full of promise and hope even through the judgements. The Lord came the first time to save the lost and pay our penalty for our sins. Too many missed Him because they ignored or were ignorant of the prophecies which they had learned detailing His first coming. The Lord will be coming again, and signs He told us to watch for are getting clearer and closer together.
When it comes right down to it, interpretations by others who’ve studied long and hard is still a guess. So how do we know if we should believe their interpretations if that’s all they are. That’s where studying the scriptures comes in- and we’re told to search the scriptures and study them daily, and Proverbs 1:5 tells us “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding …”
Studying the prophecies of Scripture is not a waste of time, and for unbelievers it gives them an idea of what they can avoid should they seek and accept Jesus now instead of waiting. My sister came to Christ in part by the fear of ‘what if’… If she was the only one, my studying would still be worth it, but I believe there are more out there who can be helped by learning about the prophecies, even if they don’t fully understand.
Prophecy is behind almost every promise Christians trust and hope in; the hope of salvation and the joy of eternity with Jesus. With promises like that, why would Christians want to stop learning prophecies or mock others for doing so, especially if it glorifies the Lord. To me, that’s a good thing and well worth studying.