Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…

Bible Prophecy: Why Study It?

4 Comments

bibsAmongst Christians, there seem to be two schools of thought concerning Bible Prophecy. One school of thought, possibly the vast majority of Christians, simply chose to ignore it; while at the other extreme they embrace it to the point of ridicule.

So how should we Christians regard Biblical Prophecy? To answer this question we need to look at a few facts concerning prophecy in the Bible and then ask ourselves a few pertinent questions. Hopefully we will be able to come up with a sensible answer to this apparent dilemma.

Firstly, let us make it very clear that we believe, and know, that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God.

There are various estimates about how much of the Bible concerns prophecy, but we go along with the view of a number of Bible scholars who have calculated that some 30% of the Bible is prophetic; therefore making bible-cover-pageprophecy a substantial portion of the Bible. They also calculate that 80% of Bible prophecy has been fulfilled; leaving 20% of it unfulfilled.

The Bible contains about 31,000 verses and if we assume one prophecy = one verse, we find that over 9,000 Bible verses are prophetic with nearly 2,000 prophetic Bible verses remaining to be fulfilled.

Since God included so much prophetic insight in His Word, how can we simply ignore it? Primarily prophecy is a message from God, not merely foretelling future events. Of course it goes without saying that we have to be careful not to interpret unfulfilled prophecy to suit our position, whatever that may be. Date setting is one particular example where some Bible scholars have opened themselves up to ridicule, as well as bringing disrepute upon Christians in general and the Bible in particular.

So yes, we believe in the importance of Bible prophecy and the need to study it to try to help us explain some of the events currently taking place or unfolding in the world. Some of these we will look at and discuss from time to time.

We also believe that we need to be aware of the “signs of the times” so that we are not like the people (and religious leaders) of 2,000 years ago who, from prophetic scriptures then known to them, should have known the time of Jesus’ coming.

We don’t want the rebuke they received from Him when he said in Luke 12: 56:

“Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?” NIV

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in the new series of “Bible Prophecy” on this blog.

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Author: GraceandTruth

bringing the gospel to life

4 thoughts on “Bible Prophecy: Why Study It?

  1. I have studied “prophecy” as a pastor and scholar. My frustration with popular views of “prophecy” is they tend to ignore God and the Bible, even while quoting the Bible. EVERY true prophet called, and calls, people back to God. Any presumed prediction which doesn’t explicitly fit this is wishful thinking. Very little of the prophets’ writings predict – it is mostly conditional, namely, “If you do this then this will happen” or “If you don’t do this then this will happen” and it is all related to obedience to God, not unfolding history. Prophecy has become a synonym for prediction in our culture. That’s more “fun” than the prophetic call to return to God – or else… Also, God’s way is simple, and “experts” in prophecy have charts and timelines and complex connections between Bible verses, which by my thinking proves they are off track. God wants people to be saved, not drowned in complex human arguments and proofs. Love and serve God even while reading the prophets. This sounds more harsh than I would like, but I have fought against those who connect Bible to history, are proven wrong, and still have a following! Deut 13 and 18:9-22, esp 22, So, when you post material like that I will trip over myself to support you, loudly. If I sense it going cultural I will nudge you back. Our life is about service to God, being a light to draw people to the Saviour, not intellectual dancing.
    Forgive me for mouthing off before I even see what you have done. It is just a big issue, since prophets were used by God to write so much of the Bible.
    Peace

    • Thanks, I appreciate your comment and concerns. I too have similar concerns over “prophets” who presume to speak a word for God in His name, and yet time and time again are proven false, and yet parts of the Church still maintain that they are “prophets”, disregarding Deut 18:20-22 as you rightly quoted.

      I believe that as followers of Jesus we are each called to be prophets, in the sense that we are to proclaim the Way of salvation to God, through faith in His son Jesus Christ. I do believe also in the “office” or appointing of a prophet, and I absolutely agree with you that a true prophet calls people back to God, calls people to obedience and to wake-up and edifies and builds up the Church as well. I believe the true prophet has been called to a very difficult and lonely office and that he/she will be rejected much during his/her lifetime because the message he proclaims will not be a popular one.

      That being said, I also believe in the prophetic office/anointing of being able to understand the times we live in. Like the tribe of Issachar in 2 Chronicles 12:32 who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do”, so the “people who understand shall instruct many” (Daniel 11:31). As the Body of Christ, we need to be understanding the times we are living in. I am not talking about making random predictions of the future, I am talking about “watching” as Jesus commanded us to do (Matt 24:42). Watching is to stay-awake, to be sober, to be vigilant against the enemy, to use our mind to interpret end-times Bible prophecy and to pray. 1 Thess 5 talks about the coming Day of the Lord and says that that day will come as a “thief in the night” but then in verse 4 it says “But you brethren are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day…therefore let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch and be sober…”

      Correct Bible prophecy is in fact a call to return to God, to see where we are at in history and to wake-up from our comfortable beds of Laodicean luxury and see that our redemption draws nigh. It challenges us to “redeem the time” because there’s not much left. Bible prophecy used correctly will cast off complacency in believers as they once again begin to watch for their Lord’s return (as has been cast aside in recent times). It will also cause non-Christians to turn to God when they see that what the Bible prophesied thousands of years ago has happened, (as in the case of Israel being restored in 1948), and what will happen.

      Just as the prophets prophesied over 300 prophecies of Christ’s first coming, being born of a virgin, born in Bethelehem etc etc, so the prophets prophesied about His second coming. These prophecies, that have already been spoken and recorded in the Word of God, are what we seek to unfold and share, not to make new predictions or prophecies concerning the future.

      I hope this helps to clarify mine and Chris’ position in this subject. Of course you may disagree and I welcome comments and feedback as always.

      God bless you my brother in Christ

      • No, I do not disagree! Foretelling is a part (though a small part which is why my emphasis on calling back to God) and cannot be discarded. Your tone of caution, your observation of prophets upsetting the complacency, and respect for the office of the appointed prophets settle my mind a lot. Besides, your kindness to take such a lot of time to respond I respect and am humbled that you should do that for a mere blogger.
        I repeat I will affirm you in your rightly dividing the word of truth, and I do so for what you have just said. Thank you, truly.
        Peace

      • I think we are on the same page 🙂
        I am a mere blogger myself, I love responding and conversing with people and would love more of it actually!
        God bless you again

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