Why study prophecy?
If you were to omit passages about prophecy, you would have to remove one out of every 30 verses in the New Testament. You would also have to skip 23 of the 27 New Testament books which mention prophecy.
Jesus not only spoke many times about the future, He also rebuked people who didn't seem to recognize the significance of the events taking place around them. He scolded those who could read the sky for weather, but were unable to read the signs of the times (Luke 12:56). Jesus wants us to investigate what the Bible has to say about the future.
THE PROTECTION OF PROPHECY
Jesus knew an understanding of prophecy would protect us from future deceptions. In Matthew 24:4-5, He said, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."
Jesus said in John 16:1, "These things I have spoken to you about the future that you should not be made to stumble." If you know what Jesus says about the future, you won't fall into the trap of panic or distress.
Satan knows that if you read Revelation, you'll see that the adversary who is tempting you everyday has already been assigned to the Lake of Fire. If you see Satan as a defeated foe in the future, that helps you to be victorious over him today. Prophecy will protect you from Satan's attacks in the present.
THE PREPARATION OF PROPHECY
Be prepared. Always be ready for the Lord's return, which will be as unpredictable as a thief in the night. First Thessalonians 5:4 says, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief." Prophecy prepares us to meet the Lord anytime.
Prophecy also prepares us for future events. Hardly a day goes by that we don't read about wars or rumors of wars, natural disasters or lawlessness in the newspaper. World calamities never take God by surprise. In John 16:4, Jesus said, "These things I have told you that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them." By reading biblical passages about prophecy, you will be prepared for the days ahead. For even though the time of sorrows is coming, that means the day of redemption is drawing near.
THE PRACTICALITY OF PROPHECY
The Book of Revelation is not only for understanding -- it is for application. For each prophetic message, there is a present day application.
For instance, if you are aware of Christ's imminent return, that will impact your desire to witness to others about the Gospel. If we take prophecy seriously, it will affect the way we live -- resulting in our reaching out to the lost because we understand what will happen in the future. Prophecy is intensely practical -- the driving force behind evangelism and righteous living.
THE PRIZE OF PROPHECY
Revelation 1:3 says, "Blessed is he who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near." If you follow the instructions in the book, God has promised a prize of blessing for you.
Prophecy gives us a glimpse into the future so that we will know how to live in the present. That's why prophecy is so prominent throughout the pages of the Bible. It protects us from deception and prepares us for Christ's return. Prophecy is not only an academic exercise; it's practical for everyday living. Then at the end of our lives, we will receive a great prize of blessing if we heed prophecy's instructions.
The Book of Revelation is not an imaginative piece of spiritual fiction to tickle our fancy. Instead, it is a guidebook to teach us the sequence of events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. Read this panorama of prophecy that will change your life, for today and for eternity.
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.