Why study Bible Prophecy?
By Chris Schang
One of the best defenses of the Bible can be found in Bible prophecy for it shows the hand of God working in the lives of mankind as well as showing that he is in fact in control of things on Earth despite objections from skeptics. Bible prophecy is simply history told in advance. Being that God gave his revelation for the ages in the Holy Bible, we can simply compare when the prophets lived and when their written words came to pass to know that they are true.
Each prophet penned his words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and each genuine prophet of God has his prophecies validated. The Holy Spirit inspired the words that flowed from the pens of the prophets and in order to be considered a prophet of God these prophecies had to always be right. Only 100% accuracy will do when it comes to the Word of God. The Lord validated and authenticated his prophets by giving them both short and long term prophecies so that the people could recognize a legtimate prophet of God, as well as to heed their warnings about the future. Short term prophecies where future events that could happen in a short amount of time such as within a days or they could happen over a long time period of say 20 years. The point of these short term propehcies was to show the people that the person claiming to be a prophet of God was in fact a real prophet of God.
The other kind of prophecy was those that were long term which usually prophecies that were fulfilled long after the death of a prophet. Many of the long term prophecies have been fulfilled, while some await future fulfillment here in these last days. Another aspect of the propechies is that they were predictive meaning that the predicted things in the future and when they came to pass it showed that the prophecies were in fact from God. One can simply use the Statistical Laws of Probability, assign odds to the prophecies, and when they are multiplied together see that only the God of Israel could fulfill the incredible odds of being 100% right all the time.
While there have been many people over the years that claimed the gift of prophecy, many of these people have given inaccuarte and very vague prophecies. The prophets of God on the other hand often gave very specific prophecies like the one in Daniel where he tells us that 483 years from the issuing of the decree to rebuilt the City (Jerusalem) and Sanctuary that the Messiah would be cutoff or literally killed. Many of the prophecies of today given by so called prophets are simply examples of false prophets and these people give legitimate Bible prophecy a bad name. These people often use the prophetic office to promote the "name it and claim it" type of prosperity theology. Some of the examples of false prophets of today are Benny Hinn, Kim Clement, etc. These people have used the prophetic office and abused it so much as to damage the witness of Christianity. It is no wonder people are skeptical of Christianity when these false prophets claim to have heard from God and then their prophecies do not come true. Then of course there are the date-setters that come around regularly setting a date for a future event when the Bible has not foretold a specific date like it did with the previous exdample I used of Daniel. This is in turn causes people to be disappointed and blaming God for something he didn't do. These sort of things damage the witness of Christianity and case a dark shadow on Bible prophecy. But that need not be the case.
The wonderful thing about Bible prophecy, which is prophecy you can trust as it come from the Lord, is that you can always count on it being right. In fact, the Bible is so accurate that if one applies the Statistical Laws of Probability to the Bible they will be able to see without a doubt that the Bible is the word of God. There have been many studies done using just a handful of prophecies on a topic like the First Coming that show that whether it was Jesus or someone else that fulfilled the prophecies that the odds of anyone fulfilling them is astronomical. This is the hand of God in the affairs of mankind. This is proof that we can believe in God and that he we can have faith that he will fulfill his promises of reconciling mankind back to him for all that will accept his pardon from sin through the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So the question is Why study Bible prophecy? My answer would be that Bible prophecy is an excellent tool to prove the existence of God, show that he is in control, and that you can count on his promises that he makes to us. We know from God's character that he can't lie nor change his mind about his promises to us. We can take great comfort in knowing these things and knowing that he has a plan for the redemption of mankind. We can know that we have a loving Father in Heaven who knows everything about us and longs to have us to choose to be his children.
Another wonderful reason for studying Bible prophecy is that it provides us with warnings, hope, and inspiration in the future of mankind. For example, the book of Revelation is a prime example of God using prophecy to warn us about the things that are coming on to the Earth due to mankind's continued rebellion and disobedience against God. The Tribulation period is described in detail in the Book of Revelation and we can see that it is not going to be pretty as mankind will continue to rebel against God even as apocalyptic type judgments are poured onto the Earth. But while there are numerous warnings in Revelation about the coming Tribulation, Antichrist, and Armageddon there is also hope and inspiration of the pre-tribulational rapture of the church found in chapter 4. One of the greastest characteristics of God is that he is merciful to those who come to him in genuine repentence of their sins and accept his remedy for sin. Bible prophecy tells us that those who do so are made righteous in the eyes of God and will be spared the wrath of God in the Tribulation period.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is the one where God tells us that if you seek him with all your heart, that you shall find him. One of the best ways to find and prove the existence of God is through Bible prophecy. The Lord tells us in John 14, "And now I have told you before it came to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe."