Health and well-being are a high growth industry. This is especially true of ageing baby boomers (born between 1945-1965) who are spending billions of dollars to turn back the hands of the clock. Exercise, diet, peaceful living, sound sleep, fresh air - these things and more are offered to help improve the quality and longevity of life.
Amazingly, the Bible says very little about these things, even though it is dedicated to give you abundant life. Secrets of longevity are found in Scripture - but again, they have little to do with the world’s recipe. Things like walking in wisdom, watching your tongue, honouring parents, trusting God, are offered as pathways to a longer, happier, qualitative life.
What is greatly overlooked is that God’s Word, learned and applied, has remarkable transforming qualities. These apply to individuals, communities, and nations. Very special in the realm of Scripture is the vital topic of Bible prophecy. Once a wildly popular topic a few decades ago, preaching and teaching on prophecy have been greatly reduced in the contemporary church. The reasons for these vary: too much date-setting, overreach in predictions, imbalanced and exaggeration interpretations, which sell books but leave people alarmed and disturbed. The recent ‘blood red moon’ event causes a lot of excitement but also angst among those who were following it. Postmodernism, with is shunning of absolute truth and therapeutic attitude - wants to help people ‘feel good’ rather than be good - also rules out Bible prophecy.
A mature age student once asked me ‘Does it really matter if I learn Bible prophecy? I just want to plant churches and win souls. Does it matter if there is a pre-trib. or post-trib. rapture, or if Christ will rule on earth for a 1,000 years?
Good question. Here is the short answer: ‘Yes, Bible prophecy matters.’ From 25 to 33% of Scripture is devoted to prophecy. To say that it ‘does not matter’ means you kiss good-bye to a big chunk of God’s Word.
Yet there is more. Better than diet, exercise, or even fresh air, Bible prophecy is good for you - very good. Here’s how:
1. Bright light (II Peter 1:19): In this increasingly darkened world, Bible prophecy is likened to a light that shines in a dark place. Indeed, it would be fair to say that Bible prophecy is the brightest light we have on this planet until Jesus, the light of the world, returns (John 8:12).
2. Affirms Christ (Luke 24:44): There are dozens of Old Testament prophecies about the first coming of Christ which were fulfilled to the letter. When we see Christ in the prophecy, we have greater proof of His Personhood and mission;
3. Insight to the future (John 16:13): It is God’s will that His people have a ‘heads up’ to what the future holds. The Holy Spirit and prophecy go hand-in-hand and when we learn prophecy, as quickened by the Spirit, we have insight into ‘things to come;’
4. Incentive for evangelism (Matthew 24:14): If we truly understand the nature of prophecy and the last days, it an motivate to share the gospel with others. It no longer becomes an option, but an imperative.
5. Prosperity (II Chronicles 20:20): King Jehoshaphat told the besieged people of Judah: ‘Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ This divine prosperity is given because people are living in harmony with God’s end-time purposes and they are blessed in the process.
6. Affirms Scripture (Matthew 26:54; Mark 14:49; John 10:35; 19:36): This was Christ’s greatest commitment - no matter what price, pain, or poverty He experienced, above all else the Scripture must be fulfilled. This fulfilment is what prophecy does so well - when you see these things come to pass, it again proves the veracity of God’s Word;
7. Incentive for holiness (II Peter 3:10-13): When we know that the footsteps of the Messiah are at the door, we will no longer be living in careless and carnal lifestyle. We will live in a holy manner, without which no man shall see the LORD (Hebrews 12:14).
8. Comfort and edification (I Thessalonians 5:11): Some people think that Bible prophecy is designed to scare the daylights out of people. The devil, mark of the beast, the false prophet, the whore of Babylon - these things are enough to ruin anyone’s day. Yet, as we see from the above, prophecy is actually given to build up and comfort believers. It encourages, not discourages; enlightens, not darkens; it blesses, not curses.
9. Blessing (Revelation 1:3): In addition to comfort and edification, prophecy bestows blessing. In Revelation 1:3, it gives you a written guarantee of blessing when you ‘read and heed’ this prophecy … indeed, all prophecy.
When you consider the great benefits of Bible prophecy, the sooner you can imbibe it, the better off you will be. Bible prophecy is truly good for you.