Friday, October 28, 2016

The Purpose of Preaching Bible Prophecy

Have you ever been asked the question, “How do you know that the Bible is actually the Word of God?” There are several answers you could give in response. You could start by examining the archeological evidence. There have been countless discoveries made and none of them contradicts the Bible but only validate its claims. Then, you could consider the consistency found with the Scriptures. The Bible is a collection of 66 different documents written by 40 different authors who came from different backgrounds. It was written over a period of 1,500 years from three different continents and in three different languages. Yet for all of that the Bible maintains its internal consistency from Genesis to Revelation. You could also investigate the scientific accuracy of the Bible and how it pointed out that the earth is round (Job 26:10) long before that fact was discovered, or how the sun moves on a circuit (Psalm19:6). You could spend your time researching ancient manuscripts and find the evidence overwhelming. But one of the most amazing parts of the Bible is Prophecy.

1.    Prophecy sets the Bible apart

2 Peter 1:19-21 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is a prophetic book. It’s estimated that one third of the Bible is prophecy. Of the 216 chapters in the New Testament there are 318 references to the second coming of Christ. In other words if you left out the prophetic verses you would have to remove one of every 30 verses. Of all of the other religious books that are available today claiming to have spiritual truth, from the book of Mormon, the Quran or Hindu Vedas, none contains fulfilled prophecy. Yet, the Bible is full of fulfilled prophecy.

2.    Prophecy Points us to Jesus

Revelation 19:10 For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

As you study through the Old and New Testaments you find that Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophecies in His lifetime. The following is a list of examples: Born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14), born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), from the line of Abraham (Genesis 12:6), from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), His death by crucifixion (Psalm 22:16), His resurrection from the dead (Psalm 16:10), and the list goes on. If, therefore, prophecy points to Jesus then we had better be preaching prophecy.

3.    Prophecy is an incentive to live a holy life

Because so much of biblical prophecy has been fulfilled it motivates me to live a holy life. Because the Bible tells us what Daniel and Ezekiel were shown by the Lord it inspires me to live a life that is set apart for the purposes of God. When I read the words of Jesus pointing to the signs of the times it keeps me looking up. John said, “He who has this hope purifies himself just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

4.    Prophecy sparks evangelistic efforts

Think of what Paul said, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess.4:16-17). There is nothing left on the prophetic calendar that has to take place before the rapture happens. And when the Lord descends with a shout there will be many that are left behind. Those who scoffed saying, “where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning” (2 Peter 3:4). If we truly believe the prophecies of the Bible, then we want others to come to know Christ. Studying prophecy and understanding its content motivates me to take the gospel to the world.

5.    Prophecy provides hope for the future

Studying biblical prophecy helps me to understand that there is hope in the midst of a chaotic world. The Lord has revealed the end even before it takes place. And the end of the story is glorious. It’s no wonder that when John wrote Revelation he said, “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” (Rev.1:3). There is a blessing attached to being a student of biblical prophecy. It gives you hope and reminds you that there is more to come. It helps you realize that your future is as bright as the promises of God’s word revealed in prophecy.

To the pastor who preaches, keep preaching prophecy. Keep pointing people to the signs of the times. Teach the people from Old and New Testament Bible prophecy and how it correlates. Show them what has been fulfilled and what has yet to be fulfilled. Keep heralding God’s unchanging truth in changing times. Until the whole world hears.