Why is end time prophecy necessary?

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By BibleAsk Team


End time prophecy is a significant aspect of Christian theology and biblical study. It encompasses the biblical teachings and predictions regarding the events that will occur at the end of the age, leading up to and including the second coming of Jesus Christ. Understanding why end time prophecy is necessary involves exploring its biblical foundation, theological importance, and practical implications for believers.

Biblical Foundation of End Time Prophecy

The Bible contains numerous passages that discuss end time events, offering a prophetic roadmap that believers can study and understand. These passages are found in both the Old and New Testaments and are integral to the overall message of Scripture.

Old Testament Prophecies

  1. Daniel’s Visions: The Book of Daniel is filled with visions and prophecies about the end times. Daniel’s visions provide a detailed and symbolic picture of future events, including the rise and fall of kingdoms and the final judgment. Daniel 12:1-2 (NKJV): “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
  2. Isaiah’s Prophecies: Isaiah contains prophecies about the coming Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom. These prophecies often blend immediate historical context with future fulfillment. Isaiah 2:2-4 (NKJV): “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

New Testament Prophecies

  1. Jesus’ Teachings: Jesus spoke extensively about the end times, providing important insights into what believers should expect and how they should live in anticipation of His return. Matthew 24:3-14 (NKJV): “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.'”
  2. The Book of Revelation: Revelation is the most detailed and comprehensive book in the New Testament regarding end time prophecy. It describes the final battle between good and evil, the return of Christ, the final judgment, and the creation of a new heaven and new earth. Revelation 1:1-3 (NKJV): “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 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.”

Theological Importance of End Time Prophecy

End time prophecy is not merely about predicting future events; it holds profound theological significance that impacts how believers understand God, His purposes, and their own lives.

Affirming God’s Sovereignty

End time prophecy affirms God’s sovereignty over history. It reveals that God has a plan and purpose for the world that is being worked out according to His divine will. This assurance is crucial for believers, especially in times of uncertainty and chaos.

Isaiah 46:9-10 (NKJV):

“Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.'”

Providing Hope and Encouragement

The whole purpose of end time prophecy is that we may know the nearness of the coming of the Lord so that we may be ready. God doesn’t want us to be in the dark so He gave us the signs of the end. He said, “when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33). But Christ did not intend that we should know with exactitude when He would return. The signs He gave would only testify to the closeness of His coming, but, He declared clearly the “day and hour” of that event “no one knows” (Matthew 24:36).

End time prophecy provides hope and encouragement to believers. It assures them that despite the present struggles and sufferings, God has a glorious future in store for those who remain faithful.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NKJV):

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Encouraging Holy Living

The knowledge of Christ’s imminent return motivates believers to live holy and godly lives. Knowing that they will one day stand before Christ encourages them to live in a way that honors Him.

2 Peter 3:10-14 (NKJV):

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”

Practical Implications for Believers

End time prophecy has practical implications for how believers live their lives today. It affects their worldview, priorities, and daily decisions.

Strengthening Faith

Studying end time prophecy strengthens the faith of believers. It helps them to trust in God’s promises and remain steadfast in their commitment to Him, even in difficult times.

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV):

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Encouraging Vigilance and Readiness

End time prophecy encourages believers to be vigilant and ready for Christ’s return. It warns against complacency and spiritual slumber, urging believers to be watchful and prepared.

Matthew 24:42-44 (NKJV):

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Studying prophecy is very important because it helps Christians to distinguish between the “great signs and wonders” of the false prophets (Matthew 24:24), and the true signs mentioned by Jesus. It helps them differentiate between those things which Jesus foretold would mark “the beginning of sorrows” (verse 8) at a time when “the end is not yet” (verse 6), and the signs that would show that His return “is near, even at the doors” (verse 33).

Jesus added, “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe” (John 14:29, NKJV). Jesus knew that the events of the immediate future would throw the disciples into great confusion, as would the trials they would face in their later ministry. Hence, He sought to forewarn them, that they might be ready (John 13:19). In like manner, God gave us end time prophecies not to alarm us but to prepare us for what is coming so that we would remain calm, active, and set our priorities straight.

Concerning the last generation, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:3435, NKJV). Today, it is the privilege and duty of every Christian to study prophecy and remain alert, to watch for the signs of His return, and to know when His coming is near (verse 33).

Motivating Evangelism and Discipleship

The knowledge of impending judgment and the return of Christ motivates believers to share the gospel and make disciples. The urgency of the times compels them to reach out to others with the message of salvation.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV):

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Offering Comfort in Suffering

End time prophecy provides comfort to those who are suffering. It assures them that their suffering is temporary and that they have an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken away.

Revelation 21:4 (NKJV):

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Conclusion

End time prophecy is a crucial component of the Christian faith. It provides a framework for understanding the unfolding of God’s plan for the world, offers assurance of His sovereignty, and gives hope and encouragement to believers. By studying end time prophecy, believers are strengthened in their faith, motivated to live holy lives, encouraged to be vigilant and ready for Christ’s return, and compelled to share the gospel with urgency. The Bible, through both the Old and New Testaments, provides a comprehensive and detailed picture of the events that will occur at the end of the age, and these prophecies are essential for guiding and sustaining believers as they navigate the challenges of the present world while looking forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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