Over the past five or more years I’ve truly learned the importance of studying God’s word daily. I’ve developed the discipline of reading scripture every day and asking questions. Seeking for truth and understanding that can be so difficult to find. Some days I walk away with more questions than answers but God is still teaching me His truths. He isn’t afraid of my questions. The lack of cultural insight coupled with the “lost in translation” issues only compound the problem.
So this year I’ve taken a new approach and am learning so much each day that I feel as if I’m back in school. I realized last year that I didn’t understand a large portion of the Bible – prophecy. I had never had anyone teach these things at church, nor have I heard many sermons on the subject. And there is a lot of prophecy in the Bible. I felt as though I was missing a huge chunk of the picture. And I was.
Reading the passages alone wasn’t enough for me to fully understand what was there. I needed some outside help. I started searching for solid teaching on prophecy, and man is that a task in and of itself. There are so many opinions and theories as to what the passages mean. Some are based soundly on other scriptures and historical records and some are just out there….way out there. I started having to research the people and the websites to weed out the false prophets. I pray daily that God will reveal His truth and keep me from any false teaching.
Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 ESV)
Signs of the End of the Age
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 them, “See that no one leads you astray. (Matthew 24:3-4 ESV)
Then I started hitting the big words. Words that I didn’t understand. Oh boy! Break out Wikipedia please! And can we talk for just a minute about the rabbit trails that would take me down! Oh how my head hurt at the end of the day! Hermeneutics. Dispensationalism. What is the doctrine of imminence, and why is it important? What is the difference between Acts 2, mid-Acts and Acts 28 church beginnings? Why are the settlement areas of Noah’s descendants important? Did you know that half of the prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled literally?
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3 ESV)
Thankfully, there are sound teachers out there. There are men who have spent their lives looking deeply into God’s word and have recorded their findings for us. We don’t have to start from scratch or have a doctrinal degree in eschatology. God has put prophecy in His Word for our good and He says blessed is he who knows what the prophecies say and who is watching and ready for the things to come. He is pleased when we really seek Him. His prophecies reveal more of who He is and how He loves us.
I am no expert, but I am striving to know all that is knowable in God’s word. I am reading, considering and testing all things against God’s perfect word. I am seeking sound Christian mentors and teachers to help guide and correct me. And I’ll be sharing what I’m learning with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Studying the prophecies has opened up the rest of scripture in a whole new light, not to mention the evening news. Maybe I should have started here! (jk) I can’t urge you strongly enough to search the scriptures and know God’s word – all of it! If you aren’t voiced enough in the prophetic teaching of the Bible to hold an extended conversation about your stance and why you believe it to be true, you have some studying to do as I am doing. I can now tell you with confidence that I am a progressive dispensationalist who believes in a pre-tribulation rapture and a pre-millennial return of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
So when you see stories about people preparing for the end of days, the preppers, the beheadings of Christians, the aligning of nations, the ecumenical movement I hope you see God’s hand at work and don’t simply say these things are far-fetched, because you’ve been warned by your creator. You have a responsibility to know what is in His word.
So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. (Matthew 24:33 ESV)
But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. (Matthew 24:43-46 ESV)
Be ready. Be encouraged. Press on.