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Plagues, pandemics, natural disasters, rumors of war, famines, economic collapse and many others – much have been happening around the world lately in the past decade, and the world is looking for answers. Many could try to provide answers, but the most reliable source that man has is no other than the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, and God has assigned the Church, His people to know and tell the world what His Word tells us about these events.
Surely, if we do not know the Word enough, we may just say that history just repeats itself and these will all pass. Partly it is true (Ecc. 1:9), but if we know our Bibles, we will see that in this particular time and season that we are living in, something special is going on that bears the mark of something very grand in the Eternal Plan of the Almighty God that has never happened in all the generations before. And this very particular time and season that we are living in is the very generation when our Lord Jesus Christ would return (Matt. 24:32-35).
But before we get to the explanation why this is the particular generation our Lord Jesus Christ would return in, we will first study why every Christian should study End Times Prophecy. What do we mean exactly by End Times? We shall give it a very basic definition of “The specific time and season when the Lord Jesus Christ would return to establish His Eternal Kingdom” as foretold in Daniel 12:9. Though of course it will include several years and events leading up to this very particular time in appointed history. What then is End Times Prophecy? It is the prophecies or the signs that pertain to the End Times. We can also go to the term used by theologians and scholars, that is “Eschatology”, as another name for the Study of the End Times Prophecy.
Let us first brief ourselves why many Christians and Churches today are not knowledgeable in End Times Prophecy, and there are several reasons for this, including:
1.) Most Christian Churches find Eschatology hard to understand and divisive. There have been so many doctrines in Church History that have been debated and caused church divisions, and Eschatology, is one of them. Its mixture of figurative/metaphorical and literal language caused it to be hardly understood by casual reading. Eschatology demands serious study to be understood correctly, for it belongs to the meat or solid foods (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12-14) of the Bible and is of the higher teachings. The ability of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) and the knowledge of world history and current events are two key ingredients for understanding Eschatology.
2.) Eschatology is rarely preached or taught in the Church. This is one direct result of reason number one mentioned above. I have seen that many Christians are eager to learn the End Times Prophecy, but cannot find the answers because their churches are not teaching it. This topic is best taught however in a series of lessons; like in a seminar for it is a deep study.
3.) Christians and churches have developed hostility towards it. This is partially due to the two reasons mentioned above. Another reason is because we have also suffered wrong teachings regarding the topic. One example of this is that we can never know the time and season of His Second Coming. With this wrong teaching, we become aloof to End Times Prophecy when we witness specific signs that indicate ‘this is the time’ for Christ’s Second Coming. This particular misinterpretation of the Bible is to be discussed in detail in Lessons 2 and 3.
Another reason for hostility against this area of Bible Study is that it is often seen as something separate from the Gospel of Salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. To many, an in-depth study of the End Times Prophecy diverts focus away from of the Gospel. Many of these same people believe the Gospel is all that we need to preach and teach. However, if any saint takes the time to understand the message of End Times Prophecy and take it into his heart, he will realize he cannot preach or teach End Times Prophecy without teaching the Gospel of Jesus, and vice-versa! In fact, Biblically, End Times Prophecy is an essential part of the Gospel! Surely, John the Baptist and Jesus said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” (Matt. 3:12; 4:17; Mark 1:15).
Now that we know the basic reasons why many Christians are not knowledgeable in End Times Prophecy, let us now discuss why every Christian should study End Times Prophecy. Studying End Times Prophecy brings us many blessings:
Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (emphasis mine throughout)
What are some of these blessings?
1.) Studying End Times Prophecy is an obedience to the Word of God. Most Christians read the Bible and see its truth but do not take their principles as commands. The opening statement of the Book of Revelation (the twin to the End Times book of Daniel) says,
Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
The whole book signifies that it is a revelation of God the Father given to Jesus Christ, and its purpose is to show its servants the things that will happen soon, thru the writing of the Apostle John. If we claim that we are God’s servants, then we must take this revelation unto ourselves; for God never intended that this revelation be hidden from us, His servants.
And if we in fact read and hear it, and keep the words of Revelation in our hearts, we shall be blessed. Remember, obedience always equals blessings:
Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
2.) Studying End Times Prophecy helps us to teach the disciples of Jesus the whole counsel of God. When Jesus gives His Great Commission to His apostles, He says:
Matt 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We cannot the obey the command of the Lord to teach His disciples the whole counsel of God if we do not teach them End Times Prophecy. One of the Great Themes of End Times Prophecy is the establishment of the Eternal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, which was explicitly mentioned in Daniel 2:44. And this theme is very central to the Gospel teachings of the Lord Jesus. In fact, two chapters of Matthew, chapters 24 and 25, deal with His Second Coming and His Eternal Kingdom. So, if we study End Times Prophecy and teach it to others, we are basically continuing the Gospel Message of the Lord Jesus Christ today.
3.) Studying End Times Prophecy gives us new fire in evangelism. The divine task of evangelism is not confined to the select few individuals or churches, but it is for all Christians. Once the message of End Times Prophecy is understood and taken to heart, it will ignite our hearts into a new fervor to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;
4.) Studying End Times Prophecy gives us new passion for personal holiness. Amidst all the hardships and sufferings that we endure, and all the sacrifices that we give for the Lord’s ministry, let us not forget that the major reason why we are saved is for us to be Christlike, and that is holiness:
Rom 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Reading Matthew 24 and 25, as well us major Scriptures regarding End Times Prophecy, we can’t help but realize that God calls us for holiness as one key evidence of our true faith in Jesus. To those who watch for the Lord’s soon return, keeping awake and watchful also means being holy:
1Thess 5:4-8 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
5.) Studying End Times Prophecy secures for us the Crown of Righteousness. This specific reward will be given for those who eagerly wait His Second Coming:
2Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
6.) Studying End Times Prophecy helps us to have the Crown of Life. This reward is given for those who remain faithful until the end:
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
7.) Studying End Times Prophecy helps us to secure our own salvation. Not all confessing Christians are truly saved (Luke 6:46; Matt. 7:22-23). Understanding the message of End Times Prophecy and taking it to heart will help us to evaluate ourselves truly before God to be prepared for the great Day of the Lord.
When the Pharisees failed to recognize the First Coming of the Lord Jesus, they missed to see that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah (Matt. 16:1-4), and they lost their very souls for always rejecting Him (Matt. 23:13)! We hope that this will not happen to our present generation, and we should be watchful for His Second Coming.
As a final note to this lesson, we study End Times Prophecy because we do not want to miss the Heart of God – His plans for His Eternal Kingdom, and for humanity. To others this study may be purely an intellectual endeavor, but personally, I am pursuing this as an act of getting intimate with my Father God. The more I study End Times Prophecy (and of course all the other truths in the Bible), the more the Fatherly Heart of God is revealed unto me, and the more I love Him and care for the people around me, especially the lost. And I pray that the same will happen to anyone reading this.
In the next two lessons, we will study in-depth how and why the Bible actually tells us that knowing the time and season of Jesus’ Second Coming can be discerned through careful study of End Times Prophecies, the whole Bible, knowing world history, and keeping watch of current worldwide events.
Let us pray:
“Lord God our Father, thank You for Your Eternal Plans and Purposes, without which there could be no hope for anyone who calls unto Your Name. I ask for Your forgiveness, because for so long we have been negligent and doubtful about the study of these plans, and of the End Times Prophecy. I humble down myself, and ask Your Holy Spirit to confirm into my heart the contents of this lesson – take away what is not Yours, and what comes from You in agreement with Your Word remain in my heart and mind. I ask Your Holy Spirit to guide me into all Truth, for You are God, and Your Word is alive and powerful, a perfect manifestation and revelation of Your Character, Love, and Eternal Plans. In Jesus’ Name, to You alone be the Glory, forever and ever, Amen!”