An Introduction to Bible Prophecy
Matthew 25:13 – “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day: nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
INTRODUCTION: Eschatology is the study of the future world or the study of last things. Below is a simplistic version of God’s timeline of the End Times. There are many details left out; but this simple chart can help guide our study of the End Times. Keep this chart in mind as we begin our study of the Doctrine of Eschatology or the Doctrine of Last Things.
There are over 1,000 passages of Scripture that were prophecies at the time they were written. Over 28 percent of the Bible was prophetic when it was written. More than half of these prophetic Scriptures have already been fulfilled.
When studying the end times in the Bible we will seek to apply the Golden Rule of Bible interpretation. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word at its primary, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise.” We are to study and to teach the whole council of God. (Acts 20:27 – For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.) The Apostle Paul taught very young Christians the whole council of God. One of his first epistle’s he wrote was I & II Thessalonians. Both of these contain a lot of prophetic passages. Paul did not hesitate to teach these. Paul wanted these Christians to know what was to come. (I Thessalonians 4:13 – But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.) So we too need to from time to time take up a study of the last things or the things which are to come; if we are to be obedient to the commands and instructions of God to know, study and meditate on His entire written revealed Word to man, the Bible.
REASONS TO STUDY BIBLE PROPHECY – God must consider Bible prophecy very important because He has put so much of it in the Bible. As mentioned earlier, at the time the Bible was written over 28% of it was prophetic in nature. So why study Bible prophecy?
- A proper understanding and knowledge of Bible prophecy will protect the believer from cults, false religions and false predictions of the end of the world. (Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. & Matthew 24:42 – Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.)
- A proper understanding of Bible prophecy should be a highly motivating factor to the Christian to go out and evangelize the lost before it is too late and they are left behind. (Matthew 24:40 – Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.)
- Studying Bible prophecy will help us to know the Lord at a more intimate level. We will learn more about Him and the future He has planned for us and grow to love Him more because of it. (Revelation 1:7-8 – Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.)
- Studying prophecy can bring us comfort in a comfortless age. When we hear of all that is wrong with the world. When we hear of wars breaking out. When we hear of earthquakes and natural disasters, when we see the news reports of tsunamis and hurricanes. When we see the dark clouds of the sad condition of the world; look up for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh! (Luke 21:28 –And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.)
WE CAN TRUST WHAT THE BIBLE TELLS US OF THE END TIMES – In the Scriptures God has provided us with everything we need to know about the end times and we can trust all of it. All of the Bible and the prophecies contained therein are of Divine origin. (Zechariah 7:12 – Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.)
- Because the Bible is the ultimate authority on all things in our lives we need to submit to this authority and trust what it says concerning the End Times. We can trust the accuracy of the Author of Scripture. (II Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.)
- The Apostle Peter gives us key insight regarding the human and Divine interchange in the writing of Scripture. (II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)
- Jesus confirmed the Divine authority of Scripture. (Matthew 4:4 – But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.)
- Scripture will not perish. (Matthew 5:17-18 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.)
- The Bible is infallible. (John 10:35 – If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;)
- The Bible is without mistake or error. (John 17:17 – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.)
- The Bible is historically reliable. (Matthew 12:40 – For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.)
- The Bible is supreme over mans traditions! (Matthew 15:3,6 – But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.)
WHY HASN’T THE LORD COME BACK ALREADY? (II Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.) God is a loving patient God. He is providing plenty of time for people to repent of their sins and come to a personal relationship with Him.
- We need to make sure as we begin to study the End Times that we are prepared for them. We need to examine ourselves. We need to make 100% sure that we have asked the Lord Jesus by faith to become our Savior. (Ephesians 3:17 – That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,)
- It takes faith in the death and shed blood of our Savior on the cross paying the penalty of our sin in our place. Dying for us that we might have eternal life through His death. (Hebrews 9:28 – So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.)
- He was crucified, buried and rose again so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. So that we would not have to face the times that are coming for those who are left behind here on earth after the rapture of the church. Are you 100% sure you are on your way to Heaven? (II Peter 1:10a – Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: )
ISRAEL REBORN AS A NATION – This has been one of the most important prophetic events of our age. Certain Bible prophecies related to a desired destruction of Israel, and this could not take place until there was an Israel to destroy. (Ezekiel 36:10,24 – And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.)
- Jews began returning the land of Israel in the late 1800’s. They have returned to Israel from over 120 countries speaking no fewer than 83 different languages. For the most part they have returned to the land of Israel in unbelief.
- But one day they will recognize that it is the Lord that has brought them back to the land of Israel. The will recognize it is the Lord Jesus that is their Messiah. (Ezekiel 37:7,13-14 – So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.)
- The dry bones coming together is the long dormant nation of Israel coming back together again.
- The graves are reference to the gentile nations in which the Jews have been living. The Lord is taking them from these gentile nations and assembling them again as a nation in the land of Israel.
- The placing in their own land refers to of course a reestablished nation of Israel; which officially became a nation again May 14, 1948 with a population of 806,000. In 2007 that population had grown to nearly 7 million. The population increases yearly. Immigrant Jews return to Israel by the 10’s of thousands each year from all corners of the earth. We are witnessing the fulfillment of a Bible prophecy.
- For better understanding of the current state of Israel let’s look at a timeline of the reborn nation of Israel.
- 1881-1900: About 30,000 Jews who had been persecuted in Russia move to Palestine.
- 1897: The goal of reestablishing a home for the Jews in Palestine received a boost by the Zionist Congress convened in Basel, Switzerland.
- 1904-1914: 32,000 more Jews who had been persecuted in Russia move to Palestine.
- 1924-1932: 78,000 Polish Jews move to Palestine.
- 1933-1939: 230,000 Jews who were persecuted in Germany and central Europe move to Palestine.
- 1940-1948: 95,000 Jews who had been persecuted in central Europe move to Palestine. During part of this same time period over 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust by Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
- 1948: The nation of Israel was reborn.
- 1967: Israel captured Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights during the Six Day War, which was precipitated by a surprise Arab invasion.
BIBLE PROPHECY INDICATES THIS REBORN NATION OF ISRAEL WILL BECOME PROSPEROUS. This prosperity sets the stage for the reason of a future invasion of Israel. (Ezekiel 36:30 – And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.) The nation of Israel is enter woven in all of the End Times prophecies. A northern confederacy and the nations controlled by the Anti-Christ will want to destroy her. The Bible promises blessings to those nations that bless Israel and curses to those that do not. America’s future could very well be tied with whether she continues to stand with Israel or not to stand with Israel. (Genesis 12:3 – And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.)
IN CONCLUSION: We would be amiss if we did not recognize the importance of Bible prophecy, and how it points all those who study it to Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. All Bible prophecy, if you follow it down to its eventual conclusion, either points directly to Christ or points out one of the attributes of God’s nature. We need to keep in mind our Savior will one day rule and reign on this earth in the Millennial Kingdom. His life, His death and His resurrection is what makes it possible for all of us to take part in this Millennial Kingdom with Him. We need to make sure of our salvation, if there are any doubts; we need turn to the mighty, gracious and loving Jesus Christ and truly accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Call Him into your heart and make confession of Him with your tongue. (Romans 10:9, 10 & 13 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.)
Bible prophecy points out that God keeps His promises. It points out and demonstrates the justice of God. It points out and demonstrates the mercifulness of God, in that He bled and died to give all the opportunity to not have to face the justice we deserve; but to take the penalty that He paid in full for us instead, and accept His loving mercy and grace bestowed on our behalf. The End Times Bible prophecy shows us, to some extent, what great love Jesus has for the whole world, in that He wanted to provide a way for the whole world to not have to go through all the plagues and judgments of the end times. So that is why He offered Himself a sacrifice for all. Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? Have you acknowledged your sins and the future punishment and judgment you will face because of them? If not call on Jesus today to be your savior; so why did Jesus do all He did to save us from future judgment? He did it simply out of His great and merciful love for us. (John 3:16-17 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.)