By Nathan Jones
Is the study of Bible prophecy a time-wasting distraction?
One of America's best known and most popular pastors has declared that the study of Bible prophecy is a distraction. What about it? Is it a waste of time to study Bible prophecy? Is the subject appropriate only for fanatics? Or, can it be green pastures for believers? Does it have any relevance for the here and now, or is it just pie-in-the-sky?
A panel of 18 Bible prophecy experts answers those very questions! To find out, read or watch below.
David Hocking, Hope for Today Ministries
I appreciate the question because I happen to live close by that pastor. I've confronted him about his statement, so I know him. He uses a passage in Acts 1 to prove his point. But, once again as we often see, we forget that Peter said no prophecy of the Scriptures have any private interpretation. He takes the liberty to privately interpret a passage that does not refer to what Paul said, and that's sad to me.
The fact is that prophecy is honored, especially by the Apostle Peter. He tells us how important it is for believers today to understand what God is doing and that the holy men of God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I think we need to stick with the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.
Andy Woods, Sugar Land Bible Church
Well, if Bible prophecy is a distraction, God made a big mistake because some 27% of His own Word — that's over a quarter — was prophetic at the time it was written. If we are to be ministers of the full council of the Word of God, then at some point we have to be talking about Bible prophecy since it's revealed in huge sections of Scripture.
I think the exact opposite is the problem. I think it's the world that's distracting us, such as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Paul talked about how we need our minds transformed away from the pattern of this world. The way that happens is through prophecy, because it reminds us about what's important.
Bible prophecy tells us only two things are going to make it from this life into the next. That's the Word of God because, "The grass withers, the flower fades, the Word of God abides forever." And, the souls of men and women. So, obviously why rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic? Let's focus on the two things that are going to last. The world is distracting us, but prophecy gets us centered.
Allan Walker, Allan Walker Ministries
Bible prophecy when it is taught in a balanced way is not a distraction. It is an integral part of the whole council of God's Word. We must hold to the fundamentals of the faith and to Bible prophecy, which by the way, makes up about a third of Scripture. If we have a Bible-based agenda for ministry, then we will have lasting answers for the problems that people have and not man-made answers.
August Rosado, Today in Bible Prophecy Ministries
If Bible prophecy is a distraction, then God wants us distracted. Some one-fourth of the Bible deals with prophecy, from Genesis all the way to the book of Revelation. God says there's a blessing for those who study prophecy. All one has to do is read Revelation 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."
On the flip side of that coin, there's a warning to those who neglect the study of Bible prophecy. Read 2 Peter 1:19. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts."
To say that prophecy is a distraction, it is a good distraction. God wants us distracted. He wants us to study Bible prophecy.
Don Perkins, According to Prophecy Ministries
The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:19-21 that we have a more sure Word of prophecy. The Bible says that the Word of God, including Bible prophecy, it is a light in dark places. Therefore, Bible prophecy is not a distraction, for it gives light in the areas that we don't know.
Who would read a book by starting with the beginning of the book, reading the middle of the book, and then throw the book away without finishing it? No! By the end of the book, you want to know the end of the story. Bible prophecy gives us the end of God's story. It's not a distraction then, for it gives us answers in regards to what God is going to do.
For that pastor to make that statement, to me, really shows his lack of understanding concerning Bible prophecy.
Al Gist, Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries
Bible prophecy is anything but a distraction. Bible prophecy is one of the greatest tools of evangelism that we have. It tells unbelievers that they don't have much time left. They'd better get their life right with the Lord because He is coming soon.
For the Church, Bible prophecy teaches holiness. It teaches us a standard of living that's commenced with what the Bible says God's people should be.
One of my favorite Scriptures about prophecy is found in 2 Peter 1 where it says in verse 19 that we have also a more sure word of prophecy where unto you would do well that you take heed. Therefore, that pastor needs to pay close to that because God Word says we need to pay close attention to Bible prophecy, for it's a more sure Word.
In the second segment concerning the question "Is Bible prophecy a distraction?," some more members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will share what the Bible has to say.