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 Reagan, Lamb & Lion Ministries
I believe it is important to study Bible prophecy. The first reason is the quantity of it. One-third to one-fourth of the Bible is prophetic in nature. This one point alone justifies our paying attention to what Bible prophecy says.
A second reason for studying Bible prophecy is its uniqueness. The Bible contains hundreds of fulfilled prophecies about peoples, cities, nations and empires. In contrast, there are no fulfilled prophecies in the Koran, the Hindu Vedas, or the Book of Mormon.
A third reason for studying Bible prophecy is that it validates the Bible as the inspired Word of God. What other explanation is there for the fact that the Bible contains so many specific prophecies about the future that have been fulfilled in detail?
A fourth reason for studying Bible prophecy is that it validates Jesus as who He said He was, namely God in the flesh. The evidence here is just simply overwhelming. Consider, for example, these facts. First, there are approximately 330 prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the First Coming of the Messiah, though many are repetitive, 109 are separate and distinct. The odds of just eight being fulfilled accidentally in someone's life are 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That's the number 1 with 17 zeros after it. That's a lot of zeros! That's one in one hundred quadrillion!
These are not random numbers that I have just pulled out of the sky. These are computations by a man named Peter Stoner who was a professor of physics at universities in California. He presented them in a book titled Science Speaks. Professor Stoner illustrated his probability computations by using the State of Texas. He said that 1 in 10 to the 17th power can be illustrated by filling the state of Texas knee-deep in silver dollars. Then he said, fly over the state and flip out of the airplane window one silver dollar with a black check mark on it. Next, turn loose about 10,000 bulldozers into the sea of silver dollars and let them get the coins mixed up very well. And finally, lead a blind-folded man to the border of the state and let him start walking across. The odds that when he picks up the first silver dollar it will have a black check mark on it is 1 in 10 to the 17th power!
Let me give you just one example of those 109 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. You'll find it in Psalm 22:16 where it says the Messiah will die by having His hands and feet pierced. That psalm was written by David 1,000 years before Jesus was born! At the time he wrote it, the Jewish method of execution was by stoning. One thousand years later, the Jewish method of execution was still by stoning, but the Jews could not execute anyone because they were under Roman rule. And, guess what? The Roman method of execution was by crucifixion. Thus Jesus was executed by having His hands and feet pierced, just as was prophesied.
A fifth reason for studying Bible prophecy is because it is a great tool of evangelism. I can't begin to tell you how many people have told me that they were converted to Jesus through their study of Bible prophecy. Hal Lindsey says that he has received thousands of letters from people telling him of their Christian conversions through the reading of his Bible prophecy book, The Late Great Planet Earth.
The effectiveness of using Bible prophecy as a tool of evangelism was demonstrated by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost when he preached the very first Gospel sermon. That sermon was nothing from beginning to end but a recitation of prophecies followed by a declaration that Jesus had fulfilled them.
A sixth reason for studying Bible prophecy is that it can serve as a great tool of moral teaching. Just start reading the prophets and you'll find them talking constantly about the sins of hypocrisy, immorality and injustice. They talked more about the here-and-now than they ever did about the future.
A seventh reason for studying Bible prophecy is that it can serve as a stimulus for spiritual growth. It provides hope. It inspires evangelism. It motivates holiness. These very practical, down-to-earth consequences prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bible prophecy is relevant to the here-and-now. It is not just some sort of pie-in-the-sky academic study.
An eighth reason for studying Bible prophecy is that it provides understanding of current national and international events. There is just no way you can understand the conflicts in the Middle East, or the apostasy that is raging in the Church, or the collapse of our society into immorality and violence without some knowledge of end time Bible prophecy where all these terrible events are prophesied in detail.
All of God's Word is profitable, and that includes God's Prophetic Word. So, read it, study it, and be blessed by it! And then share it with others.