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Why Study Bible Prophecy?

by Bob Russell

Bob Russell1(Gleaned from www.bobrussell.org Jan. 5, 2014)

A week ago my wife and I flew to Florida where we are spending time with my son Rusty and his family. Rusty is the minister of the New Day Christian Church in Port Charlotte.

The Sunday after Christmas he gives his worship leader the weekend off and Rusty and his wife Kellie, and their four children, Charlie (a sophomore at Johnson University) Tommy (13), Kimberly (12) and Johnny (9) lead worship for his church.

It was a joyful and proud day for me to see my grandchildren use their musical gifts to lead in the worship of God and then to hear my son preach the gospel. I’m impressed that my grandchildren have considerable musical ability since I have zero talent in that area. I don’t know enough about music to know if they did well but it sounded really good to me!

On Sunday morning I began a three week series titled, “11:59-The Soon Return of Jesus Christ” at New Day Church. Most preachers aren’t saying much about the second coming of Christ these days. One of the reasons is that ministers don’t want to be identified with the wackos who have sensationalized the subject. Several weeks ago a well-meaning Kentucky high school student refused to participate in a state track meet because she was assigned the number 666. She said it went against her Christian convictions to wear the devil’s number. While I appreciate her standing for her beliefs, that’s not the intent of that prophecy.

Other extremists have made the Christian community look foolish by predicting exact dates when Christ will return or wrongfully identifying some popular world-leader as the antichrist. Not wanting to be identified with idiocy, many preachers back off Bible prophecy altogether. Besides when there are so many difficult issues that face us in the present why focus on something that may not occur for another 2000 years?

In my first message (which can be seen at New Day Christian website), I listed four present benefits of studying prophecy.

First, it reaffirms our faith in the Bible as God’s Word. Only God can accurately predict the future and as we see predicted events unfold we gain renewed confidence in the Bible as the inspired word of God. Simon Peter wrote, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns…” (2 Peter 1:19).

Second, it reminds us of our ultimate hope in an age of despair. The world’s problems seem to be unsolvable and our system of government seems to be unraveling. But Christians have a reason for optimism. “…we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Third, a study of prophecy motivates us to holiness. Simon Peter wrote, “…since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:11-12).

     Last, when we understand the time may be short it intensifies our focus on evangelism.  “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

     A study of Bible prophecy reminds us there is a heaven, there is a hell and there is a hurry.

 

           Bob Russell is retired Senior Minister of the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10