This doctrine (“end times,” or eschatology) is often relegated to—
- “Non-essential,” dividing believers
- Last thing (irony!)—if ever—covered in doctrinal studies and Bible surveys
- Too difficult to understand, so why bother invest the time
- Over generalization—specifics and particulars are mixed in to a vanilla ice cream “Jesus will raise the dead and all will be well.”
Such attitudes overlook these facts—
- 2 Timothy 3:16–17—all Scripture is profitable and necessary
- A large percentage of the Bible is prophecy
- A fuzzy knowledge of Bible prophecy and revelation means you go without the benefit and knowledge of its purpose
- Israel and the church looked to the fulfillment of God’s promises
- The only book in the Bible that blesses those who read, hear, and heed what it says is Revelation (1:3; 22:7)
Also, too often feelings and attitudes such as Spurgeon’s are made—
I would rather be the means of saving a soul from death than be the greatest orator on earth…than I would be made Archbishop of Canterbury…than explain all mysteries….than to be crowned in the arena of theological controversy as Dr. Sufficientissimus…than to have solved the problems of the religious Sphinx, or to have cut the Gordian knot of Apocalyptic difficulty” (Autobiography, 1:197).
This introduces a false dichotomy—that somehow being a “soul-winner” and being committed to a ministry of the whole counsel of God are opposed to each other. Prophecy is found throughout all of Scripture, and “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16–17).
Furthermore, focusing on “just” the gospel and rudimentary aspects of Christian living is out of sync with the NT pattern of fulfilling the Great Commission.
- During Jesus’ post-resurrection ministry, what did he teach the disciples about? “The things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
- Prophecy had a part of Peter’s gospel sermon, Acts 3:19–21
- Teaching about God’s plan for the future characterized Paul’s ministry, Acts 20:25; 28:23
- The historical record of Acts and apostolic teaching in the epistles (of which Revelation is included) inform Christians concerning the position and future of the church (the body of Christ) in relation to Israel.
- Such teaching was part and parcel of establishing churches in the whole counsel of God so they would be equipped to minister, grow in maturity and Christ-likeness, be protected from false doctrine, and grow in love as a body (Eph 4:12–16; 1 Thess 1:9; 5:2; 2 Thess 2:5).
Thus, no one should consider biblical prophecy as something unimportant, impractical, or unessential. Rather, it is of essential importance to your life and the church!
Consider the Scripture survey from last week—what practical profit is there in what Scripture says concerning end times?
So, as we begin this study of every chapter in the Bible, we will hit Revelation first!