Someone once said that Christians treat the book of Revelation like the priest and the Levite treated the wounded man in the parable of the Good Samaritan. They pass by it on the other side. Some avoid prophecy because it seems difficult to understand. Others feel too overwhelmed by the present to think about the future. Some pastors have never even preached from the book of Revelation because they don’t see its relevance to everyday life.
While many Christians are content to leave prophecy’s pages shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding, it is the only reliable information about our tomorrows. God knows the end from the beginning and foretells the future with absolute accuracy. The book of Revelation, along with other end-time prophecies, gives us a snapshot of the events that will precede the end of the world as we know it. The very word revelation means “the unfolding of that which was previously hidden or unknown."
1. Prophecy plays a leading role in the New Testament.
2. Prophecy proves the integrity of Scripture.
3. Prophecy protects us from false teaching.
4. Prophecy prepares us for the Last Days.
5. Prophecy provides practical guidance for everyday living.
6. Prophecy promises spiritual blessing.
Prophecy Plays a Leading Role in the New Testament
Out of the 216 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to the Second Coming of Christ. If we were to omit all the prophetic passages, we would have to remove one out of every thirty verses in the New Testament. We would also have to skip 23 of the 27 New Testament books that mention prophecy. For every prediction about the birth of Christ, there are eight about His Second Coming. Given prophecy’s prominence in Scripture, there can be little doubt about its significance to our lives.
Jesus often spoke about the future and rebuked people who didn’t recognize the significance of the events around them. In Luke 12:56, He said, “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?” The people of Jesus’ day had become experts at reading meteorological indicators to predict the weather. Yet, they ignored the prophetic signs of the Messiah’s coming. This warning applies to us as well. Jesus expects us to investigate what the Bible says about the future and seek His guidance as we attempt to understand the day and hour in which we live.
Prophecy Proves the Integrity of Scripture
In the days of the Old Testament, the prophets, seers, and people of Israel kept waiting for the Messiah’s arrival. Peter said, “The prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances” regarding the first coming of Christ (1 Peter 1:10-11, NIV).
Come, He did! In the fullness of time, Jesus satisfied every detail of the prophet’s predictions. He was a descendant of Abraham and the tribe of Judah (Genesis 12:3, 49:10). He came from David’s family line (Isaiah 9:7) and was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). His name was Immanuel; He was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). He based His ministry in Galilee, spoke in parables, and did wonders among the people (Isaiah 9:1-2; 6:9-10; 61:1-2). He was betrayed, pierced for our sins, and crucified with criminals (Zechariah 11:12-13; Isaiah 53:5, 12). After His burial in a wealthy man’s tomb, He rose again (Isaiah 53:9-11).
All these predictions and many more came true exactly as stated hundreds of years in advance. The study of Messianic prophecy is a remarkable journey into ironclad evidence for the integrity of Scripture.
But it’s not just Messianic prophecy. Many other events have occurred, just as the Bible predicted. The city of Tyre fell, according to Ezekiel’s prophecy (Ezekiel 26:1-21). After Alexander the Great’s death, his generals divided the kingdom into four parts (Daniel 11:1-4). In accordance with Daniel’s prophecy, the Roman Empire became a world power known for its “iron legions” (Daniel 7:7). Although God’s people didn’t have an exact calendar for these events, every one of Scripture’s predictions about events to date has come to pass in God’s perfect timing.
Prophecy Protects Us From False Teaching
Jesus prophesied about the End Times to protect us from false teaching. In Matthew 24:4-5, He warned, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” This warning is so essential that Scripture repeats it in Mark 13 and Luke 21.
We live in a day when deception is common. Even though Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “There is nothing new under the sun,” I regularly receive advertisements for dubious new doctrines and methods of understanding the Bible. Jesus said in John 16:1, “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.” Knowing what the Bible says about the future protects us from being deceived.
As much as God wants to place us under prophecy’s umbrella of protection, the devil wants to keep us out. Satan knows that reading 2 Thessalonians 2 will reveal his scheme to spread apostasy in the Last Days. And if we read Revelation 20, it will tell us that God has already assigned him to the lake of fire. Seeing Satan as a defeated foe in the future helps us to be victorious over him today. Prophecy protects us from Satan’s attacks.
Prophecy Prepares Us for the Last Days
Jesus told several parables to illustrate the importance of being prepared for His coming. One story was about a master of the house who had been robbed. If the master had known when the thief would come, he would have watched to prevent the robbery. The lesson is simple: be prepared. Always be ready for the Rapture, which will be as unpredictable as a thief in the night. First Thessalonians 5:4 says, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.” Bible prophecy prepares us to meet the Lord anytime.
Another benefit to prophecy is its ability to prepare us for the days ahead. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t read about wars, rumors of wars, natural disasters, or lawlessness in the news. These grim realities can be disheartening. However, Jesus told His disciples to anticipate this turn of events—that they would be signs of the end of the age. Tragedies never take God by surprise. In John 16:4, Jesus said, “These things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.” Studying Bible prophecy gives us courage for the days ahead. Although life on earth will continue to get worse, the day of the Rapture draws near.
Prophecy Provides Practical Guidance for Everyday Living
In the opening chapters of Revelation, one sentence appears seven times: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). In other words, “Listen up! I have something to say, and it’s important.” Prophecy contains practical instruction for every Christian.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Bible prophecy drives evangelism and righteous living. Knowing what’s coming encourages us to be ministry-oriented, reaching out to the lost. And living with an awareness of Christ’s imminent return increases our desire to share the Gospel. Prophecy elevates our perspective and energizes our walk with the Lord.
Some Christians view prophecy as something intellectual with no practical application. But we never want to be so future-minded that we neglect to apply God’s prophetic truth. He gave us the book of Revelation to help us anticipate what is coming and equip us for living in the world of the end.
Prophecy Promises Spiritual Blessing
Did you know the book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a prize to its reader? Both the beginning and end of the book reveal the reward. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 22:7 reiterates the blessing: “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” I don’t know about you, but when God gives me instructions for receiving a prize of blessing, I want to get in on it!
The book of Revelation, along with other prophecies, forms a guidebook that teaches us the sequence of events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. Biblical prophecy can seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be confusing if we understand what Scripture’s predictions mean for our life here and now. And when we know the One who declares the beginning from the end (Isaiah 46:10), we can face the future with confidence.