Bible prophecy is one of the most exciting topics for Christians to study, as it not only proves that God is true to His Word, but also provides a glimpse into a future full of eternal hope, joy, and peace. And, because the Lord has a perfect track record in prophetic fulfillment, we can know with all certainty that the future events foretold in the Word of God will come to pass just as He has promised. Prophetic promises are not just for a few of God's people, but also for all believers, and when we study these promises, we begin to understand more about God's plans for the church and for the individual as well. The Bible explains that we are to pay attention to the end times prophecy and be carefully watching for signs that the inevitable events to come in an anticipation of the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The second coming of the King of Kings will be the climatic end of the world as we know it, but not the end of man-kind. With the new and awesome reign of Jesus, life will actually begin in new and exciting ways for those who have trusted in him as Lord and as Savior.
God has declared from ancient times the things, which have not yet come to pass. "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times, the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isaiah 46:10). From Genesis, chapter three with the fall of man, God revealed the future plans for man and the coming of a Savior. The study of Bible prophecy is actually a study of the entire Word of God. Starting a the beginning and taking a journey all the way through to the book of Revelation (where the greatest events of end time prophecy are recorded), we find that God has had a plan for the ages from the beginning of time, and amazingly, the Lord has been willing to share this plan with us. From a beautiful garden to a new and wonderful city, the major events of mankind have all been recorded for anyone to read. And, interestingly, more than ever, Christians especially, are reading the Word and discovering that prophetic teachings have much to teach us about not only the future of man, but about the nature of our God.
Several New Testament writers address the importance of knowing what God has planned for mankind. In the book of Ephesians Paul tells his readers that the prayers he has offered on their behalf include a desire for them to know Christ and to understand the hope of Christ's calling and the riches of the glory of the waiting inheritance. In 2 Peter we also find a message that employs us to pay attention to end times prophecy so that we can be enlightened. "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" (2 Peter 1:19). Ultimately, the study of Bible prophecy helps to promote an evangelistic church that has a genuine and passionate concern for the lost. Knowing that the end of time as we know it is near and that judgment is just around the corner, each of us becomes more motivated to share the good news of Christ. For more important issues like false prophets, apostasy and cults, visit our Bible resources.
While mighty empires have risen and fallen throughout history, there are really only four truly significant events that have and will change the complete course of mankind. The creation and falling of man is the first significant account and then the destruction of the earth by the great flood is second. Christs first coming is the third drastic shift in the historical major events and his second coming will be the fourth. It is amazing to think that two-thirds of God plans for man have already come to pass! The final event, which is Christ's return, is known and studied as end times prophecy, and has become a great interest to many as the signs of the times point to the reality that this great event may be very close. There has been a new and perhaps more urgent study of the book of Revelation in recent history, and many theologians believe that this generation will see more Bible prophecy fulfilled in the very near future.
Though prophets from the Old Testament spoke of day when the lion and the lamb would lay together in peaceful harmony, we know through Christs teachings that there are events that must take place on earth before the second coming and eventual reign of Christ takes place. The book of Revelation is perhaps the most pictorial description of the coming events, which will take place both on earth and in the heavens. Those who are interested in discovering what the future holds will want to conduct an end times prophecy study by using the Bible and commentaries that help explain some of the symbolism as we can best understand it. The bottom line is that the Lord has supplied us with information that He, obviously, intends for us to have. Perhaps there are even reasons beyond our limited comprehension for taking the time to discover how the last days will play out. To find out more about Bible prophecy, take the quiz linked above.
False DoctrineFalse doctrine has been the demise of many a church and the twisting of the truth of God's Word has had devastating results on congregations and nations since the law was first given to the Israelites as they were saved from slavery in Egypt. Because Christ called himself the Truth, we are called to seek after the Truth, take the Truth in, and fellowship with the Truth. We are called to love the Truth. Because knowing and abiding in truth is essential to knowing and loving the Lord, the enemies of God and man work very hard at distorting the truth and keeping mankind, both the saved and the unsaved, from coming into the rich and full relationship that God has extended to those He loves. Keeping men and women chasing after dead-end doctrines has been a favorite past-time of Satan. And, this battle tactic is not a new tactic of the demons of the dark; they've been at this game for a long, long, time. False gospels have been spread throughout the world since man began to populate the earth. Cain was certainly misguided in his choice of offerings to the Lord and the Israelites proved time and again that they were putting their trust into powers other than the Word of God. The trend has continued throughout history.
Starting in the Old Testament, we read countless accounts of the people of God, the very ones He chose to reveal Himself to the world through, straying from His Word and following after false doctrine. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet records the Lord saying, "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick" (Isaiah 65:2-3). As Israel entered into the promised land, they were warned not to fellowship with those who sought after the gods of this world and who did not know God. These people were warned not to inter-marry, knowing that this would eventually bring heresy into the teachings of the Lord. These chosen vessels of God had seen miracles and had experienced the Lord in ways that no other people group had or ever will again, and still they were taken away with false gospels and diverse religions. We can heed this as a warning because we too, can be smitten with the lies that lead us away from knowing and serving our Lord.
We are told in 2 Timothy that a time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine as they sought after their own lusts. Seeking after our own agendas is perhaps the number one reason that we have allowed anything but the absolute truth of the Lord to penetrate our hearts. From the original sin the Garden of Eden, we've been ambitious to have things our way, seeking any teaching that will support the selfish ideas that run throughout the flesh. Though the Truth will actually set us free, many have chosen the imprisonment of false doctrine that promised a liberty it could not deliver. For more related topics such as false prophets, end time signs and the apostate Church, visit our Bible resources.
The answer to abiding within the safety of what our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, teaches is to know and do the will of God. And, to know the will of God, one must immerse himself into the Word, absorbing the real Truth written there. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1). As we study the Word of God, we begin to understand the character, and ultimately, the will of God. Immersing oneself into the Living Word of God is the only safeguard against following after the false gospels that are becoming even more prevalent in these last days.
Many of the New Testament writers adequately warned against the ease of believing other gospels. We are warned that wolves desiring to devour the weak will enter into our churches, appearing to be as meek and as humble as sheep. Jesus told His disciples that there would be an entire host of false prophets that would rise up in the last days and that those sharing a false gospel would deceive man. "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:11). Many times when the end times are spoken of, there is always a stern warning to guard against any doctrine except the gospel brought by Christ.
In the book of Revelation, the messages to the seven churches are also full of warnings for those who had moved in a direction other than what the Word of God teaches. The consequences of adopting, tolerating, or teaching a false doctrine would be severe. The world today is full of religious teachings that are far from the good news of Jesus Christ. There are also teachings that mimic the true gospel, yet twist or add to the truth of the Word, making it difficult for those who are not astute in the Word to discern the theology. Paul tells us that the Word is useful for investigating false doctrine and discerning the good from the bad. Perhaps taking the time to thoroughly study the Bible will provide to be not only a wonderful experience in growing in the Lord, but also become a shield to protect the heart against heresy. To learn more about the false gospels circulating in the world today, take the quiz linked above.