How many of us make Bible prophecy a significant part of our Bible study? Yet at least one-fourth of the Bible is prophecy, which means God had a purpose for including so many prophecies in Scripture. Learn four reasons why Bible prophecy is important for you—and how to be motivated to study it.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Millions of people all over the world claim the Holy Bible as their sacred guide to understanding themselves and the world around them. Yet, most of them ignore one-fourth to one-third of that Bible: The portion made up by prophecy.
You might wonder why God placed prophecy in the Bible in the first place. Can’t we just ignore all of those weird chapters in Revelation, Isaiah, Daniel, and other books of the Bible and just focus on the parts we find easy to understand?
In short, no. If we want to be people who follow Jesus Christ in word and deed, and if we want to benefit from the entirety of God’s word and the full store of instruction and blessing that He has prepared for us, then Bible prophecy needs to be on the menu of our spiritual diet.
Join me right now on Tomorrow’s World, where together we will answer the question “Why Does God Use Prophecy?”
Greetings, and welcome to Tomorrow’s World where we help you make sense of the world through the pages of the Bible. I’m glad you’re here.
Today, we’re going to answer the question, “Why Does God Use Prophecy?”
And let me be clear here at the beginning: When I say, “God uses prophecy,” I’m not talking about the modern-day proclamations of many who go around claiming themselves to be Christians and calling themselves “Prophet This” or “Prophetess That.” I guarantee you, they are no prophet in the sense of the biblical title. Now I know that may upset some, but here at Tomorrow’s World, we’re not here to make people happy—we’re here to clear away the fog of confusion and shine the light of God’s word in a world darkened by the Devil’s deceptions.
No, I’m here to talk about Bible prophecy. Many preachers and teachers ignore it, and you don’t often hear Bible prophecy proclaimed and explained from the giant stages of the megachurches of the world—at least not in any meaningful or significant sense. And many study guides claim to “explain” prophecy, but they do more to “explain it away,” and minimize the vital impact it should have on our everyday life today.
And we need to be honest with ourselves: How many of us make reading and studying Bible prophecy a significant part of our spiritual diet? After all, so many other parts of the Bible seem so much more straightforward and beneficial. Uplifting even. But Revelation—with its weird images of multi-headed monsters, blood-drinking harlots, and other strange sights and descriptions—seems almost out-of-place and unnecessary for living the “Christian” life, doesn’t it? And when you wander from the stories of the lion’s den and the fiery furnace, the book of Daniel just seems to get weird, with visions of strange statues, monstrous beasts, and vague references to Kings of the North and South.
Yet, think about it. It’s estimated that one-fourth to one-third of the Bible is prophecy. So pick up a Bible and estimate how much one-fourth of that Bible would be. In this Bible, here, if you look at the first fourth, it would be about this much. Imagine ignoring or cutting out and throwing away that much of your Bible—in this case, you would be cutting out Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and 1 Samuel—possibly some of 2 Samuel, too. Or take the final fourth. Now, you’re cutting out the last four books of the Old Testament and the entire New Testament. Can you imagine cutting out all of that and throwing it away or burning it? Yet, if you never read and study Bible prophecy—at least one-fourth of your Bible—that is essentially what you’re doing! That 25% may as well not be in there.
In 2021, I wrote an article for the Tomorrow’s World magazine detailing how many elements of today’s cancel culture are working overtime to cancel the Bible, one idea at a time, removing the words of Scripture from our lives in whatever ways they can.
But my friends, if you and I don’t even bother to read one-fourth to one-third of our Bible’s pages, we’ve effectively canceled those parts of the Bible ourselves.
And, frankly, we violate the teachings of Jesus Christ and are robbing ourselves of the benefit of His instruction when we avoid prophecy.
Look for yourself in Matthew 4 and verse 4. When fighting against Satan’s temptations at the beginning of His ministry, the Savior shot back at the devil,
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.”
My friends, “every word” means “every word,” not “three out of every four” or “two out of three.” “Every word” includes the recorded words of biblical prophecy.
When you think about it, Christians should be the most motivated people in the world to read and study biblical prophecy. Revelation 19:10 says that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” and the very beginning of the book of Revelation, the very first verse of the very first chapter, tells us that Jesus Christ revealed the contents of that book under God’s instructions, “to show His servants—things which must shortly take place.”
And just two verses later, God gives us a promise:
“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.”
My friends, prophecy is important, and God places it in the Bible for good reason. In fact, in the remainder of today’s program, we are going to detail four reasons God uses prophecy in the Bible.
The first of those reasons is this:
Bible prophecy warns people and nations to repent so they can avoid punishment.
Most of you viewing today’s program at home or on your computer or smartphone probably look at today’s world and feel like I do: Something is very wrong. At the most fundamental of levels, the very fabric of civilization is tearing asunder. The Bible explains in clear detail why we are coming apart: sin. The world is increasingly turning its back on everything God commands, and we are suffering the consequences—consequences that will climax in the most horrific time the world has ever known or will ever know: The Great Tribulation, followed by the Day of the Lord. We read of the times prophesied to come in Matthew chapter 24, beginning in verse 21:
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
Those times are coming due to man’s accumulating sin against his Creator. Frankly, biblical prophecy tells us that suffering will begin with divine punishment on the United States and Great Britain and those nations around the globe that have descended in one way or another from the British people.
Yet, God the Father and Jesus Christ do make a way of escape available. In Ezekiel 33 and verse 11, God tells us that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would rather that the wicked see what is coming and repent. Change to avoid it and accept the opportunity for escape. Turn earlier in the book of Ezekiel to read His passionate words to Israel—words that I assure you are meant for nations and peoples today. We begin in verse 30;
“‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For WHY SHOULD YOU DIE, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘THEREFORE TURN AND LIVE.’”
In the free DVD we’ll send you today, “The Power of Prophecy,” we will explain that one of the keys to understanding prophecy is to be able to identify modern nations in the prophetic words of the Bible, and the identity of those nations is not always clear. When you do understand that, then you understand this warning is for many nations of the world—and you understand why we here on Tomorrow’s World are unrelenting in our constant admonition to the nations of the world to cease their sins, repent, and turn and dedicate themselves to Jesus Christ and His Father, lest all that is prophesied to take place come upon them.
Now, before we move to Reason #2, we have to be honest with ourselves about Reason #1, about human nature, and about our nations and their leadership. Personally, I’m an American, and let me be frank with you about my country: With every day that goes by, I see nothing in my nation’s government, its politics, its culture, its educational systems, or my fellow citizens at large that gives me any real hope that the United States, as a whole, will repent, turn, and embrace Jesus Christ and the commandments of God.
I’m not trying to be a pessimist, and believe me, I—as well as all of us here at Tomorrow’s World, the members of the Living Church of God, and the many around the world who voluntarily support us—all of us are throwing all we have into reaching the whole world with God’s warning and Christ’s Gospel of the coming Kingdom. And we pray like Paul did, that God might use us to save from the times to come as many as He will.
But we also know that some will go into punishment and captivity. And when they do, we see the second purpose of prophecy come into play:
Bible prophecy encourages those in captivity to repent.
We see this hope of God concerning prophecy in passages such as Deuteronomy in chapter 4. There, God speaks to Israel in words that today’s free DVD explains have great meaning for many of today’s nations as well. He tells them of the punishment they will receive for their national sins and how they will respond then in a way they did not before. Let’s look, beginning in verse 27:
“And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
God’s words and prophecies will serve as a witness to those being punished in captivity, who will remember and begin to seek God in a way they did not before their punishment.
For those of our viewers today who will not turn to God and change their lives and who will find themselves under the punishment of the Great Tribulation, it is our prayer that you will remember these things and remember to seek God with all of your heart, with all of your strength, and with all of your soul. Cry out to Him when that time comes—with a sincere and willing heart—and He will hear you.
Ironically, the third reason God uses prophecy is ignored by most who claim the name of Christ today, even as it explains why His disciples, above all people of the earth, should care passionately about prophecy.
The third reason should matter most to all who claim the name of Jesus Christ, but sadly it matters to relatively few of them:
Bible prophecy announces the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.
Many think Jesus only came with a message about how all can be forgiven their sins by accepting Him as their Savior. But, my friends, that belief is an incomplete and shallow one that denies the rich, full message God sent His Son to bear to mankind concerning the coming Kingdom of God and God’s plan to transform this world and mankind for all eternity.
And focusing as it does on future events, that message of the Kingdom of God and the glorious return of Jesus Christ is inherently a prophetic message. In fact, many, many, many prophecies of both the Old and New Testaments point us to the beautiful times of restoration to come under the reign of Jesus Christ and His glorified saints—that is, under the Kingdom of God. For instance, Revelation 20 speaks of the 1,000-year removal of Satan the devil and proclaims that glorified, faithful Christians will reign alongside Jesus Christ during that time. Zechariah 14 explains how all the nations of the world will be required by God to assemble in Jerusalem each year for the Feast of Tabernacles. Isaiah 11 speaks of the transformed nature of the animal world, while Isaiah 35 tells of the transformed and beautified earth, and the healing of all who are blind, deaf, and unable to walk. Zechariah 8 tells of how both the elderly and small children will be safe to play in the streets.
Honestly, there is too much to encompass in one program—read the prophecies for yourself. There is a reason the Apostle Peter called the prophetic reign of Jesus Christ “the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21).
Of course, if you are a longtime viewer of Tomorrow’s World, you know that the prophesied Kingdom of God is a frequent topic of ours, as we are commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself to boldly preach that Kingdom to the world—without apology or compromise. And let there be no doubt: The Gospel message is a prophetic message, and ignoring the prophecies of the Bible is like cutting out vast portions of the message of Jesus Christ.
Finally, we come to the fourth reason God uses prophecy:
Bible prophecy demonstrates God’s total sovereignty and power.
We see this inspiring purpose reflected in the awesome words God inspired the prophet Isaiah to record for us in chapter 46 of his book. Read them there, beginning in verse 9:
“Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.”
My friend and fellow presenter Richard Ames frequently emphasizes a powerful truth that our predecessor in this Work, Herbert W. Armstrong, described as the most important fact in the entire universe—a fact stated in three simple words: “God reigns supreme.”
And if you have noted Mr. Ames’ passion and intensity on this program over the years, you can know it is rooted in this vital truth. And God uses prophecy to help teach us that truth: Declaring the end of things from the beginning so that we may see and understand. Understand that He is faithful and can be trusted. Understand that all of human history represents simply the unfolding of His plan for all mankind—indeed, for all of reality.
Seeing God prophetically proclaim the outcome of affairs in the world before they have even taken place helps us to have confidence in the promises of God and provides an eternal perspective on the one who inhabits eternity. The Apostle Paul found such comfort in that perspective, as he illustrated at the beginning of his letter to Titus:
“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…” (Titus 1:1–2).
Yes, when we read of the commands of God or the promises of God, we must always remember that He is Eternal and Almighty—the one who has the power to call those things which do not exist as though they did, as Paul says in Romans 4:17.
Prophecy teaches us that there is One who not only has the power to proclaim His will in the world, but the power to guarantee that what He proclaims will happen.
My friends, when we consider these four reasons God uses prophecy, we see that there is a purpose He intends to work in our lives through His written prophetic words.
God wants those who read His word to understand that He is a God who is acting in the world—and in their lives. As a God who loves us, He wants us to take His commands seriously, as the life and death matter they truly are. For those who refuse to respond to His warnings, He wants them to have the witness of His prophetic word in their punishment, so that they may remember, and respond to that punishment with repentance. He wants those who love His Son to commit themselves to spreading the message of His glorious reign to come and the prophesied wonders that Jesus Christ will bring at His return. And He wants us to see that He is a God who can be trusted with our lives. He wants us to see that, yes, He demands our absolute faith and obedience—but also that He is worthy of that absolute faith and obedience, because He truly does reign supreme.
His use of prophecy in His word helps to accomplish all these purposes. And now, it’s in your hands. Will you set a quarter or more of your Bible aside, to be neglected? Or will you allow God to work in you through what He reveals?
Thanks for watching! We make these videos to help you make sense of your world through the pages of your Bible. We hope you’ll take advantage of this offer. If you’d like today’s free offer of “The Power of Prophecy,” please click on the link below the description to get that free DVD. And if you’d like to see more of these videos, don’t forget to subscribe and if you want to be alerted, just click that bell. See you next time!
Do you want to understand end-time prophecy? Do you wonder what it means to you, and what you can do to prepare for the times ahead? This powerful DVD contains four vital messages providing valuable insights into the prophesied events that will soon change the lives of everyone living on planet Earth.