Do you know that 1/3 of your Bible is about prophecy? Would it be wonderful to know what the future holds according to the Bible? End-time Bible prophecy is among the most fascinating topics that every person love to know more. However, there are pitfalls that Christians should avoid when studying this crucial topic. Continue reading this post to know the 5 pitfalls of studying end-time prophecy.
Pitfall number 1: Studying prophecy to set dates
Time and again, we heard of many popular pastors, teachers, evangelists and ministers who would set date. We must not be surprised because the return of Jesus Christ is the most anticipated event among Christians today. But many who wait for Christ become impatient and set date instead. However, setting dates is not the intention of Bible prophecy. As it is written in Matthew 24:26;
“But of that day and hour KNOWETH NO MAN, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
The exact date and time of Jesus’ second coming is not known by any man. Matthew makes it very clear that only God the Father knows when that day. Even the angels and Jesus do not know when it will happen. Surely, no one is greater than Jesus and God the Father. So if anyone tells you a date when Christ will return, then you will be certain that that prediction will fail.
Pitfall number 2: Studying prophecy to delay conversion
I love sharing Bible prophecy to people and one of the most common responses I get is, “Since the conditions are not yet fulfilled for Jesus’ second coming, then I will enjoy myself with what this world has to offer. When I can see those things you are talking about, then I will start my conversion”. Methinks, this is the most STUPID reasoning that I hear from a person who studies Bible prophecy just to know when he should repent. As it is written in Luke 21-34-36;
“Be careful not to let yourselves become occupied with too much feasting and drinking and with the worries of this life, or that Day may suddenly catch you like a trap. For it will come upon all people everywhere on earth. Be on WATCH and PRAY ALWAYS that you will have the strength to go safely through all those things that will happen and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Jesus made a warning for people who studies prophecy and does not change. He warns that His second coming will take them by surprise. He even likened His return as a thief in the night. There will come a time when it is too late to turn away from your wicked ways.
Pitfall number 3: Studying prophecy for head knowledge only
God included in the Bible what should happen before the second coming of Jesus. He intends the prophecy to serve as a warning and make people repent.
However, if you are just studying Bible prophecy for scholarly purposes, then you are making a big mistake. The Bible should change you for the better. It is unlike any other book. It is the very WORD OF GOD, the Supreme Being of the entire universe.
As it written in Matthew 24:44-46
“THEREFORE BE YE ALSO READY: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so DOING.”
Jesus put an emphasis that people who hears AND do what they learn will be blessed. It is never enough to just believe. That belief should be accompanied with action and works.
Pitfall number 4: Studying prophecy and inject your own interpretation
We need to be silent when the Bible is silent about a particular issue. We should not put our own interpretation and become dogmatic about it. In most cases, some Bible prophecies are not detailed and some information is missing until it will be clear for us. While we really have this good feeling when we have some hunches or speculations, it should remain that way until God will reveal it to His people. As it is written II Peter 1:21;
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
In this passage, it is clear that it is God, through His Holy Spirit, who reveals prophecy and not by our own interpretation. Learn to not to lean onto your own understanding, but let God guide you to the right interpretation of the Bible.
In studying the prophecy, it is very important that you let the Bible INTERPRET ITSELF and not by yourself.
Pitfall number 5: Studying prophecy and stop doing your best in life
I have fallen prey to this kind of thinking as well. When I study end-time Bible prophecy, I kind of concluded that there is no use of doing my best in my study or in my work because, what’s the point if we earn many earthly things then Jesus will suddenly be back? All of my labor will come to nothing.
First and foremost, the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10;
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, DO IT WITH THY MIGHT; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
We need to do our best in doing our work, no matter what the present conditions may be. I have an old friend who told me that he thought during the start of World War II that Jesus will soon be back and he thought that there’s no use of saving money or finding a stable job. After all, Jesus will be back. However, years past, decades and over 70 years now, Jesus still hasn’t come.
We need to remember God the Father is patient with mankind. He might be delaying Jesus’ second coming to call more people to His Church or giving more time for people to repent. Whatever the reason is, we can be certain that God’s timetable is perfect – never early, never late.
There’s no doubt that studying end-time prophecy is very important. However, we need to have the proper and right attitude when approaching God’s word. Studying prophecy for fun and fascination are the wrong approach. Instead, prophecies should give us the sense of urgency to repent and change our ways. We may know everything about prophecy, but if it stays only in our heads and never affecting our way of life, then it is in vain.
Study the Bible as a whole. Learn God’s purpose in your life and let that knowledge drives you in following His Commandments and dedicating a life pleasing in His sight.