4 Ways Bible Prophecy Matters Today
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs | © 2019
The Bible’s prophecies are sometimes obscure and confusing. Do they have any relevance for today?
Prophecy makes up over one-fourth of the Bible’s content. While many Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled, others remain to be fulfilled in the future. However, Bible prophecy provides at least four important applications for today.
Reason #1: Prophecy Reveals God’s Power
The apostles and early believers looked to Old Testament prophecies realized in the life of Jesus as proof of God’s power. For example, if God can predict the details of the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah hundreds of years in advance, we are dealing with a supernatural Being with tremendous wisdom and insight.
Isaiah 53 offers some of the most profound examples. For instance, verse 7 states, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Jesus did not speak up for Himself at His trial, but instead suffered as an innocent lamb, just as Isaiah predicted 700 years earlier.
Reason #2: Prophecy Encourages Godly Living
The Bible repeatedly speaks of Jesus returning at any moment. For example, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 notes, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”If Jesus is coming soon, we must live in a way that is prepared for His coming.
There are understandably some points of difference regarding how people interpret the end times passages of the Bible. Yet Scripture is clear Jesus is coming at any moment. We are called to live holy lives as we look forward to His return, offering ourselves as a “living sacrifice” to Him (Romans 12:1-2).
Reason #3: Prophecy Urges Evangelism
Bible prophecy emphasizes Jesus is coming for our own sake—and for the benefit of others. In 2 Peter 3:8-9 we read, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Every day Christ waits to return is another day we have an opportunity to share Him with another person. He is in control of who will believe, yet He calls us to faithfully and boldly share the good news of the risen Jesus with everyone possible.
Reason #4: Prophecy Provides Hope for the Future
After describing the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Paul concludes with the words of verse 18, saying, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” For believers, the future does not need to be scary, but is something we can anticipate with great hope.
When He comes, we will be with Him and be made like Him. In the end, Revelation 21:4 promises, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
We may not perfectly understand the Bible’s prophecies, yet they clearly offer motivation for our lives. When we see how prophecy reveals God’s power, encourages godly living, urges evangelism, and offers hope for the future, we can find strength to further study and apply the predictions of Scripture in our lives now.
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Dr. Dillon Burroughs
Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.