Series 3 - The Great Teachings of the Bible and What They Mean for You:
Bible Prophecy and You
Hi Friends! Welcome to the third lesson in the "Bible Prophecy and You"
series. You may have wondered: Why prophecy? What is its purpose?
What are the benefits? Well, that's what this lesson is about.
We all are curious about the future and what's in store for us personally!
And our loving Creator doesn't want His people to be in the dark and to
be worried with fear of the unknown. So He inspired the Bible so it can
be our Guidebook and Map for our life's journeys. Bible prophecy does
indeed satisfy much of our curiosity about the future, but God has greater
purposes than just that. They are wonderful spiritual purposes!
In this Bible study lesson, you'll learn God's purposes for giving us
prophetic revelations about the future of the world and about your
Lesson 3: The Valuable Benefits and Purposes of Bible Prophecy!
Why is Bible prophecy important? Why did God reveal so much about the future through His prophets? What are God's reasons for wanting us to understand the prophecies?
A United Church of God member in Texas tells about her experiences learning
"When I began to understand the Bible and Bible prophecy, I thought
wow—so many of my big questions are being answered!
"It was so comforting and inspiring to learn God's
long-range plan for mankind. What a blessing that God lets us know in
advance what to expect and how we can be prepared. What I had been taught
in another church left me somewhat confused and fearful. Now the more
I understand what the Bible teaches about the past, present and future,
the more peace I feel.
"More and more I could see that God is in control, He can protect
us from anything, He has a time for everything, and He knows what's
best for each of us. Now that I know the great examples of faith in
Bible history and God's promises and plan for the future, I have courage,
peace and confidence that God is working out His will in my life."
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God's Prophets Did Much More Than Pass Along Predictions!
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore
all Bible prophecies came from God. God's prophets were merely the messengers who
spoke and wrote down the revelations from God. Some prophecies apply to nations,
some to individuals and some to both. Many prophecies are conditional, especially
those that apply to individuals. What does that mean? We will see.
People mistakenly assume that the prophets were only predicting.
No, they had a dual role. God sent them to predict and to preach (for
example, see Jonah 3:2-4).And what did they preach? They preached that people
should repent of their sins and turn to God—"to warn the wicked from his wicked
way, to save his life" (Ezekiel 3:18).
God will bless and save all who repent of their sinful ways and turn to a
life of obeying and serving Him. You see, God's prophets were sent to motivate people
with a "carrot and stick" message. Prophecies included both warnings about
punishments and promises of rewards.
In Deuteronomy 11:26-28, we read a concise summary of the kind of message
God's prophets were to preach: "Behold, I set before you today a blessing
and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God...and
the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God."
Let's now examine some of God's main purposes for giving us His prophecies.
Is fulfilled prophecy a proof of God?
"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."
God said, "I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the
beginning... Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass." As we'll
see in Lessons 5 and 6 in this series, we have plenty of proof of the supreme
power of God. His many, many prophecies always come to pass exactly as
He foretold because He makes them happen!
Is fulfilled prophecy a proof of the Bible?
2 Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as
they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
At times, God's prophets just wrote down what they heard God say to them.
At other times, they "spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Every
single biblical prophecy of a past event has been fulfilled perfectly, and
we will examine some of them in future lessons. As future prophesied events
happen, we will have even more proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible.
Does knowledge of prophecy help us to interpret world news and events?
"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become
tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also,
when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors!
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till
all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words
will by no means pass away.
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor
the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know
when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house
and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the
doorkeeper to watch.
"Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in
the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest,
coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all:
Yes, it enables us to intelligently "watch" with understanding. Because Bible
prophecy is accurate and reliable, it gives us a foundational worldview and
framework by which we can analyze the news. By it, we are able to sort out
what has long-range significance from the flood of news that does not. Jesus
told His disciples, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see" (Luke
Does advance knowledge prepare us so we will be calm and courageous
when hardships come?
John 16:1, 4
"These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble...
"But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember
that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning,
because I was with you."
"When the time [of trials] comes," Christ does not want us to "stumble"—to
be shocked, to panic or to fall away. This is a major reason our loving God
"reveals His secret to His servants" (Amos 3:7). When God's prophecies come
to pass exactly as He foretold, that strengthens our faith to trust Him for
care and protection.
Does God give people understanding and warnings before holding them
And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or
do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who
did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten
with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required;
and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
God is completely fair and merciful. He holds people accountable for what
they know, being willing to overlook their "times of ignorance" (Acts 17:30).
God will not finally judge anyone without first teaching and warning about
the dire consequences of sin as well as the wonderful results of living God's
way. See also James 4:17 and John 9:41.
What primary commission did Jesus give to His disciples and His Church?
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every
The "gospel" means good news because it is primarily about Christ's
coming to establish "the kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14). But the message also
includes a "witness" or warning about the end-time trials leading up to Christ's
return (Matthew 24:14). As John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ's
first coming (see Matthew 3:1-3; Luke 3:2-6), this preaching of the gospel
prepares the way for Christ's second coming.
Christ's commission to His Church can be compared to a "watchman."
What does that mean?
Ezekiel 33:1-7, 11
Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, speak to the children
of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and
the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their
watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet
and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does
not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall
be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take
warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will
save his life.
"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet,
and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from
among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require
at the watchman's hand.'
"So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore
you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me…
"Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death
of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn
from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'"
A watchman was to sound a warning whenever he saw danger approaching. Today,
God's Church serves in the role of spiritual "watchmen." This partly explains
why prophecy is so important and why God wants His Church to teach and preach
those prophecies. God is "not willing that any should perish but that all
should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Read Jonah chapters 3 and 4 and see what spiritual lessons you can learn.
Because the basic facts of a story like this are turned into a children's
story, people often neglect seriously reading it. This is a good example
of a conditional prophecy. Jonah told the people of Nineveh that if they
didn't repent of their sins within 40 days, God would destroy the city.
This is a story with a happy ending. The Ninevites did repent and
God spared the city for many years to come. In the same story, you'll see
how Jonah had to learn some lessons the hard way.
Write down the main lesson God was teaching the people of Nineveh and the
main lesson He was teaching Jonah. What are the main lessons He is teaching
you through this prophecy?
Next Lesson: How You Can Correctly Understand God's Prophecies and Promises!
Questions about this lesson? Feedback about
Prophecy? from the booklet You
Can Understand Bible Prophecy
God Reveal Himself?
Today video: Prophecy and Survival