Why Study Prophecy?
Vol: 53 Issue: 22 Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Using the broad stroke definition of Christianity as a ‘religion’ as compared to, say, Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism, Christianity is unique among the religions of the world in that it is the only one that can prove itself.
(I leave Judaism to one side for the purposes of this examination, since, if one proves the branch, the existence of the root is beyond dispute. Christians accept the whole Bible, Old and New Testament, and it is that Bible that provides the evidence)
The study and presentation of the evidence that proves Christianity is called ‘apologetics’ — a word derived from the Greek ‘apologia’ meaning, ‘to defend’.
Apologetics, therefore, would most accurately described as an informed defense of the faith. I say ‘informed’ because an uninformed defense is no defense at all.
Worse, it gives the advantage to the enemy. Just because you can tell somebody else doesn’t know what they are talking about does not automatically mean that you do.
In this context, I use the term ‘enemy’ specifically to describe the spirit behind those who attack the Scriptures, not the actual person being used to do it. The lost are enemies to the Gospel, but they are not my personal enemies. They are my potential brothers and sisters in Christ.
I approach from the perspective they are not ‘wrong’ in classic sense, they are simply forming conclusions on inaccurate information. They believe they are right, but their conclusions are formed based on the absence of evidence for the existence of God. And, as Donald Rumsfeld classically observed, “absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.”
To take on the challenge of ‘proving’ there is no God, the unbeliever takes to himself the logically impossible task of proving a negative. Because one cannot see God does not mean He does not exist. One can’t see air, but it exists. One can’t see gravity, but it exists.
Both, although invisible, exist, and that existence can be proved using empirical evidence. The same applies to both the existence of God and His intimate involvement in the affairs of men.
Bible prophecy is a particularly powerful evidence of the existence of God, especially to this generation. To the degree that Bible prophecy can be measured, it has proved itself 100% accurate, 100% of the time.
There are skeptics that will search out some reference that they assign a value of being ‘prophecies’ and then attempt to prove they were unfulfilled. Once again, they’ve taken on the impossible task of proving a negative. If it IS a prophecy, then, until the world ends, how can one say it hasn’t been fulfilled?
This is a clue as to whether one is defending the faith or flailing in the wind. The determined unbeliever will abandon logic in his efforts to win an argument.
There is no more to be gained in continuing that debate than there is in debating the circumference of the earth with a member of the Flat Earth Society. There is no foundation of logic upon which to continue the debate.
There is no possible way for anyone to know the future in the manner in which the Bible outlines it. I’ve heard pretty much all the arguments . . . “What if some future society developed time travel and went back to the past? . . . seemingly turning things around and asking that YOU prove a negative.
Bible prophecy is not simply predictions of future events, it is a detailed outline of how the endless variables come together to make those events come to be. It is beyond the capacity of any human being, or group of human beings.
It is history, written in reverse, a unfolding series of events that come together in the exact pattern necessary to bring about a particular outcome. It deals, not just with the history of nations, but with obscure individual lives.
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,” is how God describes it. (Isaiah 46:10)
The human writers of Scripture were kings, shepherds, drifters, slaves and sinners. They came from different parts of the world at different times, in an era when libraries were few and far between. Yet each book fits cohesively into the next, cross referencing one another as if written by a single individual.
Prophecies uttered by one prophet were confirmed by another, in some cases, without one knowing what the other had written.
In every generation since the Bible was completed, there have been students, thinkers and philosophers as dedicated to the truth as any alive in this generation. For two thousand years, the debate has raged over the truth of the Bible.
In all those generations, among all those skeptics, in all those debates, with all those scholars, not one single point in Scripture has ever been disproved.
If there were some thinker or philosopher of history who had conclusively disproved a single point in Scripture, he would have been the most famous thinker of all time. He would have been the one who proved God does not exist, since everything we know of God comes from the Bible and the Bible says of itself that its seal of authenticity is its accuracy.
“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5)
Bible prophecy is God’s signature. It is empirical evidence that God is real, and that He keeps His promises.
“I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” (Isaiah 45:19)
Then God issues the following challenge; “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me.” (45:20-21)
Bible prophecy is given to us as a tool of apologetics — evidence directly from God for use in the practice of the defense of the faith. Too often, it becomes a kind of Christian ‘parlor trick’ — and I don’t mean that unkindly.
It is easy to get caught up in the wonder of witnessing the fulfillment of Bible prophecy before our eyes — the ‘gee whiz’ factor is exciting stuff. But the purpose of Bible prophecy isn’t to amaze or entertain believers. It is to convict the lost of the certainty of accountability before a Living God and lead them to the Throne of Grace.
Since it is impossible to prove a negative, God has provided us with positive evidence specifically designed for use by this generation. “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, BY THE SAME WORD are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2nd Peter 3:3-7)
The same Word of prophecy that predicted the Flood and saved Noah and his family will be fulfilled as literally in this generation as it was in Noah’s.
The evidence that we are on the brink of catastrophe is not lost on the world. Bible prophecy was given the Church as evidence this is a controlled catastrophe, so we might introduce the lost to the Controller — while there is still time.
Gayle and I are travelling today. Please accept this reprint of a previously published briefing. Thank you for your indulgence and your prayers.